Editorial stock photos is not in any way a small market. Every day there's more stock photo buyers looking for editorial stock images for their publications. And so more and more companies are thriving to bring great editorial images –in entertainment, celebrity, sports and news topics– to their libraries, to better serve their customers. Getty Images has historically being the king of editorial stock photography, crown that still holds today. But younger and super successful companies like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock are certainly penetrating their realm.
Thanks to acquisitions, partnerships and distribution deals with high-profile press agencies and companies specialized in editorial imagery, these online stock photo sites are now offering large collections of editorial stock photos, from historic archive to the latest and most important Hollywood and sports events attended by celebrities.
So, where can you buy great editorial stock imagery today? And who are the people supplying these images? How can you use editorial stock photos? Here you'll find out exactly that.
Shutterstock: Strong Foot on Editorial Stock Photo Market
Shutterstock is one of the most successful stock photo agencies in the microstock space, with over a decade in business and the introduction of the stock photo subscription model in their resume –learn all about this in our Shutterstock review–. The company had always been strongly focused in commercial-use stock photos, providing Royalty Free images that could be used for marketing, advertising, graphic design, etc. But in latest years they have put a lot of effort in developing their editorial imagery business, bringing more and more stock photos for editorial use to their huge library of now over 100 Million assets.
Two years ago, Shutterstock acquired Rex Features, a photography company specialized in entertainment celebrity editorial imagery, which they operate as a stand-alone photo service. Last year, they closed an important partnerships with Penske Media, a conglomerate of over 20 top-class publishing brands producing high-profile celebrity images, and with BFA photo agency, which specializes in fashion editorial photography. This year they added more editorial photo partners including editorial stock footage archives like British Movietone Moving Pictures and Firehorse ARC which focuses in Middle Eastern productions. Recently they acquired the Kobal Collection of film-related images, and the Art Archive full of photos from famous paintings and artistic productions. One of their most important deals was that of March 2016: a US distribution partnership with the renowned press agency Associated Press (AP).
And they have no intention to stop growing their editorial offer. Just yesterday they announced two new partners for editorial imagery: SilverHub Media, a very young yet successful company offering A-list sports and entertainment photos, and the european pressphoto agency (epa), one of the biggest Western Europe and global press-related imagery suppliers. From 2017, Shutterstock customers will be able to access and license SilverHub Media's large archive of editorial images, as well as to epa's thousands of daily editorial photos.
As you see, Shutterstock is working hard and steadily to ensure their customers a very large pool of editorial images to choose from, including photos and videos from the latest and most important events around the world.
Adobe Stock: First Steps into Editorial with a Largely Renowned Partner
Adobe Stock came to life in 2015 –following Adobe's acquisition of stock photo agency Fotolia— and has in little time become a very popular and successful stock photo service (you can read all about them in our Adobe Stock review). Their library of over 60 Million Royalty Free stock images sourced from Fotolia is now expanding with direct contributions and distribution partnerships. This image catalog is available on their website, but the core value in Adobe Stock's service is their full integration with Adobe Creative Cloud applications. The stock photo library is accessible from any Creative Cloud design app, and you can search, test edit and license images without leaving the app's interface.
Initially hosting stock photos for commercial use, Adobe Stock has recently announced their first steps into editorial stock photos, via a partnership with worldwide renowned press agency Reuters. The British news agency supplier will be supplying images from their 12 million files archive, as well as thousands of fresh images every day, giving life to Adobe Stock's first Editorial collection.
Adobe Stock is anything but lazy when it comes to developing their service. In little over a year since launch, they have already introduced several updates, the latest being the creation of a Premium Collection, the introduction of computer vision technology for visual search, and the upcoming Editorial Collection. It's clear they are focused in better serving their customers, and they are now taking editorial photo buyers into account.
Getty Images: The King in the Editorial Stock Photography Land
Getty Images is undoubtedly one of the most renowned stock photography agencies in the world. Their reputation is par with their worldwide recognition, making them one of the most reliable stock photo suppliers in the market – you can find more info in our Getty Images review. Of course, Getty Images is a “traditional” agency, working primarily with Rights Managed licenses, which means they are able to offer exclusive usage and very high value imagery, and of course their prices reflect this. This agency has been since decades the go-to option in editorial photography sites. Their wide network of photographers and associates all over the globe, plus their strong connections in the entertainment, sports, fashion and press fields gives them the possibility of sourcing the best and most sought-after images.
Whatever editorial content you can think of, Getty Images has it. Whether it's shot by their contributing photographers or added to their library via partners, their Editorial section hosts millions of high quality images, with dedicated collections for every relevant event, from the Oscars to the Olympics –they were the official photography agency of Rio 2016 Olympics– going through latest news, special celebrity portraiture, and more.
Getty Images is also constantly working to develop partnerships that help them bring the best and most current content to their platform. Just a few days ago they announced a new distribution deal with VICE, a popular media brand defined by their award-winning, distinctive documentary style and their reach into young audiences. The new partnership sees the addition of VICE's archival editorial videos to Getty Images' library, in its own collection, and the further inclusion of fresh content from VICE's many media channels. Like this, Getty is making sure to provide customers with imagery that better connects with millennials, which is the new consumer market most of them are targeting.
The size of the agency, its strong global reach and the scale and quality of their library make them not only the favorite choice of editorial stock photo buyers, but also a hard-to-beat competitor for the other agencies in the market. Like this, they are still the kings in editorial stock images so far.
Editorial Stock Photos: Why are they so Wanted?
If you run a blog or any publication that covers stories about Hollywood, sports, fashion or even if you occasionally talk about current news, you already know the answer to this. An image is worth a thousand words, and including photos that illustrate what you are talking about is the best way to ensure your content will reach your audience.
But photos of famous people or popular private events are not easy to get (it's not like you can just send a photographer in to take them), and plus they cannot be licensed nor used for commercial purposes, due to the lack of model and property releases –no celebrity would ever allow their image to be sold as stock–. For this reason, Editorial Use License is a convenient way to get the right to use an image of a public figure, a famous landmark or a recent event of public interest (a natural disaster, a political election, a popular festival, etc.) without problems: this license states the usage is for editorial purposes only, meaning you can only use the images to illustrate or accompany an article or informative piece.
Stock photo agencies provide relevant images with Editorial Use License so that any buyer is able to get the right images for their publications, being able to use them legally and getting them at an affordable price.