iStockcharts Offers Comprehensive Micro-Tracking

Posted on 1/20/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (2)

As compared to the list of the top 50 iStockers, iStockcharts offers a more comprehensive list of iStock photographer performance. iStockcharts is updated daily and includes not just diamond contributors, as was the case with Walker’s list, but 21,377 shooters of the over 60,000 that have images on iStock.

While this is only about a third of total iStock contributors, there is good reason to believe iStockcharts represents almost everybody that has made sales. Among the 21,377 individuals listed, 1,857 have never made a sale and 2,445 have made five or fewer sales. This, it is likely that over 70% of total iStock contributors have made five or fewer sales.

iStockcharts is even more comprehensive in terms of inventory. The contributors listed have 3,693,614 total files, or 90% of all the images in the iStock collection of 4,146,000.

As of Jan.15, the group monitored by iStockcharts had 54,605,934 total downloads: 13 black diamond contributors had over 200,000 downloads; 442 diamond contributors had between 25,000 and 199,999 downloads; 714 gold contributors had 10,000 to 24,999 downloads; 2,058 silver contributors had 2,500 to 9,999 downloads; and 5,367 bronze contributors had 250 to 2,499 downloads.

Downloads for the top 250 total approximately 20,910,000, and the 250th contributor has over 38,889 downloads. This group accounts for 517,728 files and averages 40 downloads per image. Thus, less than 0.5% of all iStock contributors have created about 12% of its collection and generate over 33% of its revenue.

Many photographers believe it is necessary to have lots of images in a microstock collection in order to make money. However, the individual in 50th place from the top only 314 images—with over total 100,000 downloads and an average of 318 per image. Of the top 250 shooters, 69 have fewer than 1,000 images on iStock; the average person from this group has a little over 2,000 files.

On Jan. 15, there were over 75,000 iStock downloads within the preceding 24 hours.

These figures indicate that photographers that have an understanding of what sells and are prepared to produce aggressively may be able to earn significant revenue from microstock. Information previously collected from rights-managed photographers suggests that the numbers of photographers who earn significant revenue from the stock-photography aspect of their businesses may be similar.

Copyright © 2009 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:  


  • Tim Mcguire Posted Jan 20, 2009
    When you write istock contributors have "this" many downloads is there any time frame associated with the number of downloads. 50,000 downloads in a year is far different than 50,000 in 5 years.


  • Jonathan Ross Posted Jan 21, 2009
    Thanks for breaking down the list like this it helps to see who and how the money is being made.

    Jonathan Ross

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