Keywording - becoming a buyer

Despite knowing there are plenty of articles already published on this topic, in DT, I just couldn't stop myself from sharing a few points. In my last blog article I wrote this: "If your keywords are not relevant enough your wonderful portfolio is not going to work up to your expectation." Also the same applies on category selection as well.

Now it is very easy to repeat these words in various forms but the real issue is how to do it? Well, it depends to a large extent on the flexibility of your mind. Not very easy as it sounds, because you have to forget you are a contributor while typing keywords. Rather become a buyer.

Let's take an image of mine:

This was my first image to be sold under a W-EL license. When I was uploading it, I was really confused regarding who might be interested to buy the image of a bunch of keys? Real estate? Banking and finance? Career and Success? Security? There were so many target buyers, yet three categories available.

I know that it is not only I who might be dealing with such images that have plenty of scopes and applicability. The best way is to do a little search and find which categories are in more demand. That is, images under which categories are greater in number and sell more than others? Once this sorting is done. You have two choices left. Either pick up the best three or the bottom three.

Why best three? -Simply because there is some assurance that a greater number of images sell well in such categories. And therefore, there is a probability that yours would sell well too. But there is a risk of facing a huge number of contenders and getting lost under the huge bulk of similar images.

In this case you can grab the bottom three categories which are less visited by buyers. However, since there is a fewer number of contenders, there is a greater chance that your images would get viewed, and even sold, if liked by the buyer.

Let's come back to my image. Here I have chosen three categories: Security, Isolated, Home related. I tried my best to keep them as versatile as possible, so as to grab a huge section of buyers. Once the categories are done, key-wording becomes an easier job. Now become a buyer who is looking for an image that relates to SECURITY - the first category. Which keywords would you use if you were looking for images that relate to SECURITY? Try them and find how many existing images are already listed under those keywords? This way you can pick up each category, pose to be a buyer, and find more appropriate keywords.

You can also add more keywords that don't belong to the three categories if they are already in your mind. There is no harm in trying and adding as many keywords as possible. Also remember that all buyers are not strong in English. While searching for an image they won't be using complex terms. So, it is always safe to be simple and specific.

I am not trying to say that there is some relation between keywords and categories. I just tried to suggest a way of adding more successful keywords by using the "Categories" as a useful tool. This worked for me. I hope they would work for you too. Have a good luck with your sales.

Photo credits: Nectar3d.

Your article must be written in English

August 24, 2010



"this is the grey area of stock photography" - Well said.

August 24, 2010


Thanks for sharing your article.

From reading this and other forums this is the grey area of stock photography. Some people say that fewer more relevant keywords is best while for others add as many keywords as you can.

You have made some good points and I will be trying them and see how I get on.

Best wishes and I hope you have many sales in the future.

August 24, 2010


@ Mariaam and smartview27

Thanks and best wishes to you too.

August 24, 2010


@ Davulcu

"the less is more usually , when you add really correct ones." Exactly that's what I too meant to say. And I just shared what I experienced to be a way to create more "correct" keywords. To me "correct" means "successful" or "appropriate". And what I added is, there is no harm if you add some more once the correct ones are done.

However, my stress was not on more or less keywords, it rather was on more successful keywording.

August 24, 2010



"The time you spend picking the best categories could be spent in improving keywording"

I think my article was entirely misinterpreted. The article was not on improving categories. In fact it was not about "categories" section at all. All I meant here is how to improve keywording or find more successful and appropriate keywords using "categories" as an important tool.

Sorry if I was unable to explain well in my article. But I never mentioned anywhere that choosing categories is a key to success. Neither this article was based on "category searches." So, What you have spoken with several agencies might be true, but I was not discussing on that issue. And I do agree with you on that point where you said that improving keywording is an important matter. In fact this article was based on that aspect only.

Second thing is, perhaps you did not notice, I don't take pictures. I am a graphic artist. And all my works are graphics only. No pictures.

Third point is, I am not here to compel everyone to think and do what I did. I just shared what I experienced and got success. Please read the last sentence of my article, I think the points of my article would be clear to you.

August 24, 2010


Dont mind the keywords too much ... the less is more usually , when you add really correct ones.

August 24, 2010


I do not believe that choosing categories are a key to success. I have spoken with several agencies and most have claimed that only a fraction of sales are due to category searches. The time you spend picking the best categories could be spent in improving keywording or taking other pictures.

August 24, 2010


Thanks for this interesting article! Good luck in sales ;)

August 23, 2010


Thanks. Good luck to you too!

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