Corbis, owned by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, and Getty Images, owned by Getty Oil heir Mark Getty, have been on buying sprees for more than a year as each company attempts to amass more online photographic and video holdings than its rival. Analysts estimate the digital image market to be worth $2 billion.
So far, Getty appears to have a commanding lead, with more than 70 million images. But Corbis, which boasts 65 million images, has come on strong in the past six months, completing a series of acquisitions including Stock Market Photo Agency and Saba Press Photos in March.
Getty recently has branched into music licensing; it is also creating a business-to-business portal for downloading digital images.
Miami-based Sharpshooters caters mostly to advertisers but also offers sports, business and lifestyle images. The company last year opened a moving footage unit.
"We are rapidly expanding our commercial offering to our advertising and graphic design clients," Corbis chief executive Steve Davis said in a statement.
Corbis will add Sharpshooters images to its Web site in coming months. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.