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Photo Keyword List FAQs

Why should I buy your list? Can't I write my own?

Yes, you can write your own list of keywords, and yes you should write your own list of keywords. I even have a page that explains the list format and tells you how to do it. After all, you know the things that you are photographing much better than I do. However, as you compile your own list, it very useful to have a framework to tag your specialist or personal keywords on to. Please look at my 'Keyword categories' page and you will see there is more to a keyword list than the apparent keywords for a single photo. You need to be able to describe the image in terms that Photo Buyers understand, and search for. That's where my list comes in. It helps you describe your images in standard terms, that you can then enhance with your own lists. Its much easier to modify a list than to start from scratch.

Does your list provide lots of synonyms, hyponyms, and lexically similar words?

No. There are only a few, generally related to international spelling. The current thinking is that it is better to generate a smaller list of select keywords for your photograph rather than line after line of synonyms, hyponyms, and lexically similar words, that only clog the search engine. Remember the old days of 'Keyword Stuffing' on web-pages? It is because of that practice that Google and the other big Search Engines stopped bothering with the 'Keyword' Meta-tag. No savvy web-designer uses it these days. The same rationale applies to photos.

Which version of English is used for the Keywords?

The answer to that depends on which of the 119 versions of the Keyword List you decide to purchase. All North American versions of the list use American-English as the primary language, and provide the British-English equivalent spelling as a synonym. All the versions for Great Britain: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales do the opposite. There are currently 500 separate US/UK english word-pairs that get updated each time the lists are built.

Why are there numbers in front of the main categories?

Numbers are used to force the order that the main categories are presented, rather than use Lightroom's default alphabetical order. The numbers don't get exported into your list of keywords, because those categories have square brackets around them, which Lightroom ignores.

I work in the acme-widget industry. Why aren't there any keywords that cover this field?

The '' Hierarchical Image Keyword Catalog can never cover every subject that a photographer might wish to photograph, and I have no intention of trying to do so. The Catalog provides a general structure that can be used with every photograph, but for certain specialized areas you will need to add keywords from your own specialized knowledge-base. The good news is that its easy to create these lists, and easy to add them to the Keyword Catalog. There are plenty of FREE lists available on the Specialized Lists page, and links to many more on my Resources page. If you are new to making your own lists, I would suggest a quick glance at my Tab-Indented List Tutorial page.

Do you use the list yourself?

Absolutely. If you look at my photo sales website you'll see I'm a professional travel photographer with over thirty years experience. You can also see my work in the 'Lonely Planet Images' collection with Getty Images. I generate many new images every year, and they all need keywording before I can submit them to my agencies. I've written this Keyword Catalog because its a product that I need, and its a product I can depend on to help keyword my images as quickly, accurately, and reliably as possible.

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