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  Category: Articles » Arts & Entertainment » Photography » Article

Photographers Now Have Googlbility

By Rohn Engh

It seems to be the way of the future. Most everyone who uses the Internet is familiar with Google. They have found Google is an easy way to get specialized information quickly just by typing in a few choice search words. (We've come to call these keywords, or keyphrases.) This development has not escaped the notice of increasing numbers of photobuyers, who are using Google to locate highly specific photos that they know are not available on the trendy micro stock sites.

In the past years, photobuyers were used to putting little effort into trying to find photographs such as 'University Benemerito, Puebla, Mexico', or "Sod homes in Custer County, Nebraska". They knew in most cases it would be counter-productive for them to pursue searching for such photos, having experienced that the law of probability was not on their side. The textbooks, magazines and documentary films of the past reflect this absence of suitable photos.

It's not that the photos did not exist; -- only that a workable, time-effective method of finding them wasn't available.
The digital epoch has solved all of this. With Google search capabilities available, I see more and more photobuyers going after highly-targeted photo needs. They know chances are good they can locate a source of such a photo by matching a description of their photo need with the keywords and phrases a photographer, or a tourist department, historical society, medical school, or stock agency, may have posted on their website.

We will no doubt begin to see photobuyers digging even deeper into the Internet to find sources for the pictures they need.


In editorial photography, it's known that buyers seldom need a picture the next day (unlike ad agencies). This means that photographers who own a top-of-the line digital camera are in an excellent position to fit into the way photobuyers are electronically searching for specialized photos for their books, magazines and various periodicals. Stock photographers can use a Chamber of Commerce brochure or city website to list on their own website the local tourist highlights, public buildings, historical highlights, museums, churches, synagogues, temples, mosques, restaurants, sports arenas, schools, recreation spots, nearby lakes, rivers, mountains, and so on. This could amount to 5,000 - 6,000 words and phrases. The photographers wouldn't have to actually take the pictures; just list them on their website. Then when they get a photobuyer call for a specific photo listed, they can arrange for an assignment, or volunteer to take the picture for consideration, knowing they have a good chance to sell the photo to the buyer, or to a buyer elsewhere on the net. In this case, the photobuyer has served as a free marketing suggestion guide. (If one photobuyer wants the picture, no doubt the picture will sell multiple times in the future.)

Seasonal pictures, or certain weather conditions, might prevent the picture-taking, to be sure; however, not enough to discourage the tactic of listing picture possibilities.

For the photographer, the only effort involved would be the time spent amassing a list of keywords and phrases describing area highlights within ten to twenty miles (an afternoon trip) from the photographer's headquarters. The digital photos can be taken and delivered electronically, hi-res, if need be -overnight. Otherwise the photographer could deliver a lightbox of a dozen views for consideration.

Is this sci-fi stock photography? Ten years ago, yes. Today, Google has changed the landscape for stock photographers and photobuyers. You're at the cutting edge.

Here at PhotoSource International, back in 1999 we started a compendium of keywords for stock photographers. It holds nearly 3 million keywords and phrases. If you're not familiar with it, visit it at If you don't have a section on your own website for key words, or you don't get much traffic yet, the high-traffic PhotoSourceBANK (you receive your own PhotoSourceBANK page) could be the best place to download your text descriptions of your photos, -actual and possible.
About the Author
Rohn Engh is the best-selling author of "Sell & ReSell Your Photos" and "" He has produced a new eBook, "How to Make the Marketable Photo." For more info visit

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  Some other articles by Rohn Engh
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