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You can have the best photos in the world, but if stock photo buyers can’t find them, it won’t matter how good they are.

Consider this: The primary way photo buyers find photos is through keywords they type into a search bar on a stock site.

So how do stock photos get labeled with these search terms?

The answer is: You!

When you upload your photos for sale in stock sites, YOU add keywords so that potential buyers can find them.

At first, it may not be obvious what words to use. Here’s how to figure that out…

Let’s start with this beautiful stock photo by my friend, photographer Sarah Ehlen:

stock photo with keyword grapefruit

When you’re coming up with keywords, it helps to think like a buyer. If you were searching for an image like this, what words would you use?

Keywords should include:

  • Both broad and specific search terms related to your shot. Ex. “Grapefruit” = specific and “Citrus” = broad.
  • The who, where, and what of your photo.
  • Any relevant concepts your photo represents. (The example above could illustrate nutrition and health concepts.)
  • Any mood or emotion your photo communicates.

Here are appropriate keywords for this photo:

above, blood orange, breakfast, circles, citrus, cleanse, closeup, colorful, design, food, fresh, fruit, geometric, grapefruit, half, healthy, ingredients, juicy, natural, nutritious, orange, organic, overhead, part, pattern, piece, raw, red, rind, ripe, round, row, shape, similar, snack, sour, summer, sweet, table, tabletop, tart, vibrant, vitamin C, vivid

Without keywords, your images would never see the light of day so you want to make sure you’re covering all the angles.

You can add keywords one by one for each photo when you upload to each of your stock sites, but there is a better, more efficient way. Stay tuned for the best way to keyword your images next week!

[Editor’s Note: Learn more about getting started selling your photos online in stock agencies – no matter how much or little photography experience you have – in the Breakfast Stock Club e-newsletter. It’s once a week, and it’s free to join, here.]

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