Getting the best out of fotolibra's amazingly effective search engine

Simple Search is a quick and easy way to access the archive.

Use Pro Search to expand or narrow your search criteria and apply specific filters to aid your search — file size, resolution, rights, orientation, photographer's name, even colour.

Tips for using Simple Search

  1. Enter one or more search terms — the Simple Search retrieves imagery containing ALL the words you've entered. Both singular and plural words are automatically searched for.
  2. Smart Searches — Boolean searching quickly adds the ability to fine-tune a Simple Search. If you search for 'cat' and want to see every cat picture that includes 'black' in the keywords, you can use the following: cat black
  3. You can exclude keywords by prefixing them with a minus sign (-). If you want to search for all cats that are not black, you enter: 'cat -black'. This displays all pictures of cats without the keyword 'black'.
  4. Finally, if you want to search for only black cats then you enter the following (including the quote marks): "black cat"

Tips for using Pro Search

Use Pro Search if you want to expand the search parameters:

  1. 'Contains any of these words' — Try as many associated words with your chosen topic as possible, as each one will retrieve different imagery. For example, if your planned search term is 'smile' why not also try 'grin, laugh, laughter, laughing, joke, funny, joy, chuckle, fun' and so on?
  2. 'Contains all these words' — This returns only those images which include every search term input in their captions and keywords, e.g. 'cap, fairy, chimney'
  3. 'Contains this precise phrase' — Does exactly what it says: 'Hollywood heroes and heroines of the 1930s' returns precisely that.
  4. 'Contains none of these words' — If you type 'South Wales' in the precise phrase box you will get a lot of pictures of New South Wales, Australia. So type 'New' and 'Australia' in this box as well and your search will exclude the Antipodes.
  5. Use Pro Search when you:
    • wish to refine your search to those images which will suit your design specification (you can search by colour and/or use our image orientation filter).
    • only want to view images over a certain file size or with a minimum resolution. We can sometimes access larger files for you on request — contact us at
    • want to search by a photographer's name
    • only want to see Royalty Free or Rights Managed imagery
  6. ColourSearch — fotolibra's unique ColourSearch enables you to select multiple images based on their dominant colour range. To use this feature, simply select a colour from the web-safe palette at the bottom of the Pro Search page.
  7. Smart Plurals — The Smart Pluralisation feature will automatically search for words that match both plural and singular values. If you search for 'cat' with Smart Pluralisation enabled, all entries that contain 'cats' will also be found. Many irregular plurals, such as 'woman' and 'women', are also supported. You can disable Smart Pluralisation to ensure only exact matches.
  8. Prioritised Results — Search results can be sorted by:
    • Relevance (default)
    • Rights Managed and Royalty Free
    • Orientation
    • File size

Further Search Help

If you can't find exactly what you need, registered buyers can put out a no-obligation Picture Call, or discuss a photographer commission with us.

For further advice on searching, picture calls or commissioning the fotolibra photographers network, contact us at: or call +44 (0) 20 8348 1234.