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Keywording I, landscape pictures

September 12th, 2017

You can have the best picture on earth, but it will not sell if no one can find it. There are two main ways customers will find your picture: either they come to your portfolio through a link, or they search FAA or another search engine for an image using keywords.

I have been on FAA for a little while, less than two months, but I have noticed that a lot of contributors who complain about no sales have paid little attention to key wording. They concentrate more on advertising their work and making sure they bring customers to their port, and that is fine. But what about the customers who might visit the site and search for an image they have in their heads, using keywords? How are they going to find your picture?

A little about me: among other things, I am a stock photographer. Yes, one of those people who take cheesy pictures of couples in love cheering in a fine restaurant, with Christmas lights in the background� but�hold on a minute. This is a misconception. I don�t take those pictures, and some stock photographers are great artists. Not all stock pictures look the same, or have to look the same, although they all have to comply with certain technical requirements. Those images are stored in a database just like FAA, and have built in search engines that will help the customer find exactly what he/she is after.

There are some benefits to contributing to stock. One is that you learn to think and to work a lot in terms of keywords and description. If you don�t, your image does not get found. And that�s what I am going to be writing about in this post.

The search engine of an image database will generally find your picture based on two sets of information: description and keywords. The description does not always matter a lot since the words in it often have weak weight in a search, but the keywords always matter the most. For the purposes of this discussion, I will concentrate more on the latter.

Below, I give one example on how I approach key wording for stock. Keep in mind that different categories of pictures need to be key worded differently, and that each search engine has different peculiarities we might not be able to account for, at least globally. The picture below is a sunset landscape type of picture.


Sell Art Online

https://pixels.com/featured/san-francisco-city-skyline-alessandra-rc.html


The first thing I do is to describe what I see:

�Silhouette of San Francisco skyline in the sunset, viewed from Treasure Island, displaying warm colors and some ocean reflections�

This becomes the description, or part of the description, and contains all the main elements of the picture. Note that the place where the picture was taken is listed. This is important in the case of landscape pictures in which the place can be reccognized. After writing the description in its appropriate field, I copy it and paste it in the keywords field, making sure to delete prepositions, articles and verbs:

Silhouette; San Francisco; skyline; sunset, Treasure Island; warm; colors; ocean reflections

Now I want to elaborate on those words. This is to account for different ways a customer might go about searching. I will put the extra keywords within �[]� so you can see how they are variations of, or complement, the main keywords:

Silhouette; [silhouetted]

San Francisco; [San Fran]; [SF]; [city]; [embarcadero] [California]; [US]; [USA];

skyline; [architecture]; [buildings];
sunset, [twilight]; [golden hour]; [evening]; [long exposure];
warm; colors; [sky]; [orange]; [golden]; [colorful];

Treasure Island;

Ocean; reflections; [sea]; [water]; [ocean]

To complement, I add words that a user might search for with respect to travel in San Francisco, other conceptual/feeling related words and landmarks in the picture

iconic; landmark; majestic; romantic; tourist; touristic; destination; urban; vacation; Transamerica tower; Transamerica pyramid;

And finally, in stock we add �nobody� or �no people� so a user can quickly weed out pictures that have people in them.

So here is the final key wording:

Silhouette; silhouetted; San Francisco; San Fran; SF; city; Embarcadero; California; US; USA; skyline; architecture; buildings; sunset, twilight; golden hour; evening; long exposure; warm; colors; sky; orange; golden; colorful; Treasure Island; reflections; sea; water; ocean; iconic; landmark; majestic; romantic; tourist; touristic; destination; urban; vacation; Transamerica Tower; Transamerica Pyramid; nobody; no people;

The total number of keywords is 50. Most sites have an upper bar of 50, so I try to keep it near and less than 50. There is little, if any, risk of spamming (having a customer find this picture on an unrelated search). And since the search engine of some sites give priority to the keywords that come first (the order of words matters) I do not alphabetize.

Things to watch out for: misspellings and slang.

What do you think? How do you approach the key wording of landscape pictures? Most importantly, in your opinion, how would key wording in FAA need to differ from what I have described, in order to achieve maximum customer success finding the image?

Key wording IV, a person doing something

January 2nd, 2017

On my last three blog posts I introduced myself as a stock photographer and talked about the importance of key wording images properly so customers can find them.

I exemplified how I keyword 1) a landscape photograph (http://fineartamerica.com/blogs/keywording-i-landscape-pictures.html); 2) a food item (http://fineartamerica.com/blogs/key-wording-ii-harvest-fruit.html ) and 3) a living organism (http://fineartamerica.com/blogs/key-wording-iii-flower.html ) for stock, with a few adaptations that I believe are appropriate for FAA.

On this post I will talk about key wording photographs that have people in them, and will give an example from one of my photographs below. It is a closeup on the hands of my husband playing guitar. He does this all the time so I have lots of those pictures in addition to the ones on FAA.

