Finding Keywords For Stock Photos

So you took a few nice pictures or maybe even a thousand. Now you have submitted your pictures to the stock photo agencies such as Shutter stock or some other micro stock photo agency. The question on your mind now is what keywords do you use? What keywords are going to attract the audience you want to buy the photo you are selling?

Keywords are crucially important when submitting stock photos to micro stock agencies. They are what let your customers find your pictures. If you don’t use keywords you won’t get people seeing your photos and you won’t make any money.

When looking for keywords you must be more than just simple minded. Having a picture of a flower and using keywords like the words flower and whatever species it is will not yield the most favorable results. Think about how many other photographers are doing this exact same thing! You must be different.

The first step to finding keywords that are right for your stock photography is to look at your stock photo. Look at it and ask yourself the very important question of who is going to by this. Who is this photo best suited for? Is it an advertising photo or an editorial stock photo? The more you know who your photo is targeted for the more you will be able to pick keywords that target this customer.

If your photo is a very dramatic looking photo that states a big meaning then you would want to target people that want photos with lots of impact. These people aren’t going to be searching the words flower. They’re going to be searching for the emotional impact that they are trying to get. Words like happy, sad, depressed, energized are much better than simple keywords of the subject in your photograph.

I personally recommend against submitting keywords that have the name of your subject. It’s not that they won’t yield the results you want but its because of competition. Submitting a photo of a dog with the keyword dog is not going to help you get a sell. You will be competing with the hundreds of other photographs of dogs. Rather, submit keywords that describe how the dog looks and the message you are trying to get at with your photograph.

An Introduction to the Stock Photo Website

There is a market for pictures of anything and everything. Even simple pictures of pens, for example, will be useful for someone who is selling that particular type of product. Television sets are big on the internet and require pictures so that the customer can see what is being offered like, for instance, on eBay. Interesting pictures of all kinds of scenes are needed for websites and are popular on stock photo websites, which leads me to the current topic of this article, the stock photo websites.

A simple search will turn up several different stock photo websites to whom you can submit your photographs. A few will be listed here that are popular. Stock and Prints is one website. This stock photo website will give you your own website from which to sell your photographs. There is a monthly rate as well as a yearly rate, whichever is best for you. Crestock, a stock photo website, gives you a 30% commission for each download of your photograph. iStockPhoto offers commission rates from 20%-40% and offers free sign up. Finally, Dreams Time has rates that range from 50%-80% in commissions. Commission rates vary quite a bit, but one site may be more suited to your needs than another, so it is worth visiting each site and reading everything you can find about them because there may be other reasons you may want to apply for one of these websites other than just the commission rates.

There is also the option of selling photos online to celebrity magazines like the ones you see at check stands in grocery stores. You may have heard about the Paparazzi who sell pictures they are fortunate enough to get of celebrities when they are, for instance, on the beach. They sell their pictures for a lot of money to magazines such as People. It is possible for you to do this online. One such site is called The Snitcher Desk. When you upload a picture with this website they make sure that you are paid. Visit the site and find out how. If you are in a position to be able to take photographs of famous people, this last site may be an option for you. If not, there are plenty of other choices for you and plenty of stock photo websites on the World Wide Web.

The stock photo website is one idea which you can pursue when considering selling photos online. There are so many choices for a photographer in this arena and with just a little effort in searching for a few stock photo websites and submitting to the ones listed in this article, you should be able to develop a tidy income on the side with your photography.

Using a Picture of a Sailboat and Photoshop to Make a Hot Selling Stock Photo!

I am always on the look out for source material. While walking along a pedestrian path along the shore of San Francisco bay I encountered a sailboat that had broken loose from its mooring and was beached while the tide was out. I didn’t know how I was going to use it, but I photographed the boat any way, and from a variety of angles.

About six months later I was photographing rough seas off the Coast of Marin County (at Rodeo Beach) when it occurred to me I could composite the sailboat into the seas and create an image illustrating danger, risk and challenge. It turned out that the sea wasn’t really rough enough, so I used the waves I had photographed to create a stormier sea. I used a sky I had photographed years earlier in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I stripped out the sailboat, including all the various lines (ropes and wires) using clipping paths in Photoshop. Then I pasted the boat into the waves and used a layer mask to make it look like the boat was actually in the waves.

Pictures of Roads and Brick Walls

Recently I have created numerous stock photos from images that I have “collected” to have on hand for future inspiration. In another such case I decided to create a stock photo from one of a number of road pictures I have taken over the years. After opening the file in Photoshop I used Bridge to look through a folder of potential images I keep handy. A picture of a brick wall I had shot some months earlier in a Berkeley neighborhood caught me eye. It was a simple matter to select the brick wall and insert it into the road picture. The process took about half-an-hour and cost me nothing. The result was a stock photo accepted by Getty into The Image Bank brand.

Picturing Interiors

One thing that I am trying to “collect” more of is interior spaces. I cringe when I think of all the interiors I have photographed in over the years and failed to take advantage of them. Now I make it a rule to shoot any space I am shooting in with an eye towards using it in a future composite.

A successful example of having an interior space on hand can be seen in a stock photo of a woman sleeping happily on a commercial jet. In this case the picture I took of an empty seat across the aisle from me on a flight back from Bangkok was the inspiration. I began with that image and hired a model to pose for me in my studio. I stripped her into the seat and put a picture of a blue sky from my files into the window. The result is a stock photo which has been licensed numerous times as a Rights Managed image.

You just never know what image is going to work…or how it is going to work. An image shot of the ceiling of an airport became a great backdrop for a child astronaut. Turned on its side, the ceiling became the perfect high-tech background for a space facility.

Creating a library of likely, and even unlikely, composite parts, is a key component of my stock plan. When I find a likely place or thing I try to get a variety of angles and elevations, as I never know just how things might go together.