Flickr has expanded their relationship with photo-licensing giant Getty Images. In July 2008 they launched Getty’s Flickr Collection. When it was created Getty alone decided which images were commercially viable, collecting more than 60,000 images. Now Flickr members can nominate their own images to be added to the program.

“A submission should include exactly 10 images that represent what you consider to be the best of your work. The Getty Images creative team will evaluate submissions based on style, subject matter, and technical skill,” Andy Saunders, Getty’s vice president of creative imagery, said in a statement. “If some or all of the photos–or other images from your photostream–are selected for the Flickr Collection on Getty Images, you will receive an invitation via FlickrMail. This invitation will clearly show Getty Images’ initial selection of images and introduce the enrollment process.”

The partnership is an interesting confluence between the old-school world of stock photography and the nouveau era of digital photography and the Internet. With digital SLRs and the Internet, high-quality photos are easier to come by, leading to the arrival of several “microstock” companies that sell photos on a royalty-free and relatively inexpensive basis. It’s hurt professional stock photographers, but it’s provided extra income to any number of enthusiasts and amateurs.

This acknowledgment of the average user’s merit is a big step in the global reach and marketing of images. It can also help reduce unauthorized usage theft and give the images monetary value.