Keyword Optimization 2: Using Keyword Tools to Organize Your Image Files

Can you imagine sorting through the thousands of photographs you took over the years just to find that one specific picture? That could take you hours or even days without the use of keyword tools. It would be an exercise in frustration.

When you upload your images to your online photo album or website, you are asked to include keywords (a.k.a labels and tags) for site searches. The previous article 'Keyword Optimization Part 1: Choosing The Right Keywords' touched base on this topic and now we move on to using keyword tools in organizing image files. These keywords are also used in site searches and they are extremely beneficial for the photographer in identifying and organizing the thousands of photos in storage.

Keywords are also metadata and are stored in your photo file or in XMP sidecar files (for raw camera files). Once these are included in your image information, they can be retrieved by programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, ACDsee and other programs that support XMP metadata.

For example, Adobe Lightroom offers various ways for you to add keywords to you images. It has a Keywording panel where you can type in the keywords or select the appropriate ones. You may also drag the photos to the relevant keyword. It has a list view and a grid view which displays photo thumbnails to make it easier for keyword editing. When writing down the keywords, you may include synonyms which are related keyword terms. Also, nested keyword tags can be very useful in connecting related information. These are keywords containing other related keywords. For instance, the keyword 'plant' may include the keywords 'flower' and 'green'. The keyword 'flower' then can include the keyword 'rose'.

Another keyword tool is using ACDsee's keywording feature. You can include keywords in the Database tab. Commas are used to separate the words. For two or more word phrases, depending on the version, they can be separated with either an underscore or a space.

A lot of these programs give you the option to use batch keywording to identify sets of photos. This saves you lots of time since you don't have to input keywords one by one for each photo.

Windows and Mac browsers also allow keywording to efficiently facilitate file searches. If you have a Windows browser, open your Windows Explorer, click on the relevant file and then right-click. A small window will pop up. Click on Properties then the Summary tab. This will show empty fields labeled with Title, Subject, Author, Keywords, Category and Comments. Fill these up as needed. You may add more metadata by clicking on the Advanced button. This will provide a more detailed description of the file such as the page count and word count. If you click on the right side of the category name, an empty field appears where you can edit or add more keywords to the file. The next time you use the Search button and type the keyword, the appropriate files will appear.

If you own a Mac, search for the specific file in the Finder and click on Get Info from the File menu. The Get Info window has a blank field at the top titled 'Spotlight Comments'. You can type your keywords here, and just separate each word or word phrase with commas. When you use these keywords in Spotlight, the particular file will be located.

Keywording is a meticulous process and it takes a lot of time and effort especially if you are just beginning to do it and you already have loads of pictures on file. However, the benefits of using keyword tools are overwhelming in that not only will you end up having a very well organized photo catalog, but site and search engine searches will also add it to their score when deciding what images to display first, giving you a better opportunity to having your photographs noticed in the online market.

This entry was posted on Friday, May 7th, 2010 at 9:54 pm and is filed under Articles, Business of Photography, Miscellaneous, Photography Genre, Stock Photography. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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