Picture: Overlooking the coastal hills and coastline between Cambria and San Simeon, Central Coast, San Luis Obispo Co., California
Those who know me and my previous experience managing a niche stock agency for a famous photographer might also know that I’ve continued to offer my services on occasional freelance photo editing and photo research gigs. To that end, whenever I find a new photo source, whether an individual photographer or stock agent, I turn on and look at the source with the ‘photo-buyer’ part of my brain. Every so often I find a great new source that has great material, good search results, and an easy to use interface. But which of those three criteria do you think I feel is most important?
When evaluating a new stock agency, either from my photographer perspective, or my photo editor / researcher perspective, the most important determining factor in whether an agency is a place I’d like to spend or invest any of my time is the quality of the search results. Good search results save you time, while bad search results cost you time. If you find good images quickly, you can deal with an awkward interface for licensing and downloads. But if you have to wade through hordes of crappy or irrelevant search returns, no slick interface is going to make you want to hang around.
I’ve got a very simple search litmus test when I show up on a new stock agency web site; California Coast. It’s broad, yet relevant to what I do with my own editorial travel photography. Some sites generate decent returns, while others, well let’s just say I found a new top loser in MyLoupe Stock Images. When I searched for California Coast, I got a few rows of weak, yet slightly relevant results. I then had to wade through pages of completely irrelevant model shots that had barely any relevance to my search. You could tell that a few had been taken near a beach, but most of the images showed nothing specifically relevant to either California or Coast. Search results like this are a complete waste of time, and if an agency can’t even get me into a close ball bark with a standard search query, I sure won’t be wasting anymore of my valuable time on their site. The simple point is when you get more relevant results on pages 5, 6, and 7, than you get on pages 1, 2, or 3, then you know you’ve got something very wrong in the system. Most professional photo buyers won’t ever get to page five if they have to wade through four pages of mostly irrelevant returns. It’s too bad, because I’ve heard some not so bad things about myLoupe from the photographer side, but as a photo buyer, they’ve already lost my business.
In comparison, look at the results from the same search at my image archive hosted by PhotoShelter. Just look at the initial percentage of image relevancy. You ask for California Coast, you pretty much get California Coast, not boxers or models doing yoga in hallways. So the next time I need to do a photo research job for a client, do you think I’ll spend my time with the PhotoShelter Search Engine, or the MyLoupe Search Engine? For me, the results speak for themselves.
Comment on this post:
Copyright info for using or linking to the pictures.