Ammentorp Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Questions we are often asked about Alamy Image Manager

Since the roll out of Alamy Image Manager (AIM) at the beginning of this year lots of you have had questions whilst you’ve been getting used to the tool, so we thought it would be useful for all if we put together a blog post covering some of the commonly raised topics to help everyone learn the ins and outs of the Image Manager.


Probably the most commonly raised topic we get asked about is the new ‘discoverability’ bar which appears on all images in AIM. The discoverability bar is not in any way ‘reading’ or ‘scoring’ the quality of your metadata, it simply increases with the volume of searchable information you enter.

Searchable information includes not only captions and tags but also the ‘optional information’; number of people, property, date taken, location, primary and secondary categories.

It is not a requirement for you to add extra information here as your images are already on sale and can be seen by customers, it’s optional. Sometimes, possibly more often than not, you may have an image that doesn’t require the ‘full quota’ of tags and information and its fine to leave these without boosting discoverability further.

Abstract traffic lights on dark background
Wavebreak Media ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Importing IPTC

We can import the IPTC metadata of images when they’re uploaded to your account. If you are using Lightroom or Photoshop, the text you type in the ‘caption’ field will transfer over to the caption in AIM and the text you type into the ‘keyword’ field will be transferred over as tags.

When adding the tags into the ‘keyword’ field of the IPTC, all words or phrases separated by a comma will be imported as a separate tag. There is a limit of 50 ‘tags’ per image.

We also receive a lot of queries regarding the location field and whether or not the location is imported from the IPTC of an image. The answer is, if there is GPS information embedded in an image, this will be imported as a location to the location field in Alamy Image Manager.

However if there is not GPS data embedded, and you have typed a location into the IPTC this will not be imported as a location in Image Manager.

The Importance of hitting ‘clear selection’

Different methods of selecting images were tested across a wide range of users, including testing where we filmed testers and recorded the screen actions.

The version that has made it to this release gave the best results across the board. With “standard” user interface behaviour for selecting images in place, users were continuously deselecting images accidentally. This became frustrating when working across large batches or multiple submissions. Therefore the “clear selection” button was added and the selection method we have in place today was introduced.

When adding captions and tags to images you need to make sure you are clearing your selected image or group of images before moving on to the next. If you don’t, all the tags typed will be added to all images in the selection including any previously being worked on. This can cause images to have incorrect tags and captions added.

After you have added information to the images, you need to save and then either click on the images to unselect them or hit ‘clear selection’ at the top of the screen before moving onto the next image.

If in doubt, you can see how many images you are working on at a time above the discoverability bar in AIM. You need to make sure this is ‘0’ before selecting different images to edit. For more details information and help on how to tag your images, have a read of this blog post.

Copying and Pasting

You can copy and paste tags onto images if you have them saved in an excel sheet or word document but you cannot copy and paste tags from one image to another.

If you are wanting to copy and paste tags from a document, all words or phrases separated by a comma will be imported as a separate tag.

There is no need to copy and paste the tags from existing images in AIM, you can simply make them common. To make tags common simply select an old image with the desired tags, and select all images you would like to also have these tags.

Any “common” tags between them will show as dark and tags which are only assigned to some of the images in the selection will appear to be greyed out.

All you need to do is click on any grey ones you would like to become “common”, they will then become dark and be assigned to all images within the selection.

There is a useful section in this help video which covers “common” tags.

Using AIM on a mobile or tablet

Alamy Image Manager no longer requires Adobe Flash Player to work which mean you will be able to use it on mobile phone and tablet devices.

However, it was not specifically designed and built as a mobile site so there may be display issues if you are trying to use Alamy Image Manager to edit images on your phone or tablet.

We would suggest you log into a desktop or laptop to use the tool at its full capacity.

Woman using tablet in coffee shop with vintage tone.
thodsapol thongdeekhieo / Alamy Stock Photo


What are categories used for? Which category should my image go under? Why is XYZ not a category? – These are just a few of the many questions we receive surrounding the primary and secondary category field you will find in Alamy Image Manager.

When it comes to which categories you should choose for your images, you are best placed to make that decision as you know your images a lot more than we do.

At the moment, the categories are not searchable and do not link to the categories on the Alamy website. This may change in the future and they may be used to link customers to specific collections so we would recommend adding them.

We hope this has been useful but if you still have any questions about how Alamy Image Manager works then there are a few more places you can look:

Instructions: Alamy Image Manager instruction manual PDF
Blog: Best tagging practice on Alamy
Blog: Introducing the Alamy Image Manager
Help video: Overview help video for Alamy Image Manager

Or you could contact us by emailing contributors@alamy.com.

Corin Jones

With almost a decade's experience as a lifestyle-documentary photographer, Corin loves meeting new people and capturing precious moments in their life so that they can live on in permanence as a picture. Her eye for authenticity and beauty in the little things (literally sometimes – she does birth shoots) means she finds photogenic scenes in the everyday.

Read more from Corin