I Tried Getty’s AI Image Generator. Here’s How It Went

As I sat down last week to select a featured image for our most recent blogpost – 15 Awards to Make Your Startup Stand Out in 2024 – Josh pinged me on Slack with a reminder: 


With all the excitement about Midjourney and the like, I thought generating a usable image with iStock would be a snap. Better still: Getty’s model learns from their own images. That means it reduces concerns about creating content with copyrighted material.

So how’d it go? You be the judge.

For a preview of Getty’s AI Image Generator, read on…

Strategy #1: A Literal Description

Prompt: Feature image for a blog post about 15 awards that can make startups stand out in 2024

Curious. The computer appears unusable. The pendants, incongruent. The text, surprisingly, Cyrillic (I think).

I went back to the digital drawing board and asked the AI to give it another go…

Prompt: Photorealistic picture of a startup leader receiving an award on a conference stage

This one didn’t appear particularly realistic, to my eye. A fact I ultimately appreciate, in light of the overall dystopian vibes. 

It was time to try again.

In the upper right corner above the AI Generator’s text box, I saw a potential lifeline: the “prompt builder.”

I clicked, revealing…

Who, what, where, when, why, and how. Seems helpful. 


Strategy #2: Create a String via the “Prompt Builder”

Prompt: Public relations for startups, Receiving an award, Conference stage, Photorealistic

As a guiding principle, photorealism seems a miss. Better, I figure, to give the prompt builder another go and this time direct it toward a focus on quality…

Prompt: Photograph of business leaders receiving an awards plaque, on a stage, professional, high quality

Many hands. A surprising number of hands. Multiple, it appears, extending from a single wrist. No plaque. No stage. 

Quality: debatable. 

Two pocket squares adorning a single jacket.

Is that a house on that belt buckle? 

Strategy #3: Keep It Simple, Silly

Prompt: A colorful geometric rendering of first-place award ribbons and trophies

It was worth a try.

Strategy #4: Enter Only the Blog Title

Prompt: 15 Awards to Make Your Startup Stand Out in 2024


Prompt: 15 Awards to Make Your Startup Stand Out in 2024 (exclude text):


Prompt: 15 Questions Every Reporter Will Ask About Your Startup


Strategy #5: Use ChatGPT

Like knows like, as they say. So I turned to AI for reinforcements. What could it hurt?

The first prompt ChatGPT generated for me exceeded the character limit. So I halved it. Still too long. 

I further reduced the prompt to under 240 characters…

Prompt: High-resolution, photorealistic image, professional setting, a person confidently writing engaging content about numbers on a sleek laptop, creative atmosphere, subtle mathematical elements seamlessly integrated into the surroundings

Is that an eye in the middle of the left shoe?

I tried again…

Prompt: Generate a crisp image for a blog titled “Concrete Ways to Revise for Clarity.” Showcase individuals revising with pens and paper in an organized workspace. Convey professionalism and clarity in the revision process for a B2B PR and marketing firm's post

Like a plant potted aloft above a tri-armed, noseless executive, I was out of my element. But what if I mined text in a blog post for representative images, rather than literal descriptors? We believe in the power of concrete, specific writing, after all. 

So it goes…

Strategy #6: Use a Simple Image Described in the Text

Prompt: A coffee cup full of legumes

The cup is, notably, not full. And coffee beans are not legumes.

Strategy #7: Use a Complex Image Described in the Text

I figured more specificity might help. Was I right? You decide…

Prompt: A multi-panel image that includes cream writhing through the coffee, an editor working as hard as an ox, friends drinking green tea by the bucketful, and a man buying old tires

Maybe, just maybe, my prompts were too emotionally restrained. Copy that converts, after all, elicits desire – doesn’t it?

Strategy #8: Desire

Prompt: An attention-grabbing featured image, in a surreal style, evoking the difficulty of mathematics, featuring a successful and imaginative writer

Evocative! In a stock image kind of sense, anyway. I wondered whether I could refine it just a touch to be more specifically aligned with a particular blog...

Prompt: An attention-grabbing featured image, in a surreal style, for a blog post titled, "How to Write About Numbers When You Hate Math"

And how.