Searching, enhanced

We've revolutionized the way you search for visuals by allowing you to be more expressive in your searches with longer queries, and returning relevant and compelling visuals. Our guide below will teach you all of the ins and outs of how to get the most out of your search.
Start your search
Start your search
  • Sign in to get started.
  • Describe the visuals you need and our enhanced search technology can deliver results for longer and more natural requests. To learn more, see our enhanced search section below.
  • Select from photos, videos, vectors, and illustrations to refine your search by visual type.
  • Share or save visuals you find in your searches to Boards that you can easily manage.
  • Another way to start your search is to use our powerful Search by Image/Video tool to upload a photo and find visually similar visuals.
Use enhanced search to get enhanced results
Use enhanced search to get enhanced results
Uncover more relevant visuals with our enhanced search, which is on by default. Our innovative AI machine learning models allow you to use more descriptive and natural phrasing in your searches. This means you'll get a large number of relevant results for nearly any query, so you can get to the right photo, video, or illustration for your project faster.

Enhanced search goes beyond the limits of traditional keyword matching technology, so a descriptive query like "small red cabin on top of a snowy mountain" returns thousands of results. With enhanced search off, the same query would return almost no results.

In the instances where you're looking for hyper‑specific results, such as a specific animal or plant species, it may be beneficial to toggle enhanced search off by activating "Exact keyword match" in the refine panel or by clicking "Turn off enhanced search" just above your search results.

The top image shows the default state with enhanced search on while the bottom shows results with enhanced search off.

Reverse Image and Video Search tools

Need help getting started? The Reverse Image/Video Search tools are a great way to translate the inspiration you've seen online into something authentically yours.
Find your ideal image with Reverse Image Search
Thanks to Reverse Image Search technology, our Search by Image feature lets you search using a reference image instead of keywords. By analyzing the visual of your uploaded image, our tool quickly finds similar stock images to fulfill your creative vision.
Get the perfect stock video with Reverse Video Search
With our Search by Video feature, you can utilize Reverse Video Search technology to find stock videos without relying on keywords. By analyzing the visual and composition of your uploaded reference clip, our tool swiftly identifies and presents similar stock footage to meet your needs.

Find the curated, data‑driven visuals you need

Explore the latest visual trends and curated imagery from iStock.
Show diversity, authentically
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Get real data with VisualGPS Insights
Leverage search trend data and visual insights that resonate, inspire, and drive customer action with VisualGPS Insights.


Understanding royalty‑free images and video clips
Discover the power of royalty‑free visuals and unlock limitless possibilities for your projects and products. Confused about licensing? Let us guide you.
Enhance your projects with iStock Plugins
No matter the size of your project, our collection of free plugins is here to elevate your workflow with unparalleled speed and efficiency.
Learn from the pros with the iStock Blog
With posts compiled by our team and contributors, understanding the ins and outs of content strategy has never been easier.
Learn more about the visuals on this page here.