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Getty Images Review (2023)

Is it worth it?

Getty Images is a fantastic stock photo agency for enterprises and large businesses, but it’s not the best option for individuals and businesses with smaller budgets. The main reason is that Getty Images’ pricing is very expensive compared to its alternatives, mainly because there are no subscription options.


  • Top-notch image quality
  • Very broad licensing terms
  • Personal photographers and API


  • Very expensive
  • No free trial
  • Very poor customer support
GettyImages Logo
Photutorial Score
Photutorial Score = 3.5/5

Photutorial scores are objectively determined by our editorial team. Our scoring formula weighs several factors consumers should consider when choosing creative products and services.
Images197 million
Videos9.4 million
Extended license/
Free trialNo
LicensesRoyalty-free, Rights-managed

2-minute Getty Images review

Getty Images is a well-established stock image site that has had its fair share of ups and downs over the years. The site is renowned for its extensive editorial photo collection and high prices. However, many businesses find the starting price of $50 per image too steep, leading them to seek more affordable alternatives. Our top pick for the best stock photo site is Shutterstock, which offers the largest collection of stock images overall. Compared to Getty, Shutterstock’s prices range from just $0.22 to $14.50 per image or up to $89 for the Enhanced License.

For smaller businesses and entrepreneurs, there are even more cost-effective alternatives with smaller image collections. Our top recommendation is Envato Elements, which offers unlimited downloads of stock photos, videos, fonts, templates, and more for just $16.50 per month ($11.50 for students). Another excellent option for budget-conscious designers is Canva, which provides unlimited downloads and a great editor for only $9.99 per month.

Do we recommend Getty Images?

Getty Images offers excellent images and videos, but it’s too expensive for most users. If you can afford to spend between $50 and $500 per image, we definitely recommend Getty Images as a source of stock photos. But since most individuals and businesses cannot spend that much, we recommend several cheaper yet very good alternatives.

Should you get Getty Images?

If you’re an individual, blog/website owner, entrepreneur, or an SME, we think you shouldn’t get Getty Images because it’s too expensive for your budget, and there’s just no need to pay that much. However, if you need editorial images/videos or can afford the high prices, the superb quality of images will be a welcome bonus to your brand/product.

What should I get instead?

From our experience, we recommend Shutterstock, Adobe Stock, and iStock to most users. Depositphotos is another great option, particularly for those who need fewer (10 to 30 per month) images. You can also get started for free with several free trials.

What other customers think

Getty Images has a rating of 4.1 out of 5.0, indicating that many customers are satisfied with their purchases. Consumers satisfied with Getty Images mention high-quality editorial content and simple licensing. Customers dissatisfied with Getty Images mention poor customer support and very high prices.

  • Are you looking for a cheaper Getty Images alternative? I use an Envato Elements subscription for unlimited downloads for just $16.50/mo. Take it for a test drive »

Who Is Getty Images best for?

Getty Images is a fantastic stock photo agency for enterprises and large businesses, but it’s not the best option for individuals and businesses with smaller budgets. The main reason is that Getty Images’ pricing is very expensive compared to its alternatives, mainly because there are no subscription options.

Getty Images might be worth looking into if you need unlimited reproduction for your image, which would force you to get an Extended license anyway. In this case, it’s worth comparing the prices, the image quality, and the licensing terms to see which one best fits your requirements.

On the other hand, an exorbitant number of former Getty Images customers complain about being charged but not receiving the downloads. Moreover, they point out that customer support takes an unusually long time to reply (up to 14 days), and in some cases, they haven’t gotten a reply at all. A few customers also complain about the quality of prints they received from Getty Images and the delay they had to endure. Finally, a few non-customers complained about Getty Images accusing them of unlawful image use, so they replied by offering Getty Images to go to court, after which the stock photo agency gave in.

A note from the editor: Photutorial hasn’t found any issues with Getty Images, but considering the severe negative reviews, we warn you to proceed cautiously and consider alternatives too.

Related: Best stock photo sites

Best alternatives

Getty ImagesShutterstockAdobe StockiStock
Best forBest for editorial imagesBest overallBest for Graphic DesignersBest for Subscriptions
Images185 million392 million280 million140 million
Extended license$50–$499/image$67.96–$99.50$79.99$144–$216
Free trialNoYes (10 images)Yes (10, 25, or 40 images)Yes (10 images)
LicensesRoyalty-free, Rights-managedRoyalty-freeRoyalty-freeRoyalty-free
Review(current article)Shutterstock reviewAdobe Stock reviewiStock review

» More: Discover all best Getty Images alternatives

Image sizes

Getty Images sells images in four sizes and resolutions, which govern their prices.

