The best pictures in the world will make you no money unless people can find them. And how are pictures found on microstock sites? One method is by category. One can go to a site and look through the categories, but by far the most common method of finding pictures is be searching. When someone searches a micrstock site, the search terms they enter are compared to the keywords associated with a picture. The pictures that have keywords that match he search words are displayed for the user to review. So, for your pictures to have a chance at being purchased, they have to be properly keyworded. When keywording, ask your self these questions:

  • What is it?
  • What is it doing?
  • Where is it?
  • What color is it?
  • What are the feelings?
  • Why is it this way?
  • What interactions are there?
  • What other significant things are in the picture?
  • Who is it?
  • What do you do with it?

Here are some tips when keywording your pictures.

  1. Look at the competitionFind some similar pictures on the microstock photo sires and see what keywords others are using. If you check a few other people’s keywords, you should have a pretty good list of what keywords might be good. If the site provides download stats, focus on the keywords used by the top sellers
  2. Use synonyms
    You never know what term a user will search for your picture using. If you add synonyms to the keywords you enter, you will increase the chances that your picture will be found.
  3. Put your most important keywords first
    Some microstock sites weight the importance of keywords by their order they are listed, with the most important keywords first. Other sites limit the number of keywords you can have, so putting he important keywords first ensures that they will be used
  4. Make sure your keywords are relevant
    The use of irrelevant keywords wastes other people’s time, can get the picture rejected from a microstock site, and can result in you being banned from a microstock site. It is good to provide a lot of keywords to describe your picture, but make sure they really apply to your picture.
  5. Supply at least 10 keywords
    Many sites require a minimum number of keywords. If you supply 10, you will meet the requirements of most sites
  6. Place keywords in the IPTC data
    If you add your keywords to the IPTC data of your picture, you only have to keyword a picture once. When the microstock site receives your picture, they will automatically extract the keywords for the picture. If you do not do this, for every site with which you work, you need to keyword your picture. If you choose this route, at minimum, after you keyword a picture the first time, save the keywords so you can copy and paste them into the appropriate location to be used again with another site.
  7. Take the time to do it
    You have worked hard to take your pictures and process them. Don’t give-in now and only put a partial effort into keywording. Keywording is not fun and it is at the end of a long process, but don’t’ just put a half effort into it so you can get your photos out. Take the time to do a good job with it and you will be rewarded with better sales. An OK picture properly ketworded will sell better than a great picture not keyworded properly, because no one will be able to find the great picture.

Keywording is one of the most important things you do to a picture. Give it its appropriate share of time to do it right.

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