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Keywording Guidelines

Adding keywords to your photos help people search for and find your work. Here are some ideas to help you write the best keywords.

Keywording

Why are keywords so important? Simple, better keywords equal discoverability. You exponentially increase the chances of your image being found and selling when you add relevant keywords. That’s why we encourage you to add at least 10 applicable keywords. This simple task will maximize your photos' discoverability and provide your work with the exposure it deserves. Keep in mind, we ask that you use English keywords whenever possible.

Here are a few tips to get you started!

  1. Stick to the facts

    

Outline the most obvious attributes and use words that accurately describe who, what, when, where, and why. Describe what you see. Your keywords should truthfully represent what’s going on in the image.
  2. Use conceptual keywords



    Once you’ve covered the basics, consider any concepts reflected in your photo. Concepts convey an idea or a feeling, although they must be evident to everyone viewing the photo. Avoid ambiguous or abstract concepts.
  3. Think like a buyer

    

Buyers generally search by subject matter or themes. They search for broad subjects, as well as more specific ones. So be sure to include a range of words to describe the content in your photo.
  4. No spamming please!

    

There is no benefit in tagging your photos with words or information that have no relevance to the subject matter. Doing this will only clutter search results with unsuitable images, which is a frustrating experience for buyers. For example, a photo of the Eiffel Tower should not be keyworded with “New York” or “London”. Please also avoid tagging your photos with camera gear, lens model, etc.

Photos without people

If your photo doesn’t have people in it, here are some suggestions to describe your photo.

Composition & Style

  • Layout – Color background, Copy space, Cropped, Cut-out, White background
  • Viewpoint – Aerial, Close-up, From above, From behind, From below, Looking up, Looking down
  • Format - Vertical, Horizontal, Square, Panoramic
  • Style – Blurred, Faded, Filtered, Silhouette, High contrast, Digital

Location & Time

  • Where - continent, country, region, city, place (applies more to outdoor and location images with or without people e.g. Europe, France, Paris, Montmartre)
  • Add context - Indoors, Outdoors, Interior, Exterior, Studio shot
  • Time of day - Morning, Night, Twilight, Sunset, Sunrise, Golden Hour

Animals & Nature

(must be the main focus of the photo)

  • Common name of insect or flower - Insect, Caterpillar, Butterfly
  • Scientific name of insect or flower - Monarch, Danaus plexippus
  • Name of animal and/or breed - “Dog, Golden Lab, Labrador Retriever”
  • Describe the colour or pattern - e.g. “Zebra, Stripes” or “Red, Rose”

Food & Drink

  • Type of meal - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Snack, Drink, Beverage
  • Food group - Fruit, Vegetable, Protein, Junk food
  • Get more specific - Apple, Celery, Steak, Cheeseburger, Coffee, Cappuccino
  • Add concepts (sparingly) - Healthy, Organic, Raw, Sweet, Sweet tooth, Decadent

Concepts & Still Life

  • Thoughts, feelings, emotions and ideas (go light – use 3-4 concepts at most) - Happiness, Togetherness, Bonding, Connected
  • Describe size of the object - Big, Large, Small, Miniature

Photos with people

If your photo does have people in it, take a quick look at these keyword suggestions.

  • Age Range
    
40-44 years, 70s adult, Baby, Toddler, Teenager
  • Combine age and gender
    
Baby boy, Senior woman
  • Ethnicity
    
Chinese ethnicity or Asian ethnicity (be as specific as possible, but broader is acceptable)
  • Total number of people depicted

    3 people, Large group, Nobody
  • Portrait

    Portrait, Pose, Full-length, Head and shoulders, etc,.
  • Eye contact

    Use ‘Looking at camera’ or ‘Looking away from camera’ when people are the focus of the photo
  • Roles
    
Mother Parent, Grandmother, Grandparent, Family, Couple, Kids, Painter, Hiker, Skiier
  • Actions
    
Painting, Hiking, Swimming, Jogging, Jumping, Working
  • Events or holidays
    
Meeting, Wedding, Christmas, Birthday, Party

For more information and examples check out this article.