Creating engaging imagery is only one part of the stock photo equation. Why spend all the time and effort producing beautiful work, only to have it buried under thousands of other images? Make your work visible by following our guidelines to keywording and get your work in front of buyers.

Use Our Auto Keywording Tool 

A great place to start is simply by uploading your content through the Adobe Stock Contributor Portal.  When you sign it, you will have the option to sync your Fotolia account.

Our automatic keywording tool is built right into the submission process to save you time and effort. Just upload our files and our algorithm will automatically generate five key words based on visually similar images in our database.

01_Contributor site auto keywording3

The autokeywording tool is based in machine learning, so the more you use and correct it, the more accurate the results will become.

Think Like a Buyer

If any of the automatic keywords are irrelevant, simply delete them, and if you feel like there are some that are missing you can manually type in additional words. Buyers already know which images they are after, so you as a contributor should aim to help the buyer find their image. Think like a buyer, if you were searching for your photo, what words would you use?

vietnamese pho with spicy sriracha sauce shot top down

vietnamese pho with spicy sriracha sauce shot top down

Keywords: pho, food, noodles, soup, vietnamese

Zoom out

Think of your image as a “zoom in”, “zoom out” movie shot, starting in with main objects/subjects, and zooming out to the rest of the frame. This technique will ensure you cover all items in the frame, breaking it up to a close-up, medium shot and a long shot.

This step should not be mixed up with the step above. Start with the most relative motives and then zoom out.

Toddler girl playing with daddy in the garden

Keywords: father, daughter, holding hands, family, park, grass, field, sunset, country

Representative & Conceptual

After you have described what you see (mentioning the most prominent motives and actions) it’s time to move on to the conceptual terms, meaning words relative to the theme, feelings or concept of the scene.


9 years old child wearing diving mask swimming in the pool, underwater shot

Keywords: Swimming, pool, underwater, goggles, bubbles, girl, splash, summer, childhood, fun, carefree, youth

Arrange Keywords in Order of Importance

Your keywords need to be inserted hierarchically, starting with the most relevant words. The most relative/important word goes first, so the first few keys words should be visible aspects of the image, followed by less important or supporting aspects. Drag the keywords to rearrange the order.

Avoid spamming

Including irrelevant keywords actually hurts your visibility on the site.

30 is plenty

The minimum number of keywords we require is 5, and the maximum is 30. Separate every word by a comma “,” for it to be recognized as a single keyword.

What not to include

  • Numbers
  • Camera or file info (ex. Canon, 4k)
  • Irrelevant words (this will result in file refusal)
  • Overly descriptive terms

Get your work seen and help customers find what they’re after to boost your sales!