Archive for Stock Photography
How Should I Keyword the WHY and HOW in My Images
This is the final installment of my series on how to keyword your images to increase your stock photography sales. All the suggestions I’ve made should be applied to your images, whether you’re a full-time stock photographer, an hobbyist who hasn’t taken the plunge into selling stock yet, or if you are managing an image library for your company, school, non-profit or group of any kind.
Today we will cover the why (concepts, emotions, actions and adjectives) and how (photographic techniques used) of your images.
If you’d like to read the whole guide to image keywording, start here: How Should I Keyword My Images.
However, if you’ve already read the first five parts and are dying to read the exciting conclusion, then let’s get to it.
The why of the images is often as important if not more important than the actual objects in the image. These keywords are generally describing why the people or object were worth photographing and, hence, worth buying.
For my own convenience, I’ve found that dividing the why into four distinct separate categories help me find more appropriate keywords. Having more discrete categories of keywords makes it easier keyword every element of the image.
I’ve divided the why into four categories: actions, concepts, emotions and adjectives.
- Actions: What’s happening in the image, whether it’s people or animals doing things, such as children eating or skipping, or an actions that is being depicted by objects, such as snow falling or raindrops splashing.
- Concepts: What’s the story of the image? Home security, achievement, globalization, or the roaring 20’s are just a couple examples.
- Emotions: What are the people feeling? Joy, love, apathy, and pride to name a couple.
- Adjectives: Important adjectives to describe the subjects of the image, such as red, shiny, expensive, bent or lazy.
Skimping on these keywords may very well mean missing out on marketing the most important part of the image–the story being told by the photo. Read More→
How Should I Keyword the Where and When of an Image?
Here I am again with another installment of my guide on how you should be keywording your images to maximize sales.
So, you think that the WHERE and the WHEN of an image should take about 5 seconds to cover. Well, the way most images are keyworded for these concepts, it’s easy to believe that most photographers think this, but there are several layers of keywords worth using to ensure your images are looked at by as many appropriate buyers as possible.
If you’re not convinced that its not worth your time coming up with as many correct keywords as possible, then you better read Image Keywording: The Best (and cheapest) Marketing You Can D0.
The where of the image should be easy enough.
This image is of the Eiffel Tower, but don’t forget Paris, France, and Western Europe. That covers the place name, but you better also use the keywords landmark, tourist attraction and tourism. While someone might be looking for Eiffel Tower, other buyers may simply be looking for landmark Paris or tourism France. Remember, you cannot know exactly what the buyer will be searching for.
While this takes care of the proper place names, you should also use generic place keywords, such as:
- studio shot
There are other aspects of WHERE the image is set that you should keyword. Read More→
How Do I Keyword the Objects in My Image?
This is the fourth in a series of posts about how to keyword your images. While this guide is written primarily for stock photographers who need great keywording to ensure robust sales of their images, any photographer or image librarian would do well to think about the concepts being covered.
This post will cover the details of keywording the WHAT in your images, basically anything that is a “thing” in the image, including the subjects of the image and the background things.
The first thing you should be keywording is the number of objects, animals or servings of food shown in the image.
- one object
- two objects
- three objects
- four objects
The object keywords should be used for the main subjects of the image, a close up of three balls. Don’t try to count all the objects in the image, just the subjects. Think of a child’s counting book, it should be instantly obvious what is being counted and how many there are.
- one animal
- two animals
- three animals
- four animals
- group of animals
- one serving
- two servings
- three servings
- four servings
The animal and serving keywords have less strict guidelines for use. Any animal in the image should be counted, and any serving of food, as long as easily seen should be counted.
While this first step in keywording objects is pretty straightforward, choosing which objects to keyword and which to ignore is a source of debate and difficult, if not impossible, to definitively define. Read More→
How Do I Keyword the People in My Images II
In my last post I covered the major elements to keywording people:
- Number of People that are the subject of the image.
- “Industry standard” age/gender groups such as male adult and female senior adult.
- Family relationship portrayed in the image.
- Ethnicities or races of the people in the image.
This post will cover a lot of the other keywords you should be adding to your images of people.
Angle of View and Body Length
These two are much more important that you might think. Editors often know what kind of shot they are looking for and these are two qualities that they are often looking for.
There are three basic angles of view:
- front view
- side view (profile is a type of side view)
- back view
Every person has one of these angles to the viewer, so you might as well keyword it. A few other searches at Alamy.com gave me these results:
- woman: 2,580,483 results
- woman front view: 282,273 results
- woman side view: 158,651 results
- woman back view: 54,448 results
Less than 20% of images with women in them have any angle of view keywords with them. A rough extrapolation indicates that there are about 1,000,000 images of women that are front views that would not be shown to buyers looking for women front view.
