Now that we have taken and perfectly composed a few beautiful images, there is one important step we must do before we throw them online for the world to see.
It’s our goal to sell our images to the general public. But that raises a question, “How does the public find us and our images”? The answer to that is “keywords”. Keywording is a tool used to assign or “tag” words that describe your image. Keywords allow buyers to search for and find your images online. Just as importantly, this builds your exposure on the web. Most photo sharing sites and search engines use keyword recognition to help people find your images.
I keyword all my images during post-processing. Keywords are stored in the Metadata of your image. To put it simply, Metadata is the information about an image that isn’t in the picture itself. It includes time and date stamp and camera settings such as aperture and exposure. Metadata is embedded in the image as an .exif (exchangeable image file format). To access the metadata using Photoshop CS5, open your image as usual, go to file, and then click on “file info”, this will open up a dialog box. Click on the description tab at the top. Halfway down you will see a box labeled “keywords”
There are three types of keywords we should be concerned with.
Descriptive – Words that describe what is actually happening in
Location - Describes that exact location that the photo was taken.
Conceptual – Words that describe the mood, ideas or emotions
in our image.
Here is an example of some keywords I used on one of my images.
Title: Bluejay Portrait
Location Keywords: Texas, backyard, garden, birdfeeder
Conceptual Keywords: Happy, free, wild
Descriptive Keywords: David Cutts, Cutts Nature Photography, “Bluejay Portrait”, bird, blue, portrait, jay, bluejay, beak, close-up, avian, profile, wildlife, perched, nature, feather, plumage, black, grey, isolated, white, birding, songbird, watchful, perch, observant, vigilant, eye, stripes, feathers, berries
Notice that I have added my name, my company name and the title of the image in the descriptive keyword section. Always add these items when keywording. This will associate the image to your name and company. Adding the title of the image will allow people to search for your images by title.
Unfortunately, keywording an image can be a time consuming process. I used to spend hours trying to think of words to describe my images. A few months ago a friend of mine was nice enough to share a keywording website with me that has greatly reduced the amount of stress involved in keywording my images. Because it is the Holiday Season and it’s a time for giving, I will share this site with you.
This site is by far the easiest way to keyword your images. To use it, all you have to do is type in a single word or phrase that describes your image and click on “Find Keywords”, and BAM!! It gives you a list of words that describe your image. The only work you have to do is go through the list and uncheck the words that do not describe your image and then click on the “Export Selected Keywords” button. The site will then generate a list. All you have to do is cut and paste the list of keywords into your image’s metadata. Done!
Remember, keywording is an essential part of getting your images seen on the web. If it is done correctly, it will greatly improve your odds.
I would really like to hear from you and know what your thoughts are on the blog.
Until next time, keep the sun to your back and your lens cap off.
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