You’ve just taken a great image and you’d like to upload it to Shutterstock— Well, as outstanding as that 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.
Challenge: Adding keywords to an image is not as easy as it sounds. Too often keywords are misused or overused. Example: why add the keyword ‘sun’ to an image if the actual sun was not in the frame? Just because the image was taken outdoors, in daylight, does not mean the keyword ‘sun’ should be used (this particular example is very common). If you overuse a word in your keywording, the one image you do submit that’s actually pertinent will be harder for designers to find—in fact, they may miss it altogether.
Solution: Relevancy. It’s the most important thing to consider when assigning keywords. Adding relevant keywords will increase your image sales as well as keep our subscribers coming back for more.
Here is a list of some commonly misused keywords:
Computer: Just because you created your image on a computer does not make “computer” a relevant keyword. If your image was computer generated then use “computer generated” as a phrase in quotation marks.
Couple: Couple means two people romantically involved. There must be two people in your image for this to be a relevant keyword, and those two people must be romantically involved. An image of a parent and child, or siblings, or business partners, etc. does not count. An image of two ducks, or pens, or whatever, does not count either.
Family: This word is not relevant for a photo containing only one person. The person may be a member of your family, but it still is not relevant. This word should only be used for images containing two or more people that could be family members. A business team for example would not be relevant.
Love: Do not use this keyword for an image of a beautiful woman or a baby. There must be something directly related to love in the image, such as a heart, or a red rose (not every flower signifies love), a loving couple, someone giving a gift, etc. A mother/father with a baby is fine.
Vector: a JPG by definition is not a vector. Unless you are submitting an illustration saved as an eps you should not use this word.
Now that we told you what keywords to avoid, Part 2 of this series (in next month’s newsletter) will focus on how to use the most relevant keyword combinations to improve visibility as well as your bottom line.
Questions? If you have questions about proper keywording practices, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or seek advice from your colleagues in the Submit Forums.