Last week I wrote an introduction to my guide to keywording, emphasizing the reasons that you need to give some time and thought to your keywords, and there will be a direct increase in sales if you do. This week, I will delve into the details of keywording people. People are such an important part of stock images, and buyers will be searching for a lot more than just woman or boy.
A search for woman at Alamy.com returned 2,608,284 images. Obviously way too many to search through, so buyers almost always start adding other keywords to the search.
So, for example, they know they are looking for an image of just one woman, and a search for one woman only gets 322,700 results.
But, in quickly looking through these images, they realize they need a Caucasian woman search for one woman only Caucasian gets 173,633 results.
Then the searcher adds living room and front view, and a search for one woman only Caucasian front view living room gets 520 results.
You get the idea. You need to get found in the last search because your image has a much better chance of being seen and bought. If you didn’t get seen in that last search because your image didn’t have one of the qualities, that’s fine, it wasn’t going to get purchased by that buyer anyway. But what if your image did have all those qualities, but was lacking the right keywords? Then you might have missed a sale.
Alright, let’s get to the list of people qualities you better be keywording, starting with an obvious one that is often missed by photographers:
How many people are in your image?
- one person: these first five keywords are used to describe the number of people who are the subject of the image.
- two people
- three people
- four people
- five people
- group of people: GettyImages divides this into small group of people, medium group of people and large group of people and you might as well follow their lead.
- nobody or no people: use both, every time there are no people in the image.
- background people: use this every time there are people in the image who are not the subject of the image, whether in the background or foreground, and regardless of whether there are other people as the subject of the image or not.
In my years as an image keywording specialist, I keyworded nearly 250,000 images (yep a quarter of a million). To keyword all these images, consistently and comprehensively, I had to have a system to methodically go through each image. Without a system, there simply is no way to ensure consistency and accuracy.
Image recognition software still has a long way to go before it can come even close to manual Keywording, so you need to learn how to do it well. In a series of six weekly posts, I will show you a way to systematize how you look at an image to come up with all the appropriate keywords.
The first step is to start dividing your image. Actually, what we are doing is parsing out the language you are using to describe the image, into manageable parts. There are many useful and logical ways to make these divisions, but this is my preferred method.
I first divided up my potential keywords into six buckets:
- WHO: Describe the people in the image
- WHAT: Describe the objects in the image
- WHERE: Describe where the image was taken
- WHEN: Describe when the image was taken
- WHY: Describe the actions, emotions, concepts and adjectives shown in the image
- HOW: Describe any and all photographic techniques used in taking the photo
I know, it’s not perfect, but it has a certain ring to it, and it works. I guarantee you that if you did nothing more than just use this punch list as you were keywording, you’d be doing a better job than most photographers. However, I still highly recommend reading the following posts as I will drill down into each group and explain both what to look for, what to keyword, and teach you some of the industry standard keywords to help you connect with buyers. Read More→
PRESS SUMMARY – An annual survey of 1,139 Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) readers shows designers rely on stock imagery today more than ever. The survey, which the magazine has been doing for 24 years, shows that 95 percent of designers use stock in their work and more than half use stock at least 20 times a year. Both represent new highs in the survey.
The survey demonstrated how important innovations like subscription models, micropayment, robust search capabilities and royalty-free licensing have contributed to the use and acceptance of stock. A short follow-up survey revealed that 70% of the respondents who have a “go-to” microstock agency prefer iStockphoto.
“Looking back at the past 24 years, it is easy to see why and how stock has become ubiquitous in the world of design,” said Gordon Kaye, editor and publisher of GDUSA. “Gone is the arduous task of dealing with color separations and gone are the ‘Mad Men’ days of three-martini lunches and unlimited budget. Designers today are being asked to do more with less. Fortunately, new business models and technologies have made it possible for them to continue to produce brilliant work.”
In general, designers are satisfied with the range of choices and the quality of images available today, and most believe collections continue to improve. However, many respondents pointed out a lack of originality, contemporary imagery and a tremendous need for greater diversity in cultural, ethnicity, gender and age offerings. Those same designers indicated that they are willing to pay a premium for this kind of content. Read More→
If you are actively shooting (or interested in shooting) images for stock, one of the common questions that comes up when submitting stock imagery concerns image orientation. Which perform best – horizontal, vertical or square images?
The simple answer is that horizontal formats dominate in microstock on all key metrics – views, downloads, conversion and revenue per image. The most likely explanation is that online usage of stock imagery is rising and most device form factors are horizontal (think monitor screens, blog layouts, banners, etc.) Read More→