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Photography Magazine

The Biz

Keywording


David asked me to put into writing how to go about keywording an image, and to be honest the task wasn’t as easy as it sounds! Like anything you do all the time, you reach a point where the process becomes second nature – I only wish I felt the same way when I pick up my camera! My background is that I completed a photography degree, so I already felt photographically and visually aware.Then I became a picture researcher for a picture library. I eventually became a keyworder when I worked for a couple of photo libraries that needed an in-house keyworder, really because the combination of skills I’d learnt from being a picture researcher and picture editor in a commercial photo library suited the role. I now work as a freelance keyworder and most of my work is done online through the picture library Alamy. I mainly, but not exclusively, work with travel images.

By way of explanation, ‘keywording’ or ‘tagging’ an image describes the process of adding the essential descriptive elements to that image using meaningful phrases and words. Keywords are stored in the search engine in question, allowing potential clients to search, locate and buy images to accurately fit their brief. Each picture library has its own individual guidelines for keywording, so this always needs to be taken into account before you start. Sometimes you are allowed to see the keywords when you view an image, while at other times they are hidden from the viewer, again depending on the company guidelines. In addition to keywording for picture libraries, it's worth using keywords to help manage your own personal photography collections. For example, David uses the Library module in Lightroom and keywords to search his photo library that contains many thousands of images, and to find relevant images for inclusion in this online magazine.

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