Keywording your own images

I am here on Dreamstime for almost three years. I very much enjoy the challenge. Getting a picture accepted and making a sale still excites me, although I have a few hundred of each. I am not a professional photographer and I do not live out of what I earn from DT so I am not doing a strict cost performance analysis of all this activity. It is more a hobby that also brings in some money which is nice. Part of this microstock activity is to come up with keywords for your photos. I know many people hate it, some even delegate it to the Keymasters.

My experience with this is the opposite. Coming up with a good set of keywords is also a challenge, a different challenge than taking a good shot but a challenge in its own. It is also educational for me personally. I am using wikipedia to look up information, also using the web to find out the name of a plant, a flower, a wild animal, research a historical building and more. I want to tell everybody that my English writing skills improved since I am doing this. (English is not my first language as you may have guessed by now.)

So my advice to other photographers in similar situation like me:


Do not give up on this good opportunity to improve your language skills, your general knowledge and your web searching skills (which are important for many other activities you may do). Do your own keywording and invest some time to do a quality job. As the author of the photo you have a lot more info to work with than the Keymasters.

Photo credits: Gavril Margittai.

Your article must be written in English

May 29, 2010


I agree, but sometimes a professional advice is very useful!

May 28, 2010


I understand the importance of keywording but is a challenge (torture) to me, for example how do I get enough keywords for a picture of a flying Mallard?
thanks for the advices, very usefull!

May 28, 2010


good point. keywording is kind of pain, but useful.

May 28, 2010


Gavril, I totally agree with you! Good advise!

May 28, 2010


I couldn't agree more! Keywording is a challenge and a learning esperience in its own right. I find it helps me to express more concisely what an image means. I often take pictures of things that attract me visually - for example old buildings - but which I know nothing about. Web searching to find out more about a subject has increased my knowledge in many areas that I wouldn't otherwise have reason to investigate. That in itself is worth the effort.

May 28, 2010


Well said - I enjoy keywording my images and like you use the web to research subjects I don't know much about, so I get some education as well as enjoyment!

Keywording sometimes helps me identify those images that I really should not submit as they do not have sufficient stock potential. If I can't identify what someone would use the shot for, it's unlikey potential buyers will be interested in it!

May 28, 2010


Thank you for your suggestion.

May 27, 2010


Good advise! I agree with you but it depends on the time you can spend on uploading! Good luck :)

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