Keywording Changes At Getty/iStock

Posted on 12/21/2016 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

iStock photographers may want to use downtime over the Christmas and New Year holidays to prepare and upload images that are in the photographer’s queue for their eventual upload to iStock.
The Unification of the upload system for both the Getty Images and iStock sites is now scheduled to go into effect on February 1, 2017. (Update: After we posted this update Getty Images sent a notice that the existing upload portal at will be shut down on January 8th. After that the new ESP platform with new rules will be made available on January 9th. It is unclear if this date also applies to iStock, or if the February 1st date is still good for iStock.)

There are plans to change the keyword vocabulary for both sites over to the Getty vocabulary, which might mean that after that time the keywords the photographer submits may no longer be included in the list of words attached to the image. It is still not 100% certain how this change will be implemented.

It is unclear whether the new keyword vocabulary will only be used in connection to new images added after Febuary 1st, or whether they will be added to all iStock images in the existing collection. More importantly, it is unclear whether some of the words that photographers attach to mages submitted after February 1st will be deleted because they are not part of the Getty’s standard keyword vocabulary.

Some photographers who have been submitting images to both Getty and iStock say that Getty’s system is fine with generic words, but it often leaves out certain unique words that customers might use to focus their searches. These photographers tend to think that the chances that their image will be found are better when all the keywords they add are included in the keyword list, rather than a limited subset of those words. In addition, it may be very difficult and time consuming to go back and check each image to see what important words might have been left out, and to add those words.

Given the pace at which all collections are growing a limited selection of words will return more and more images with each search. When that happens a smaller and smaller percentage may actually be viewed by the customer. If there are a limited number of words customers may use when searching it may reduced that chances that a photographer’s images might be found.

For more about Getty Unification check out these stories:

Copyright © 2016 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-461-7627, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to:  


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