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Make Money Selling Stock Photos

easy tips on selling micro stock photography

Stock Photography Community

Tip #6: Creative Keywords 101

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

How do you come up with good keywords to describe your photos? No doubt about it, writing keywords is a tedious chore. But it's an essential skill for selling microstock photos. The best way to do it is to come up with a method. There's no need to reinvent the wheel everytime you have to write a list of keywords. Develop a winning formula, then stick with it. This makes the task go quickly and smoothly each time.

I want to share my own technique with you. Once you get the hang of it, you'll think "Dude, this is easy!"

7 Steps to Easier Keywords:

Step 1: Create a Word document or spread sheet file where you will document and save your keyword research. This will save you TONS of time in the future. Begin by listing the title or general topic of your photo, such as "wildflower" or "semi truck".

Step 2: Look at your photo and begin to free associate. Any words that come to mind, type them. Really push your brain by using descriptive words to explain physical attributes, emotions, seasons, colors, abstract concepts - anything that comes to mind while looking at your photo. Separate each word with a comma.

Step 3: Next, go to your favorite stock agency and do a general search for the main theme of your photo. Take a look at the photos that come up and select one that has been purchased several times. Most likely, this is a fairly successful image. Scan the keywords used for this photo. If they look good, copy and paste them into your photo description. Do this two or three times.

Step 4: Go to Wikipedia and look up your photo theme. Scan the definition and see if you come up with a few more ideas for your keyword description.

Step 5: Edit your keywords for duplicates or words that are not directly associated with your image.

Step 6: Choose a short title for your photo using 3 or 4 of the keywords.

Step 7: Save your keyword research under the general theme.

That's it! You probably think that's an incredibly long process. But it only takes me about 5 minutes once I get on a roll. And the best part - I only need to do it once for that theme and it's done. I happen to photograph a lot of big trucks - but I use virtually the same description (changing just the color or make of the truck) each time I submit a new truck photo. The one above is called Long Haul Truck and I just submitted it at Dreamstime.

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