First thing I do every morning is check the fotoLibra website to make sure it’s up and running.

Over this weekend I confess I’ve only shot a cursory glance at it because I have been immersed in rugby, exulting over Italy’s first 6 Nations victory over mighty France, delighting in Wales’s rule-breaking defeat of Ireland and secretly but vainly hoping Scotland might derail England’s remorseless progress to the Grand Slam.

So on a beery back-to-work morning I powered up my (now obsolete) MacBook Pro and went through the site. I checked the Home Page.

And double checked again.

We’ve gone past the half million mark. We have over half a million images on fotoLibra.


When fotoLibra was just a glint in my eye in 2002, I took Anne-Marie Ehrlich, the doyenne of picture researchers, to lunch. She said one couldn’t really take a picture library seriously until it had about 25,000 images. “No problem,” I scoffed, “we’ll have that many in five years, easy.”

And now here we are. We’re not the biggest picture library in the world — there’s the microstock rabble, and of course Getty, Corbis and Alamy (which has about 40 times as many images as we have) but I think we can say we’re now big enough to count. And our images are the images of fotoLibra members, not compilations of portals of images like the three I’ve just mentioned. With the largest image libraries, the same picture may appear from three or four different sources. I can’t say that never happens with fotoLibra, but you are more likely to find a unique image on fotoLibra than with most other image collections.

If you look at the rankings table in my last blog, you’ll notice that out of twenty leading picture libraries exhibiting at fotoFringe, fotoLibra has many more site visitors than any of the others — excluding the two celebrity stock agencies, because we don’t do slebs.

When I had the fotoLibra concept, I was forced to go ahead with it on the grounds that if I didn’t do it, someone else would. And I would have been kicking myself for the rest of my life. “I could’ve been a contender,” I would have been muttering thickly into my beard.

Well, now we’re contenders. Please raise a glass!


Add your comment


37 Responses to “Half A Million Images”

  1. Len Sparrow says:

    Congratulations and here’s to the next half million( and Swing Low Sweet Chariot!)

  2. john hill says:

    The PR company should have a ball with this.
    Your notification of the great 500,000 as happened on the day of my first sale with Fotolibra,let’s now hope that we will see many more,well done everyone.


  3. Jimmy Adriko says:

    Congs for the great stride so far. I signed up last yera as a contributer based in Uganda, East Africa. However i have not managed get a single sale and got a little bit discouraged though I still hang on. The picture requests are mainly for scenes outside Africa. Hopefully we shall be able to see requests from our part of the World as we head for the million images mark.

    • Martin Tombe says:

      Hi Adriko.

      I do agree with you. I joined a few months ago with plenty of things but non meets the adverised themes. You sound young and inovative. May I suggest you start something simillar to sell Africa if you have the business know how? You already have my support.
      God bless you.

      M Tombe

  4. Natalia Mazo says:

    Congratulations! It’s really awesome.
    But I wish I’d found a single picture at your site which I could use in the magazine… It’s not as if I’m complaining..

  5. Gwyn Headley says:

    Thank you all very much for your kind wishes.
    Natalia, tell us what images you’re looking for and we will try our hardest to get them for you.
    Jimmy, hang on in there. We need good photographers in African countries and your moment will come!

  6. Ed says:

    Three things…

    1st. Congratulations! half a mil is terrific!
    2nd. Seeing your image at the top of the page brings a bit of class to the blog…
    3rd. Guess I’ll need to start scanning my celebrity images…

    Have a great day and again, what a great milemarker!!!

  7. John Strain says:

    Congratulations Gwyn: a glass will be raised!

  8. Well done Gwyn! It takes a long time to build a large collection and sure it will not be long until the next 500,000 images are submitted and you get 1m images. I think you would achieve that a bit quicker if you allowed more professional contributors (like your truly) to send images in via FTP almost straight onto the server. As it stands, while I like to review and retag each image, I have ten thousand and find it very time-consuming, so it will take probably most of this year for me to add many of the images I would like to submit.

    Though back on the broader issue, I think that it is not just a numbers game and you should try to ensure that submissions are of a high quality as well. Not sure how you can do this, though I note there is a lot of material that is submitted which has a very slim chance of selling. Perhaps some tutorials on composition and what makes a good stock image would help the more inexperienced contributors?

    • Dave Gothard says:

      At last,someone see`s the point,someone definately needs to educate some of your contributors on HOW to take a photograph!take a lot off the numbers as they are “—-“…..

    • Gwyn Headley says:

      Pro and Platinum members can FTP images direct to the site. Just ask us how.
      And we don’t impose our judgement on our members’ images; that’s not our job. All we ask is that technically the images match or surpass our Submission Guidelines — and that the keywords are spelled correctly!

  9. Tim Peatling says:

    Fantastic well done, you certainly deserve it and all the very best for the future.


  10. Peter Clark says:

    Well done, the glass is raised, now for the million.

