Top 50 iStock Photographers

Posted on 1/2/2009 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The following is a list of the 50 iStockphoto contributors with the most career downloads and thus the highest earning as of the end of 2008. Non-microstock photographers may use this list, and the links provided, to learn a little more about microstock’s potential.

All but two on the list have had over 100,000 downloads since they began contributing images to iStock. Combined these 50 have had over 9 million career downloads, or somewhere in the range of 15% of all downloads made by iStock’s more than 60,000 photographers since the company’s founding. This group has a total of 161,757 images on the site for an average of 57 downloads per image on file. Based on reports from a few, it is believed almost half the total downloads on this list occurred in 2008.

I'm indebted to Duncan Walker, iStock’s ninth most successful photographer, for the core elements of this list. He has maintained a comprehensive list ( of those iStockers with more than 25,000 downloads known as “diamond” contributors. When last updated, this list had 274 names. It is believed there may be a few more that are not included, but the list is recognized by most iStockers as being authorative. About one-third of the total iStock downloads in the last four years were of images belonging to these 274 contributors.

Walker’s list is ordered based on number of downloads. Our list is ordered based on the year the artist began contributing and provides other useful information. Note that 15 list their profession as designer, one as an illustrator and 6 as other. Only 28 list their profession as photographer. Microstock has enabled a number of individuals in careers other than photography to earn significant revenue from licensing rights to their images. Professional photographers may not like this, but it is a fact of life that will not change.

Month Year Downloads Images on File Portfolio Link Profession
Sep 2002 217114 3668 duncan1890 Photog
Dec 2002 165431 4601 4x6 Designer
Nov 2002 164989 1767 diane39 Photog
Jun 2002 160071 1163 mevans Photog
Dec 2002 158803 3795 sdominick Photog
Feb 2002 146325 2295 track5 Photog
Jun 2002 125409 1085 ramplett Photog
Feb 2002 117724 929 Kemie Designer
Apr 2003 787436 6122 lisegagne Photog
Nov 2003 443403 11095 hidesy Photog
Jul 2003 254282 3921 jhorrocks Photog
Dec 2003 218146 2350 spxChrome Other
Feb 2003 204479 3221 blackred Designer
Jan 2003 169502 893 mammamaart Photog
Jun 2003 156929 2733 cimmerian Photog-Desig
Jan 2003 127736 4135 Graphixel Designer
Oct 2003 124203 1716 kcline Photog
Oct 2004 241389 2930 nico_blue Other
Sep 2004 210597 3154 schwartz Photog
Mar 2004 200497 3406 caracterdesign Designer
Feb 2004 194649 2199 urbancow Photog
Oct 2004 163301 2451 kirstypargeter Designer
Apr 2004 163236 2056 sx70 Other
Apr 2004 136023 2556 dem10 Designer
Dec 2004 128860 2216 Andresr Designer
Dec 2004 125531 9937 kevinruss Photog
Apr 2004 124778 999 abu Designer
Apr 2004 107175 2406 barsik Other
May 2004 103295 1576 joshblake Photog
May 2004 97372 4763 PhotoEuphoria Photog
Mar 2004 95174 3284 tacojim Photog
Oct 2005 471099 3766 Yuri_Arcurs Photog
May 2005 433791 4890 DNY59 Photog
Dec 2005 206949 481 sodafish Designer
Oct 2005 164756 2639 Liliboas Other
Jun 2005 153209 3996 iconogenic Photog
Mar 2005 137323 6356 Mlenny Other
Nov 2005 135218 1659 skodonnell Photog
May 2005 129976 3905 Nikada Photog
Jan 2005 123110 4193 lisafx Photog
Mar 2005 112900 592 appleuzr Designer
Jun 2005 110438 1336 jgroup Designer
Apr 2005 106690 2697 mstay Illustrator
Mar 2005 105809 6364 aldra Photog
Aug 2005 104320 1976 filo Designer
Aug 2005 103349 1298 RichVintage Designer
Aug 2005 102439 2338 a-digit Designer
Aug 2004 411860 5835 sjlocke Photog
Jan 2006 111580 1450 Kativ Designer
May 2006 109915 6564 Bubaone Photog

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:  


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