Why is it important to add key words to your photos?

Keywording is becoming more and more popular, but still many new photographers are not doing it. So I am now going to explain what keywording is and why it is important to add key words to your photos. 


Using Key Words to Organise your Library

Many of the common photo editing programs including Adobe Lightroom and Aperture use a key word system to help you organise your photos. 

How does this work? It is simple once you have added a photo to your library you can then add keywords to it. In Adobe Lightroom a keywording panel can be found in the Library module. In Aperture the key words hub can be found by pressing shift+h. 

Key word tab - Adobe Lightroom
Key word tab – Adobe Lightroom



You can simply type in a key word to add it to your picture. Key word suggestions are given and a list is created. 

Key Word List - Adobe Lightroom
Key Word List – Adobe Lightroom



Once your keywords are assigned to your pictures you can then search for images using keywords. All of your images which have been tagged with that keyword will show up. 



Filter tab - Adobe Lightroom
Filter tab – Adobe Lightroom


This is really useful when somebody asks to see all the pictures you have taken of a certain subject, such as trees. The chances are that you have many pictures of trees and they are not all going to be stored in the same folder. This means you will not have to trawl through thousands of pictures of other subject just to find those of trees.  


Key words help with SEO (search engine optimisation)

If you have a website or blog then you probably know what I am talking about. But if not then let me explain:

When a search engine such as google looks at your website it is looking for certain things. One of those things is key words from both the text and images. If a keyword on your site matches the keyword which is being searched there is more chance that your website will rank highly in the results.

When you export files from programs such as Adobe Lightroom and Aperture you can choose to export the key words as well. These keywords are then embedded in the file and will be uploaded with it.

Another option is to connect the key words to the image file via the website. If you are building your own website you will have to write it into the code. However hosts sites usually have a way to add key words to image files after they have been uploaded.   

Wordpress Image editing
WordPress Image editing – here you can add the key words into the description


Website where people will be searching for your images rely on keyword. These sites can include stock photography sites, Flikr, image competitions and site where you can sell prints. Most of these will have a specific key word tab for you to fill in when you add the photo. If you have embedded your key words in the image file then they will appear in this box automatically. 

Shutter stock image submission
Shutter stock image submission


Flickr image uploader
Flickr image uploader – on flickr and many other social media sites key words are known as tags


Learn more About Using Key Words in Adobe Lightroom

I have written my own Adobe Lightroom courses. You can download the first part of the course here. This first section focuses on the library module where you will learn how to import and organise your photos. A big part of that is learning how to use the Key Words.

Don’t Hesitate Download Part 1 NOW! 

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