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July 15, 2008


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I would guess that Getty is gaining direct access to the Flickr database rather than having to search the site itself - hence the need for the agreement. The computer would most likely first filter all the images by size and other technical specifications, then compare tags to the Getty database - hoping to find keywords (or combinations thereof) that Getty either doesn't have at all, or has a limited number of, before actually having a person sit and go through photos to approve.

Therefore, rather than using creative keywords, I would try to describe my pictures in detail - age group of people (child, young adult, etc.), activity (eating, jogging), location (name, city, state), and maybe even include some of the strongest colors as descriptors, and just hope I had a unique combination of attributes that might be needed.

This is the very analytical approach of course:)


'How to Keyword' your images opens up a 'whole barrel of worms', the proverbial "pandora's box', that commonly sets the "cat amongst the pigeons'. The process can get our 'juices flowing', or 'hit us like a ton of bricks'. Frustration, elation, commiseration, brain activation, accomplishment - all feelings that can accompany the keywording task.

Often editors will search for emotions or phrases (such as those above) as well as more mainstream keywords such as colour, location, subject, style of image. Thinking along this more abstract line of thought isn't always easy, but one man's smile is another man's grimace.

So get imaginative ... the creative process doesn't end with the image; with keywording, it often starts with the image.


I'm a copywriter for a creative agency that specializes in consumer engagement, and we subscribe to Getty. We're always searching for action-oriented photos that don't look too perfect or too posed. I think this is an area of Getty that needs improvement.

I don't think it needs to be really complicated or overly clever. Keywords would include "family camping trip," "kids at the beach," "mom gardening," "ice skating," "birthday party," "boating," "learning to ride a bike," "building a new home," "eating ice cream," "walking the dog," etc. -- pictures that showcase real people engaged in an activity. Natural-looking photos -- no posing!

I also think photos that show general locations or local landmarks would be popular. Not specific landmarks like "Golden Gate bridge" -- but photos that show a "red barn," "muddy field," "empty park" or "dried up river bed."

Keywords should be descriptive, but still general. Adjectives could include emotions, type of people involved (grandma, kids, family), type of activity and general location.

Your Photo Tips

While I agree with the keywords used above I wonder if Getty will use a filter first to determine whether or not the images posted on flickr will be of high enough quality?

While they can possibly use the meta data provided maybe they'll be looking for keywords with camera models that are accepted.

"Canon 5D"
"Nikon D3"

Perhaps it would be wise to let them know you are capturing images that are large and noise free (especially for those that use lower res images online).

"Large Image"
"ISO 200"

Also, typically Getty and other stock companies don't like digitally processed images, so they could be filtering by looking for keywords like:

"Cropped Only"
"Minimal Retouching"
"Not Photoshopped"

Or you could just be direct by using keywords like:

"Stock ready"
"Stock qualified"

Maybe just be completely blatant:

"Getty Ready"
"Getty Standards"

And finally, just tell them!

"Hey Getty check this out"!

Okay, maybe not that last one.

Damien Franco

Don Campbell

How could Getty make as much money as possible by leveraging photo tags? Let’s explore….

Having possession of sensitive information can be very lucrative. Why not peak their interest with keywords such as “Corporate kickback”, “Candid Presidential bribe”, or “If my wife ever sees this picture of me and my secretary, it’s gonna cost me big-time!”

There’s nothing better than finding the proverbial needle in the haystack. Images of rare events can be turned into cash in many ways. To entice their interests, try tags such as “Bill Gates panhandling”, “Alien spacecraft at McDonald’s drive-through”, or “My tax refund”.

Okay, so adult oriented content is perhaps the most abundant category of imagery on the Internet. But remember, our goal is to have Getty buy our pictures, and they won’t do that if they don’t look at them first. Imagine the young researcher at Getty sitting down at a computer with access to millions of Flickr photos and a brand new search tool. What’s the first thing they’re going to type into it? Yes, you know it’s going to be “boobs” or “hottie” or “toe sucking midget” or something similar. Admit it, you would too.


Ronal  (Ron  L)

I think that if someone is going to do the work of putting all those tags into their photos then more power to them. I feel that if you go around creating tags for every photo you are going to take the fun out of it really quickly. I feel you should take photos, have fun, and do not worry about tagging...


Nowadays, people spend a lot of time searching for a particular image but are not able to find the exact one they need. If you are having such a problem, can check
I hope it will help you. It has fantastic visual search tools that work with just a few keywords.


Doesn't Getty provide current event/news photos as well? Aside from them dredging the 'long tail' of stock photos on flickr, I have to wonder if they'll use this partnership as a leg up on finding images of newsworthy events taken by people at the right place, right time and securing those rights.

Other than that, I suppose there's the possibility they'll use it as a recruiting tool for 'undiscovered' talent, even if their flickr postings are necessarily directly marketable because of trademarks, no model releases, etc.

My thought is that keywords are probably the most subjective aspect of flickr when it comes to data mining. And if they're using a particular EXIF filter, I wonder if EXIF hacking/spam will become prevalent? It seems like a weird move on Getty's part when you keep hearing how much of a glut of usable photography out there already these days and how hard it is to make a living as a pro, but I suppose there are unseen depths to flickr beyond what they can get through the standard user interface.

Scott Sherman

Thanks for all your comments. Amy, you're the winner. Please contact me at the link on this page.

olympic games accommodation

This means that all pictures will shared for free in Google? Or I have to pay for them. So far, for Flickr pictures are free. I will stay tuned for further information.

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