How to supercharge searches

If you’re lucky, not picky, or employing some kind of dark magicks, you might find the clips and photos you’re looking for with your first search.

Most of the time, that perfect stock element you need is a little more elusive. But don’t despair. You can get there faster by honing your search skills using these handy tips.

Use search modifiers

Let’s say your first search is a single word (e.g., “pets”). You can exclude something from your search by preceding it with “NOT” (e.g., “pets NOT cats”) or only return combinations of things by using “AND” (e.g., “dogs AND cats”).

Learn to love filters

Use filters to search only within a specific product category, collection, or contributor. You can expand your search to include editorial content, or limit your search by shot type, price, license type, resolution, number of people, age range, clip length, and frame rate.

Add more search terms

Every clip and photo on is tagged with relevant keywords. If your first search term is broad (e.g., “business”), add more specific words (e.g., “business meeting formal”) to get more specific results.

Use fewer search terms

If being specific didn’t pan out, try being more vague. You can simplify a long search query by removing words or adjectives. Instead of “Pacific ocean fishing vessel,” try “fishing vessel.”

Use broader terms

Whether you’re describing a person or a sunset, imagine how that clip or photo might have been keyworded. Instead of “stunning,” try “beautiful,” “pretty,” or “attractive.”

Check your spelling

Double-check that every word in the search term is spelled correctly. Typos happen, but they don’t have to slow you down for long.

If you’re too busy to search, there’s always our free research service. Just tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll get on it! Email your request to