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Importance of accurate captions

Close-up picture of a keyboard from a vintage typewriter
Erik Reis / Alamy Stock Photo

Captioning and tagging your images is an essential part of getting your images on sale on Alamy (after taking and uploading the images of course). While it’s now only a requirement to have a caption and 5 tags for your images to be available for customers, it’s important that these accurately reflect the subject that is depicted within your images. This is great for customers to ensure they have the correct information for their intended usage but equally helps your images show up within relevant search results. It’s also a contractual obligation agreed between you and us – check the Alamy Contributor Contract at clause 4.10 and 5.1.

Captions are an important accompaniment to your images. They should detail who or what is in the image, what is going on and where this is happening (if relevant). Your captions should describe the image for any potential customer so they can make the decision whether or not to publish it. Not only is this relevant for live news images to ensure that the story is accurately detailed to help get the images to the right media outlets but also from a stock point of view, where customers will be looking to get images for a specific usage or to accompany a particular story or message. Relevancy and accuracy is key. Add captions naturally – avoid just listing tags and definitely avoid one word captions – awful for SEO and your search placement prospects!

With this in mind it’s important to make sure your captions are relevant to what your image is of. Incorrect names of people, places or animals can cause potential issues and there have been occasions where customers have licensed images for articles or educational texts based on the caption provided by the contributor, only to find this has been incorrect. Depending on how far along the process this is identified there can be various cost impacts. These come in the form of refunds of licenses as well additional costs for the customer in terms of reprints and secondary licencing of images to correct the error. Sometimes these costs have been passed back to the contributor if they were found to be in breach of contract.

We would recommend that you research your subjects prior to captioning to ensure that the information you provide is accurate. This will not only help your images in searches but also eliminate any potential issues down the line due to incorrect information.

Want some more advice? Read our blog on the best practice for tagging images on Alamy.

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