  • Extra small: 72 dpi, 0.2 MP
  • Small: 72 dpi, 0.4 MP
  • Medium: 300dpi, 3.0 MP
  • Large: 300dpi, max resolution

Getty Images pricing

Getty Images sells stock photos on-demand only, either each photo individually or in packages. Images and videos cost from $150 to $499, depending on resolution and package, which come in sizes of 1, 5, and 10 images. You may use the packs for any combination of images, videos, and editorial images.

Although not explicitly promoted on the pricing page, you can get every image in an “Extra small” size for $50, which can be good for websites. Although inexpensive, the 0.2 MP resolution is not enough for any image, in this day and age.

Monthly downloadsLarge images, 4K and HD videosMedium images, SD videosSmall images, low-res videos
1 image$499 per image$375 per image$175 per image
5 images$450 per image ($2,250)$325 per image ($1,625)$160 per image ($800)
10 images$425 per image ($4,250)$300 per image ($3,000)$150 per image ($1,500)

Getty Images subscriptions

Getty Images doesn’t offer subscriptions which is the reason for the above-average prices. The only way to save is by purchasing downloads in bulk, available in sizes of 5 and 10 downloads. This can reduce the price per image by up to 15%.

Getty Images licensing

Getty Images offers three types of licenses: royalty-free (“RF”), rights-ready (“RR”), and rights-managed (“RM”). The Getty Images royalty-free content is licensed for perpetual, unlimited, worldwide use, and the pricing depends on the file resolution. Rights-ready and rights-managed content is licensed for a specific use, so the pricing depends on the file size, duration, geographic location of use, and placement.

Royalty-free: unlike other stock photo agencies, which cap reproduction at 500,000, Getty Image’s RF content can be used an unlimited number of times. As a result, Getty Images’ RF license is equal to the Enhanced or Extended licenses found at other stock photo agencies, both in the allowed uses and the price. It’s also worth noting that the royalty-free license is non-exclusive, meaning anyone else can use the same file.

Rights-ready/rights-managed: the main difference between RR/RM and RF is that RR/RM licenses are limited to specific use and period of time, size of the content, print run, medium, and other content.

Are Getty Images free?

While Getty Images are royalty-free, they are not free. This means you don’t have to pay each time you use the image; however, you must first pay for the image even to get the royalty-free license. As of September 2023, Getty Images has no free images or free trials. But they are many other free trials you can use.

Getty Images editorial explained

Getty Images offers almost 164 million editorial images from over 1.8 million different events. While these images are invaluable for news reporting, they come with specific usage restrictions that protect the rights of the subjects featured in the images.

Getty Images Editorial images are typically photographs that capture people, places, and events in the context of current affairs. While the subjects of these images have no expectation of privacy, they still have certain rights that need to be respected. To ensure that these rights are protected, Getty Images prohibits the use of editorial images for commercial purposes, such as selling posters or printing images on T-shirts, without the subject’s permission.

To illustrate this point, consider a photograph of Brad Pitt taken on the street as he makes his way to an award ceremony. Newspapers, magazines, and websites can use this image for editorial purposes, such as reporting on the event. However, the photographer cannot simply print and sell posters of the image without obtaining Brad Pitt’s permission.

The do’s and don’ts


  • Crop or edit editorial content for technical quality without compromising editorial integrity.
  • Use editorial content for descriptive purposes such as news reporting and discussion of current events or other human interest topics.
  • Include a credit adjacent to the content or in production credits for editorial purposes, using the format: “[Photographer Name]/[Collection Name] via Getty Images”.


  • Alter editorial content in a way that compromises its editorial integrity.
  • Use content in a way that allows others to download, extract, or redistribute the content as a standalone file.
  • Use content featuring models or property in an unflattering or controversial manner without a disclaimer indicating that the content is used for illustrative purposes only and that any person depicted is a model.
  • Use editorial content for commercial, promotional, advertorial, endorsement, advertising, gambling/betting/gaming, or merchandising purposes without explicit authorization from Getty Images.
  • Use editorial content or rights-ready video content for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) without explicit authorization from Getty Images.
  • Assume that using royalty-free content (excluding editorial content) will not infringe on any trademark or other intellectual property rights or violate any right of privacy or right of publicity without checking for necessary releases.
  • Use content containing names, people, trademarks, trade dress, logos, registered, unregistered or copyrighted audio, designs, works of art or architecture without considering and obtaining necessary releases or permissions.

Can you use Getty Images editorial in private?

Now, you might be wondering, “Can I use Getty Images for my private home decor?” The answer is not as straightforward as you might hope. Technically, every copyright owner, including photographers, can prevent you from using their copyrighted work for your personal use. There is no general personal use exception to copyright.

