What Stock Photos Are Most Frequently Used By Customers?

Posted on 11/3/2017 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (0)

The GDUSA Survey of graphic designers provides a list of subjects in greatest demand by image buyers. The top 25 listed appear in more or less the following order. I searched the five major stock photo distributors – Getty Images, Shutterstock, AdobeStock, iStock and Alamy – to determine the number of images returned when each keyword is used.

  Getty Shutterstock Adobe Stock iStock Alamy
People 8,547,498 25,347,000 11,369,371 16,292,617 15,120,239
People, Ethnic 4,759,070 1,202,783 167,631 8,076,846 457,996
People, Multicultural 434,903 44,421 21,928 445,974 33,904
Business 1,407,496 21,536,651 11,640,602 6,264,438 6,174,436
Industry 543,723 5,962,092 2,385,864 3,321,691 2,213,097
Concepts 14,530,747 25,314,404 11,065,946 42,759,189 5,426,153
Ideas 473,633 5,931,927 3,710,522 2,364,137 452,470
Technology 1,225,999 11,996,512 5,833,560 5,251,205 3,411,551
Computers 517,100 6,582,181 3,366,612 1,889,215 2,195,805
Lifestyle 2,455,515 11,046,284 7,056,730 7,758,165 4,269,654
Health 1,300,981 10,237,587 6,377,826 5,574,047 3,096,535
Wellness 271,295 1,923,341 1,108,598 740,887 494,454
Ethnic 4,870,743 3,054,357 729,206 9,117,902 827,196
Multicultural 436,678 61,314 35,403 456,428 69,015
Family 763,179 3,355,427 2,251,471 1,765,597 2,418,125
Nature 5,765,148 43,057,887 17,298,537 16,426,219 12,337,655
Food 1,726,378 19,504,737 12,004,578 11,839,665 6,641,905
Arts 329,254 27,323,021 8,579,807 2,495,683 2,612,678
Culture 2,192,693 6,691,469 2,773,847 7,376,315 4,812,734
Entertainment 615,279 3,028,873 991,610 3,612,511 3,203,061
Education 334,902 4,304,695 2,589,380 1,466,534 1,674,572
Holidays 2,433,578 15,037,506 8,113,519 9,922,922 1,496,090
Sports 1,048,651 6,128,574 3,613,949 3,357,425 6,553,454
Fitness 970,742 2,845,058 1,633,984 4,231,397 1,019,761
Animals 2,475,081 8,482,544 4,415,968 7,044,209 2,175,370
Pets 337,584 2,364,051 1,322,623 958,611 421,529
Travel 4,487,481 16,764,042 8,019,248 8,057,798 12,591,012
Retail 233,411 1,824,939 847,004 717,529 714,052
Architecture 2,546,963 10,095,960 4,924,711 4,183,276 7,836,025
Baby 263,828 2,863,478 1,779,296 739,537 1,225,266
Children 1,578,940 5,642,332 4,231,670 3,083,556 1,871,973
Beauty 4,225,991 39,489,894 10,235,352 11,885,089 4,663,315
Fashion 461,268 13,824,011 6,009,847 4,039,587 3,709,261
Transportation 1,950,417 4,469,838 1,620,843 4,546,440 1,755,351
Religion 744,455 2,930,422 1,512,321 1,756,224 2,327,693
Miilitary 67,975 824,991 334,215 244,146 1,333,824
Interior 5,017,804 5,147,727 2,147,274 6,966,685 2,404,215
Hospitality 128,865 70,800 33,886 827,443 69,215
Hotel 117,194 1,354,004 603,652 413,036 2,366,085

Obviously, all these distributors have many more images in every category than any customer will ever have time to review. Most customers will not review more than 500 thumbnails – in rare cases up to 1,000 – before revising their search, or going elsewhere.

Distributors try to use algorithms to bring the most appropriate images for each customer to the top of the search, but if you do a search for most of these subjects there is a question as to how effective these algorithms really are.

Of course, with each of these broad category words, customers will add additional words to narrow their searches. Even then, the customers are likely to get many more returns than they will have time to review.

It would be very helpful to contributors if distributors would isolate the searches which include each of these primary words and then make available to contributors a database of all the other words that were use along with these primary words in the search string.

For example, take the word “Business.” Look at every search string that includes the word business. Then create a database of all the other words included in any of the strings where business is one of the keywords. List these other words in the order of frequency they are used.

Then photographers planning a business shoot could search this database for business and get an idea of the factors that should be included in images that relate to business. This would make it easier for photographers to focus on producing images that customers want to buy, help them use their shooting time more efficiently, and probably generate more sales for the distributor.

The same strategy would work for all the other categories. It would also be helpful if the photographers were given information as to the number of times each of these other words were used, but if the distributors don’t want to expose that information just knowing the words used would be extremely helpful.

Such information would also help contributors do a better job of keywording their images and make it easier for customers to find appropriate images.

It would seem the industry does not need more images of any of these categories. However, the industry may need more of what customers are actually trying to find.

Related Stories

Also check out these stories for ways to get higher prices for at least some of the images we’re licensing.

Does Adding To Image Collections Automatically Grow Revenue?

Promoting Images That Have Been Licensed

Why Would Customers Pay Higher Prices?

Multi-Tier Pricing Model

Pricing Stock Photos

Copyright © 2017 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 www.selling-stock.com, 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: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


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