Become a Blue Planet Archive contributor

Thank you so much for your interest in our stock photo library. We welcome aspiring photographers and artists.

We are a photographer’s agency. Blue Planet Archive was founded by a photographer and has been run by photographers. I am a photographer myself and care about your images. Unlike other agencies, we carefully select images for our stock photo library.

To begin the process, submit your images for initial quality review following our Submission Guidelines below.

Submission Guidelines

1. Please prepare your images as follows:

Image Specifications:

JPEG at near maximum quality, 8-bit Adobe RGB (1998) color space, no resizing, no cropping (if possible), including all metadata and Camera EXIF. You can also submit RAW with XMP if you prefer.


We work hard to provide our clients with accurate information about our images, so accuracy is critical when keywording and captioning. If you misspell an important keyword, your images might be buried deep into our huge library of pictures and never be found by a search. For this reason, we highly recommend copying & pasting Latin species names or common names from a trusty source such as WIKIPEDIA, IUCN Species List, FishBase, etc.

Please be aware that how well you prepare your images on these metadata will directly affect your image discoverability and, ultimately, your image sales. Captions (descriptions), headlines, and keywords are the three most crucial metadata, and SHOULD ONLY INCLUDE RELEVANT WORDS that are directly depicted in the picture. Please understand that if you spam your keywords, we will ask you to redo the keywording, or we will have to delete all your keywords to protect the integrity of our search function. Required fields will be searched by our library system as well as by search engine bots known as “web crawlers,” such as Googlebot.

Required Metadata Fields (in the order of importance):

  • Caption
  • Headline
  • Keywords

Optional Metadata Fields (helpful for advanced search):

  • Sublocation
  • City
  • State/Province
  • Country

The caption should include; common species name(s), scientific species name in Latin, specific location (for example, marine reserve, marine sanctuary, national park, etc.), city/town, State/region/province, country, Sea, and Ocean. It is also important that you state any noticeable animal behaviors or anatomical features in an image because the caption affects our search results and clients’ decisions accordingly. Please include that information in the caption if your subject is endemic to a specific area or listed as vulnerable, threatened, or endangered. If you are unsure, check the IUCN site and Wikipedia. If your image includes a person or people with the model release(s), please add MR at the end of the caption. Use PR for property release if you obtained it. The caption doesn’t need to be descriptive, rather you should treat it like a listing of the utmost important keywords. It is better to eliminate any unnecessary words and use commas to separate each word.

Caption Example 1; red-footed booby, Sula sula, and tourists, Isla Genovesa, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, South America, MR

Caption Example 2; green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas, endangered species, being cleaned by convict tang, Acanthurus triostegus, Kona Coast, Big Island, Hawaii, USA, Pacific Ocean

Caption Example 3; Eureka Valley Sand Dunes, National Natural Landmark, Eureka Valley, Death Valley National Park, Inyo County, California, USA, North America

Caption Example 4; a silhouette of saguaro cactus, Carnegiea gigantea, at sunset, Saguaro National Park, Arizona, USA, North America

This is the “title” of an image, so the Headline should summarize the image using only a few essential words. This metadata field is limited to only 50-60 characters, and that translates to a few to several words. It should be a simple but SEO-effective, short description of the main subject in the picture. It can be a combination of a common name and scientific species name, a name of the location, a name of the event, a name of the object, a name of the activity, etc. Use search engine-friendly vertical bars (or commas) to separate the words. Please do not get confused with the “Title” metadata field. The “Title” metadata field is often used for the file name – in most cases, the image ID.

Headline Example 1; Sperm Whale | Physeter macrocephalus
Headline Example 2; Great White Shark, Carcharodon carcharias
Headline Example 3; Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA
Headline Example 4; Grand Canyon National Park | Arizona | USA

Please do not spam all kinds of keywords. Instead, type in only the relevant keywords directly depicted in the picture. In addition to all the vital words in your captions, your keywords should include any additional words to enhance your image discoverability in photo search. At least you should include common species name variations, current Latin species names (and any recent synonyms), any additional animal classification words such as common Family names and common Latin names, and basic info such as animal, insect, mammal, fish, bird, etc., location, country, and behaviors, etc.