However, there is one potential exception: private study. If you find an editorial image on Getty that is relevant to your academic field and use it for reference at home or in your office, you could argue that this does not infringe on copyright. That being said, Getty could still potentially sue you for breach of contract.

Custom content

All content on Getty Images is non-exclusive, which means that anyone else can use the same images and videos. While that’s fine for most users, some clients representing brands need unique images. So, instead of hiring a team of photographers, you can reach out to Getty Images, who then asks all of its 340,000 creators to provide content in accordance with your guidelines and requirements.


Getty Images offers similar tools and integrations as iStock and Shutterstock, including various integrations and editing tools.

  • Integrations: Adobe Creative Cloud, Dropbox, WordPress VIP, and plugins deliver all Getty Images content to the apps and editors.
  • Media Manager: This is an integration of Getty Images’ database into the file management system by Brandfolder. This helps you keep all your files organized, which is especially useful when you have lots of content.
  • API: You can use the RESTful API to access Getty Images in your app.

Frequently asked questions

What does Getty Images mean?

Getty Images got its name from its co-founder Mark Getty, who founded Getty Images in 1995 together with Jonathan Klein. Nowadays, Getty Images is a synonym for premium stock photography and high-level services related to photo licensing.

Are Getty Images reliable?

Getty Images emphasizes legal image use, and it is therefore reliable both as a source of images for customers and as a place to sell content for creatives.

Why is Getty Images so expensive?

Getty Images is expensive because there are no subscriptions, which guarantee the lowest prices at other stock photo agencies. Another reason is that Getty Images offers very high-quality images with a broad license.

What is Getty Images?

Getty Images is a stock photography, editorial photography, and film production company. It provides a vast collection of high-quality digital images and videos that can be licensed for use in various commercial and editorial projects. Getty Images was founded in 1995 by Mark Getty and Jonathan Klein and has grown to become one of the world’s largest visual content providers. The company’s mission is to move the world with images by creating inspiring content that is accessible to everyone. Today, Getty Images has over 197 million images and videos in its collection, covering a wide range of topics, including news, sports, entertainment, and creative imagery.

Getty Images meaning

Getty Images is named after one of its co-founders, Mark Getty, who is a member of the famous Getty family. The Getty family has a long history in the oil industry and is known for its philanthropic efforts in the arts and culture. Mark Getty, along with Jonathan Klein, started the company in 1995 with the goal of creating a digital archive of high-quality visual content that could be easily accessed and licensed by businesses, media organizations, and individuals. The name “Getty” was chosen as a nod to Mark Getty’s family heritage and to convey a sense of quality and prestige associated with the Getty name.

Can I use Getty Images for free?

No, you may not use Getty Images for free. It’s a paid and premium stock image site offering royalty-free and editorial stock images and videos. Photos at Getty Images cost from $150.

Rating Methodology

To review Getty Images accurately, we took a holistic view of 31 stock photo agencies that incorporated image number, quality, variety, prices and pricing options, licensing terms, features, and customer support.

  • Image quality & variety: 20% of the score. We browsed each stock photo site for over 50 search terms and analyzed the resulting image quality and variety. Both were scored qualitatively based on our expertise and experience. The quality check comprised technical quality, including exposure, sharpness, grain, saturation, color temperature, and added value. The variety check was primarily focused on checking what percentage of images came from the same photo shoot.
  • Stock photo prices and pricing options: 20% of the score. Price is crucial in choosing stock photos, and having various options helps customers find the best plans. We checked whether the stock photo agency offers subscriptions, on-demand options, and which sizes. In addition, having a free trial is a bonus as it allows customers to get an insight into what they can expect. Finally, we considered the minimum, median, and maximum price per image and the price per extended license image.
  • Licensing terms: 20% of the score. We read and took notes on every stock image license. We compared them based on how many copies, reprints, impressions they allow, and indemnity value.
  • Image number: 15% of the score. The number of images is essential when rating stock photo sites because you can quickly run out of free photos when you need thousands of images. We checked each stock photo site’s database and took notes on the number of images.
  • Additional features: 15% of the score. Additional features are meant to simplify or enhance a customer’s workflow. We reviewed and tested all the additional features where possible. Since some are limited to enterprises, or we couldn’t get in touch with the support team, we searched for customers with access to the additional features and asked for their opinion.
  • Customer support: 10% of the score. Crucially, when testing customer support, we didn’t tell them who we were, so we got treated like every other customer. We took notes of the response times, contact options (live chat, email, and telephone), and the usefulness and kindness of the support teams.

Within each category, we also considered several characteristics, the number of images per most popular searches, technical quality, and added value. We also looked at the variety of pricing plans, minimum, median, and maximum image prices, and free trial terms. Finally, we evaluated Getty Images’ customer support, licensing, and additional features that would enhance customers’ workflow.