  11. peta ward says:

    brilliant.. well done, and thanks for all your hard work, you are a shining beacon… 🙂

  12. Erik Strodl says:

    “…and why not” as Barry Norman would say.
    Serving the public,publishers,exclusive image hunters and offering a service with impeccable efficiency cannot be a bad thing.
    Congrats…..and here’s hoping the million mark will be not too far away.

  13. Nick Jenkins says:

    Huge congratulations to you and the rest of the team – the more images up there the more chances of a sale.
    After my rather despondent blog reply of a few weeks ago I have since made 5 sales with fL. Maybe some more moaning on may generate more sales again.
    Well done all!!

  14. Martyn Osman says:

    That’s great news.
    I was hoping to increase my image making activity and hope to spend time on submitting to fotolibra.

  15. rob wildlife2 says:


    Please use white type on the news I cannot rear it.. my eyes are dim I cannot see or maybe my brain is Dim!

  16. Paul Verizzo says:

    A big grin on your face and mine!

    But, please change the font on the blogs from that low contrast gray to something more easily read. I’ve always been SO impressed with fotoLibra’s web designs…..and then this.


  17. Kay Roberts says:


  18. John Hasson says:

    Well many congratulations – I sold my very first pic through you so a big “thank you” as well.

  19. Keith Erskine says:


    I am doing my best – even though todays keywording related to shots taken in Mauritius, July last year!!!

    Some interesting stuff though!

    I will upload the “other half” tonight!

    Glad to help.


  20. Stephen Moseling says:

    Congratulations Gwyn and here’s to the first million images – my glass is raised!

  21. clare schreiber says:

    Congratulations! I put it down to your good sense of humour.

  22. Julia Rich says:

    All it takes is a little imagination. Then a little faith that anyone can produce an image which can sell – professional or not. Then give them a chance to contribute, without being judgemental (sod’s law says that the dismal no-hope photo will be the only version of the one that is needed). And take every photo that is offered within very flexible guidelines, without demanding high end equipment to produce it; then you really do give the customers a choice. How very nice to be a part of all that creative business vision as a contributor, and congratulations to you for seeing beyond the normal run of the mill rat-run and making it possible.

  23. Cherry D Spooner says:

    To Gwyn and all you hard workers at Fotolibra I already had glass of wine in hand when getting your email so raised it to my computer screen in congratulation o the million plus. As a relatively new contributor to that million and beginning to sell a few photos, I agree with Johnathan Mitchell that it would be great to get some feed-back on how to improve quality or should we know that already? I love Fotolibra,but sometimes feel left out because no one seems to need Photos from Ireland except on Paddy’s day.Keep up the hard work!

  24. Mark Goodwin says:

    Congratulations Gwyn and your hardworking team, Here’s to the 1/4M.


  25. Cherry D Spooner says:

    OOPS!! over did it there by half a million, but how’s that for positive thinking? hope to be part of that next half-million; blame that extra glass of wine! cheers.

    • Dave Tait says:

      Well, I have 4200 images inside the mix. I look forward to doubling my contributions as you hit the million mark.
      Contributors need to realise however that it has never been more difficult to sell an image. Much of the media these days scrounges free photographs from readers who feel proud to have had an image published. Every time this occurs, WE lose a sale.

      I’m happy that Fotolibra has not gone down the “dollar a throw” route like so many. Photographers lose out in a big way with this kind of format. Keep those hounds at bay Gwyn. I’m with you 100% in this battle.

  26. Colin Pearson says:

    “Clink … clink …”, cheers and congrat’s Gwyn to you and to all in the FL team. A wonderful landmark!

  27. Mark McIntosh says:

    A very big congratulations, glasses already raised.
    I will also say a big thank you because a few years ago I was thinking of leaving you, but your complements of my work made me think twice.
    So I hope my few photographs has helped in your figures.
    Again congratulations and keep up the good work.


  28. melony says:

    Well then, congratulations and celebrations are in order. Well done.

  29. This is great, wishing you the very best of luck.

  30. Mary McCord says:

    congratulations on reaching the half million mark. I hope to add some of mine soon.

  31. Steve says:

    This is great. I’ve looked at and even considered submitting images to other on line libraries, but have been put off. For example, my wife, who has sold images through Fotolibra wouldn’t even have her images considered on Alamy because of their snobby attitude of which camera’s images they will accept. The first image I sold on Fotolibra was taken on a bog standard point and shoot digital camera which would not have got a look in elsewhere. Incidentally, that same image is now graced with taking up half a page in “Lore of the Land” which has gone into publication with the esteemed Folio Society. Beyond that, Fotolibra is a joy to use, very intuitive and just a great all round site which keeps getting better and better. Well done on the half million. No doubt you will be topping the million mark before you know it.

  32. sultanali says:

    congratulations to you.Hope my collection also joins soon into th half millions.