iStock Secret Search Tips

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.

Seeking Perfection

foomcdoo— iStockphoto UX Design Manager:

Why settle for an image that’s just alright when there’s an easy way to find one that’s perfect?

Let’s say you’re looking for your yearly Santa Claus image and you come across a cute photo of a little girl writing her wish list. It really wasn’t what you had planned for, but you’re feeling it much more than the Santa shot.

But it’s still not quite right… if only the little girl were looking up, then it would be perfect. Simply click on "Find Similar Files" below the photo on the details page. Is there something even better out there?

Yes! There’s one where she’s looking up and there are some other nice executions that you might be interested in as well. I hope this tip helps you find everything on your wish list this holiday season and all year long!


The Price of Creativity

KingCash (member name)— Director, eCommerce:

We know how it is: Sometimes your project budget allows you to use super artistic, high-production images from collections such as Vetta and Agency; 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. So start by simply narrowing your results by price— just select your preferred price range by moving the Price Range slider on the left hand side of the page. One dot represents our lowest priced files; four dots will bring you to the higher-end stuff. You can use the slider to select a specific price level or you can set a range of prices to search within.

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 delicious, decadent desserts you’ve ever seen— at exactly the price you want to pay!

Color Search

jenniferhogan— User Experience Designer:

The color search is actually very useful. Especially when you're in need of an image that fits a color theme. Not only can you pick your color from the color picker 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 picker and click "Apply".

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

The Keys to Keywords

troydangerous— iStockphoto 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. It may take time to get used to all the extra results. However, fewer next page clicks definitely makes searching much quicker.

Feeling lucky? I know I am. 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— iStockphoto 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 Sort by when I’m looking for the best files based on rating or number of downloads. And it works both ways— whether I’m looking for something unique or something popular this points me in the right direction."

Narrow your focus

keywords — iStockphoto Search Data Manager:

"Searching a single conceptual word like 'Business' or 'Happiness' returns an overwhelming number of results. Focus your search with additional keywords."

Keyword: Happiness — 1338483 results and counting...

"Our one-word search returns a huge number of results. We have something specific we're looking for. So let's refine with more keywords."

Keywords: Happiness + Couple + Sailing — 200 results.

"Using more precise keywords gives us a much more manageable set of results to choose from."

Enter your additional keywords in the "Narrow Your Results" field on the left. See how 'Search Results' total on the right drops with each additional keyword.

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