iStock secret search tips

By iStock

Learn how to get the most out of iStock’s search engine with this series of tips from our insider designers. We'll focus on using our filters, sort options and other advanced features to help you quickly narrow a large set of results down to the specific files relevant to your project.

Color and CopySpace™

Jenniferhogan — user experience designer:

The color search can be very useful when you're in need of an image that fits a color theme. Not only can you pick your color from the color selector tool, but if you have a specific hex value you can type it in.

If you're looking for an image that falls within a certain color profile, select your color from the color selector and click "Apply."

Choose the CopySpace feature if you have a specific section of the image in mind where you want to add text. This allows you to search for images that have empty space for copy exactly where you want it. Just highlight the 3x3 CopySpace grid where your text will appear and then click "Apply."

The keys to keywords

Troydangerous — iStock designer:

Time is money, right? So if you’re a designer with a giant monitor, take advantage of your visual real estate and change "Per Page" from 50 to 200, at the bottom of the search results page. It may take time to get used to all the extra results, however, fewer next-page clicks definitely makes searching much quicker.

I like to start searches simple. Enter 1 or 2 general keywords for your search and see what comes up on the first page. Totally not what you had in mind? Try a synonym as a keyword. For example, try "retro" instead "old school." Once the page results are going in the right direction, narrow your results even further by adding more keywords in the left column.

Oh no! Did you add too many keywords? Remember you can always remove keywords from your Current Search by hitting the teal X. Happy hunting!

Filters are your friends

sheendoogles — iStock art director:

Filters are my friends. For instance, once I know the shape of the banner I need to create, this filter saves me tons of time eliminating the ones I won’t have any use for. Major time saver!

Focusing on attributes helps me get really specific, fast. For example, why waste time combing through skylines when I need an image of people on a farm?

I love the sorting options at the top of the search results page. I use Fresh Match all the time to see the latest images on a concept or theme, and Newest is great when I’m searching with really specific keywords. Best Match gives me the most relevant imagery, regardless of age or popularity, and Most Popular can be doubly handy — whether I’m looking for something unique or something popular, it points me in the right direction.

The price of creativity

KingCash — director of eCommerce:

We know that sometimes your project budget allows you to use super artistic, high-production images like those in the Vetta® collection, but other times your budget is a little more limited. Either way, you can use our price filter to narrow down your range of options and get to that happy zone where cost marries creativity.

By default, your search results will contain files from every price range. To narrow your results by price, just move the Price Range slider on the left hand side of the page to your preferred range. The results will narrow or expand to match your selection.

Why not combine the price filter with our other search tips to really find what you want. For example, you can start a photos-only search for “dessert,” then specify the color and select the two lowest price ranges.

The result? The most deliciously decadent desserts you’ve ever seen — at exactly the price you want to pay.

Not a member?Join