Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Finding Digital Stock Photos Online

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010

How to Find the Digital Stock Photos You Want with the Quality You Need
Because there are millions of photos on the Web today, it's important to know how to search for digital stock photos. You could spend hours, or even days, searching for the right photo! Being specific is the key.

Narrow Your Photo Search

Narrow your photo search specifically for what you need. For example, if you need a photo of a woman smiling and sitting by a computer, you can type any of the phrases below (or variations of these) into a stock photo search box or a general search engine to locate the right image:

Phrase One: stock photo of woman sitting by computer smiling
Phrase Two: stock picture of woman sitting by computer smiling
Phrase Three: stock photo of woman smiling by computer
Phrase Four: buy photo of woman sitting by computer smiling
Or, you can add the word "photosource" to your description if you're using a general search engine such as Google to find stock photos.
Here's an example:
medical doctor taking patient's temperature photosource
The more specific you are the better. Through a stock agency site, photographers are encouraged to add as many specific keywords or key phrases as possible.
This benefits you because it saves time and effort when performing a search. Key phrases (as shown above) are usually better than a simple keyword because they enable you to enter as many details as possible about the photo you need.
Consider these Search Possibilities:
*Color of clothes (i.e. stock photo of woman in blue shirt sitting by computer smiling)
*Location of photo (i.e. stock photo of man flying a kite on a beach in Miami)
*Lifestyle photos (i.e. stock photo of teenage girl sitting on couch reading a magazine)
*Scenery or landscapes (i.e. stock photo of mountain scene with cows and red barn)
*Animal photos (i.e. stock photo of Siamese cat with kittens)
*Color or Black and White (i.e. black and white stock photo of man flying a kite on a beach)
These are just a few ways you can narrow your search to speed up the process.
Finding Top Quality Stock Images
Stock agencies often require top quality for all their images, but if you're searching for a stock photo through a general search engine, you might want to specify the quality along with your description of the photo to narrow your search.
Here's an example:
If you're searching for a stock image for your magazine cover, use the following type of phrase in your search.
stock photo of baby wearing a pamper laughing 300 dpi

stock photo of baby wearing a pamper laughing high resolution
If you're searching for a stock image for your Web site, use a phrase similar to the one below.
stock photo of baby wearing a pamper laughing 72 dpi
A photo that's 300 dpi and high in megapixels (such as 5, 6 or 10 megapixels) works great for printed projects in magazines, brochures, book covers and corporate newsletters. The dpi can be lower for Web use, however. So, the quality and size needed will depend on how you'll be using your stock photo.
Remember to be as specific as possible when performing your stock photo search.

Include quality and details about the images you need and you should be able to locate the stock photos you need online without wasting hours of your valuable time searching.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
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