ALL ABOUT KEYWORDING
01. General Principles About Keywording

Write accurate image descriptions with appropriate keywords about the subjects and places photographed. Keywords and image descriptions are a common language that photographers and image buyers can use to make sure that the right photos get to the right people. An image without good keywording or an image description is like a library book left on the wrong shelf; no one will find it. And if no one sees your photo, it will not sell.

easyFotostock photographers, however, must make sure that excellent keywording must be complemented by the vital information about the subject, location, etc. that only you, the photographer, can know

Be Thorough

It would be best if you had keywords for all of the relevant objects seen in the photo. However, you shouldn't overload the picture with keywords that describe unimportant or irrelevant details. The key is to properly distinguish between the essential elements and those that aren't. Just because you can see a small piece of the sky in a given image, that doesn't mean that it should be included as a keyword, unless, of course, there is something else in the picture that makes the sky important.

Be Careful with Groups of Images

When you want to save time by assigning the same keywords to a group or series of similar images, you should make sure that all of the keywords are valid criteria for each of the photos. You should also add additional, specific information to the individual images afterward to complement the general information.

For example, if you have a series of images of well known places in New York City you could add keywords like USA, New York City, City, World Locations, Landmarks… to the whole group of images.

However, you shouldn't indiscriminately add keywords to the whole group if they only describe what appears in one or a few images. Empire State Building shouldn't appear for the entire group unless it is shown in every photo.

Be Creative

You should include keywords that describe the meaning or importance of the photo, not just what is physically present in the image. These keywords should express the creative or conceptual ideas that are present or implied within the image.

Of course, creativity shouldn't be taken too far, or it becomes absurd. Not every woman's picture should include "mother" as a keyword, although someday that woman might become one.

Along the same lines, not every ocean image should include fish in its criteria, even though we can assume that there are tons of fish swimming around below the surface.

If the idea association is stretched too far, you will be the only one who understands it, and the client will think that the search result is an error.

There are conceptual keywords which are frequently used in advertising to illustrate ideas and which can help clients to find your images if they are properly applied.

These are words such as: excellence, future, awareness, foundations, eco-system, leadership, global, carefree, etc. See additional concept words in the Concept keywords Section.

A careful use of these words can help your images be considered to illustrate advertising concepts. But don't give in to the temptation of massively using these words in all of your pictures because "keyword spam" frustrates the clients and reflects poorly upon the photographer and agency. Instead, it would be best to use these conceptual keywords only when they accurately describe the image or ideas evoked in the picture.

Use Ordinary Words and Expressions

Common words and common expressions can be understood easily all around the world. Using synonyms or phrases that are uncommon and strange will not help anyone to find your image. When choosing keywords, the obvious choice is the best. 

Who would search for man’s best friend when they can simply search for dog?

Avoid Extremely Long Words or Phrases

Long words or phrases within your keywords will cause problems later on during the translation and indexation processes. Be specific and precise, and keep in mind that a keyword isn't the same as an image description. While some keywords are logically made up of more than one word, such as New York, Wall Street, Computer Chip, or Ice cream, you should generally enter each keyword as an individual word.

For example, Elderly man leaning on a walking stick is an image description, not a keyword. The keywords for this image might include elderly, man, leaning, and walking stick.

Use Moderation

Of course, your images must come up when a client searches our website, but that's only half of the process. Just as important, the second half is that your images match what the client is looking for. 

"Keywording Spam" is loading down your images with random keywords or with irrelevant keywords that have a vague connection with the photo. While you might be tempted to try this, making your photographs frequently appear in different kinds of searches is a sure way to turn off clients. No one wants to be labeled "search noise" because of inconsistent, ambitious use of keywords

In most cases, 200 to 300 keywords are more than any image needs to be correctly described. A dozen good keywords will always be better and more efficient than 100 bad keywords.

Avoid Opinions or Subjective Keywording

You should avoid making moral or value judgments on your subject like, wonderful violinist, corrupt politician. Also, you should avoid adding these kinds of subjective keywords to photos of current events or news.

Your personal opinion of subjects should not be reflected in the keywords that accompany the image. Even in your ordinary, everyday photos of people or events, be sure not to use keywords that might be offensive to others. Your keywords shouldn't disqualify, denigrate, or stereotype other countries, religious/political/ethnic groups, etc. Also, they shouldn't describe the physical characteristics of subjects in cruel ways.

For example, it's better to use overweight, heavy, or obese words rather than fat and enormous.

Be Very Careful with Photos of Children

Please be very careful not to give misleading or inappropriate messages in your images of children. For example, little girls playing dress-up with mom's jewelry and high heels or at the beach in a bathing suit should never have sexy as a keyword or any other words that could be related to inappropriate concepts. Nowadays, it's better to be overly prudent in these situations and avoid the possibility of future misunderstandings or problems.

These are Not Keywords!

Please do not include information in the keywords such as the photographer name, model release information, film type, camera model, etc. This information is irrelevant for the image search by keywords and so it makes no sense to have it there.

If you have any doubts, or need further information, please contact
photodepartment@agefotostock.com.

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