Will the decision by Getty to allow free use of 35million images in its libraries by non-commercial users have an unexpected impact on the professional photographic market?
As a professional photographer my initial reaction to hearing this news was to hold up my hands in horror and view this as another nail in the profession’s already snuggly fitting coffin lid.
But having considered this for a while, my opinion has changed, with the realisation that now anyone with a non-commercial requirement can have unlimited access to the amazing array of pictures in Getty’s vast resource, this means that commercial companies will be reluctant to share photographs, that they will be paying to use, with any Tom, Dick or Harriet, especially with no control how the picture is used and what associations may be made with those images.
From big corporates to SMEs, protecting a company’s public persona is regarded as one of the most important factors in its relationship with clients, therefore any unfortunate conflict of image use with another user sharing the same pictures could have both serious financial and credibility repercussions, and it may no longer be viable for them to continue using generically sourced visual material.
If this is the case, and I’m sure that in many instances it will be, these companies will be looking to employ professional photographers to take bespoke pictures of their products and environments, providing complete control over usage.
By employing professionals, they will be not only protecting the integrity of their businesses, but creating new original material to enhance their sales process and entice their customers, also guaranteeing high quality work for the future.
If your company values the originality and integrity of its commercial images and you need help with taking the pictures please give me a call.