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Tips to make your photos more discoverable

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Adding insignificant tags to your image to get the green “discoverable” bar will not help your images. It will cause them to come up in searches where your image is not wanted, and hurt your CTR.   CTR influences what page your image comes up on.  Using insignificant tags will cause them to come up in a search, but it won’t be what the buyer wants. That gives you a “view”, but no zoom or sale. That will eventually cause an image to fall back on more distant pages where they’ll seldom be seen. The buyer will most likely find what they want on the first few pages and never see yours.

Only use the tags that are important, what you actually see in the image. If the image warrants it, then concept tags are good. Such as an image of mom & baby, concept words or phrases like “mother love” “bonding”.

There are many threads that address discoverability, so I suggest you spend time reading the threads. Especially the Portfolio Critique thread.

Otherwise, at Alamy, selling your images is a marathon, not a short race. If you’ve come from microstock, throw out most of what you know about that.  You will not find immediate gratification here.   It takes a lot of images in your portfolio before you’ll begin seeing regular sales. What I mean by a lot of images, I mean a lot of different subjects. Don’t upload 6-10 of the same subject from the same shoot.

The most important thing is to shoot quality images. Captions and tags are equally important because that’s the only way your images will be found. Don’t upload a lot of similars. Pick the best two or three, maybe a horizontal and a vertical. Leave some copy space where you can.

Click on the blue numbers line under forum members’ names and see what they are shooting, check out their tags. Learn, learn.

I just took a look at your images, and clicked on the tree. Your caption, “Tree of Life” is wrong, wrong, wrong.  If it is an apple tree, your caption should be something similar to this.

Mature fruit-bearing apple tree, (name of tree here, like Delicious, or whatever it is if you know) then the scientific name, location, country. If the tree has fruit on it, include that.

Mature fruit-bearing ‘Delicious’, apple tree, (scientific name) with ripening fruit. County or state, country.

Your tags should repeat the important parts of the caption.

Delicious apple tree, (scientific name) apple tree, fruit, fruit bearing, mature apple tree, plant, plants, ripening fruit, and so on. If there is space in the sky, add copyspace, copy space. 


Edited by Betty LaRue
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Good advice from Betty ! 


Might I add that your photos look very dark on my monitor?  Bright and cheerful generally does better than dark and gloomy.  As Betty suggests, take a look at other people's pictures and at the Images found thread to see what sells.

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Good advice from Betty and Bryan. There is a worthwhile article about captions and keywords (tags) on the Alamy blog.


A caption is very different from a "title," which is the term often used on microstock sites.


Welcome and best of luck.

Edited by John Mitchell
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Betty has given you some good advice and does not need to be expanded upon.


I agree with Bryan your images do not "POP".  I am using a display calibrated 27" iMac.




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Carol... you've asked this question with just six pix uploaded, so you can quickly adopt a more literal approach to captions and keywording. Take Betty's good advice (and dispense with tags such as 'welcome to my garden', 'growing in my yard', 'summer photography', 'nature photography').


 'Picky eater' and 'sleeps all day' can go as well. Is your cat really 'in heaven'? Just curious. 😎


'Color' is 'colour' in English English, so need to add as well.


Good luck!





Edited by John Morrison
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with the cat, the most significant thing beyond cat and his color is that he's a semi-longhair.


Spend some time on All of Alamy looking at what sorts of cat-related searches come up.  Alamy has a ton of cat photos, but there are also lots of searches for cats by actions (cats fighting), color (tabby, ginger, calico).  Cats doing things (including sleeping in baskets or looking at mice) show up in searches.   There have also been searches for cats doing funny things.   I haven't had any zooms of my cat photos, though.


The more photos of something Alamy has, the better any photo of that has to be to have a chance of being licensed.   The rarer the subject in Alamy's catalog, the more some technical imperfections might be overlooked to have a photo of some precise thing, but technical excellence never hurts.


In searches, Alamy pulls single words or short phrases out of captions and tags that are multiple word phrases.  "Home fire department" search pulled up one of a cooking fire in a clay stove in Jinotega Department in Nicaragua, not a fire department responding to a house fire.   This morning I edited out "department" and shortened the caption.  Some of these will impossible to write in such a way to completely eliminate false positives, but checking searches and results on your portfolio and seeing which searches were what the customer was looking for and which were very far off is useful, too.



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Also, if it's your cat, you can write up a release and check that you have a release.  Use a property release form, and sign it as the owner and the photographer.  Then you can license for advertising. 



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9 hours ago, wiskerke said:

In AoA try searching for cat and  %cat % (mind the space between cat and %)



I've been using the % search for many moons but never thought of leaving a space ! Obvious when you think about it, but it had eluded me. Thanks Wim !

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