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Effective image searching starts here!
Freelance picture editor Anna-Lena Ståhl on how to find images
"A quick search on 'woman' can lead to anything from 100,000 to 5.8 million hits at various image agencies. Is it any wonder that we picture searchers suffer dejection sometimes?
Even with my long experience (20 years!), I still do not always find what I'm looking for quickly enough. So how can people like you, who do not have this as a full time job, find the right image? Well, there are some tricks. Tricks that I now will offer you in terms of the image seeker's six commandments."
1) Thou shalt take picture searches seriously

In the unimaginable amount of information we face daily, pictures can help us to read and assess whether a particular text is worth our precious time. You should not look too quickly for a fill picture, but you should remember that the image is your most powerful weapon for calling attention to your message.

The picture's role today is monumental, so let's accept it and don't forget that fact when you sit and wade through stock photography and feel like giving up. It is worth spending time to find the right image, and you actually need to allow it to take some time. It's time well spent!

2) Thou shalt organize your thoughts

Before you start looking for a picture, you should be clear about what exactly you are looking for. I mean really be clear. Form a structure of the motive or emotion you want to convey. Then weave those thoughts into the target audience you want to reach, and which images will increase attention value or credibility.

In general, images of people are a good choice in order to capture the interest of the recipient. If you are free to choose, the eyes find landscape format pictures more pleasing. These images envelop the viewer instead of making the eye zig-zag from the top down - as in a portrait format picture.

Our eyes are also attracted by geometric shapes. Look for pictures that you yourself like - surely, you can often find a geometric shape or connection in an image? A diagonal, a circle?

Another classic approach is to never let the headline and picture illustrate the same thing. Let them contrast slightly and the brain is activated and works to attempt to understand the context.

3) Thou shalt give the search engine a chance to show you great pictures

The most common mistake we as image seekers make is that we forget one very important step in the process. The step where you convert concepts into symbols. Your task is thus to transform concepts into symbols and words that you can actually search for.

Few - if any - of the search engines in this industry will, in fact, give you a good result on words such as availability, reduced exclusion or citizen participation. You need to determine what it is you need to illustrate and what it means for you. Citizen participation might be a picture of street life in a city, a portrait of a happy person (who is a happy citizen participating) or something completely different, but make sure you translate what you want to find into simple symbols and words.

It is the words that will make it easier to find the image you're looking for.

Another way to help the search engine is to not over specify what you are looking for. If you do not get a hit on "women dog sledding Alaska", back up and look at more general terms such as "female dog winter USA". Use the greatest common denominator instead of giving too many details if you do not get a satisfying result the first time.

4)Thou shalt identify every image agency's specialty

No matter what they say, there is no image agency that specializes in everything. It will save you time and frustration if you know where to find certain types of images. Why not contact picture agencies and ask them what kind of pictures they specialize in? You have no idea how much time that simple question can save you.

If I may take the opportunity to provide additional advice here, I want to encourage you to use images that speak the same language as the people you are trying to reach. You certainly don't like dubbed advertising, so apply the same mindset to images. If you feel that the image does not feel natural, your readers will feel the same way.

5) Thou shalt memorize the good keywords that simplify your life

If you, like myself, search for pictures at Johnér periodically, I would like to share with you my experience:

When I want to be inspired, I click on the link "new images" on the front page or I search for "conceptual" to be inspired by images that are not easily defined by common search terms.

Useful keywords at Johnér are:

Copy Space - images that have space for text.

Eye contact - when I want pictures of people looking at the camera.

No people - when I do not want to include people in the pictures.

Natural models - However, a word of caution. Remember that your target group might want to identify with someone who is a few years younger than they are, and be with people who look a little better than what they might in real life so do not fear naturally stylish models. Not over styled but natural.

Scenic - beautiful nature views and settings.

Still life - beautiful still life in various subjects such as nature, gardening, interior design.

Ethnicity and/or diversity - good words to find people of different nationalities.

6) Thou shalt ask for help

Any image agency worth its salt wants nothing more than to help you when you are stuck searching for an image. Imagine yourself being allowed to use everything you know about something and to help someone else to a fantastic result instead of something mediocre.

So let's agree not to clench your fist in your pocket in anger, instead, call the image agency next time you get stuck. I promise, they will help you. No one knows their archives better than the people working there!


By Anna-Lena Ståhl, freelance Picture Editor, Ink Republic AB
NEW IN Mind your own business!
Or the other way around! Don't mind your own business because we have brand new business life images from Nixon Johansen Cáceres that we definitely do not think you should miss, even though the holidays are approaching.
Business life - new in!
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Tip - Save time using the "save one usage"!
Do you think it is cumbersome and time consuming to input usage, time periods and editions for pictures when ordering?
If you often choose the same or similar sets of usages, you can save and reuse them for all your orders!

When you calculate the price on the first image you can choose to save the usage by a name of your choosing. When you calculate the price next time just select the saved usage and you won't have to enter everything again.

You can have as many different usage applications as you want. Your last usage is always stored automatically, without you having to think about it.
Download a decorative and practical screensaver!
We wish you a happy summer with our screensaver that has now been updated with beautiful holiday photos.

Besides being an inspiring, rotating sample of our latest images, it also keeps track of the date and time for you. Decorative and practical, all in one. And the images are updated on a regular basis.

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