Keywords make the best Word Game

Thank You

For someone very new to the nuts and bolts of photography I have found the Dreamstime community both welcoming and inspirational. I sense the joy that each contributor has in sharing revelations, their Perfect Shot, and their joy in the process. Thank you for sharing. While I would love to sell a lot of photos, I find that by watching the number of views the photos get, I can enjoy myself, too. I figure that by focusing on getting the images seen more, the sales will be more likely to follow. Right?

Strategically Anticipate Keywords … think like ‘the mystery purchaser’

It seems to me that with 72 million + photos to offer, Dreamstime’s software algorithm has to be pretty sophisticated. So if I’m trying to get my ‘Fish fall from water coming out of a pipe’ photo to stand out from a few thousand (?) other fish photos, the key to whittling down the hits is to 1) create a more unusual, literal title, and 2) brainstorm strategically anticipated keywords.

Fish fall from water coming out of a pipe

Keywords make the best ‘Word Game’

Brainstorming keywords feels like playing a word game to me – relaxing! To ensure I don’t miss any of the best terms, I’ve generated a checklist. I exhaust each step on paper first, then cross out, add to, and edit before I enter the list online. … I only get 80 terms!

My Keyword Brainstorming Checklist

1)Think plainly and (pardon me, but) ‘like a 5 year-old’

‘Animal’, ‘water’, ‘pipe’ (then follow up with ‘fish’, ‘gravity’, or ‘fish hatchery’).

2)Who would find themselves there and why?

Is the photo in a national park (government agencies); are there particular wildlife; what is the climate; what human and animal habitats (urban, rural, populated, unpopulated); vacationing activities (tourism, fishing, scenic enjoyment); job descriptions for industry personnel (fish tagging, fish release).

3)Potential applications/reasons to purchase

Documentaries or instructional videos (infrastructure, hydrodynamics, fluids, biology); equipment advertisement (fishing poles, boats, PVC, radio transmitters for tagging fish fry, elbows or terms specific to sport fishing); government agency poster (laws, seasonal dates); articles, publications, book covers.

4)Current events (local/regional/global)

Salmon are spawning naturally again in the Elwha River in Olympic National Park, Washington State as two dams were recently demolished.


Country, state, national park or forest name, regions or regional direction (SW, NE), county, town, bridge or highway name.

6)History and Cultures

American Indian tribes and lands; the Dutch settling New York City; the year of a local event associated with the photo location; an associated president.


Process terms, equipment, Latin names of flora and fauna, geologic time periods.

8)Finally, don’t forget colloquial phrases … feelings that the image elicits … terms associated with religion/spirituality …

Travesty! My 80 keywords are used up!

Thank You

Getting photographs viewed can only help sales. Creating unusual, applicable, and creative tags seems to help in having my photos show up in searches that I would not necessarily have thought they should. Now I just have to work on learning white balance, F-Stop, ISO … I’m sure I’ll continue to find wonderful suggestions through Dreamstime. To all of you who post and share, Thank you, and enjoy that thrill of finding your Perfect Shot!

Photo credits: Heather McArdle.

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Great blog, thanks for sharing.

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