4. Metadata

Monday, July 1, 2013 by KeyImageryStocks| 732 Views

After uploading, you are responsible for giving each of your images 'metadata' in the form of a title, description and search tags. These metadata fields are very important for the search algorithm and other aspects on the site, and are required. The key to good titles and descriptions is to include as many of the image's main and relevant keywords in a readable sentence or paragraph. Without accurate metadata, we can't approve your images and they will be declined.


The title should accurately reflect what is in the image or the image subject. Titles are used when ranking the relevance in searches, so having accurate titles that feature 1-3 main keywords will greatly help your image appear higher up in image searches. Trying to be clever with your titles (or using 'AAA', 'A1' or other alphanumeric tricks to try and make it first in lists) will work against you and will actually push your image further down the image search results, so don't do it. Submissions that have poor or inappropriate titles will be sent back to you for editing or may be declined.


The description should accurately describe what your image is of. Provide an overview as if you were verbally describing your image to someone who cannot see it. Include the subject(s), location, main colours, and any interesting or valuable information about the image that could be useful to the designer/buyer. Descriptions are also used when ranking the relevance in searches, so having accurate descriptions that feature at least 2-4 of your main keywords will greatly help your image appear higher up in image searches for those keywords. Submissions that have poor or inappropriate descriptions will be sent back to you for editing or may be declined.

Search Tags

In addition to adding Title and Description metadata, you are also responsible for providing a list of search tags for each of your images. Search tags are 'keywords' you feel will help designers and buyers find your image in the catalogue. Search tags, combined with Titles and Descriptions, are the most important aspect for the search algorithm and are required to sell your stock. Without proper search tag metadata, your images won't be easily be found in the catalogue, and we may decline them.

We require that you enter at least eight (8) search tags as a minimum for each of your images, but remember the more relevant tags you use, the more searches you image is likely to be show in. In saying that, loading up your keywords to appear in searches where your image isn't appropriate, will only irritate designers and buyers who want to find something specific.

Enter your search tags separating them using commas or semi-colons (e.g. apple, red, white, food, fruit etc). To help you choose your search tags, look at your image and ask yourself the following general questions:

  • What are the main items or objects in the picture?
  • What is the time of day?
  • Which season is it?
  • What is the weather like?
  • Are there people? 
  • How do they feel? 
  • What is their gender?
  • What are they doing?
  • What are their age groups?
  • Is the image isolated (no background) or have a background?
QUICK TIP Don't forget to include variations of words like "smile" and "smiling". It's common for searchers to enter "boy smile" or "smiling boy" or "boy smiles" - so please remember to put common variations of important words into your keyword list.

Search Tags to Avoid

picture, image, photo, photograph, photography, pic

Also, do not use your username, email address, company or name as keywords. Also, avoid using more than one word in a keyword and do not use sentences or strings of words (e.g. 'green field under a bright blbue sky' etc.) unless your image depicts a common cliche.

IPTC Metadata Importing

If you use a programme that can save IPTC metadata to your image files, these will be read by our system and automatically inserted in to the stock file record for you. Common programmes that have this feature include: Adobe Bridge, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, ExifTool, Corel Photopaint and Image Info Toolkit. The three IPTC fields that are read by our system are:

  • IPTC Description (maps to the description field of your stock file)
  • IPTC Keywords (maps to the search tag field of your stock file)
  • IPTC Title (maps to the title field of your stock file)