How This Buyer Searches - Dreamstime

If there is one overall deficiency from photographers it is definitely keywords.

I am primarily looking for images of different soups. The first thing I do is to define the basic soup from its appearance. As an example, let's assume I want a picture of a pumpkin soup that has white cream and parsley as a garnish.

I do a search for pumpkin soup, then within results I search for "cream" and then within results I search for "parsley".

I do not search for the word "white" and I do not search for the word "herb".

In my opinion no one looking for a food picture would ever search for the word "organic". Visually you cannot tell if a food product is or is not organic.

I find many soup pictures with the keyword "vegetarian" that have cheeses and/or cream and/or egg in the image. True vegetarians do not consume any of those products. It is very frustrating when I have to search through pictures with wrong keywords.

Every ingredient that is visible in the bowl of soup should appear as a keyword. Beans are a big problem in my searches. If a bean is visible in the soup, I need to know what kind of bean it is. I search for a specific bean if it is visible in the soup recipe.

Think about the buyer before you add your keywords. Pumpkin soups should always have the keyword "squash" and visa versa. A pumpkin is a type of squash and when pureed looks like a variety of different squashes.

Placing keywords that are incorrect infuriates me to a point where I will not buy from that photographer.

Remember that most buyers do not have hours to search through hundreds of images. They narrow down the selection using the keywords. If you don't identify what is visible you could easily lose out on a sale.

Photo credits: Rozmarina.

Your article must be written in English

February 09, 2014


Excellent post from the other side of the fence. Thanks

October 21, 2013


Yes an excellent post. I have to say I'm not very good with my key words but this has given some good ideas on how to think about them.

October 16, 2013


This is a very good post. Always good to hear valuable input from buyers. As a side note, also be aware that the keywords you add to images influence not only buyers on Dreamstime, but how people might find (or might not find) your images in Google. If you load your image down with tons keywords that aren't highly relevant to the exact subject matter of the image, you can dilute the specific relevancy for your image and hinder it's visibility in search. think about what people are really looking for either on DT or Google and speak to that as best - and as accurately - as possible.

For instance, you "could" add these keywords to the soup image: round, white, orange, gray, liquid, metal. While these are certainly all found in the image, they are so broad that they don't speak to what the image really is: a bowl of pumpkin soup.

Obviously this isn't a black/white issue, there's a lot of "mushiness" to the concept of keywords - as Jppi_stu points about the "vegetarian" keyword - but it is something we should definitely pay attention to.

October 09, 2013


It is very useful and I thank you to have a feedback from a buyer.

October 07, 2013


Thanks, it´s good to know.

October 05, 2013


Thank you!

September 27, 2013


Thanks for sharing your experience and point of view

September 25, 2013


Thanks very useful, great info.

September 25, 2013


A couple of additional comments if I may.

Watch for spelling errors - today I found a great image (by accident) of Potatoe soup. Potatoe will not appear in searches for Potato.

Also be aware of singulars and plurals, soup does not come up when searching for soups. Apple and Apples are two different keywords, might as well be black versus white. Test your keywords before you publish them.

September 25, 2013


Ahaa! Thanks for sharing your perspectives... You know, it's so infrequent that the image buyers weigh in here on their thoughts and needs, That it's like finding buried TREASURE when you do. We contributors do tend to engage in a lot of guessing and assuming in our work. If you look at my keywords, you'll find "organic" and "vegetarian" A LOT, lol, because I didn't know any better, and I do produce a lot of fruit and vegetable imagery, and I figured some recipe compiler/blog producer/whomever, might be out there looking for that stuff by those names.... WOOPS :) Try not to take it too personally - no one wants to trip you up, we are all just trying to help, haa haa! I will stop unnecessarily keywording "organic", because you do make a very logical point! Thanks again and have a great day! USEFUL!

September 24, 2013


Useful info, thanks for sharing.

September 23, 2013


Great info-thanks for sharing. I have to run-gotta search by "cattle soup" and find out what that is!

September 23, 2013


interchange of opinions between buyers and photographers should happen more often, I think it is very productive for both sides.

September 23, 2013


It is nice to hear from a buyers perspective. This is very helpful information.

September 23, 2013


It is great to hear from the buyer, thank you. Keywords think of the buyers.

September 23, 2013


I will strive to make a good bean soup for you!:) Thank you for sharing! Thank you for this blog! Very useful!

September 23, 2013


great blog... thanks for sharing

September 23, 2013


Correct keywords is absolutely essential!
I am both contributor and imagebyer. When searching on a clients behalf the searchwords can be very specific with words like: adhesion, excavator, bitumen etc.
You can find a lot of tape-images here without the keyword adhesion...

One little tip is to use Wikipedia. Very useful, especially for all of us who is not native english spoken. And do not use automatic translation. Also, do not write keywords your not sure of before double checking.

September 23, 2013


Thanks for the info! I will keep in mind!

September 23, 2013


"Vegetarian" is a valid keyword for a food image containing eggs, cheese, etc., because lacto-ovo vegetarians eat those products. "Vegan" would not be a valid keyword for those images, because vegans do not. The notion of "a true vegetarian" is a personal opinion, i.e., not a taxonomic category that a photographer should use for keyword choices. This highlights the other side of the keyword conundrum, buyers need to use the correct words too. If you want vegetarian food photos that do not include any animal products, you should be searching for "vegan."

Also, this only looks at one use case, and should not be treated as definitive. While one buyer may not search based on the colors in an image, another buyer may have very specific color needs without caring at all what kind of bean is in the soup.

September 23, 2013


Very useful for contributors! Thank you!

September 23, 2013


Not to mention the gloriously described "cattle soup" :D

Personally I am beginning to find the most irritating part of stock is the poor keywording.

Some (not all) photographers fail to realise that they are selling to buyers and by putting irrelevant keywords on their images it just clutters the whole process.

Ditto on "organic" and "freshness" a real pet peeve. :D

September 22, 2013


Very interesting perspective and a good one for the contributors to know. Thanks for writing this article.

September 22, 2013


Good to see how the buyers are thinking (Y). Useful

September 22, 2013


Thank you, You get a "useful" from me.

September 22, 2013


Thank you, thank you, thank you.

The point I've been trying to make for years.

Related image searches
Buyer related image searches