Photography Prints

When it comes to people, sometimes customers are looking for a person of a certain age group, ethnicity and gender. So this usually goes on the description:

Senior Caucasian male

Then we add the important elements of the picture to the description:

Close-up on the hands of a senior Caucasian male playing guitar

When it comes to people, an important piece of information is whether the photo is model-released or not, particularly if you want to license the photo. If you are selling prints or attempting to license the photo at FAA, the customer will not know if the photo is model-released, unless you tell them. I add this piece of information in the description:

Model-released close-up on the hands of a senior Caucasian male playing guitar, black and white rendering

This, then, becomes the backbone of my keywords.

Model-released; close-up; hands senior; Caucasian; male; playing; guitar; black and white;

Now I want to elaborate on those words. This is to account for different ways a customer might go about searching, and different spellings of a word. I will put the extra keywords within [ ] so you can see how they are variations of, or complement, the main keywords:

Model-released; [model]

close-up; [closeup]

hands; [fingers]

senior; [middle aged]; [middle-aged]; [old]

Caucasian; [white]

Male; [man]; [gentleman]; [guy]

Playing; [fingering]; [practicing]; [music]; [melody]

Guitar; [steel-string]; [acoustic]; [Gibson]; [instrument]; [beat-up]; [worn]

Black and white; [b&w]; [monochrome]

Lastly, I want to add that he is wearing informal clothes, perhaps practicing at an informal environment, may be at home

[informal]; [home]; [casual]; [clothes]; [ambience]

So lets add it all together:

Model-released; model; close-up; closeup; hands; fingers; senior; middle aged; middle-aged; old; Caucasian; white; male; man; gentleman; guy; playing; fingering; practicing; music; melody; guitar; steel-string; acoustic; Gibson; instrument; beat-up; worn; black and white; b&w ; monochrome; informal; home; casual; clothes; ambience

We now have 40 keywords, which, I believe, convey everything that is in the picture. There is little chance of spamming (this image coming up in an unrelated search). In stock, sometimes it is a good idea to express the age group of the model in numbers, usually something like 40-45, 50-55 etc, but I do not see the point of doing this here.

Now, tell me what you think. How would you do it differently for FAA for best results?

Key wording III, flower

December 23rd, 2016

In my last two blog posts I introduced myself as a stock photographer and talked about the importance of key wording images properly so customers can find them.

I exemplified how I keyword 1) a landscape photograph (http://fineartamerica.com/blogs/keywording-i-landscape-pictures.html) and 2) a food item (http://fineartamerica.com/blogs/key-wording-ii-harvest-fruit.html) for stock, with a few adaptations that I believe are appropriate for FAA.

On this post I will talk about key wording photographs of living organisms, and will give an example from one of my flower photographs.

First and foremost, every species out there known to man has a scientific (Latin) name, which is universal, and most have a common name also, which is language-specific. For instance, the flower in my example is known locally as Chaparral Currant. I do not now if, or how, it is called in other countries. It could be any name. The Latin name of a species, by contrast, is universal, and is the same everywhere in the world. The Latin name is composed of the genus name, always capitalized, followed by the species name, never capitalized. In the case of my flower, the genus name is Ribes, and the species name is malvaceum. (According to the codes of nomenclature of animals and plants, the scientific name of a species should always be highlighted in a text, usually underlined, bold or italics. It is good to know that, but in descriptions and keywords of online databases, we cannot do that, and I also do not know how to do that here in this blog) . Therefore, the latin name is Ribes malvaceum.

I have seen several pictures of flowers, plants and animals here without the common or even the scientific name in the keywords field. And I wonder, how in heaven will a customer find those images?

Why is the Latin name so important? Well, it makes it possible for a potential customer to find exactly what he/she is looking for, and can bring down the number of images returned from a few thousands to just a few dozens or even to one. Lets exemplify. If you go to FAA and type in pink flower and filter by photographs, there are countless images. However, if you type in Ribes malvaceum, there is, as of now, one return, my image below. The common name of a species can be of help, but be aware that someone in Brazil looking for a Christmas cactus will type in Flor de Maio because its how it is called there. And you cannot account for the various language variations of the common name of several common organisms.

Now that we have talked about the importance of the Latin Name, I will give one example of how I have approached the key wording of my Chaparral Currant for stock, slightly adapted for FAA.

