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Searching for images

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by skip.knox, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    We all know to do a Google (or Bing, or Duck Duck Go!) search on a place then switch to the Images tab for some visual imagery as inspiration. But here are a couple of tips, especially for those looking to get as pre-modern as they can. I've been prowling my way across northern Italy today, so let's take Mantua for the example.

    If it's another country, use that country's language.
    In addition to English, of course. But it's worth finding out a few key terms in that other language. For example, just searching on Mantua gets one set of images. But search on Mantova and you'll get more pictures taken by Italians because that's the word for the city in their language. Not a huge shift, but noticeable.

    Search just on Mantua (Mantova) and you get the city. What if you want the surrounding region? The correct Italian word here is "campagna" and a search on "Mantova campagna" will return an entirely different set of images.

    Then there's age. Try switching the color type to black and white rather than all colors.
    Set the minimum size to Large at least. This will filter out icons and in general images too small to be of much use.
    Another one to try: search on Mantua postcards, but here again language matters. Mantova cartolina will return more.

    Does anyone else have tips for image searches?
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Vala

    Not really a tip, for me it's more riffing on a theme.
    If I'm looking for an image of a castle wall, I'll add Wooden or Stone and see what comes up. then try fortification, bastions, barbican, citadel, medieval, saxon, byzantine etc.
    Just because YOU think you are looking for a 7C Saxon fort, it doesn't mean that you or the person posting the pictures has got it right.
    I try to avoid using a term as broad/vague as Civil War [something] as that will give me responses from half a dozen European conflict and the American civil war.
    Ethical, moral as well as legal issues aside if you are looking for weapons and armour adding the words Osprey can bring up very interesting leads to other resources...
    And a BIG YES to setting the image size to Large [or bigger]. for me there is nothing worse in seeing what looks like the perfect picture to find out that it is only available at thumbnail sizes.
  3. Not sure if this would come up with similar results to all of your fine examples skip but, as you suggested, I tend to search for the country, city, region name in the proper language and then I'll add the word for historic or history to it as well. So for italian, historic has a feminine and masculine form: storica (f) and storico (m) and history is storia. I'd search for variations of Mantova storica as Mantova (and perhaps all towns/cities in Italian) is feminine.
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    Good tip. I really do think there's room for an article specifically for fantasy writers on research tips. Two, really. Research basics, and then the tips.

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