Tips for buyers...
I usually write blogs for the benefit of other photographers, but here is one for the buyers :) Basically, in trying to find my own images and how they rank in the results I've learned a few tricks to find things.
2. Categories. The admins have stated that lots of searches start from a category search, and why not - it gets rid of a lot of images that don't apply but happen to have matching keywords (i.e. get rid of the 'big apple' when searching for fruit!). To use this first click on the 'Categories' tab, if it isn't already selected. Next, choose one of the major category selections, like 'Nature'. That will immediately give you the results for 'Nature' as a category. Next, you can further refine it with a subcategory like 'fruits and vegetables', or type a keyword like 'apple' in the search box and be sure to also check the 'within category' option. As contributors we get pretty familiar with what subcategories are where, but you may want to acquaint yourself with what falls under what major heading so you don't miss anything.
3. Content filter. The content filter controls whether or not you see mature subject matter like nudes. Just don't forget you have it on if you suddenly need something that doesn't pass the filter.
5. Among favorites. A close cousin to #4 is the ability to search within those people whom you have added as a favorite. This one requires expanding the advanced search features, and is called 'among my favorites'. I'd love it if buyers would pick me, of course, but it is a great option if you find there are certain people whose work you enjoy or have bought from before. I use it to find images among other contributors before I look everywhere in hopes I'll find what I need from people I know, but I see buyers using it to get quality images from people they've used before. To add someone as a favorite you'll need to click on their name to get to their profile page, or mark a blog from them as useful (pick me, pick me!).
6. RF/Editorial. You may not even have realized it, but by default you search both commercial and editorial images at once. If you can't use editorial for your commercial project it is wise to uncheck that option before you even get started. Or vice verse for a newspaper buyer. A blogger has the option to use either, I suppose.
7. Exclude. This is a great option in a any search engine I use. When you do a search and realize that you hit upon one of the many words in English that have double meaning, you can usually come up with a way to get rid of one of them. Say you are looking for 'apple' and get New York (the big apple) as well. Just jump into the advanced search options and add 'York' as an excluded keyword.
8. Exclusive. I'm exclusive, as are many here. The Exclusive option is a great way to filter down to images you'll only see here. Especially useful, in my opinion, for someone who uses two sites or has already searched elsewhere in vain.
10. Image properties. There are a lot more features, like the ability to search on color, megapixel, or format of the image (square, panoramic, etc.)
11. The model properties advanced feature is handy to search for images with more than one person, a certain ethnicity, or age.
Well, that is all I have for now :) Happy searching!
Photo credits: Brad Calkins.