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Author Topic: Going independent - practical and technical issues  (Read 6765 times)

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« on: December 01, 2011, 14:47 »
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Myself and another IS member would much appreciate the advice of this community. We have these initial questions about how best to prepare our portfolios for potential independence.

As far as we can work out it seems best to prep everything to a set of common standards. These are the questions we have so far:

Quote
Obviously you'd need to prep your files according to the lowest common factor, e.g. if some major agency accepts only 30 keywords, then you wouldn't want to stick more than that in your exifs.

1. What's the colourspace used by indies, sRGB, AdobeRGB? Reasons?

2. What's the keyword limit?

3. What's the safe limit for image titles and image descriptions?

4. Do other agencies have completely dumb search engines, i.e. is it necessary to insert various forms of the same keyword e.g. "running, runs, ran" and "apple, apples"?

Any advice appreciated. Lets keep this one friendly.


microstockphoto.co.uk

« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2011, 14:59 »
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1. I use sRGB just because it's the default setting in my camera. Don't actually know which is better, sorry.

2. Some sites have a max limit at 50. Some a min at 10. Between 10 and 50 is usually safe. Some sites have problems importing special characters, so it's better to avoid stressed chars and weird signs. One site (Photodune) don't accept numbers.

3. Min 5 words for most sites. Min 7 for BigStock (except through the Shutterstock bridge). Some sites truncate long titles and captions, but it's a very high limit (I can't remember exactly) that you usually don't need to worry about.
Since different sites import different IPTC fields as title (probably in violation of IPTC specification), it's better to repeat the same title as Caption writer, Headline and Object name, just to be sure it is being imported everywhere.

For Editorial, Shutterstock has very strict caption requirements, which are usually accepted by all other sites as well.
I made a little tool for editorial captioning here, by the way: http://www.microstockgroup.com/software-general/editorial-caption-tool

4. Shutterstock automatically removes plurals and verb variations, supposedly because they have a smart engine which finds all variations. Other sites accept all, and some have smart search engines, some not. So it's better to add some variations in my opinion. No other site besides IS has a controlled vocabulary - thankfully - so it's useful to add BrE / AmE variations as well (colour/color, lift/elevator, pavement/sidewalk, _ise/_ize and so on...)

>As far as we can work out it seems best to prep everything to a set of common standards.

Absolutely. Search rules are constantly changing - but you probably already know since you are coming from IS - so it's useless to tweak keywords for any specific site imo.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2011, 15:41 by microstockphoto.co.uk »

« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2011, 15:04 »
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Fotolia's search prioritizes the first seven keywords, so make sure you add the most important keywords first.

« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2011, 15:08 »
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In practice, I do not worry about limiting the number of keywords or the length of the description, I never seem to exceed the limits, except at Dreamstime, which has a limit of 50 characters for the description, as I recall.

Also I only include plurals, tenses, etc of keywords at Dreamstime. (Shutterstock's system will automatically edit out forms of words when you submit, so you don't have to edit them out especially for SS.)

I always assume that all site's search engines will use descriptions and titles.

I do vectors and I export JPGs in the default RGB from Illustrator.

All in all, I for one do not make any site-to-site adjustments for title, description, or keywords other than those I have mentioned and what Karimala said about the order of words at FT. Good luck!

« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2011, 15:09 »
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Fotolia's search prioritizes the first seven keywords, so make sure you add the most important keywords first.

I don't think it actually does. I know FT once said so in an instruction but it is obvious from the order of the search results that really it makes no difference.

« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2011, 15:19 »
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Thanks, stockpuppet. I'll be following this with interest.

lagereek

« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2011, 15:22 »
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I always work in Adobe-RGB, in-camera and in PS, always shoot in Raw, convert and then set parameters in PS. Thats me. No search engine can be worse the the IS-search, its CV, is a down and out catastrophy,  has always been.

« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2011, 15:31 »
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Thanks for the helpful replies so far.

I always work in Adobe-RGB, in-camera and in PS, always shoot in Raw, convert and then set parameters in PS.

Do you upload Adobe RGB ?

« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2011, 15:58 »
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I only uploaded Adobe RGB (my default color space) while I was exclusive. For the 4 years prior and since leaving, I convert to sRGB for upload and everywhere gets that, even iStock.

I don't think any site other than iStock (but I'm 99.9% certain that even if some others do, not all do) correctly handles generating sRGB previews from AdobeRGB uploads, even when your upload has an embedded profile (which it should).

While I was exclusive, thankfully not for the whole time, I fell into the foolish practice of using iStock CV terms in my keywording, so phrases like Residential Structure that no human would ever enter in a search, found themselves in my keywords instead of house, home, residence, etc.

I'm assuming all your keywords are in your files, not in Deep Meta.

I would keep phrases - such as New England, New Hampshire, outboard motor - which some sites (e.g. Shutterstock) support but others (e.g. Dreamstime) don't. However I would make sure that I have the stem words where applicable too - picnic basket, picnic, basket for example.

50 keywords is a max many places and the minimums are as low as 7, I believe.

Big Stock has a foolish 7 word minimum on Titles and descriptions, but I just deal with that ad hoc on the few occasions the only sensible title is too short rather than putting the "stuffing" into my file. What's in the file is there for the long haul, make that sensible and deal with site foibles (if you even bother uploading to BigStock; it's not performing all that well for me) when you need to. I think DT has a 5 word minimum.

