Keywording is the KEY to Selling Success on Stock Agencies

KEYWORDING…in my opinion is tedious HELL!! It’s time consuming and not an easy task when you are facing a batch of 100s of photos. For me, this is the final step in my image uploading workflow process – keywording, titling and adding descriptions. Unfortunately, for others, this vital step is an afterthought. However, the truth is this; it is not only just as important as capturing the perfect shot, it is actually by far the most important aspect in order for you to reach the ultimate goal: MAKING CASH!!

You’ve spent money to travel to a specific location, you believe you have just taken a great image and you’d like to upload it to your agencies for sale — Well, as outstanding as your image may be, it WILL NOT SELL without the proper keywords. High image quality and good keyword practice go hand-in-hand when trying to market your images successfully.

I cannot overstate the importance of keywording accurately and precisely! Think of this post as a reminder on just how important adding keywords to your beautiful images is – a very powerful tool in your arsenal to sell the images you have worked so hard to create. You deserve to make money selling images and keywords are the KEY (pun very much intended) to making money in stock photography.

That said, please keep the following in mind:

DO NOT KEYWORD SPAM. Agencies are conducting more audits, more frequently to ensure that buyers do not need to wade through irrelevant results before finding the images they need.

I understand that you want the broadest reach possible, but including irrelevant or even semi-related words still constitutes spamming. A photo of a honey bee should not have the keyword fly, for example.

This is particularly true with locations. If you have a photo of the Denver skyline, don’t keyword “New York.” The image description/title should also be accurate.

For example, if your image title is “Denver Skyline” and you’ve included the keywords New York, San Francisco, etc., this is NOT ACCEPTABLE! If you do this, the following may happen:

  • You will be audited.
  • You will be warned.
  • Your images may be deleted.
  • Your account could be closed.

Keyword spamming multiple locations or using the title field incorrectly not only hurts your sales, but your fellow submitters’ sales as well. How is this possible? One frustrated customer searching for the “Denver Skyline” will go to another source for imagery if they see false (inaccurate) search results.

Please, do not keyword spam. Image buyers want accuracy, it’s a bad practice all the way around. Using Adobe Lightroom has made the tedious HELL of keywording and titling somewhat bearable. You can now spend the time and effort to keyword your images ONCE and upload to all of your sales channels with ease. Many agencies are really cracking down on the keywording of images, remember to tread lightly here, you don’t want to get kicked off an agency and lose your ability to make money with your images.

Think Accuracy!

Say you have a photo of a German Shepherd pup. Dog, canine, and puppy are all fine as keywords. Even better are “German Shepherd” (as a phrase) and Alsatian. Not acceptable: poodle, wolf, cat.

Make sense?

Be the Buyer

Pretend you are a customer looking for something specific. Make a long list of keywords that could pertain to your image. Then, edit. Narrow the list down, being careful to trim what you consider to be on the outer reaches of relevance.

Simplicity is Key

While many buyers may use conceptual keywords such as nightmare, freedom, and economy, make sure your conceptual keywords are applicable, not random. If you have a photo of a man with his mouth wide open, then it’s okay to keyword both yawn and scream. It is not okay to keyword loud.

GOOD KEYWORDS SELL! Think of it as a hand-in-hand duty with your image creation. A postal worker who can collect mail but not deliver it would not be working for very long. Think of keywording with image creation in a similar manner and you will improve the selling power of your images.

Need Help Becoming a Keyword Master?

I know, I know, sounds like I hate keywording and I will be honest, I DO! But I also know that part of my success is due to spending the time and energy to create good, relevant and ACCURATE keywords for my images. This Saturday, May 13, 2017 from 9:00am to 1:00pm, I am hosting a STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY: Keywording and Lightroom Workflow for Stock Agencies at the Lone Tree Colorado Civic Center. I still have spots left for this class, so if you are interested in learning more about keywording, come join us! I do a lot of sharing about lessons I have learned in the past 7 years of selling my images on stock agencies! Click the link to be taken to the registration page to reserve your spot. STOCK PHOTOGRAPHY: Keywording and Lightroom Workflow for Stock Agencies. Hope to see you there!

Cheers from behind the camera AND computer,

Teri V.

PS. Can’t attend this class? I am available for private, one-on-one sessions!

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