Increase the visibility of your photos and give your store visitors better ways to find your work by adding tags. This beginner’s guide gives you everything you need to know…
In this guide:
- What are tags in terms of photography?
- What tags should I include with my photos?
- How to add tags to images in your Picfair Store
- Dos and don'ts when tagging images
What are tags in terms of photography?
Tags are words or short phrases that describe an image's contents.
Tags (also known as keywords) are frequently used on social media platforms (hashtags) when posting photos, which is where you will likely be most familiar with them. But you can also add tags to your images once you've uploaded them to your Picfair Store to help with getting them seen. As, along with the title and captions, the search tool for Picfair Stores will pick up any tags included with an image when a customer is searching through your store.
Including accurate and relevant tags to your images is one of the most effective ways to maximise your photography's sales potential. They’ll also help with SEO for your images and Picfair Store. The more information you can provide with your image, the more it will appear in search engine results for people looking for those types of images.
Tags have long been an essential tool for people searching for photos. So, tagging (also known as keywording) an image as precisely as you can makes all the difference when it comes to a customer successfully finding and potentially licensing your image.
What tags should I include with my photos?
You should add tags that accurately and conceptually describe the content of your images.
Here are some top tips on how to best tag your photos, along with a couple of examples of tags used with images from my own Picfair Store:
Put yourself in a customer’s shoes:
One of the simplest ways to get your head around how to tag your images is to put yourself in the shoes of a customer looking for one of your photos. Think like them; if you were looking for a beautiful coastal landscape image, ask yourself, what tags might you use to try and search for that image?
Groyne at Alnmouth, Northumberland:
England, North, Sea, UK, heritage, historic, beautiful, twilight, sea, coast, coastal, seascape, beautiful, blue hour, water, blue, wall art, long exposure, dusk, night, clouds, waves, serene
You should always tag a location-specific image with that particular area, city, region, and country. Also, does the image show a noteworthy street, famous landmark or building? If it does... include it as a tag! This information is important and should always be included in the tags.
A dark and stormy afternoon at Hadrian's Wall
storm, hadrians, wall, northumberland, rainy, dark, atmospheric, orange, teal, historic, landmark, stormy, rain, dark clouds, spooky, dramatic, landscape, landscape photography, unesco, world heritage site, england, britain, uk, northumbria, roman
Noteworthy features of the scene:
Does the picture depict any traditional ways of life or typical scenes, or does the pic show something unusual or alternative? Does the image include a person, multiple people, or a crowd or show anything noteworthy? Include this in your tags.
Does the image feature patterns, architectural highlights, designs or obvious formal elements? Or are there any particularly dominant colours in the scene? These features should be included in the tags.
Background & concept tags:
As important as highlighting any visible features in the photo, other tags describing relevant but “unseen” elements can be useful to the customer.
Car headlights and two figures in a blizzard, Bishkek Kyrgyzstan:
mystery, mysterious, book cover, atmospheric, bishkek, kyrgzstan, central asia, snowy, snow, blizzard, car, headlights, background, backdrop, dark, spooky, atmosphere, book cover, illuminated, winter, wintry, blizzardy, grainy, mood, moody, night, dusk, nighttime, weather, storm, figure, people, two, persons, person, streetlight
Specific details are important
If you are photographing in a particular location, a specific building, or a type of food with a unique name. It is important to ensure that the specific names of the dish, event, people, and places are included as tags.
Traditional Kyrgyz bread named 'Lipioshka' sold at a city bazaar:
market, unusual, dish, adventure, travel, business, central, kyrgyzstan, bishkek, artisan, traditional, asia, authentic, kirghiz, culinary, round, patterned, tourism, trade, bread, bazaar, food, tasy, lipioshka
You can add or edit tags for any photos from your Image Library, accessible from your Store Dashboard.
By selecting an image (or several) and then navigating to Image Details and selecting the Pencil Icon, you’ll see a field for tags where you can add them. Make sure you use a comma (,) after each tag so you can separate them.
Do I need to use the hashtag (#) symbol when adding tags to images in my Picfair Store?
No, you don’t need to add a hashtag (#) for tags, however, as explained above, you would need to use a hashtag when adding images to social media posts.
As always, remember to "Save changes" when you're done!
- If you select multiple images, any tags you add will be applied to all images selected.
- If you have added tags to your images in the metadata before uploading, these tags will be picked up on upload.
Dos and don'ts when tagging images
We recommend between 10 to 30 tags per image; here are some best practices...
Include information like place, location, and event where the photo was taken. Also, if the image includes well-known work, such as a building designed by an architect, include this information.
Include seasons and weather:
Many customers look for images based on particular seasons, or weather conditions, and if these elements are particularly obvious in your photo, make sure that they are tagged as such.
galveston, texas, texan, house, spooky, manor, victorian, architecture, tx, usa, america, spring, sunny, historic, traditional, southern, island, housing
Include Latin names:
For any flora and fauna shots, wherever possible. The Latin name is essential for accuracy when a customer is looking for a particular species.
Take extra care with photography of people:
Make sure you are as specific as possible when tagging an image of a person. Gender, race, age, and appearance are important and are used regularly by potential buyers.
Shopkeeper couple in Tbilisi, Georgia, 2008
tbilisi, georgia, caucasus, europe, shopkeeper, couple, people, portrait, middle aged, georgian, door, shop, travel, travel photography, portrait photography
Does a particular place in your photograph have two different but very prominent names? If they do, tag them both. For example, "New York City" and the "Big Apple".
A simple but sure-fire way to make your hard work tagging your images ineffective. Check your spelling, we cannot emphasise this point enough!
Include language variants of the same word:
Include both the US and UK/ International spelling for words, for example, harbour/ harbor.
Don’t include conflicting information:
Avoid tagging a generic landscape or scene as multiple places or countries. This confuses potential customers, who will be then less likely to buy your work. This is also important with nature and wildlife photography; don’t tag animals or flowers as different species even if they look very similar; it’s extremely unhelpful.
DO NOT SPAM:
Never overload an image with irrelevant tags that have no connection to the image; it is very distracting, not to mention annoying and will do your image sales no good.
Ready to start tagging your images?
We hope you've found this guide useful, now it's time to get started with tagging your photos so you can get them seen by a wider audience.
If you remember just a couple of things: be clear and accurate with your tags, don't add conflicting information, and don't SPAM!
Go to your Image Library.
Philip is the Editor of Focus.View all articles