Keywording stock images with help from Tool

Keywording sucks – I hate it. But it’s so important as search engines are essentially ‘blind’, which means that even if you have a fantastic image, if you don’t keyword it properly it will get lost among the millions. Keep in mind that buyers rarely look beyond the first page. My top 5 most licensed images rank highly for competitive keywords.

So, I’ve been going back to my collection at Alamy which consists of 2,600 images and ensuring they’re keyworded to an excellent standard to improve their discoverability.


It’s a tough task and I’ve been at it for three days. Fortunately, I’m getting some help from an awesome piece of free software called, a stock photo keyword tool.

How does the tool work

Let’s suppose I have an image of Milan’s Duomo cathedral at sunset that I’m looking to keyword efficiently.


  1. Insert some general keywords. I chose “Milan, Italy, Duomo, sunset”. See screenshot below:
You’re also able to exclude negative keywords and filter by image type: ie. illustration, video, photo

2. Copy 50 keywords to clipboard

Some keywords won’t be relevant such as “autumn, dusk, building” and can easily be submitted by more relevant words such as “milan duomo, milan landmark, italy landmark”

The software gives the average of sales per asset and views per asset for the set of keywords. This is handy to see if it’s worthwhile pursuing these types of images.


4. Check tag cloud for the best and most accurate keywords. Some agencies rank keywords higher which are in the first 10. In Alamy, for example, you’re able to choose’ supertags’.


Straight from the horses’ mouth:

About this stock photo keyword tool

We built this tool to help micro stock contributors to find better keywords for their images, vector files and videos.
To do this, we have analyzed statistics and keywords of 30+ million images, vector files and videos and allow you to extract useful insights out of this database.

You can filter by file type, search for keywords and phrases and filter by sales.

For the resulting files, we show you how well these sell on average, giving you a first idea about the market.
But we don’t stop there.

We extract the most common keywords from those images, vectors and videos and gather statistics for each subset!

Want to find the most common office stock motives? Search for office and go through the keywords. They are sorted by freqency, so you’ll find the most generic stock images on top and the lower you go, the “nichier” it becomes.
You’ll also quickly find out, that the keyword “pc” sells way less than “computer” or “laptop”, something you might want to keep in mind when choosing your keywords!

Speaking of chosing keywords, you can easily select and unselect keywords by clicking on them. Once you have your collection made up, click the blue copy – button on top. You’ll see the chosen keywords ready for a last quick editing and with a second click you have them in your clipboard, ready to be inserted into your image’s metadata keyword field in the correct format.
Even the keyword order is already optimized, going from generic terms to more specific ones, based on the frequency of those keywords in the context of your search!

Check it out and let me know how you get on.

Until next time!



  1. Interesting – I need to check this out. The trouble with keywording based on existing images is that you pick up the bad with the good. Strictly speaking, the image above shouldn’t include night, dome, cupola, autumn, center, heaven? Sunrise? I don’t have an easy answer to this, but we tend to compound the keyword spam issues the more we use this type of approach. Keywording is hard – that is the real answer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, Steve. This tool is only the first step and the next step is going through each key word and either adding to it or eliminating/substituting it. One of the benefits of submitting to Midstock and boutique agencies is that they have a professional team of keyworders…no such luck at Microstock even if we’re giving them 70%+ of our commissions!


      • I did actually use this for my recent photos from Devon in England. It was pretty easy to use and removing inappropriate keywords was also simple. I wish Lightroom maintained the keyword order though! I started with a set of keywords that had some priority to it, Lightroom made them all alphabetic and then I go to Microstock Submitter to resort them and put the main keywords first! Come on Adobe – get a fix into Lightroom to keep the original keyword order!


    • Hi,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, spelling is important, although sometimes it makes sense to put in the wrongly spelled keyword (purposely) because buyers often make mistakes. For example, I had “Ian Fleming” as a keyword yesterday and also included “Flemming”.


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