Keywords! 7 Easy Steps for Newbies

posted on 9th of february, 2010

Probably the MOST IMPORTANT section of all.

When someone enters words in a search,
these are the words that get sorted through
to see if your image is a match.

This is the field where you get to enter all those
juicy descriptive words that people love to see.

There is quite an art to it though, so I will walk you through it slowly.
Don't worry you will soon get the hang of it.

Ok, Dreamstime limits you to 80 keywords.

This means 80 single words, separated by a space, that describe your photo.

We'll use the example again: (photo of an australian juvenile nightjar owlet)

The first set of words you want to enter are the words you used for your image name

Australian Juvenile Nightjar Owlet

You now want to enter any derivatives of those words, or other possible ways they could be spelt...

So for Australian you could now have: Aussie Australia
So for Juvenile you could now have: Young Baby Chick
So for Nightjar you could now have: Night Jar
So for Owlet you could now have: Owl

***SUPER HINT: (remember to include the british AND american spelling of words!)
eg: colour AND color

Now enter any words that are a broader description of the image...Bird Birds

Now enter words that describe the colours and set up of your image.

Colour words: Brown Fawn White
Setup words: Portrait Closeup Close Up Zoom

If your image is of something on a white background it is called an ISOLATED image. So include this word too. Isolate Isolated

Our list now has 24 words and looks like this:
Australian Aussie Australia Juvenile
Young Baby Chick NightJar Night Jar Owlet Owl
Bird Birds Brown Fawn White Portrait
Closeup Close Up Zoom Isolate Isolated

Now you can have fun, pick some words that are a bit out of the box.
For this image we could add words like:
Wise Lovely Halloween Woods Forest

Even the word Hedwig which was the name of Harry Potters owl.
See what I mean? :)


If you think of another fantastic way to do this, go for it.
Just make sure your words are honest. Don't include words like sexy or lovely if your image is of a headstone. People will stop trusting your reputation and wont even look at images if they see they were uploaded by you - now matter how good they are.


If you are really keen, open a separate window and do a search on Dreamtime.com for an image similar to your own.

Sort the images by "Downloads - Descending".

This will now show you the most downloaded images that are similar to your own.

When I searched for the word "Owl" and sorted them the most popular image was called Owl Eye (111 d. / 708 v.)
This means it was downloaded 111 times out of being viewed 708 times. Open the most popular image and look at their keywords.

If they have any that you hadn't thought of, go ahead and add those extra words into your own. In this example they had the words Wild and Wildlife
which suits us perfectly, so we will add those in too!

Our list now has 33 words and looks like this:
Australian Aussie Australia Juvenile
Young Baby Chick NightJar Night Jar Owlet Owl
Bird Birds Brown Fawn White Portrait
Closeup Close Up Zoom Isolate Isolated
Wise Lovely Halloween Woods Forest Hedwig
Wild Life Wildlife

And even after your image is submitted you can add more!

Following these steps should give you a great base
of words to start with for your image - don't forget to regularly
review and add keywords!

Good Luck! x

© Kristy Brown 2009
From my tutorial "How to Upload + Submit Images at Dreamstime"at:


Hope this helps all those newbies (like me)!
Kristy (in Australia) :) x

Comments (35)

Posted by Dckirba on February 17, 2017
Thank you! This is very useful :)
Posted by Bographics on February 03, 2017
Cool info! I wish I have known this stuff from the beginning! Now I have to rethink all my keywords from the beginning :))
Posted by Countedsorrow2 on January 18, 2015
Hi Gillian,

Thanks for commenting. In the actual image I explain that very fact you mention (that the Tawny is a nightjar not an owl), however in common language I have heard it called the Tawny Frogmouth Owl many times so accept that as a common (if incorrect) name. Much as I would not hesitate to add "bear" to a picture of a Koala, despite in no way it being a member of the bear family, colloquially it is called Koala Bear by some.

Posted by Gillian08 on October 12, 2014
there's only one problem though, that isn't an owl, is it? it's a tawny frog mouth, often mistaken for an owl, but actually isn't. So technically, you are spamming with the use of "owl", although given this is a very common error, most Aussies will call this an owl, it's borderline excusable, but perhaps not the best to use as your keywording example?
Posted by Ronwashbrook on April 04, 2011
I must admit i have used the "EXTRA SNEAKY KEYWORDS THAT WILL HELP YOU SELL MORE" but always go through the list afterwards knocking out the words not relevant. Also usually colours seem to be bigger keywords, so i always try and use at least 2 if applicable naturally.
Posted by Countedsorrow2 on March 26, 2011
Thanks for the comments!
@ Bonnieblue7 - Your best bet is to contact support they will be happy to help you understand why your image was not accepted and what you might need to do to get accepted next time :)
Posted by Vilaimages on March 23, 2011
Excellent, I will save this blog for future use. Thanks!
Posted by Bonnieblue7 on March 23, 2011
Posted by Thatsmedrs on August 03, 2010
Great info..now I have to go back and do the job! :)
Posted by Chinchoi on May 08, 2010
keywording is always a dread, great tips to light up my fire to submit more.
Posted by Irmurka on March 24, 2010
***SUPER HINT: (remember to include the british AND american spelling of words!)
eg: colour AND color
oh yes ... it's so easy for foreigners who do not speak English ... :-)
Posted by Carlahorne on March 07, 2010
Thank you. This is an excellent article for someone like me, a newbie.
Posted by Countedsorrow2 on February 27, 2010
Thanks for your comment Mafuta. :)