Use singular words than plural, and do not break up a keyword made of multiple words. “sperm whale” but not “sperm” and “whale.” “Joshua Tree National Park” but not “Joshua,” “Tree,” “National,” and “Park.”

Keywords Example 1; Big Island, coast, coastline, environmental issue, eruption, Hawaii, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, horizontal format, hot, island, Kilauea, landscape, lava, lava eruption, molten lava, national park, ocean, ocean entry, Pacific Ocean, park, red, scenery, steam, steam cloud, USA, volcano, Wonders of the Natural World

Keywords Example 2; animal, Aptenodytes, Aptenodytes patagonicus, baby, Bay of Isles, bird, chick, Chordata, flightless bird, horizontal format, juvenile, king penguin, leucism, leucistic, marine bird, penguin, Salisbury Plain, seabird, South Atlantic Ocean, South Georgia, Spheniscidae, white, wildlife, young

Keywords Example 3; animal, aquaculture, Baja California, captive, Ensenada, farming, fish, giant bluefin tuna, horizontal format, Mexico, northern bluefin tuna, Pacific bluefin tuna, Pacific Ocean, pen, Scombridae, threatened species, Thunnus, Thunnus orientalis, tow pen, tuna, tuna penning, tunny, underwater, vulnerable species, wildlife

Here are some of the worst keyword examples.

      • “No something” keyword – e.g., “no people,” “no animal,” “no model release” – if these are NOT in the image, then do not put anything. “No something” keywords only produce inaccurate search results.
      • “Lone preposition” keywords – such as above, across, against, along, among, around, at, before, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, by, down, from, in, into, near, of, off, on, to, toward, under, upon, with and within. These need to be combined with other words to be more meaningful.
      • “Word by word” keyword – similar to above, keep the words together instead of breaking them up. For example, “Raja Ampat” instead of “Raja” and “Ampat,” “New England” instead of “New” and “England,” etc.

Sublocation, City, State/Province, and Country: List the location of the photo. As for the country, the United States of America should be “USA” or “United States.” Never use “U.S.A.” here and in keywords and captions. ISO Country Code is not required, but you can put 2 or 3 letters if you like.

Disclosure: You must disclose any significant image manipulations, particularly if such manipulation contains cutting and pasting parts of images to create a “composite” image. You are also required to disclose if the image of an animal is shot in captivity or if it’s a captive release. We need proper and correct information about your images as we deal mainly with clients whose primary focus is natural history. Following words or abbreviations can be used at the end of your captions/descriptions if appropriate: captive or (c), captive release or (cr) (a tamed or captured animal placed unrestrained in a natural setting such as “rent-a-dolphin”), digital composite or (dc) (two or more images combined digitally).

2. Submit 5-10 sample pictures for Quality & Metadata Review.

Please upload 5-10 sample pictures to our WeTransfer server. Please ensure that your sample pictures meet all the requirements of our Submission Guidelines for image quality, captioning, and other photo metadata.

3. Sign up for Contributor Agreement.

Once you pass the Quality & Metadata Review, we’ll send you a copy of your Contributor Agreement for you to sign. The entire sign-up process will be done online. After you finish your part, you will receive a pdf copy of the counter-signed agreement via email.

4. Start submitting your images.

You can continue to use our WeTransfer server or your own file transfer service. We can also create a personalized FTP folder directory on our server as per your request.

In any case, please edit tightly your image selections. You can submit up to 50 images per submission and organize your images by the subject (same species) or location instead of sending us various animals and locations. We can process your images much faster if the subject or the location is the same. Please keep track of your submission records and do not submit similar pictures or duplicates.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us.

Looking forward to seeing your great pictures.