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There is an art to finding High Quality Stock Photos, and here’s a quick guide based around Hollywood movie figures who we believe are masters in the art of keyword search

Searching for the right image among millions of stock photos can either leave you frozen like Han Solo at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, or deliver the goods like Indiana Jones. Because the fact is, searching for High Quality Stock Photos can be a bit like the scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, where the Ark is hidden in millions of similar crates – a quick search for Ark in Google images throws up 127,000, 000.

The following list will help you find High Quality stock images every time whether its on a general search engine or a search engine designed for images such as ours. And the best stock photo isn’t some mythical beast, the King Kong of stock images. It is simply the right image, for the right job at the right time.  Bad search can be stressy, generate a poor selection of images, and is a missed opportunity to get high quality images that will make your work look great.

1. Sherlock Holmes

Imagine Holmes on a case, and his first thought is, “I’m looking for a man.” I don’t think so.  Type “Man” into Google Images and you get 10,420,000,000. Sherlock Holmes didn’t build his reputation  around vague requests for information. Holmes seems uncannily brilliant simply because of the focused analytics he brought to his search: “man, single, pipe, deerstalker hat, magnifying glass.” Aha! A Sherlock Holmes impersonator, the perfect disguise for a crime! The point is, the better clues, or search terms, you enter, the better chance of getting of getting the image you need. Elementary my dear Watson.

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2. Huggy Bear

Every good detective has someone on the inside, someone who gives them hints, steers them to what they really should be looking for. Like Huggy Bear in Starsky and Hutch, an “Urban Informer” not a snitch. As Huggy says “A snitch is the scum of the information industry”, while Search boxes are your friend on the inside. Search boxes, whether they are simple web searches or more sophisticated image search engines like ours offer hints when you type. Hints are helpful, partly because they are based on most searched terms. They give you inside knowledge. “Psst!  I know some people, who know some people, who know some people who say there’s a keyword search for best stock photos going down.”

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3. Scare Quotes/Air Quotes

Remember that episode from Friends where Joey tries to get to grips with Air Quotes? Like conversations with your friends in a bar on Friday night and you’re trying to explain how “sympathetic and understanding” the designer was when you changed the brief at the last minute and they had to work all weekend. Scare quotes around groups of words help frame and limit your search.

4. The A-Team

Otherwise known as Advanced Search, a good image library search will offer Advanced Search, which will help you refine your selection with criteria such as whether you need a black and white or colour or whether you need a landscape, vertical, square, panoramic or what subject matter or theme you need, from “Family” to “Science and Medicine.”   Think Mr T. If you don’t have time for Jibba-Jabba, call in the A-Team – Advanced Search.

5. Wayne’s World

“The movie Wayne’s World was a film about two guys obsessed with stock photos. Not!” Among their many talents, Wayne and Garth also highlighted the power of “Not”. In searching for images, “Not” is really useful for excluding terms from your search: “Hairy Rock Male” not women. No way? Wayyy!!

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We will return soon with more insight to the arts of image search. In the meantime, test out your Hollywood search skills here


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