Back to Basics – Do I really have to use Keywords and Tags on my Photos?

Using Keywords and Tags to Organize Your Photos and Make them SearchableI will be blunt here, NO you do not have to use keywords or tags.  If you have a folder system that works for you that is great. No need to make yourself extra work if you don’t have to.

But for some of us we want to be able to search for photos later on for projects, scrapbooks, events, blog posts, etc.  And we need to be able to quickly get the photo we were looking for.

Keywords and tags allow us to add additional information to our photo or file meta data.  What is metadata you ask?

[quote] Metadata describes other data about a item’s content [/quote]

Nothing like a vague definition is there?  In our instance we are talking about meta data or meta tags attached to our photos and files to denote the who, what, where, and why.

In this example keywords are: Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland, Stitch’s Great Escape, Sign
Using Keywords and Tags to Organize Your Photos and Make them Searchable

Once I have added these keywords I can easily search on any one of those keywords or tags and find that photo.

So how do you add keywords or tags?  If you own a photo management tool the keyword tools are built right in.

Some popular photo management programs are:

  • iPhoto for Mac : FREE software that comes with an apple computer.  It allows you basic editing along with a great way to easily find and sort photos.
  • Aperture for Mac : A more intermediate program with advanced ways to organize and edit your photos.  Runs about $80.  This is what I use.
  • Adobe Lightroom : A professional program for that has unlimited ability to edit and organize your photos. Runs around $149.
  • Online/Cloud Options : Picasa, Shutterfly, etc. can be used to store and tag photos.  Be careful here as if you store photos with one of these services they can change the terms at any time.  This may result in limited storage or fees for storage.

These are just a few options.  But don’t let this be your only place you store your photos.  Remember to always back up.

The more advanced programs will let you build a keyword hierarchy and then you attach keywords to your photos as you need them. Usually this is drag and drop.  It is a lot faster than writing them over and over.

Once your photos have keywords or tags they can then be searched for using the search tool in the program.

Using Keywords and Tags to Organize Your Photos and Make them Searchable

If you don’t have a photo management tool that is ok too.   You can actually add keywords and tags to the photo or file meta data directly by right clicking on the file name in it’s folder and choosing properties.  In that management box you can then type in keywords or tags.

You can also add tags and keywords at the folder level so you don’t have to do every photo in a folder if they will all have the same tags.  This will greatly reduce the amount of work.

After you have tags and keywords assigned you will be able to search your hard drive for those keywords and they will appear. Note: sometimes you will need to bring up the advanced search functions to get the keyword or tag box.

If you think you will be key wording many photos I would recommend getting a photo management tool but if it is something you will only do once in a while this will work just fine.

Using Keywords and Tags to Organize Your Photos and Make them Searchable

So how bad do you think I am with this?  Bad!   I pulled the keywords I personally use for my Disney photos and there are 9 pages of keywords.

If you are a subscriber I will be sending out a copy of my keyword list in this Sunday’s newsletter.  Now don’t think you have to use them all.  It will just give you some ideas on how you want to structure your keywords.  If you want a copy just sign up for my newsletter and you will get it in your inbox this Sunday.

Back to Basics : Disney World Keyword List Subscriber Eclusive

It takes a bit of work but if you ever think you will need to search for specific photos or files this is the way to go.

Do you see keywords and tags as helping you?

Mary Signature

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By |2017-10-12T12:43:59+00:00October 25th, 2013|

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  1. Beth D. October 28, 2013 at 8:17 am - Reply

    I am so bad about keywords but really want to get that done! I waste more time searching for photos (once I start looking, I then get distracted by reminiscing about other photos in the folder!), than writing up a blog post or creating a scrapbook page! Thanks for the tips! I have your newsletter and will definitely be checking out your key words!!

  2. Melissa October 28, 2013 at 8:37 am - Reply

    I just bought Lightroom and I’m currently in the process of organizing everything and adding keywords. It’s a lot of work but I am hoping it pays off eventually. Thanks for the keyword sheet! I was really excited when my newsletter arrived yesterday. 🙂

    • Mary Connor October 28, 2013 at 2:48 pm - Reply

      So happy someone was not scared off by my starter list (9 pages!). It will pay off the first time you wonder if you have a picture of astro orbitor for a post! Then it pulls them all up at once rather than having to search through the photos from each trip.

  3. Beth~ A Disney Mom's Thoughts October 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm - Reply

    Each time I read one of your posts I realize there is something else I need to do to get more organized with my photos and memories! I stink! 😉

  4. Deb November 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm - Reply

    Great tips! I am forever searching for photos. You can never have too many keywords!

  5. Christine February 18, 2016 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    Would it still be possible to get a copy of your photo keywords? Thanks!

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Mary Connor

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