It’s Cool to See Your Pictures Used in Big Ads…

(Photo by Donald Miralle)

It’s cool to see your pictures used in big ads…even when you don’t directly get paid for it, right? That’s what friends and collegues asked me about my photo of Canadian Skier Emily Brydon that had big placement in the Visa “Go World” Ad Campaign during the Olympics. Licensed through Getty Images, Visa ran my photo on posters, billboards, cars, shopping bags, and just about everywhere you looked at the Vancouver Olympics. Even when I walked out from my hotel there it was taunting me on the skytrain wall and the side of the HBC Building. It would be nice to have gotten a percentage of royalties for this ad placement. However, when I made the decision to leave my staff job at Getty Images back in 2007, I relinquished any chance of receiving fat royalties on commercial usage for past editorial shoots. I guess that’s the trade-off going freelance. But moving forward I’m excited to have the freedom to shoot the creative images I envision and then license those images, including the ones from the last two Olympic Games.

I have absolutely no ill will towards my friends at Getty with whom I have great relationships and who continue to offer me some good editorial work, as well as distribute my stock imagery. To their credit, I understand that Getty now pays staffers percentages for commercial usage/work, which is a step in the right direction.

Here’s the original photo I shot at the Torino Olympics when I was staff at Getty (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

It was placed on bags in all the Olympics stores.

Mobile ATM Machines

and Billboards…

(Photos Courtesy of Visa)

Of course, as soon as I was flying home from the Olympics, and was just getting over my Visa ad, I picked up a Golf Digest (one of my editorial clients) and saw my photo of English golfer Luke Donald I shot for Getty from 2009 used in a double page ad for Ralph Lauren Golf. Glad Ralph Lauren and Visa like my work, I’ll add these to my scrapbook.


  1. that’s gotta hurt a little though- right? damn. how much does getty put into philanthropic ventures? that might make me feel better if i were in your shoes. (depending on how much that figure was in comparison to their profits.)

  2. remote_the_stone says:

    They were probably contra-dealed for some IOC club Gold passes or a low interest credit card. Don’t worry big fella, 5% of $2000 isn’t much anyway…

    • LOL…My main consolation is I’m working on a book project on the underground curling scene. It’s going to be titled “Romancing the Stone” after the 1984 hit starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito.

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