Stock Photo Industry Leaders

Posted on 1/9/2008 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (21)

In the summer of 2003, I put together a list of leading companies in the industry, and I have tried to update it periodically. Below is a comprehensive list of the world's major picture libraries and portals that produce and license rights to still images. In order to provide a general idea of their relative size, I have divided these companies into three categories:

Group A - those with gross annual sales in excess of $20 million,

Group B - those with annual sales between $5 and $20 million and

Group C - those with annual sales between $1 and $5 million.

In my opinion, all the companies not included in this list have gross annual sales of less than $1 million.

In Group A, I have listed the companies in order, based on size, with Getty Images selling the most in this category, and Aflo in Japan selling the least, but still more than $20 million. Groups B and C are organized in alphabetical order. Despite the fact that several of these companies are public companies and thus required to report their figures, most are privately held and detailed sales figures are simply not available to the public. In the case of these privately held companies, I have made a determination based on discussions with various industry leaders and photographers.

The order is based entirely on the company's licensing of still imagery and does not include other lines of business. For example, I did not consider revenue from Getty's footage business, Jupitermedia's online information division or a21's fine art print division.

The order is based on what I believe these companies report as gross revenue, not necessarily the gross license fees of the images in their collections. For example, an agency like Image Source has images on Getty Images and many other portals. An ImageSource image may sell on Getty for $100, but Image Source may only receive and report 30% (or so) of that money. Getty will report 100% of this sale on its books. My positioning of Image Source is based on the revenue I believe it will report. Using this strategy, there will be a great deal of double counting.

I'm sure I have missed a few companies or placed them in the wrong category. Please add suggested changes to the comments section of this site, or contact me directly.

I will be updating this list when appropriate.

GROUP A - Over $20 million
Getty ImagesUSA
     (plus iStockphoto & Punchstock)
Corbis  (plus Veer)USA
Associated PressUSA
DPA PhotoGermany
Image SourceUK
GROUP B - $5 to $20 million
A21 (formerly SuperStock)USA
Action PressGermany
Bon Color Photo AgencyJapan
Bridgeman ArchivesUK
Green Recovery (Hachette Photos)France
Grazia NeriItaly
Hollandse HoogeteNetherlands
Photo AltoFrance
Picture PressGermany
Rex FeaturesUK
Science Photo LibraryUK
GROUP C - $1 to $5 million
Adobe Stock PhotosUSA
Agence StillsFrance
AKG PhotothequeFrance
All Over PressScandinavia
Asia ImagesSingapore
Avenue ImagesGermany
Camera PressUK
De Agostini Picture LibraryItaly
Dorling KindersleyUK
Granata PressItaly
Great Stock!Italy
Image ClickKorea
Imagine ChinaSouth Africa
The Image WorksUSA
La PresseItaly
National GeographicUSA
Neo VisionJapan
Panoramic ImagesUSA
Photo Bank YokohamaJapan
Photo ResearchersUSA
Radial PressSpain
Robert HardingUK
StockFoodUSA & Germany
Time-Life Picture LibraryUSA
Topic PhotoKorea
Uno PressItaly

Copyright © 2008 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


  • Jim Pickerell Posted Jan 10, 2008
    Dreamstime should be moved to group B and is now headquartered in the United States.


  • Yva Momatiuk Posted Jan 10, 2008
    Jim, I believe that Minden Pictures in CA make 1-2 million.... you can ask Larry Minden, or Chris Carey there...

    I know it is asking a lot, but would you consider listing these agencies/distributors, or at least some of them, in the order in which their photographers assess them? I think that for 100% of us this info is even more important. How to gather a reliable data is another story altogether, and I understand the difficulty well, but you tend to do difficult things....


  • Martin Borek Posted Jan 10, 2008
    Jim: thanks for the great list. But you forgot Laif, from Cologne, Germany. They should probably
    be in category B.
    And I miss Camera Press and AKG International with main office in Berlin and offices in London and Paris.


