But Who's Counting?
Adobe Stock just recently broke through the 200-million asset ceiling in our collection. This number continues to grow exponentially each month. As a photographer and Adobe Stock contributor, I'm proud to be part of that ever-increasing collection of high-quality content.
Let's face it, though; a significant collection of fresh, new assets doesn't mean much if you can't find what you're looking for - and find it quickly. A critical factor in design projects - whether it's for a client or for a class project - is the time spent finding or creating the assets for that project.
In my time as a Solutions Consultant for Adobe Stock, one of the many things I've learned is that our stock service does things differently. We are heavily investing in the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (we call it Adobe Sensei) to efficiently assist customers in their search for the right asset. And while this is great, it does mean a change in muscle memory, compared to how one might have searched for content on other stock sites.
Image, left: ID# 196886913
Finding What You Want
This article will identify the various ways you can speed up your search for the perfect image, using Adobe Stock. We'll look at each of the following:
- Curated Collections
- Visual Search
- Undiscovered Content
- Standard Content vs Premium and Video
- Aesthetic Filters
- Copy Space and Isolation Filters
- Conceptual and Real Life Keywords
- Find Similar Content
- Contributor Portfolios
- Boolean Searches
- Editorial Content
Image, right: ID# 192865923
Are you ready? Let's go!
Not sure where to start? You'll see Curated Collections on the main page of every asset category:
- Images - https://stock.adobe.com/images
- Video - https://stock.adobe.com/video
- Templates - https://stock.adobe.com/templates
- 3D - https://stock.adobe.com/3d-assets
- Premium - https://stock.adobe.com/premium
- Editorial - https://stock.adobe.com/editorial
Our dedicated, highly-trained curators are continuously adding new collections to the Adobe Stock web site, including popular, seasonal, trending, and lifestyle content for easy browsing and inspiration.
Main image ID#: 116671774
Sometimes, keywords just aren't enough. Maybe you've seen an image online somewhere - heck, maybe you even took a photo yourself - and wished you could find something just like it that you could use in an upcoming design or campaign without worrying about copyright or model releases.
You can use that image to perform a Visual Search! This allows you to find content that is visually similar to your image or video footage.
You have three options to initiate the search:
- Drag and drop an image into the search bar from your desktop
- Select the camera icon attached to the search bar button to browse for and upload your image file.
- Click and drag an image from existing Adobe Stock search results.
Finding Images from Other Sources
Whether you start your search with a Visual Search or with keywords, you can apply additional keywords or filters to further refine your results.
Pro-Tip 1: Changing the sort by to Relevance is a great way to find something you’ve already seen somewhere else and want to find on our site.
Pro-Tip 2: Changing the sort by to Featured returns results that are new, fresh and on-trend with your existing search.
Main image ID# 58913545
The Filter Panel is Your Friend
By default, the Filter panel on the left side of the Stock website is hidden. After your first search, click on the View Panel button or the Filters icon to expand the panel. A lot of your options for finding the right image quickly are in this panel. I'll point out many of these options in this article.
Standard Content vs Premium and Video
If you want to limit your search to lower cost or single-credit assets, you can apply the Standard Content filter. Standard Content represents a large majority of the assets on Adobe Stock, so there will be a lot of content to choose from.
All other assets, including Premium collection images and HD/4K videos, are accessible with the Premium and Video filter option.
Pro Tip: Reduce the "cheese" factor in your image search results, and get more "non-stock-like" content in a standard image search by first limiting the search to Premium image content. Find an image you like in the Premium content and use it as the subject of a visual search, and then switch to Standard content.
Main image ID#: 212352434
Sensei’s Aesthetic & Content Filters
Adobe’s decades of experience in creativity and data science gave rise to Adobe’s artificial intelligence (AI), the Sensei neural network. Sensei is interwoven throughout Adobe tools, from creative desktop and cloud tools and services, to document processing and our digital marketing services.
In Adobe Stock, Sensei goes far beyond keywords, examining millions of images at the pixel level, to learn about the content and intent of the visual image itself, enabling it to make spot-on recommendations when you search for assets. Aesthetic and content filters use Adobe Sensei to empower your search based on an image’s aesthetic characteristics, such as focus and color or image content.
The Stock search team works closely with the Sensei team on research projects that often end up becoming new tools for customers over time.
A challenge with microstock can be feeling confident your image choices are unique. Enabling the Undiscovered Content filter could help you quickly find the right image and one that no one else has licensed through Adobe Stock.
Depth of Field
Depth of Field is a photographic term, meaning, the area of apparent sharpness in an image, from front to back.
Using a sliding scale, the Depth of Field aesthetic filter allows you to narrow your search images with sharp focus extended throughout the image (think - landscape photo) or images with one sharply focused subject with blurred foreground and/or background (think - fashion photography or close up photography).
Using a sliding scale, the Vivid Color aesthetic filter allows you to narrow your search results based on color saturation. The slider enables you to choose lower or higher color intensity.
Copy Space Filter
Using the Copy Space content filter, you can further alter your search by specifying whether the assets you need require room for other design elements, such as text, logos or or other images.
Note: All the images used in this article are from Adobe Stock, and several of them were found using the Copy Space filter.
New for 2019!
If your goal is to find images that can be easily masked so they can be dropped into other backgrounds, you can also filter for isolated images. You can choose to show only or exclude isolated imagery from the search results.
