Getty Images unveils Getty Images Prestige: an expertly curated selection of the world’s most powerful images

September 3, 2014 • Company News

Q&A with Paul Foster, Senior Director of Creative Content at Getty Images

Getty Images, the global leader in visual communication, continues to move the world with images with the launch of Getty Images Prestige. A carefully curated selection of the world’s most powerful imagery, Prestige images are distinguished by their unique aesthetic approach, exceptional craftsmanship and uncompromising quality – all available for use exclusively.

Getty Images’ industry-leading creative research team analyses image trends using unique data from the millions of searches and sales carried out each year on These insights are then used to guide what is shot and edited for Getty Images Prestige.  Selected by in-house professional editors and featuring unique collaborations between award-winning photographers and Getty Images’ international team of art directors, Getty Images Prestige makes the world’s most powerful imagery more accessible than ever, without the costs and risks inherent in a custom photo shoot.

Paul Foster, Senior Director of Creative Content at Getty Images, talks about the demand for exceptional content in an increasingly image-rich world, and what makes Getty Images Prestige so unique:


What is Getty Images Prestige?

Getty Images Prestige is a carefully curated selection of our most impactful and emotionally engaging imagery; imagery that can communicate a message or story in an exceptional way. Featuring our award-winning photographers and the very best imagery sourced from the crowd, it also showcases the best new emerging photographic talent such as Ken Hermann, Jodie Griggs and Mads Perch.

Getty Images Prestige is where you will find the best examples of the major subject categories, such as wildlife, travel, business and lifestyle. It is also where you will find our most artful, challenging and visually intriguing imagery – the photography that features in our exhibitions. This is exceptional creative photography with a unique perspective and the power to inspire.

Exclusive to Getty Images, Prestige images include those images that are impossible to replicate – from serendipitous split seconds caught by the crowd to unique, irreproducible moments in wildlife and nature captured by expert professionals.


How are Prestige images curated?

Much of the imagery in Getty Images Prestige is the result of the unique relationship between art director and photographer that often have been established over many years; collaborating to devise and conceptualize unique and original ideas and new takes on classic themes.

Curated by the very best editors and art directors in the industry who understand what imagery resonates most powerfully with the audiences our customers are trying to reach, Prestige images allows our customers to create standout creative work.


What do you look for in a Prestige image?

In short, the best combination of creativity and commercial relevance for our customers. This means we look not only for the best of the raw, authentic moments of real life captured by the talent in the crowd, but also for the highest standards of photographic craft in terms of lighting, composition, re-touching and the highest production values – high quality models and locations, excellent styling, propping, hair and make-up and so on.

We are always looking for a diversity of photographic styles, for original ideas and executions, unique perspectives or hard to get and highly valued subject matter, including non-reproducible moments.

We also look for imagery that is strongly reflective of current photographic and visual trends, or is forward looking and will resonate with what our research suggests will be the future customer tastes and needs. In fact, a lot of Prestige imagery has been shot under our creative direction, informed by the unique creative research we undertake into emerging visual trends – imagery that meets and anticipates future visual communication needs.

Our creative research leads the industry in terms of its unique sources of data, including the 80 million image sales every year on and feedback from our global teams, customers and staff, and the visual analysis we undertake into wider advertising trends.


Why choose Prestige images over a commissioned shoot?

Prestige images offer an accessible alternative to expensive, time-consuming custom photo shoots, without compromising on quality. Customers have access to images with high production value and similar rights granted without having to spend the time or money setting up a shoot, sourcing models and location, and thus avoid unpredictable costs and the risk of not being happy with the final results. Prestige images can be licensed exclusively, ensuring the image is unique to your project and will not appear elsewhere.


Why are you launching Prestige images now?

With the explosive growth in mobile technology and social networks, photos and videos – not words – have become the most popular way to share. Imagery has become the most important method of communication – in a sense you can say that it is the world’s most spoken language. We have launched Prestige images now because brands, NGOs, publishers and consumers need to easily find and harness the power of truly exceptional visual content to differentiate, capture attention and meaningfully engage with their audiences.


Why are you excited about the launch of Prestige images?

I’m personally excited about the launch because I, along with all of my colleagues at Getty Images, have always been motivated by our greatest strength: Quality. The quality of the imagery we devise, shoot, source and curate – and the knowledge that no one else can deliver the calibre and depth of content that we can.

The best photography has the power to enthral, excite and inspire creativity but, more importantly, it has the power to change perceptions and motivate positive change. As excited as we are to provide the most inspirational images that enable customers to confidently develop powerful and authentic visuals for their brands, we are even more excited to see the power of our pictures used to help drive positive social change.


What’s your favourite Prestige image?


The photographer, Julia Fullerton Batten has an almost unrivalled ability to construct moments that feel at once utterly authentic yet somehow strange and beguiling. In part a result of her sensitivity to and the amazing rapport she develops with her models, it’s also due to the attention we gave to carefully crafting the composition and lighting. One of my favourite images from a shoot in which we were exploring ways to represent friendship and connection, this always evokes an almost melancholic nostalgia, yet it feels powerfully contemporary.


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