I understand your point but some people do search using words that are more whimsical than factual. The last owl photo I sold was from a buyer whose only search word was the word "cute". No mention of owls at all.

Also a "lovely owl" is quite different to a "frightening owl" or "menacing owl",
so I guess it works that way too. :)
Thanks again :)
Posted by Mafuta on February 24, 2010
Well written in a matter of fact way, the correct order etc.
I do however have a problem with words like "Wise" "Lovely" Its a picture of an Owl. People are using to many descriptive words.
Sometimes its easier to keep it simple, I mean don't use so many keywords. Thanx
Posted by Countedsorrow2 on February 13, 2010
Thanks for your feedback!
It is very appreciated :)
Posted by Rgbe on February 10, 2010
Posted by Walleyelj on February 10, 2010
Great article! I agree with and have used pretty much all your suggestions. The one about looking for most popular of your subject has recently become a dicey one for me. I try and come up with my own keywords, and then fill in the blanks with ones I hadn't thought of from the most viewed and/or downloaded. I posted one recently of a Western Lowland Gorilla with a newborn. The most popular download of a gorilla had most of the same words that I had, except that they had also added the names of a numbers of countries where gorillas are found in Africa. I thought that a good idea and added them to my submission. A few days later, the image was rejected solely for the "excessive use of irrelevant key words". This despite the fact that all those keywords were found attached to the most downloaded gorilla photo I could find. Usually it's not a problem, but was aggravating since I ended up with a rejected image, a knock on my approval rating, and have to resubmit all over again and hope that I...(More)
Posted by Countedsorrow2 on February 10, 2010
Thanks Hlehnerer and Tetopedro!
Posted by Tetopedro on February 10, 2010
Simply...very important !!!
Many thanks for your tips and suggestions with the perfect example choosen ;o)

I'll review immediately my tags ;o)))

Posted by Hlehnerer on February 10, 2010
Very good example of how to keyword.
Posted by Countedsorrow2 on February 10, 2010
hehe :)

Tsk, Tsk, Gheburaseye - Someone didn't read the whole article ;)


If you are really keen, open a separate window and do a search on Dreamtime.com for an image similar to your own,....... etc, etc"

Posted by Gheburaseye on February 10, 2010
if I may, I would add to look at the tag inserted in similar images: it can help so much!
Posted by Countedsorrow2 on February 10, 2010
Thanks Frantab01!

Good tip Creativei :)
Posted by Creativei on February 10, 2010
Very well written. I would suggest adding your username or some secret word, its very helpful to find your images and inform friends.
Posted by Frantab01 on February 10, 2010
thanks for sharing :)
Posted by Countedsorrow2 on February 10, 2010
No worries, Nikitu :)
I have removed that line about using plurals
from the article.

Sorry, I didn't know - was there anything else I should remove?

Thanks for reading. :)
Posted by Gardian777 on February 10, 2010
But if you have a few birds can you still use "bird"?
Posted by Nikitu on February 10, 2010
"HINT: Always put the singular and plural of the word, if you only enter "Bird" and someone searches for "Birds" your image wont show up. " Actually, we don't encourage you to use the plural when there is no need for this. If you have one bird in your image don't use birds as a keyword as it is not appropriate.
Posted by Countedsorrow2 on February 10, 2010
Thanks for your comment and compliment Mstycoon!

I agree! I have mostly bird photos and I never even thought of "avian"
until Fultonsphoto mentioned right now :)

I think taking some time out to assess your photos and keywords as you suggested is a fab idea.
Posted by Mstycoon on February 10, 2010
Kristy this article is very well written. Thanks for taking the time to write to help all of us newbies. One more step I take is to wait a week after acceptance and look at the photo again. Dreamstime lets you add keywords anytime. Sometimes I look at a photo and I'm surprised I didn't put in an important keyword when I uploaded so I add it.

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Comments (35)

This article has been read 9499 times. 12 readers have found this article useful.
Photo credits: Kristy Wheeldon.

About me

Hi, I\'m Kristy - Australian, married, work fulltime, study for my degree by distance, love good movies and better books, and love photography! I am hoping to improve my photography efforts from \"complete hack\" to \"somewhat passable\". Here are my Australian Native Animal Photos LA and Las Vegas Photos

Newcastle, AU

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