Try to be a buyer for a while

posted on 14th of april, 2009

Last week one of my friend told me about her experience of searching images of angels. After our discussion, I´ve tried the part of a buyer. I would suggest to all photographers to make such an experience. Especially for getting an idea how keywording is an important, but very difficult process.
I have written "angel" in search area and then I have tried several
searching possibilities - relevancy (descending), upload date etc. Here is my honest opinion about my experience.

Recently a contributor in forum has mentioned he had to "overcome"many sexy Santa Clause women after writing words "Christmas". There are also many sexy women with wings. On one side, the keyword "angel" is right here, but people searching for angels will hardly downloaded sexy models. Indeed, many of images are 0 downloaded.
The clients can´t complain about this because the keyword is right here, it is just like with Christmas note above "you must see many similar sexy models from all possible angles" before finding the real angels. Clients who search mystical angelic might be bored, but there is nothing wrong. Just one very well-covered topic in my opinion.

Then I come to wrong keywords that can make clients "murmuring". For example, many potraits of children contain the keyword "angel", I can understand it, lovely children are angelic, but clients must see many images that aren´t relevant to his/her research. I have seen a small girl eating apple, smiling cute girls, kids with funny faces, mother and daughter smiling at each other, ... all with keyword "angel". I´ve found a bride searching "angels"... Again, every bride might looked angelic, but a buyer can be upset after some moments seeing so many images not relevant to his wish. Not speaking about such images like those of a horror demon skull with keywording "angel, angelic".

In that moment I´ve understood that we photographers want to put as many keywords as possible, but sometimes "more" can be "worse".

I have realized it isn´t bad to live an experience of a buyer. One can see "the other side". They are keyword like "love" that can be associated with so many images because if a client put such an abstract word, he/she must expect a lot of various ideas. But as for concrete words, I do believe that we can gain all from right keywording - the agency, clients and we photographers.

I have enjoyed to study Dreamstime from the point of view of a buyer.
I have put several keywords in search area, especially of topics that I am interested in. I´ve learned what topics might be really well-covered and, on the contrary, where the choice has been quite narrow. I would advice to all of you, if you have a topic that you want to focus on, try to "become" a buyer for awhile. It will help you to understand several useful things and I strongly believe that it might make you understand, after a while, how to be successful.

Comments (24)

Comment by Dmccale on May 09, 2009

yes I agree this is a great post.I will watch my keywording better
Thanks Debbie

Comment by Starblue on May 09, 2009

Hello Sherry - thank you very much for your nice comment. I agree, I used to put also many keywords in the beginning, then I have - on the other hand - put just the basic keywords as I thouhjt it is better. Now I tried to be "in the center", to put the basic keywords, but also some keywords expressing my idea I wanted to express. For example I hace made a hand with light on palm and this is a conceptual idea for "hope" IMHO. But keywording is a real "science" :-) Have a wonderful day!

Comment by Rjssignscom on May 08, 2009

OMG Jitka, what a great Post. I guess I should look more into the details of keywording. I am both a contributor and a buyer. As a buyer I find myself creating various collections so that I can identify images quickly the next time I need them.

But as a contributor, I probably tend to put too many keywords and perhaps to my disadvantage. Something I must fine tune.

As a buyer I find myself (excluding) items that come up in the search. With the ever expanding DT portfolio, I often wonder what images I'm missing when I do a search (due to incorrect keywording on both our parts).

Great Post Jitka! Sherry Piatti

Comment by Starblue on May 06, 2009

Thanks for your comment, I also try to "train" me in searching and so I can understand more about jeywording and also what kind if images are missing and what - on the contary - are well-covered. :-).-) I would definitely call us "old-timers" and let me say it has been nice to meet you - the one who join the DT almost in the same time!

Comment by Clarsen55 on May 05, 2009

P.S. I just noticed that we joined Dreamstime within one day of each other, back in October of 2005...does this make us old-timers?

Comment by Clarsen55 on May 05, 2009

Very good blog...I am the one who wrote about all the sexy women in Santa hats which dominated the first several pages of a "Christmas" search. I can imagine that it is very frustrating for buyers to wade through pages of images to get to what they're actually looking for. I regularly monitor search results and find it very useful to look at things through a buyer's eyes. Relevancy in searches has been improving, in my opinion. I think the administrators have been working diligently to make our site the best it can be for us as contributors and even more so for buyers...after all, without buyers there would be no Dreamstime!

Comment by Linqong on May 05, 2009

Good idea!
I like your design! Very creative! Very beautiful!

Comment by Freedomphotos on May 04, 2009

Great idea to act as a buyer, it surely puts another perspective on the whole keyword situation.
I also agree with many of the comments, but would definitely like to see a sub heading in the search engine - to limit the number of images needed to search through, to find the type of image you are actually looking for. NewWaveDave's comment is the idea I am thinking of.
Maybe Dreamstime can look into this in the near future.

Comment by Starblue on May 01, 2009

Thanks for your comment about my blog - let me say I am happy you are satisfied with DT now :-) I wish you always to find beautiful images and to find them quickly :-) and for now have a wonderful day!

Comment by Oceanwaves88 on May 01, 2009

Thanks for the topic. Here's my experience. For 3 years, I tried to buy Christmas, then Santa images at DT and it was so frustrating. Besides all the sex poses (and their duplicates), there were many unrelated images plus Lots of purposeful spam keywording. This was so time-consuming that I had to leave the site for months and buy images elsewhere. I still have DT credits, so today I came here to purchase waterfall images. Of all the images that came up, I'm happy to say that there were no sex poses, no duplicates, no spam keywording, and not one single image was keyed wrong or miscategorized. The waterfall images were absolutely stunning and it was a joy reviewing and admiring them. As a buyer, this was a better experience for me.

