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Lisa Howeler / Alamy Stock Photo

Want your lunch hour back? Speed up your image searches with these top tips

So you’ve got a brief, and you’ve got an idea, but what next? There are millions of stock images out there but how are you going to find the one you need? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our top tips and expert advice.

Tip 1: Choose your words carefully

Most stock sites work differently but Alamy’s images are all keyworded by the photographers so sometimes you need to put yourself in their shoes and consider regional variations and similar words; if you’re searching for an image of a pavement you might also want to try “sidewalk” and “path”. The same works for conceptual searches; if you’re looking for “happiness” you might also want to try “love”, “happy”, “freedom” etc.

Tip 2: Narrow down your search results with filters

At Alamy, we’ve put all your advanced search options at the top and if you’ve got a favourite photographer you can even search by name or agency It’s amazing how few people use the filters when they’re searching for an image, if you’re looking for something really specific then the filters will become your best friend. You can specify everything from the number of people in the image, to their age and ethnicity which means you don’t have to trawl through thousands of images that aren’t relevant to your project. If you’re working on a creative project you could also search images from our mobile phone app Stockimo. Just prefix your search with “Stockimo” and then filter away!

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Tip 3: Using images in marketing or advertising? Make sure you’re searching for images with the right permissions

If you’re working on a marketing or advertising project you need to make sure any people or property in the images have the right permissions. There is nothing more annoying than finding a great image and then realising it doesn’t have the releases you need to use it commercially. It’s easy to keep your search safe, just tick the model and property release check boxes in the search bar. That way you know whatever image you find you can use. Not sure if you need a release? Head over to our information page to find out more about when and why they’re needed.

For more advice about searching on Alamy head over to our picture research page.