PhotoDune won't allow numeric keywords. Some of the sites won't allow combinations they consider potentially dangerous - sexy and child for example - so if you do nudes or sexually explicit images you may need to edit.

lagereek

« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2011, 16:23 »
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Thanks for the helpful replies so far.

I always work in Adobe-RGB, in-camera and in PS, always shoot in Raw, convert and then set parameters in PS.

Do you upload Adobe RGB ?

Yep!  uploading in Adobe-RGB, same as IS, they will convert thumbnails into s-rgb.

lisafx

« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2011, 16:40 »
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In addition to the excellent advice above, I would add that searches on some sites, like Dreamstime, and possibly others, give strong weight to the words in the title and description, so make sure those are descriptive of the image. 

I've noticed that Fotolia's search engine seems to require both singular and plurals to be in the keywords (man, men, people, person, etc.) It doesn't even assume the "s" (dog, dogs).   I only recently discovered this, and had been keywording just the singular of everything.  Although I am not going to rekeyword 7k images there, I am bearing this in mind when I upload new images. 

I also upload everything in sRGB. 

Best of luck if you decide to go independent.  Sorry it's come to this for so many folks. 

« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2011, 16:49 »
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Hi, I am a former iStock exclusive who left in October last year.  Since then I have been blogging on my experiences, with full earnings disclosure.  I have touched upon a few of the issues highlighted above too.  Here is the link in case it is of any use to you, best of luck whatever you decide to do:

http://stockcube-stockcube.blogspot.com/

« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2011, 15:28 »
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Veer has a controlled vocabulary.  I think Canstock has a 40 character limit to titles.

Add "cutout" to all your images on an isolated background as some sites treat it as a synonym to "isolated" and Veer might reject an image with "isolated" other than to mean "remote".

« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2011, 16:38 »
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...and Veer might reject an image with "isolated" other than to mean "remote".

There are tens of thousands of isolated images on Veer with the isolated keyword

« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2011, 16:59 »
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...and Veer might reject an image with "isolated" other than to mean "remote".

There are tens of thousands of isolated images on Veer with the isolated keyword

--------------------------------------
I've had more then one image rejected with instructions to remove the keyword "isolated" and resubmit with "cutout".  I think there is a thread in their forum about keywording that mentions this.

RacePhoto

« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2011, 04:28 »
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I just cut the part in question: "Since different sites import different IPTC fields as title (probably in violation of IPTC specification), it's better to repeat the same title as Caption writer, Headline and Object name, just to be sure it is being imported everywhere."

Caption Writer?
Headline?

Can anyone explain this? I don't know any site that I submit to that reads anything except Object Name = (Document Title in some editors), Caption = (Description in some editors)  and Keywords. I put in the Copyright (Copyright Notice) just in case.

SS will question numbers like dates in keywords, but you can just hit OK when it questions the spelling and they are included in the Keywords.

SS will strip out plurals with an alert, but as others have noted, some sites don't, so it doesn't hurt to leave them in.

SS Appears to only import Caption, I don't see Origin/Title anyplace? So this makes Caption more important for me as I concentrate on SS as my primary site now.

« Reply #16 on: December 03, 2011, 15:01 »
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I always assume that all site's search engines will use descriptions and titles.


some sites use only the title, some use NEITHER title nor desc in searches, so i always make sure keywords includes all possible tags


« Reply #17 on: December 03, 2011, 17:07 »
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I always assume that all site's search engines will use descriptions and titles.


some sites use only the title, some use NEITHER title nor desc in searches, so i always make sure keywords includes all possible tags
Of course, no sites reveal the details of exactly what their searches use and how they are weighted. My point was only that there is no downside to packing your title and description with your best keywords.

« Reply #18 on: September 27, 2012, 04:04 »
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I know this is an old topic, but was just wondering if most of the agencies now accept adobe RGB?
Just asking because i have a whole batch of files where i forgot to convert the files to sRGB and am thinking of just uploading them as they are??

Wim

« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2012, 04:20 »
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I know this is an old topic, but was just wondering if most of the agencies now accept adobe RGB?
Just asking because i have a whole batch of files where i forgot to convert the files to sRGB and am thinking of just uploading them as they are??

As far as I know they have always accepted aRGB, thing is, and I have this with all my older uploads, that they will look flat (less saturated/darker) because the thumbs on site are displayed in sRGB.
So if you want your work to look at it's best I suggest you upload in sRGB.

Hope that helps mate.

« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2012, 04:38 »
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I know this is an old topic, but was just wondering if most of the agencies now accept adobe RGB?
Just asking because i have a whole batch of files where i forgot to convert the files to sRGB and am thinking of just uploading them as they are??

As far as I know they have always accepted aRGB, thing is, and I have this with all my older uploads, that they will look flat (less saturated/darker) because the thumbs on site are displayed in sRGB.
So if you want your work to look at it's best I suggest you upload in sRGB.

Hope that helps mate.

Thanks for the info!
Guess i will convert the images. Isn't that much work anyways. Just thought that if it works well, that i would in future maybe upload all images in aRGB. But i guess that wouldn't be too clever, since the way the thumbs look, is one of the most important things!

« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2012, 04:48 »
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To my knowledge it doesnt really matter if you upload in adobe rgb or srgb, the thumbs are automatically transformed into srgb.


 

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