Tag Archives: stock images

10 Suggestions for Better Keywording

Having the correct and most relevant keywords associated with your files will not only get them in front of the most interested visitors but will improve your ranking in our new search engine. Here are 10 suggestions you can think about when keywording your images.

1. You only need between ten to fifteen (5-15) keywords. Twenty-five (25) is the most. More descriptive keywords means better search results, bringing in more users, which means more sales for your images at higher prices then other sites. We would rather have fewer files that have better keywords than more files with plenty of irrelevant keywords.

2. Keywords need to be separated by a comma or semi colon when you submit them with your images. Compound phrases need to be separated by a space and then surround by commas. You can remove any quotation marks.

3. You can add ONE SET of location tags. Avoid using locations as tags unless there is something in the photo that makes its location recognizable. Don’t use Kennebunkport, Maine for an image of a seagull in the blue sky.

4. Remove all the keywords that are obviously not in the images. Make them as specific as possible to what is in the image. Remove keywords that could be tangentially related, but aren’t really illustrated well by the photo. i.e. picture of an airport runway and using the keyword “pilot.”

5. Take a few of the choice words and make them far better by turning them into a phrase. If it is a popular saying use the whole phrase.

6. Don’t “stretch” your tags into irrelevancy, in order to generate more hits for an image. This can be very frustrating for our users, who tend to search literally.

7. Figures of speech, nicknames, slang and metaphors can create a ton of problems in a search engine. Please don’t use them. The reviewers will add them in if necessary.

8. Catch Phrases and Proper Names — Don’t Break Them Up with a comma. If you have a keyword that is either a very common set of two words, or is a proper name, enter it without a comma. The search engine has the ability to recognize many phrases that operate as a common term but contain more than one word, such as “hard drive,” “hot dog,” or “White House.” Just enter the compound phrase like you see in the previous sentence and don’t use a comma to separate those two words. It also recognizes the names of many public and historical figures.

9. You do not need to type in ‘car, cars’ to cover the singular and plural versions of a noun. Type in only the one that is more accurate for your photo. If there is only one car, type in “car.” Your image will come up in a search for both car and cars, but it will be ranked higher if the plurality matches what the buyer searched for. If there are multiple cars in your image you can write car and cars.

10. Be as literal as possible. Describe just what is in the images.

Other decision factors:

* Does your image have people in it? If yes, then describe the people specifically. Use keywords to explain gender and age.

* Is there a color that is predominant? Only use colors if this is important to the image. An image of a red hat on top of a woman should not have the keyword “red” but could have “red hat”. If the image is a “pink flower” use the compound phrase “pink flower” with a space and no comma and NOT “pink, flower”.

* What objects are prominently included in the picture – ONLY use key subjects of the picture, not items in the background. Don’t list insignificant details. Think about if you did a keyword search for a keyword you have included in your keyword set, would you want to get that specific image in your results. If it is maybe then think real hard about adding it because it may turn off buyers who don’t want or weren’t expecting that results.

* Are you using a special angle or other technical points worth mentioning? Panoramic, low angle etc.

COVER. EVERY. ANGLE.

It’s hard to know how to take that shot that will sell over and over again. We get a lot of similar images uploaded to us at Cutcaster. After reviewing one particularly large batch of similar images where it appeared as if the photographer just stepped back one foot for each shot while moving his camera slightly to the left, we almost had a photo reviewer jump out the window after she ran out of hair to pull out ;-)

Then, I stumbled across a great post at Photoshelter titled, ”How to make a photo editor fall in love with you” and a few things really stood out for me. Nice work PS.

One in particular was from Roberto De Luna, a Photo Editor at Time Out New York, who said, “A photographer that understands that I need verticals, horizontals, and SILO options stands a great chance of winning me over.”

This is the thought process that will help every photographer get into the mindset of his end user/buyer and something that needs to be thought about before you submit photos to a photo editor who has hired you or send to Cutcaster.

Cutcaster has always stressed the importance of editing images before submitting them to us so that the quality of the selection you upload is the highest possible. For example, if you are going to submit a series of images from the same shoot, it is best to submit a portrait, a landscape, a SILO option if appropriate and an obscure/conceptual angle from each subject area/shoot to reduce redundancy and vastly improve the user experience and visual quality of results when a buyer performs a search. Supplying too many similar images will be off-putting to clients and result in less sales because buyers won’t use our site to buy your images.

So it is wise to choose the images you upload carefully and not submit too many similars. Think, as you are shooting, what a buyer will need and be able to use. Plan it out beforehand and improvise as you are shooting. Try to shoot exactly what you planned out or was asked of you by a photo editor, and then shoot it from every angle possible. Up, down, from above, view from below, wide, close, inside and out, horizontal and vertical.  If you plan it out and can capture all that then your images will sell and show your buyers how hard you work.

