Pixoto is an online community where photographers compete to have the best images in their category.


Submitted images are matched against each other in the ImageDuel system and voted on by other community members. The winners advance on the Image Leaderboards and vie for the coveted top spot. By surfacing the best images to the top of the Leaderboard, Pixoto hopes to be the place to find the highest-quality photographs in any given subject.

Pixoto also has a directory of Players that is sorted by image score. For example you can find a list of the top Wedding photographers on Pixoto and then view their profile pages. Profile pages are customizable and include top-scoring images, bios and contact information.

Pixoto offers cash prizes every week to the best image in each category and periodically will run larger contests related to specific content areas.


What is a Player?

A Player is someone who submits images to Pixoto. Currently, our Players are photographers, but stay tuned because in the not-to-distant future we will add other types of images.


Who owns the images on Pixoto?

The Player! When a Player uploads an image to Pixoto they maintain full copyright over that image, but we are granted a license to display the image for the purposes of providing our service. If a Player doesn’t want their image displayed on Pixoto anymore they can delete it at any time. Please see our terms for more detailed explanation.


How does Pixoto work?

Photographers submit images to Pixoto by simply dragging them onto our Submit page and then choosing a category and subcategory that the image will compete in. Images are then entered into the competition and will be matched against other images in an ImageDuel. Pixoto members will choose a winner for each duel, and images that win will then be matched against tougher and tougher competition. The results of the ImageDuels are translated into a proprietary ImageScore and displayed on Leaderboards for the category and subcategory that they are competing in. The higher the ImageScore the higher up on the Leaderboard the image will appear.

Images competing in ImageDuels are displayed without attribution or other identifying information and photographers cannot vote on their own images. This assures that votes are based on the quality of the image and not on irrelevant factors.


What are “Credits” and how do I earn them?

In order to make sure that every image gets enough votes we require that you spend 10 credits for every image that you upload. You can earn one credit for every ImageDuel you complete.


What makes Pixoto’s image ratings so special?

Pixoto is not a popularity contest. Ratings are based on what the aggregate of participants think about the quality of the images. The images that rise to the top are by definition the images that people like the best and have nothing to do with who shot them. Pixoto ratings effectively isolate image quality from other extraneous factors.


What is an ImageScore?

ImageScore is generated from our proprietary algorithms and is meant to summarize how well the image has done against other images in its category and subcategory. Once an image has competed in sufficient duels, a higher score will naturally mean a higher perceived quality. ImageScore is recalculated at the end of every ImageDuel. Factors that determine how much ImageScore changes include the number of ImageDuels completed and the relative strength of the opponent.

Our goal is not to find the relative position of all images but instead to find the relative position of the BEST images. It is not important to us whether an image rates 50 or 51 out of 100. We really only want to put that image in the right area of the Leaderboard and will stop dueling (“pause”) images that are not statistically likely to reach the top 10%. By contrast it is important that we understand whether an image ranks number 3 or 4 out of 100 and will use a disproportionate number of ImageDuels to determine this.

Important Note: ImageScores are calculated only within categories and subcategories and cannot be compared across categories. For example a photo with an ImageScore of 650 in Wedding is NOT by definition better than an image with a score of 600 in Landscape & Nature.


Why is my image “Paused”?

Images get paused if they are statistically unlikely to move up to the top 10% of all images (approximately 615 ImageScore). Sometimes we determine this within this within 6 duels sometimes it takes 100. The key is that in order to provide good clarity into which images are in the top 10 we must vote the best images a lot. With a limited amount of duels available to us the best way to accomplish this is by pausing images once we’ve determined that they are not likely to get near the top. We use statistics so by definition we are not 100% confident that the image should be paused and so to address this issue we added the “get more votes” feature (the “play” button on the leaderboards). Under certain circumstances Paused images may still be placed in to duels and may be unpaused automatically.


Why do images with different win/loss ratios have the same ImageScore?

Win/Loss ratios are not a good indicator of ImageScore. We strive to keep the win/loss ratio as close to 50% as possible by pairing images with other images that we think might be close in quality (i.e. great images with great images, bad images against bad images, etc). While sometimes it is necessary to play images against images that are of vastly different quality, it is not our preferred method. To understand more about how ImageScores are calculated – read “What is an ImageScore” above.


Are images on the top of the Leaderboard really the best?

We are the first to acknowledge that image quality is based on individual preference. It’s possible that you may hate an image that your friend loves. However, images that rise to the top of the Leaderboard are the ones that our users in aggregate like the most. In looking at the results of our ImageDuels we have found that people tend to vote fairly consistently when images are of obviously different quality levels. Images that are much closer in quality tend to have split opinions. So the “number one” image may be only a small fraction better than the “number two” image.

You should also note that images start at the bottom of the Leaderboard with an ImageScore of zero. Images must work their way up the Leaderboard based on their performance and this can take several days to stabilize.


How do you decide what images I see when I play ImageDuel?

Images are matched against other images based on a proprietary algorithm . Images with the least number of duels generally appear more often than those with larger numbers. If an image performs poorly in its first few duels its chance of being matched again drops significantly. By contrast images that are faring well in the duels will be displayed more often.


My photo is not paused but isn’t getting any more duels. Why?

The ultimate number of votes that an image gets is dependent on its early dueling history. The more early wins an image has the higher its ImageScore will go and the more duels it will ultimately receive. The highest rated unpaused images on the site will end up with four times (or more) duels than the lowest. After the first 50 duels or so the change in ImageScore with each additional duel slows down. Essentially the first 50 or so duels define the approximate area of the leaderboard an image should be and the remaining duels refine that placement. We are primarily focused on refining the scores of the top image – which is the reason for the disproportionate number of duels to those types of images.

Our algorithms try to get new images up to the same level of votes as other images on the site as fast as possible. Sometimes this takes just a day – sometimes it can take a week. After an image reaches the same level of votes as other images with a similar ImageScore the image will only rarely be put in new duels.


What are Weekly and Monthly Contests?

When you submit images to Pixoto they are automatically entered in our weekly and monthly contests in the category you selected. One week after submissions are due (either Saturday or the last day of the month) we will assign awards to the top 20% of images in each category. Award badges are placed permanently on your profile page and the image detail page. More Info →


What are Pixoto Points?

Every award winner will also receive Pixoto Points. Points are used to determine your placement in the Pixoto Player Directory. The more points you have in a category the closer to the top you will be. For now this is just for fun – but as we grow we hope that top placement in our directory will mean more customers for your business. Award winners will receive points equaling between 9% and 600% of the total number of images submitted in during the time period (e.g. if 50 images were submitting in category during a week then number one image would receive 300 points).


How do I get more Points (and more exposure in the directory)?

It’s pretty simple – just consistently submit lots of great images.


I see an image that is miscategorized or is offensive, what should I do?

Please send an email with a link to the image to: report@pixoto.com


I want to disable my account, how do I do that?

Please send an email to: disable@pixoto.com