Within the main collection, outside of news-related editorial content, is a subcategory called Illustrative Editorial. This type of asset would include imagery with obvious branding such as store signs, logos, etc, that are not necessarily current news but, but could be used to help illustrate a concept or theme. Perhaps there is a feature article talking about the increase in the number of coffee shops in the downtown core. An illustrative editorial image showing a concentration of different coffee shops with obvious signage, could assist with this article.
You may use content marked "Editorial use only" solely in publications about current events, newsworthy topics, or other items of public interest. No commercial or advertising use is permitted and all assets must have credit assigned. Slight cropping or resizing permitted, but no other modifications except for technical quality is permitted. Do not misrepresent the source or use to imply any third party endorsement. To learn more, see Editorial Restrictions.
Examples of when to use Editorial Content
- News articles
- Non-fiction books
- Non-Commercial Blogs
By default, this type of asset is displayed in any general content search, but you can filter out those images using the Usage Rights
The Size Filter allows you to set a minimum pixel dimension or megapixel resolution, which can further narrow down your search results.
Pssst.... if you want to impress your friends, toss around the phrase "Semantic Image Segmentation." It's one of the ways Adobe Sensei learns about the actual image content itself, rather than just relying on keywords and search terms.
Main image ID#: 64824298
The Key to Keywords
Keyword searches are still important, especially when it comes to narrowing down your results. But thanks to Sensei, your keywords don't have to accurately describe a literal scene; they could be used to add context.
Adobe Stock is continually analyzing assets to understand how they relate to trends, topics, and themes. Sometimes, what you're looking for is an asset that embodies a mood, emotion or concept, rather than a straight-forward description like, "man standing on mountain". If that's the case, try using conceptual keywords in your search, like happy, alone, thoughtful, love....
Similar to conceptual keywords, "authentic" or "real-life" keywords can help narrow your results. Try using words like "candid" with other keywords to find less posed, formal imagery.
When using keywords to search, the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT can be used in the search bar to limit the results of a search. Connect words in various combinations to expand or focus results.
Pro-Tip: You can also combine keywords with a Visual Search to really fine-tune the results of your search.
Pro-Tip #2: Did you know, you can even start your search on Google? Simply type in a keyword and include "adobe stock" to focus your results on content from the Adobe Stock web site.
Main image ID#: 243667504
If you're using Visual Search, or have narrowed down your results with keywords and other filters, you may find yourself on the right track, but still need to focus your search results further. Let Adobe Sensei help you with our Find Similar options.
Search for images that are similar in look and feel to those you’ve already selected by clicking the double box icon on the image, or by clicking on an image for a larger preview.
In early 2020, we launched a public beta enhancement for our Find Similar feature, allowing you to select specific objects within your source image. To learn more about this exciting development, check out this short tutorial.
When you click on an image for a larger preview, you can also select More from This Series or More from This Model.
Main image ID#: 121830804
Do you like the work of a certain contributor? Simply click their profile name (in blue), found in the image details, to go right to their own Adobe Stock asset gallery.
Pro-Tip: If you find suddenly that your results are not what you're expecting, you can quickly clear your search settings by clicking on the Stock logo at the upper left corner of the website. This will reset all search parameters to their defaults, and take you back to the home page.
New for 2019, you can search for specific agency creative collections (such as Stocksy, GoPro, Twenty20, etc). Simply run a search with the ‘Agency Name’ on the Adobe Stock website. The search results will include a link to the contributor page.
Main image ID#: 85752000
Searching Editorial Content
Editorial content is hidden by default from All, Images and Video categories. In order to search for editorial content, choose the Editorial category from the main menu or from the search bar drop down.
Because editorial content is essentially news and current event assets, the editorial default sort order is based on most recent, not relevancy. In order to get the best results when searching with an image, choose Relevance as the sorting option and use the date filter to narrow results to a more specific time range. Putting in a few keywords such as Place (City/Country), Event (Academy Awards/ Super Bowl), Person's Name (Alicia Keys, Merkel) can also improve the results. Make sure to click on Find Similar if you don't find the image in the initial search results.
Pro-Tip: Search with Associated Press (AP) standard names, places and events, ex: Academy Awards instead of Oscars.
Main image ID#: 220175367 (editorial)
The Search is Never Really Over...
And there you have it. Well, there you have it for now, at least; Sensei is constantly improving and learning more, so your search options will no doubt increase over time and become even more accurate.
I hope you can see that by making some small changes to how you look for stock content, you can find what you need much faster when using Adobe Stock.
What would YOU like to learn about Adobe Stock? Drop me a line and let me know.
Main image ID#: 122519533
Created with images by Alexander Raths - "Colorful spices on wooden table" • Jim Babbage - "cute, small boy in cowboy outfit standing with large white horse" • Craig Zerbe - "Saskatchewan River Crossing during Autumn golden hour of the Icefields Parkway" • jakkapan - "Photo album remembrance and nostalgia in summer journey trip on wood table. instant photo of vintage camera - vintage and retro style" • TTstudio - "Waterfall, Iceland - Seljalandsfoss" • lily - "Lake and road at sunset" • SFIO CRACHO - "office building exterior" • alexx_60 - "Used paint brushes lying on the side in a row on dark background, space for inscriptions." • tubartstock - "Laptop and notebook on wooden desk" • Romolo Tavani - "seashells on seashore - beach holiday background "All photographs courtesy of contributors to Adobe Stock.