Comment by Gmargittai on April 26, 2009

Keywording by a third party may solve some problems but there are keywords that only the photographer can put. Carmel California is a famous place especially for its location and beaches. I have a photo (sold 4 times) showing a beach in Carmel. I can see the buyer was looking for these 2 keywords. A third party key master would have definitely missed to tag the beach with Carmel keyword.
BTW I would like to see a picture of a real genuine angel. :)

Comment by Starblue on April 16, 2009

Exactly, it isn´t an easy topic. That´s my intention was to bring it up for thinking, for having idea that keywording is a very difficult process. I have absolutaly no intention to bring up a bitter discussion about amateur and professionals etc. On the contary, in this case there is absolutaly no difference between professionals and "amateur" photographer. In this case it is just a question if one makes keywording with attention or not. Many times one just realizes something through a direct experience. So I wanted to show you how it was important to make an experience of a buyer because I know that I will check my keywords with more attention. :-)

Comment by Newwavedave on April 15, 2009

This is not an easy subject. If Dreamstime were to do all of our keywording, they'd have to hire a few more people and that would in turn raise the price of the photos. I try to keep my keywording to a minimum and try not to go nuts. Granted, I am one of those dreaded "amatures" that Aughty is talking about. So, take my comments with a grain of salt, I guess.

I think it would be helpful if dreamstime allowed you to refine searches. So, when you search for angels, say you wanted just images of angelic children, you could then type children into the search and lose all of the babes in lingerie with wings. If you search for tiger, then you could type in lily and you wouldn't have to deal with all of the zoo shots and pet tigers. That's just my 2 cents.

Comment by Starblue on April 15, 2009

Hello, Aughty - thanks for your comment, but I slightly disagree. I wouldn´t say that it would solve a problem if DT makes keywording. People doing keyowrding can´t know every topic as photographer who focus on it. I give you example - I love all the mystical world, I know what keywords to write and yet one client has suggested me I should add to my images such words like "soul, spirit". People making keywording couldn´t make the same job. Of course photographers with other mother language than English can´t have a problem, this is true! But I think one can solve it, especially when a photographer feels strongly about a topic and so focus on studying it and its keywords. Thanks for comment!

Comment by Bradcalkins on April 15, 2009

I would say 'tiger' is appropriate for a lily, butterfly, etc. that are also of the same name. I agree that it is not likely what a buyer expects if they just typed in 'tiger', but it still isn't a bad keyword. Unfortunately it requires that the buyer be familiar with DT specific search tools to get it narrowed down better. Of course, you could type 'tiger' 'mammal' and hopefully lose the butterflies - but this relies on the tiger shots being well keyworded. Removing the keyword 'butterfly' instead is more likely to get rid of the butterfly shots without losing some tiger shots as well.

Comment by Aughty on April 15, 2009

Great read! I would only say that there are a lot of amateurs participating on here and with all the images being supplied on a daily basic errors will be made. Not to mention that keywords on DT require the use of the English language and that too creates many problems with our international photographers. The best solutions is for DT to do our keywording free. No more problem.

Comment by Starblue on April 15, 2009

Thansk to all for your comments, I know about tools that makes better re-search. I wanted just to poit out that we photographers should pay attention as well. Not speaking always about angels... I have put "daisy flower" in search area... among beautiful images of the flower comes also a tea bag, a crossaint with cup, summer shous on isolated becakgound etc. I´ve started to check my keywording as I have seen how it is quite annoying to see "wrong" images among those right. You find it when you try it :-) DT can do a wonderful job with tools and, indeed, I have tried to out "angel" word and avoiding "sexy". The result was definitely better, but one must discover this tool. But the wrong keywords like in case of "daisy flower" aren´t matter of the agency, but of us photographers. Have all great day!

Comment by Creativei on April 15, 2009

Dear Brad, I know these options are available, but we are used to use that small search box, after effects of Google. So you mean to say the person who put the keyword of tiger in butterfly was right???

Comment by Bradcalkins on April 14, 2009

The tools are there, they just aren't obvious. If you want images of tigers, for example, you could go to categories, click on animals, then mammals, and then use the 'within category' option to look for tiger.

Comment by Creativei on April 14, 2009

This is the worst part of my work, searching for images, its really a pain, that's the reason, im re key-wording all my images, The funniest part was, other day I was in a different site where we have subscription and was searching for tiger, I searched for tiger and believe me I found first 9 images of butterfly, after few image of Cat. Now think how annoying it might be.

Comment by Eclecticelegance on April 14, 2009

Very useful article!!! I have started using fewer and fewer keywords since I had to purchase a few photos for designing and sometimes it is pretty annoying to not be able to find what you are looking for. :)

Comment by Bradcalkins on April 14, 2009

Dreamstime has some very useful tools to help with this - I don't know how many buyers take advantage of it. For example - you can click the Dreamfinder arrow and make use of the 'exclude keyword' feature to remove any images with a matching keyword (Like 'sexy' in your examples).

Comment by Py2000 on April 14, 2009

Very cute baby angel.

Comment by Keki on April 14, 2009

very interesting point of view! off to try this!

Comments (24)

This article has been read 2060 times. 9 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Beatricekillam, Richard Hoffkins, Starblue.

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