Keywording Tips for Stock Photography

Word Keyword in letters on cube dices on table.

The start of a new year is the perfect time to take a step forward with your stock photography. With that, welcome to Week 2 of our Stock Streamlining series. Last week, we went over simple ways to choose your best images for stock. If you missed it, you can catch up here.

Now let’s talk about one of the most crucial things you need to boost your stock photo success…

Stock Streamlining, Week #2: Killer Keywording

Agencies require that you add keywords to your images when you upload them, so that buyers can find them. This is a vital step to selling stock photos, and if you do it right, it can help boost your sales.

There is a bit of an art to keywording, but with a little practice it definitely gets easier and faster. First of all, you want to be sure that your keywords cover the who, what, when, and where of your image.

I would apply these basic keywords to the image below:

Family, children, ski, winter, snow, outdoors, chairlift, mountain, and Colorado

Happy family with children in cable car climb to ski terrain

After covering the basics, you want to also think about any emotions the photo strongly evokes or subtle, but pertinent, details. For example, does your photo convey a theme or concept? If so, be sure to include those as keywords.

For the image above, I would also add:

Fun, together, recreation, cheerful, happy, nature, smile, vacation, sport, holiday, active lifestyle, and selfie

Tip: If you get stuck while thinking of keywords, try flipping it around and imagine what you would type into a search query if you were a photo buyer looking for your image.

Be careful not to add keywords that don’t fit. For example, if this is someone’s birthday ski outing… leave the keyword “birthday” out, because nothing in the photo conveys that idea to photo buyers. If someone were blowing out candles on a cake, then “birthday” would be appropriate.

Here’s a little speed trick so you can get your keywords done and get back to living your life…

You need to add keywords to every photo you submit for stock. But what if you submit the same photo to multiple stock agencies?

The solution: Instead of adding them over and over for each agency, simply add keywords to your photos in Lightroom before you upload them. If you do this, the keywords will automatically come along with your photos as you add them to your stock sites.

One and done!

If you’re not sure how to use Lightroom to add keywords, I’ll walk you through it during my 3-part video series on choosing photos and submitting to agencies, available if you try out Snap & Sell Photo Club Premium Membership here. This video series is packed with helpful tips, so it’s well worth checking it out here.

Stay tuned… coming up next week, we’ll go over tips for submitting images to your stock agencies.

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