What is a comp image and does Cutcaster offer them?

A ‘comp’ (short for complimentary) is a free, low-resolution, watermarked version of Cutcasters’ images. Buyers will generally download comps to evaluate an image’s suitability in a particular creative project or to evaluate varying page designs.

‘Comps’ may also be used by photo researchers or photo buyers who are doing research or purchasing images for a third party and need to seek this party’s approval of the image(s) prior to purchasing. Comp images may not be incorporated into any finished products.

To download a comp, you must first login to Cutcaster and then the download will be moved to your desktop.

Cutcaster’s Photo Pricing Algorithm – How to price stock photography?

Ever wonder how much one of your photos or illustrations is worth? What you should charge for a great stock photo? Should the price of a stock photography license change depending on the image or buyer? If you charge too much will that scare away all the photo buyers?

Outside of a stock photography agency telling you what they are going to charge their photo buyers for a stock photo license or a buyer telling you directly what they want to pay, it’s hard to know what to charge for a stock photo. You can look at your costs, the uniqueness of the image or how the stock image will be used and come up with a some idea for what to charge. There are also some photo pricing tools for stock photography out there but most you have to pay for or, worse, are outdated.

So Cutcaster introduced it’s ‘photo pricing algorithm‘ and ‘bidding for content‘ features to help sellers use get the most revenue in return per image and buyers find the best deals for stock photography. The pricing algorithm and bidding for photos feature are the cornerstones of Cutcaster’s dynamic content marketplace which provide sellers total control over how much they want to charge for a license to use one of their stock images. Below we will explain how the Cutcaster Pricing Algorithm works.

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What is the Cutcaster Pricing Algorithm?

Cutcaster’s proprietary pricing algorithm maximizes your content’s earning potential by changing it’s price to match the demand in the marketplace. The revolutionary pricing algorithm is the first of it’s kind in the stock photography industry. The more demand for your stock image, the more you should be paid for it.  The algorithm is based on image metadata, search variables surrounding your content and how your file stacks up against similar content in the Cutcaster marketplace so we can understand better what the buyers are willing to pay and how to price the content in the future.

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How does the photo pricing algorithm add dollars to my bottom line?

Just like how the price of a company’s stock on an global stock exchange is set through the interaction of buyers and sellers, we wanted to create a similar marketplace for a piece of digital content.  If the price moves too high and nobody buys or views your content, well, the price will come down. If there is a high level of demand for your content, the price will move up and you as the seller should be able to capture a higher price for it.  What the algorithm accomplishes for you is the automation of this process across your entire inventory of content. So with very little effort, you can feel confident that your work is being sold at the right price and you are getting the most return per image.  If the price is set to high, well that is where the buyer can bid on content and show you what price they are willing to pay. At Cutcaster, we want our content contributors to spend their energy being creative.

three options

How does it work?

It’s actually pretty simple.  You have the option to set your own start price and let the algorithm work its magic from that price.  To set the start price you may want to look at your costs regarding the production of the photo, how it has sold in the past, the uniqueness of the image or how the stock image will be used (in Cutcaster’s case it is royalty free) and come up with a some idea for where you want to start the photo’s price. From that price the algorithm will go to work. Alternatively, you can use the algorithm default starting price, which will look at the image’s metadata, the keywords, the description, similar content in our marketplace and other pertinent information to get a fair start price. Once the file is approved by our editors and released into the Cutcaster marketplace, the price will fluctuate depending on the demand for that particular image.

The formula is flexible and will/can be modified. Feel free to let us know if you think there’s room for improvement or other variables we should consider when evaluating your prices.

Top ten things you can do to promote your stock photography and vector portfolio and get more sales

Top 10 things you can do to get more views, improve your sales and promote your stock photography and vector portfolio.

1. Take the time to properly keyword your photos and clipart with concise and descriptive words. Use scientific names or exact locations if relevant. In addition, use descriptive titles and unique descriptions for each file. Try not to just cut and paste the metadata. This helps buyers and search engines locate each photo you have in your portfolio.

2. Link to your Cutcaster portfolio from your website, your blog or your email signature on outgoing emails. Create a concise email signature that will be attached to all your outgoing emails and have links to your portfolio in it. Adding a signature to your username is also smart to do if you post in forums or message boards. These links are valuable tools for people to find your photos.

For example, if we used our Cutcaster demo account, we would want to link to this URL. http://www.cutcaster.com/studio/pub/874219924

3. When linking to your portfolio try using anchor text links like “stock photography” or “download photos.” Wikipedia says,
“The anchor text, link label or link title is the visible, clickable text in a hyperlink. The words contained in the anchor text can determine the ranking that the page will receive by search engines.” This will help Google and other search engines know that your studio link is related to whatever text you use in your anchor link.

