Are my photo keywords important?

An abandoned building in Freer, Texas on June 16, 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic and the oil bust. Rural Texas communities took major hits during 2020 but were struggling long before. (Credit: Matt Pierce News/Getty Images)

Are my photo keywords important? Of course they are. I always add keywords to my photos in both Lightroom and on the platforms that I upload on a consistent basis. Keywords are absolutely vital to having your photos get discovered and to helping get your brand off the ground.

What you have to do is decide which keywords fit the best and what makes them stand out among the crowd. Make no mistake about it that in the world of photography there is a ton of competition and that makes it harder and harder to stand out from everybody else. But making sure that you take the time and properly keyword every single photo is the best way to make sure that you are doing your part to help your work stand out from everybody else.

Trust me, I know that taking the time to keyword your gallery is a painstaking and time consuming job that you have to do in hopes that your photos get downloaded. But the truth is that you just cannot live without it.

Let’s work through an example together on how to do this:

The H-E-B Grocery community Christmas Tree in Corpus Christi, Texas on December 24, 2020. (Credit: Matt Pierce News)

This is not a stellar image at all. In fact, the thing is out of focus, blurry and the colors are all distorted. The reality is that this is a flat out horrible image. But, by key wording it correctly you can still find some interesting uses for this it.

Obviously, the first things that come to mind here are words like Christmas, Christmas Tree, Lights, Holiday, Holiday Festivities, Holiday Lights, and Cityscape. But there are others that can help this image stand out.

Try adding things like: Corpus Christi Texas, Holiday 2020 Corpus Christi Texas, Waters Edge Park Corpus Christi Texas, Christmas Corpus Christi, Holiday 2020 Texas, Texas 2020, Pandemic Christmas Corpus Christi Texas, Community Christmas Tree Corpus Christi Texas Waters Edge and Holiday Lights Christmas Eve Texas.

What I did there was get very specific. Buyers of these photos will want the photo discovered just like you will want it discovered by buyers. Adding high quality, site specific keywords is very, very important. Making sure that you take the time to do this is pivotal and if you are not doing it you could be selling yourself very short.

I do a ton of editorial photos and that is my niche market. Being very descriptive in keywords makes my images standout just a little bit more from my competition.

Cow Creek in Burnet County, Texas runs twenty-one miles along the Balcones Escarpment in Central Texas from just southeast of the city of Burnet, Texas to near Lago Vista in Travis County. Cow Creek empties into Lake Travis, a primary water source for the city of Austin. (Credit: Matt Pierce News/Getty Images)

Again, not the best photo in the world but this one (unlike the Christmas Tree photo) has been downloaded and purchased for both commercial and editorial use in at least three different venues.

This photo describes the Balcones Escarpment, a fault line that runs through Texas. It also discusses water and water sources. The keywords that I used here are also attractive to Geologists and scientists who study the Balcones Escarpment and the geology and ecology of the area. By adding very site specific keywords, or location specific keywords this photo found a very specific audience. People who downloaded it were searching for “Balcones Fault” or “Balcones Escarpment.” Another set of keywords that they were searching for happened to “Geology” and “Geology in Texas.” By adding these keywords to my image it made it to where those who were really looking for my image could find it. They were willing to pay the most because they were able to find it easily and they had a specific need for it.

I suggest being very methodological when it comes to finding keywords for images and videos. Don’t just type in basics like “Creek” or “Water.” Become imaginative and creative with them. Don’t make them so obscure that nobody cares or that they won’t get picked up anywhere, but make sure that you are hitting all of the right audiences in order to maximize potential sales.

By doing this you increase the chances that your photo will get discovered and that your photo will sell. How much will it make? Well, that depends on a ton of other factors like where you decide your photos will be sold, what kind of Search Engine Optimization is behind it and how you get the images in front of perspective buyers.

I hope this helps you get your images and videos discoverd by the right buyers and that you have great success! Make sure that you follow my blog for more inside baseball when it comes to creating and marketing great images! Be sure to check out my portfolio By clicking the link here!

Happy shooting!

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