Importance Of Keywording

The importance of keywording your digital photos

07/09/2012 - 00:00

Keywording is becoming more important as we accumulate more digital photos. Spending time when you save your photos correctly keywording will make it easier for you to manage and find older photos but will also be useful when uploading to online galleries and photo browsers.

Keywords are words that are used to describe aspects of your photograph. So if you are looking for a photo of a dog and you've keyworded all your dog pictures with "dog" as a keyword you are going to find it easier to locate just those images by searching for dog. Imagine if the photo you wanted was just saved as file number 0345673.jpg in one of 500 folders titled "day at the beach". You might spend all day looking for that dog photo!

Programs such as Lightroom have very good keyword management systems that let you add many individual keywords to each photo and then you can organise by keyword. You can also put keywords into sets so dog may fall into Animals with a subgroup Pets and another sub group dogs in which there may be specific keywords such as Alsation, Greyhound etc.

The trick to good keywording is good organisational thought process. Think logically. And try to be consistent. If you are keywording flowers don't have one keyword poppies and the other bluebell. Try to be consistent choosing bluebells and poppies or bluebell and poppy.

Also think laterally. If you are including keywords in the hope they will get searched add anything that will pick them up and be useful. Have a look at the photo below. What do you see? As a little test, list as many keywords to describe this photo as you can and see if the list I have below compares.

Reenactment - keywords

This Photo was taken at a reenactment day in Derby. What could we list as keywords?
Reenactment, Actors

Take is a stage further...do you know their names?
Ruth Watson and Rob Elliott (Now when anyone is searching for either of these two they may find your photo amongst the image search.)

Where exactly was the event? - add Event
Kedleston Hall, Derby, Derbyshire

Specific aspects of the hall on view?
Mansion, Country house, Architecture (architects were  James Paine and Matthew Brettingham), Staircase, Column, Stone

What was the event?
Lace Wars

What part of History is that?
18th Century, Jacobite Rebellion

Who are the characters portraying?
Pulteney's Regiment 13th Foot, Officer, Wife, Couple

What are they doing / wearing?
Walking, Costume, Stripes, Red, Uniform, Boots, Hat

So we have discovered 29 keywords and there are no doubt a few more you found. Use the internet to research keywords. In this example I looked at the Lace Wars web site and Wikipedia for info on Kedleston Hall.

With such rich keywords your photos will appear in more searches and potentially increase traffic to your web site and sales of your photos. And it will be easier for you to find photos on your PC. Doing this methodically is time consuming but the time saved and the potential long term rewards are well worth the effort.

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