Photography Prints

The first thing I do is to describe what I see:

Selective focus the inflorescence of a chaparral currant, Ribes malvaceum, bearing pink flowers

This description contains all the main elements of the picture, so I copy it and paste it into the keywords field, after deleting prepositions, articles and verbs:

Selective focus; inflorescence; Chaparral currant; Ribes malvaceum; pink flowers

Now I want to elaborate on those words. This is to account for different ways a customer might go about searching. I will put the extra keywords within [ ] so you can see how they are variations of, or complement, the main keywords:

Selective focus; [closeup]; [detail]

inflorescence; [flowers]; [flower]; [wild];

Chaparral currant; [currant] (for those looking for currant in general]

Ribes malvaceum; [Ribes] (for people looking for flowers of this genus, of any species); [malvaceum]; [grossulariaceae] (this is the botanical family of the plant, I usually include it)

pink; [purple]; [rosy]

To complement, I add words that a user might search for with respect to where the flower is native to (always a good idea since some customers will look for naive
wild flower

[Native]; [California]; [Baja]; [North America]; [North American];

Adding it all together:

Selective focus; closeup; detail; inflorescence; flowers; flower; wild; Chaparral currant; currant; Ribes malvaceum; Ribes; malvaceum; grossulariaceae; pink; purple; rosy; Native; California; Baja; North America; North American;

To complement, I add words that a user might search for with respect to the beauty of the plant, presence of leaves, number of objects, and where it was photographed (this is optional but sometimes a good choice in the case of wildlife sightings)

[green leaves]; [green leaf]; [beautiful]; [delicate]; [nature]; [outside]; [outdoors]; [UC]; [Davis]; [arboretum]; [one inflorescence]; [one object];

And finally, in stock we add nobody or no people so a user can quickly weed out pictures that have people in them.

So here is the final key wording:

Selective focus; closeup; detail; inflorescence; flowers; flower; wild; Chaparral currant; currant; Ribes malvaceum; Ribes; malvaceum; grossulariaceae; pink; purple; rosy; Native; California; Baja; North America; North American; green leaves; green leaf; beautiful; delicate; nature; outside; outdoors; UC; Davis; Arboretum; one inflorescence; one object; nobody; no people

The total number of keywords is 45. Most sites have an upper bar of 50, so I try to keep it near and less than 50. There is some, but neglectible, chance of spamming (user finding this picture on an unrelated search).

Things to watch out for: misspellings and slang. Also, if you do not know the species name, at least list the genus name.

What do you think? How do you approach the key wording of photographs of living organisms?


Key wording II, harvest fruit

December 23rd, 2016

In my former blog post (http://fineartamerica.com/blogs/keywording-i-landscape-pictures.html) I wrote about being a stock photographer and the importance of keywords to have your picture found on stock picture databases, which may contain hundreds of thousands of similar pictures. I also provided an example of how I approached the key wording of one of my landscape pictures.

On this article I will exemplify the key wording of a food item, a group of peaches.

Photography Prints

The first thing I do is to look at the picture and describe it:

Closeup on a group of freshly picked peaches in a basket, on the grass, viewed from the side

I copy the description and paste it on the keywords field, leaving out prepositions, articles and verbs:

Closeup; group; freshly; picked; peaches; basket; grass; side view

Now I want to elaborate on those words. This is to account for different ways a customer might go about searching. I will put the extra keywords within [ ] so you can see how they are variations of, or complement, the main keywords:

Closeup

Group; [collection]; [set]; [bunch]

freshly; picked; [fresh]; [harvested]; [harvest]

Peaches; [yellow peaches]; [yellow peach]; [stone fruit]; [fruit]; [fruits]; [food] ; [produce]

(note that I added yellow peaches together so a customer looking for a yellow something else will not arrive accidentally at my image. Also I made sure that some objects were spelled in their singular and plural forms.)

basket; [green basket]; woven

grass; green grass; ground;

side; view; [lateral]

At this point I list my keywords and count them.

Closeup; group; collection; set; bunch; freshly; picked; fresh; harvested; harvest; Peaches; yellow peaches; yellow peach; stone fruit; fruit; fruits; produce; food; basket; green basket; woven; grass; green grass; ground; side; view; lateral

I have a total of 32 keywords that I deem essential, and will now add other unessential keywords that might help a customer find this particular picture:

Nobody; no person; (weeding out pictures with people); outside; outdoors; nature (to differentiate from table top, still life); harvest; fall; autumn (for customers looking for harvest, seaonsal food);

Compiling it all:

Closeup; group; collection; set; bunch; freshly; picked; fresh; harvested; harvest; Peaches; yellow peaches; yellow peach; stone fruit; fruit; fruits; produce; food; basket; green basket; woven; grass; green grass; ground; side; view; lateral; nobody; no person; outside; outdoors; nature; harvest; fall; autumn;

I now have 41 keywords that I think will do the trick. I could try to find more and get to about 50, but I think that at this point additional keywords might simply lead to spamming. If I were key wording for stock, I would add keywords indicating some properties of these fruits with regards to health, freshness, and flavor, but since FAA is a print on demand site, I dont think that people are looking for those kinds of keywords. I stop here.

Things to avoid when key wording: misspellings and slang.

What do you think? How do you approach the key wording of a similar picture?