06 Oct 2008 Microstock Around the World


Traditional Stock

Top Agencies
Canada iStockphoto – Canada
USA Shutterstock – USA
Romania Dreamstime – Romania
France Fotolia – France
Hungary StockXpert – Hungary
USA BigStockPhoto – USA
Norway Crestock – Norway
USA 123rf – USA
USA Getty Images – USA
USA Corbis – USA
USA Jupiter Images – USA
Top Photographers
Denmark Yuri Arcurs – Denmark
Colombia Andres Rodriguez – Colombia
USA Ron Chapple – USA
Canada Lise Gang̩ РCanada
Estonia Lev Dolgachov – Estonia
Australia Amanda Rohde – Australia
USA Kelly Cline – USA
USA Jack Hollingsworth – USA
USA Ron Chapple – USA
USA Jim Erickson – USA
USA John Lund – USA
USA Tom Grill – USA

Why Is It So?

Is it the Internet breaking down geographical barriers? Is it that the US was traditionally the biggest market for stock photos? Is it that traditional stock photographers in other parts of the world have low profiles? Is it that the list is missing key names? Is it that the traditional stock market is a closed boy’s club? Is it that the US resisted microstock for longer? Is it that there were fewer stock photo opportunities in other parts of the world?

And what about the gender balance?

  • MarkFGD
    Posted at 10:46h, 06 October Reply

    Actually, Getty haven’t been around that long as far as traditional stock libraries go. During the nineties, they bought out most of the competition. A similar thing is happening with microstock. When you look at who owns who, two of the flags on the left need replacing with the Stars & Stripes… unfortunately.

    And what about Masterfile, Science Photo Library, Inmagine, Alamy? Where do they fit in? Do they still — and will they continue to — retain their independence?

    When I started in the graphic design business, the most recognisable name in photo libraries was Tony Stone.

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 11:33h, 06 October Reply

      Hi Mark, that’s true, I’ve used the microstock agencies founding country rather than the country of their current owner as it makes for a better story. 😉

      I considered adding Masterfile, Inmagine and Alamy, but from what I read the three I’ve listed are the standout ‘top’ agencies. Tony Stone would come under Getty Images now, of course, but yes, would have added a different flag on the right-side column.


  • Dan Burch
    Posted at 10:47h, 06 October Reply

    Hi, I was wondering where you got this information from or how you came up with this list of photograpers?

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 11:37h, 06 October Reply

      Hi Dan, the microstock photographers are those I’ve profiled in my Microstock Celebrity series.

      The top two traditional photographers I already knew and I asked around to get the other three names.

      I also asked a contact in the UK agency scene for names of successful British stock photographers and he said, “I can rattle off all the top selling agencies in the UK and various European countries, but individual stock photographers I am stuck on.”

      I welcome extra input if you think there are people missing from the list. I’m less familiar with the traditional side of the market.


  • Chris
    Posted at 10:49h, 06 October Reply

    Hum, very good post, i ponder now…
    Wondering were we can scurry for gender info as well…

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 11:45h, 06 October Reply

      Hi Chris, PDN’s salary survey from 2006 has some gender data for the industry. Also notice that three of the seven top microstock contributors are female.


  • Laurent
    Posted at 12:55h, 06 October Reply

    Lee , not that I deny my country 🙂 but Fotolia headquarters are in New York, they have offices in Paris though …

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 13:20h, 06 October Reply

      Hey Laurent, yes, but I’m working with their origin rather than current headquarters. StockXpert is now 90-something percent owned by Jupiter Images now, so they’d be in the US too.


  • Serban Enache
    Posted at 13:10h, 06 October Reply

    One of the best articles in the last year. It doesn’t even need the end remarks, if you’re not new to stock.

  • sarica
    Posted at 17:48h, 09 October Reply

    Hi Lee, any stock photographer in Turkey tells you that his (not her:) photos get downloaded at night, which might indicate US ( also Canada) is still the biggest market for stock photos.

    Besides, a friend of mine called Bulent Ince (www.istockphoto.com/graphixel) is a Diamond level contributor at iStockphoto and he’s one the first guys who discovered iStock in Turkey as well as introducing stock photos to others here. Though he moved in Russia recently, he’s certainly the best among Turkish stock photographers…

  • kate
    Posted at 17:39h, 10 October Reply

    Awesome post Lee! Very interesting…

    Looks like snapvillage took your idea down to the contributor level. I wonder what this is the same on other microstock sites?

    microstock is global

    • Lee Torrens
      Posted at 23:26h, 10 October Reply

      Thanks Kate, I saw the SnapVillage article and yes, I imagine there’s a similarly global spread of contributors at all microstock agencies.


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