  • Christian Delannoy Posted Jan 10, 2008
    Dear Jim,

    Thank you for this great work! Please note that the 2008 Photononstop gross sales are now over the 5 millions USD, thanks to our export sales and the success of our RF brand ONOKY.
    Christian Delannoy

  • Jim Pickerell Posted Jan 10, 2008
    fStop ( in Germany and Visuals Unlimited ( in the U.S. should also be in category C.


  • Jim Pickerell Posted Jan 10, 2008
    More Changes: ImagineChina is in China, not South Africa and Imapress should not be included. Thanks to everyone for corrections.

  • Marcelo Brodsky Posted Jan 10, 2008
    Dear Jim,

    The Latin Stock network should be included in level B, where we have been for several years already, although never been included in your survey. We are currently operating in Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica and from these offices in the Caribbean as well.

    We are now launching also our Latin Stock Collection, a RF Latin styled set of 3000 initial images.

    best regards,

    Marcelo Brodsky

  • Alan Bailey Posted Jan 10, 2008
    Hey Jim,
    Rubberball should be in the Group C, USA.


  • Steve Pigeon Posted Jan 10, 2008
    Jim - where the heck do you come up with this stuff? Masterfile is way north of $20 million and so should be in Category A for starters.

    While I am uncertain about stock sales for Reuters and know nothing about DPA, I do know Alamy's sales since you published them a few months ago, so you can probably rank Masterfile #4 or 5 on your hit parade.

    Do I win a prize?

  • Bill Brooks Posted Jan 10, 2008
    As a Masterfile shareholder, I can confirm that Pigeon is not blowing smoke when he wants his rating increased.

  • Martin Borek Posted Jan 11, 2008
    Jim- there is another German company that I miss: plainpicture. I am sure that they belong to group C.
    Best, Klaus

  • Jim Pickerell Posted Jan 11, 2008
    Add Nature Picture Library to Group C (more than $1 million in gross revenue).

  • Gerard Fritz Posted Jan 11, 2008
    Sad. There was a time when every city in the industrialized world of 500,000+ had one or more stock agnecies.

  • Jim Pickerell Posted Jan 11, 2008
    Another agency accidentally left out of the B list is headquartered in the U.S.


  • Jim Pickerell Posted Jan 14, 2008
    More changes. Blend should be in Group B instead of Group C and Tetra should be in Group C. As I said above "I’m sure I have missed a few companies or placed them in the wrong category. Please add suggested changes to the comments section of this site, or contact me directly." Given the corrections itemized, I missed a lot. Please let me know if there are other changes that should be made.


  • Marcelo Brodsky Posted Jan 14, 2008
    Dear Jim,

    Do you intend to upgrade the list and add the comments already received or to leave it as it is and change it in the next edition?

    regards and a happy new year,

    Marcelo Brodsky

  • Jim Pickerell Posted Jan 15, 2008
    Two more additions to the "B" category. I put Dreamstime in the "C" category and am now moving it up to "B". In addition I completely missed Johner in Sweden and it should be in the "B" category as well. Given the interet in this list and the mistakes I will wait another couple weeks for more corrections to come in and then I will produce a totally new updated list.


  • Laura Minh-hong Posted Jan 16, 2008
    Dear Jim,

    Roger-Viollet, Paris based Agency,a reference Historical Archive with an important distribution network worldwide should be included in the "C" category of the survey.
    Over $2 million gross annual sales.

  • Jim Pickerell Posted Jan 16, 2008
    Add Minden Pictures to Group C.


  • Marcelo Brodsky Posted Jan 17, 2008
    Thank you Jim, the updated list will include the coments made by professionals and therefore it will be more reliable and complete. I read something about Magnum this week in your news. I know Magnum Photos should also in Level B, even though it is totally forgotten in the list.

  • Mark Eite Posted Jan 30, 2008
    In Japan, Aflo acquired Bon Color at the end of 2005 and Amana acquired NeoVision around that time too. This should give you a little room to add others in there.

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