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Make Money Selling Stock Photos

easy tips on selling micro stock photography

Stock Photography Community

Tip #5: The Key is in the Keywords

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

With thousands (and even millions!) of photos in an agency's directory, you may be asking yourself, "How in the world will anyone ever find my pics?"

The answer to this question is crucial to your success. Here's the trick - it's in the keywords you use to describe your photograph. Let me say it again - the key to your success in selling stock photos online lies in the ability of others to find your images when you use the right keywords to depict your submissions. Why are words so important? Shouldn't images speak for themselves?

Of course you need to start with great photos, but the entire dynamic of search is based on words - not images. It works just like a search in Google. If you use a string of four very specific words to describe what you are searching for, you have a much better chance of finding what you want rather than typing in a one-word general description. Here's an example: rather than search through millions of entries for "dog", you type in "brown cocker spaniel puppy". You have not only narrowed your search by whole lot, you have a much higher chance of getting exactly what you are looking for.

Search works the same way when using a microstock agency. Before I started selling my photos online, I often purchased photos for use in my business. So I experienced first-hand just how hard it can be to find the right photos using keywords.

Here's the problem - many photographers find it a chore to research keywords, so they settle for filling in the minimum number of keywords required, using the first descriptive terms that come to them. Another problem is not thinking outside the box. You'd be surprised at how unimaginative a photographer can be when he or she needs to use words rather than images to get across a concept.

Here's my 3-point strategy for keywords descriptions:
1. Use as many keywords as you possibly can think of to describe each submission.
2. Try to use the maximum allowance for keywords offered by the microstock agency for each image.
3. Get creative, crazy and conceptual with your keyword choices.

Above is one of my best selling truck photos. Yes, I love to photograph big trucks (more on this topic in a future post). Anyway... here's an example of the keywords I came up with for this photograph:

Title - White Long Haul Truck
Keywords: Color, horizontal, Freightliner, semi, diesel, truck, long, haul, big, on-road, isolated, big, cab, cargo, chrome, delivery, carrier, drive, freight, handling, heavy, industrial, labor, load, move, mover, operator, pack, package, pallet, receiving, shipping, shipment, transfer, transport, transportation, vehicle, rig, trucking, white, flat, bed

That's 42 keywords to describe a big truck! Not bad.

Stay turn for my next blog post and I'll tell you my secret for generating keyword descriptions. Why not subscribe to my RSS feed by clicking the button at the bottom of this post. Then you'll automatically get every new post as soon as I write it.

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