Value of Keywording

posted on 8th of march, 2009

Keywording may be the bain of Microstock photography. Photographers enjoy taking the pictures, uploading to sites may be lengthy, however using FTP can help expedite the process, but keywording is just brain taxing hardwork! The intent of this article, though, is to show, if you take the time to keyword properly, it WILL pay of in increased exposure and sales in the end!

Here's an example:

Photo #1

vs. Photo #2

Both images show a child playing with dogs on the beach. The photos have many similarities: both show a young child tossing a toy, both shots have two dogs, each child's toy has left his/her hand. Photo #2 improves on the concept and composition by having the child and animals facing the camera. However, Photo#1 has 9 downloads and 214 views compared to Photo #2 with 0 downloads and 6 views. (at the time this blog was written) What's the difference, you ask? Photo #2 only has 17 keywords. Photo #1 has 70! Photo #2 has left out some VERY important descriptive keywords like: water, wet, summertime, kid, pet, playing, animals, toss, ocean, seashore, youth, youngster

Here's another example:

Photo #1 vs. Photo #2

Again, both images are quite similar. Photo #1 is a close up shot of a young cauasian female with freckles and long light brown hair. Photo #2 is a close up photograph of the same type of model. Photo #2 also may have the upper hand as the composition is a slightly more interesting close up with stronger focus on the eyes. However, Photo #1 has 1451 views and 13 downloads compared to Photo #2's 6 views (at the time this blog was written) and 0 downloads. Again, part of this images success can be attributed to good keywording. Photo #1 has 37 keywords, while Photo #2 only has 10. Some descriptive words missing from Photo #2 are: freckles, kid, caucasian, straw, schoolgirl, youngster and brunette.


Keywording may be many photographers least favorite part of the Microstock process, but they DO play an important role in views and downloads. So, go back through your portfolio and improve your keywords. I guarentee you will see results!!!

Comments (11)

Comment by Sgcallaway1994 on March 14, 2009

Zenotri When I'd been around DT for a couple of months and didn't have any sales yet, I was totally frustrated. When I asked some more seasoned vetrans to peruse my portfolio to find out what I was doing wrong, the number one response I got was.... my keywording stunk. I went back and re-did many of my titles and adjusted my keywords that's when I started getting sales. I totally agree with balancing relevant keywords vs. overuse. However, in your case I think you will increase the number of views/dls of your portfolio if you added some more to your images.

Comment by Zenotri on March 14, 2009

Thank you for this article. I am the first to admit that I find the overuse of keywords to be frustrating when I am looking for something specific. But you are right, my keywording is minimal in the above and in fact all my images. I will spend some time over the next couple of days adding some more relevant words.

Comment by Fultonsphoto on March 09, 2009

Hi, thats a very nice gesture and I think the article is very important and usefull to us all.

Comment by Eclecticelegance on March 09, 2009

Thank you very much for this very useful article - I should probably add more quality keywords to my photos.

Comment by Sgcallaway1994 on March 09, 2009

Fultonsphoto, I didn't feel like your comments devalued the topic at all, in fact, I felt the direct opposite. You made VERY valid points. When I was selecting "Photo #1's" it did cross my mind about one being around longer than the other.... I'm very interested in showing proper keywording is totally important, even though its such a chore. In addition, I was also trying to get some exposure to a new photographer, who in my opinion is an "undiscovered" gem.

Comment by Fultonsphoto on March 09, 2009

Hi Sgcallaway1994, your blog has loads of merit, and sorry if comments seem to devalue the topic, which is a great one, you could possibly look at similar image ID#s or pick from recently uploaded images under a similar category i.e. photos that appear more or less on the same page of a searched category. I am sure you will still find the more effectively keyworded image, if not outselling the other will probably have more views, which would be through more effective keywording as you have suggested in this blog.

Comment by Sgcallaway1994 on March 08, 2009

I agree with you, Bchecjon, more is not necessarily better... but having the RIGHT number of descriptive keywords is the main point I was trying to make. Both #2 images have less than 20 keywords. I believe there are some very important key descriptive words which could be added to improve views and downloads.

Comment by Bchecjon on March 08, 2009

Keywording is very important, but is often times misused. I have seen countless photos that have 30, 40, up to 100 key words. More is not always better. People think that if they put every word they can think of it will help. Quality is often more important becuase it gives buyers relevant images. I have spent hours weeding through useless, albiet nice images looking for the ones i need.

Comment by Sgcallaway1994 on March 08, 2009

Well, I guess I'll have to do some more checking and look to compare some photos which have been around equal amounts of time, is there a way to see the upload date or should I just look at the image id# to get ones which are somewhat close?

Comment by Fultonsphoto on March 08, 2009

I agree with Brad and yourself, keywording is imperative for searches and searches = sales, however I have to agree that the examples used as photo#1 in both cases have been around a lot longer than those shown as photo#2 examples therefore this is not really a fair comparison, the editors choice also makes a lot of difference.

Comment by Bradcalkins on March 08, 2009

I definitely agree that the keywording makes a huge difference in the end result (# of downloads). In the second set - photo #1 benefits from being an Editor's choice as well as having been around a lot longer (ID 133495)... In the first pair the same thing is at work - ID 1679241 versus 8359234...

Comments (11)

This article has been read 1191 times. 1 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Anke Van Wyk, Shae Cardenas, Vickie Priestley.

About me

MY PERSONAL COLLECTIONS: ------------------------------------- Underwater Photography Dogs Hunting, Fishing & Weapons Horses Golf Photography[Read more]

confidential info

June (1)
April (1)
March (1)

Stock Photography that BLOGS!

Interact, make friends, share tips and techniques, have fun. Dreamstime wants your ideas and thoughts whether you are a photographer, designer or regular user. Create a blog to tell your story, promote favorite images and photographers, post tutorials or simply exchange opinions with your with fellow dreamstimers.

Don't forget words and pictures go great together so make sure you choose some Dreamstime favorite pics to brighten your article. For inspiration, check out the hottest or the most useful blogs on the left.

Create a blog to tell your story, promote favorite stock images and photographers

Create your blog

My favorite articles


More favorite articles

Related image searches

keywording help value newbie instruction

Value related stock images