For example, if we used our Cutcaster demo account, we would want to link to this URL. http://www.cutcaster.com/studio/pub/874219924 using the anchor text ” Royalty Free Stock Photos

4. Join our Photography Referral Program and use your referral links to send photo buyers and photo sellers to your photography portfolio to find extra ways to make money while you promote your work.

5. Use the Portfolio “Share” button to add your portfolio and photography to social networks that you belong to. Just click on the “Share” button on your studio page or any page that has an image that you like at Cutcaster and add it to the list of social networks.

6. Submit your portfolio studio and lightbox links to Google. This helps Google find your portfolio and index your content faster. You should submit your unique Cutcaster portfolio link that you can find on your studio page to the the major search engines. In Cutcaster’s case we would submit, http://www.cutcaster.com/studio/pub/874219924.

Here is the address to submit those links. http://www.google.com/addurl/

7. Submit your Cutcaster studio page to photography and vector related portfolio sites, directories and forums. You can do Google searches to find the best directories or look at our Photography resource page for good sites to promote your artwork.

8. Create specific photography lightboxes that highlight images around a topic that you know photo buyers are interested in. For example you might want to create a lightbox that relates to Christmas photos and clipart or New Years’ photos with 20 or more of your best photos in it. Or create one that is for Sports photography or Food lightbox related. It is up to you. You can submit these lightboxes to search engines and also send them directly to friends, family and best of all photo buyers.

9. Do your research and create great photos. Look at the information agencies provide you to know what buyers are looking for and where there are under-served, niche markets you can target. Check out what photo agencies are looking for or what is requested by photo buyers in things like ProjectRequest.

10. Use http://search.twitter.com to find out what photos, images or clipart people are searching for or having a hard time finding. Try simple searches like “stock photos” “stock photography” or “find image” and play around with the keywords to find different conversations and searches people are having. Find the buyers and talk to them about what they want and then create it for them. If you have what they are looking for, you can then direct them to your Cutcaster studio page so they can buy it.

Marketing and Sales Update

Our new email system is in place and working to spread the word but as always we need your help. If you haven’t been using your referral codes and banners to get extra cash, take a look at how the referral program works and start to invite your co-workers and friends to join us. In addition, you can help spread the word by talking about us on forums, email list-serves, using the “share this” button on your studio page or media details page and adding your studio to the major search engines.

On that note….

We are aggressively expanding our buyers list through a number of channels. I make about 20-30 phone calls a day to introduce Cutcaster and learn about how companies are licensing your content. Like I said before it’s a grueling and long process but I see it paying dividends and sales are improving month over month. I realize that not everyone is making sales at this moment so please stay patient as we grow ;-) The addition of corporate accounts and Cutcaster credits will offer buyers another two ways to purchase content from us that work seamlessly in their licensing workflow. I am really excited about the Corporate accounts for large image buyers. In addition, we have been dropping press releases, sending out email blasts to publishers, advertisers and graphic designers, joined two affiliate networks, created coupons and discount codes for buyers to use, optimized our site and blog even more, started buying keywords on major search engines, started advertising in publications that are best for reaching our demographic, going to trade shows for image buyers and doing in office meetings/demos with potential customers.

As always things are happening behind the scenes that would bore you but I hope this sheds light onto what we have been doing to keep ourselves busy and moving successfully forward. If you ever want to talk to me personally my email is john AT cutcaster DOT com or my cell is 215-688-2751. I am free to help at any time ;-)

How to use Cutcaster Credits?

Buying credits to purchase images and illustrations at Cutcaster gives you one more way to download and manage your desired files at a discount. When a user has available credits in their Cutcaster Credit account, they are able to control their budget and immediately download images or vectors from the site without having to checkout everytime. It’s two simple clicks.

On the user’s MyCart page, if the user clicks on the checkout button it will go directly to the usual checkout page where they have two options to pay. The first option is “pay-as-you-go,” which allows you to download any of the content on the site using any major credit card. The second option is buying credits in bulk and then using them. If, however, the users Available Credits are less than the Total Amount of the items in their cart, they can use a credit card to purchase the files or more credits to use. But if the user’s Available Credits are greater than the Total amount, the users can choose between using their Cutcaster Available Credits or just use their credit card.

If you are interested in using your purchased credits with a Cutcaster Corporate Account that will allow you to manage multiple sub-users, allocate credits to each sub-user and have access to customizable analytics, see this comparison of the different purchasing options at Cutcaster or email webmaster@cutcaster.com.