How to embed those free Getty images

You haven’t seen me post many “celebrities on bikes” photos lately because my main source of free bike celebrity photos went out of business. I was pretty excited to see, then, that Getty now offers the same service from their huge library of editorial and creative images. Last night, I immediately embarked on a search of news photos with bicycles and posted this one of the Dutch Queen Maxima riding to a park grand opening event.

Getty images search for bicycle images

Using the service naturally has its limitations. Getty says they haven’t quite figured out how they’ll do it yet, but they’ll want to eventually generate revenue from this “free” service, which probably means advertising embedded into the images. I’ve also discovered that only a subset of the images are available for embed.

For instance, let’s take a look at American track cyclist Sarah Hammer from Temecula, California. On Sunday, she won the gold medal in the women’s omnium at the 2014 UCI track championships in Cali, Colombia, for her seventh world champion rainbow jersey. I went to, selected Editoral Images->All Editorial->Last 7 Days. (Editorial images are news photos). I entered “Sarah Hammer” in the search box and hit the go button. The results looked like this.

Getty Images embed help

While scrolling through the results, the photo of Sarah waving the American flag caught my eye, so I hovered my mouse over that image.

Getty Images embed help

Unfortunately, there’s no embed option under her photo. The embed option would be listed next to the other icons that I highlighted under the photo.

Hovering over a few other images, I saw this one. Note the embed icon that looks like an emtpy HTML </> tag.

Getty Images embed help

Click that icon, copy and paste the embed code, and the resulting output on a blog page looks like this. You’ll see there are handy icons for Twitter and Facebook which lead viewers back to Getty’s website.

Caption data says, “CALI, COLOMBIA – MARCH 02: Sarah Hammer of the USA in action in the Individual Pursuit round of the Women’s Ominium during day five of the 2014 UCI Track Cycling World Championships at the Velodromo Alcides Nieto Patino on March 2, 2014 in Cali, Colombia. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)”

I’ve found a number of celebrity images, too. To find those, select Editorial Images->Entertainment, type “bicycle” in the search box, hit the search button and ignore the dozens of photos of the Bombay Bicycle Club polluting your search results. Unfortunately, almost all of these celebrity photos are restricted to commercial use only with no embed option.

Another issue: Getty Images embed is only for “non-commercial use.” I derive some very minimal income with advertising and affiliate sales from this blog, and I report that income on my taxes. While income provides some motivation, it’s hardly the purpose of Cyclelicious. This bicycle blog exists not to enrich me, but to link people together encourage you to promote cycling in a way that hopefully enriches the world. (The cynical side of me notes that news organizations which will still have to pay for their Getty images claim similar missions…) The Getty VP running the embed project tells Businessweek that this is still a murky issue for them that they’ll figure out as they move forward.

Getty Image’s embed venture is a response to the futility of their former strategy, which was to attempt to sue everybody who infringed on their intellectual property. Getty, which is a privately owned business, hasn’t quite figured out how they’ll make money off of this yet. They’re not in the advertising business so I think we can expect a few bumps on the road for them and probably a partnership of some kind with an established expert in online advertising (*koff*Google*koff*). I applaud Getty for this move and wish them the best of luck.


  1. I produce photographs for sale on Getty. When someone licenses my images from Getty a portion of this sale goes to me where I can then pay rent, buy food, buy bicycle parts, produce more photos to make an attempt to live in our western society.

    I’ve had blogs/news outlets “borrow” my photos. I compare this with my monthly statement from Getty. If I don’t see a license for the image, I let Getty known and they pursue those individuals/corporations.

    Sometime when I’m researching potential licensing issues with my work, I read the articles that my photos accompany and notice ad banners and other types of paid revenue system that the author of the blog is making and wonder if they ever think about the person that made the photograph they are using and perhaps the photographer is just trying to get by on mac n cheese.

    I have yet to find a landlord or a grocer that will take a “Hey you can see my work on this blog” in lieu of cash. If you do let me know.

  2. I’ve contacted the big photo agencies several times over the years to talk about licensing their photos. The usual response is nil. I did talk with AFP a little bit last year. The representative is very helpful and helped me jump through the hoops (which are substantial). I have an account with them, but they make it a real pain in the neck to use their material if you don’t have a dozen photo editors on staff and the right newspaper publishing commercial CMS tools.

    That’s my really roundabout way of saying that, conceptually, I agree with you, which is why you won’t generally see me pirating your images. If only the agencies would make it possible for me to license their images. Now go talk to the Getty and express your displeasure with their licensing model and suggest how they can make it work with how everybody uses the Internet.

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