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In Alamy's recently added portfolio critique section, the things that get mentioned over and over are captions and tags. What do you think to be the best approach to this difficult chore?

 

I went through a phase recently of writing very long captions that may well have included irrelevant data. With tags, I remain a minimalist. If I could come up with 50 relevant tags I would surely include them. I'm lucky to think of 12 to 20. 

 

I'm asking about Stock here, not Live News. If you plan to check my port, please ignore the first page. I'm still working on some of those tags.

 

Edo

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I also tend to write as long a caption as I can in proper English (i.e. sentences) and fit as many relevant keywords as possible in these sentences.

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Posted (edited)

I'm with you, Ed. Rarely over 25 nowadays. I leave some free to copy over tags from similar subjects, and some space for when some of my images are missing in a search and I realise I've missed something out, like "uk" or "english".

Captions, just what and where and who. Not even all of Kipling's six honest serving men. Usually the caption just gets copied over into tags, split up if required.

Edited by spacecadet

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Same here. I make the caption as complete as I can. For me it is the primary description of the image, and mentally I give it priority over keywords. In keywording I am a minimalist and include only what I can see in the image. The only time I get lots of keywords is when I keyword pictures of the kids as I then have things like "five year old" " five years old" " 5 yr old"...When I started with Alamy I used to put in loads of keywords and my ranking was poor. When I got to about 5000 images I deleted 2000 of them and probably half of my keywords and my views, zooms, etc jumped up pretty much overnight. 

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I write complete captions, but add even more details in the "tell us more about your image" area on the Optional page (the one with the "number of people in the image" etc.). This is where I add context that just might make the image more relevant to a prospective purchaser. For example, on images of a shelter for immigrant families on the Texas-Mexico border, the caption includes the who, what and where. On the Optional page, I added context about Pres. Trump's policy to separate families at the border causing chaos. I did include Trump, president, etc., in the keywords.

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Posted (edited)

I'm something of a minimalist by nature, but I try to make captions as complete as I can, especially for strictly editorial images. These days, I'm  trying to dream up more keywords / tags than I used to, especially for concept images (the more the merrier for them, I believe). The only proof I have that this strategy works is that I notice that not long after fleshing out the captions and keywords of old images, they sometimes get zoomed. With zillions of images now online and more coming at us from all directions as we speak, I feel that spending time refining and adding words is a good investment. It might even be more productive than uploading new pics.

Edited by John Mitchell
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I agree, John. Doing every single image...what, maybe a year and half ago... made me want to jump off a cliff, but I saw results. I had to do them, the new AIM scrambled them so badly. During the process, I realized how awful my early-years tagging was. I’ve been making regular sales of some pretty old images since. Even an A now and then.  Just had an A zoomed.

Edo, it wouldn’t hurt to add a few concept words to your shots of people talking, eating together. Like “friendship, companionship” (laughing, happy) or If several are doing a job together, use the phrase “working together”  Usually concept words won’t come back to bite you.

Betty

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This might well be unorthodox on my part, but I don't do the caps or tags until the images have passed QC. So I do them in the AIM system and not in LR as I suspect most others do. My main reason for this that I don't do well dealing with PP visual editing and text at the same time. 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Ed Rooney said:

This might well be unorthodox on my part, but I don't do the caps or tags until the images have passed QC. So I do them in the AIM system and not in LR as I suspect most others do. My main reason for this that I don't do well dealing with PP visual editing and text at the same time. 

 

 

I'm with Ed in AIM.

Edited by spacecadet

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7 hours ago, spacecadet said:

I'm with Ed in AIM.

 

Me too.

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Captions - as long as they need to be. But remember, if they go over a certain length, they move to 'other information' on the optional page.

This can be useful if you want to include information that you don't to come up in searches (the 'other info' isn't searchable, the caption is).

For instance, do a search for any tennis player and you will get loads of unwanted results for other players - who happened to be playing that person at the time so are mentioned in the caption.

Tags - as many as are relevant.

IGNORE the little orange line that turns green when your image suddenly becomes "optimised". 

NEVER add a tag you don't think is relevant just to make the line change colour.

 

I add captions and keywords before uploading. It helps if you submit (might start submitting) to another agency.

I then check and add/delete/correct spelling at the IM stage.

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A possible exception to detailed caps is tabletop food. 

 

I find that the food pics that sell best are simple dishes that can be described in one short phrase: Spaghetti Bolognese, ice cream, eggs with toast. Nobody seems interested in dishes where a list of ingredients is needed. 

 

This is all guesswork, of course, but we hope to get the judgment call right.  🙂 ???

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+1 with Ed in AIM, the caption is just exactly what I see in the image, the usual what, where, when etc, and if I have to think about tags to much that's enough for me, 15-20 seems the norm often less. 

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Captions and tags in AIM for me, too.

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I have keyworded my photos in Lightroom and let those come over and delete them if they're either too specific (name of person when that's not relevant or "family") and add others.  My LR keywords are so I can find photographs that I want to look at again. 

 

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Keyword in Bridge, always. I also have templates set up for repetitive subjects and scientific names.

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Keyword in LR, but captions and keyword tweaking in AIM. Have some degree of automation in LR, e.g. country or season specific, so saves time and reduces possibility of missing the obvious.

 

Always useful to revisit images after keywording, sometimes best looking at captions from a customer's view. Despite taking care often find errors and omissions.

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I try to do a simple informative caption in Photoshop. No need or room for flowery stuff, clients don't want to see any of that. I always do some basic keywording in PS but flesh those out some more in AIM. A dozen to twenty tags is enough. No need to dream up enough to get a green discoverability bar

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