go beyond the obvious...
Advance Notes: In the last century, "captions" were used to help photo researchers identify an image. Today, the new technology can take captions a step further. Rather than use only a few keywords to search for an image, it's to your advantage to utilize even more words in your search descriptions. If you include not only who, what, where and when, but also assign emotional, mood, and conceptual descriptors to your search words, you'll stand a better chance of zeroing in on that "just right" image.
Can photographers anticipate what descriptor words you might use when seeking images in a photographer's stock list? Not always.
Photo editors will often use search words that go beyond the general description that photographers have assigned to their images. Adding to the mix, a researcher in Florida might search for a 'rug,' another in New York might search for a 'carpet.' A researcher in Ohio might look for ‘aviation’, and a person in California, ‘flying’.
Increase your chances of finding arcane images. Use more words describing each photo you're searching for. Example: the word "jump" might also be expressed as, e.g.: hurdle, leap, bound, etc. A keyword search you could write, "boy jumping, hurdle, leap, bound (and others you had energy to think of, depending on how crucial the search results would be). This way you have used a search-proof safety net. You'd hardly fail to miss if you were looking for: a boy skipping.
Where do you find these synonyms? In the tools section of your word processor. HOW TO: Place the cursor over the word you are expanding, press the appropriate alt key of your processor, and several synonyms will come up. Use them all! You'll never know what word the photographer has used to list a photo description.
Since webcrawlers (a search engine tech term for indexing software that takes words from a photographer's site and places them in their search engine for researchers to utilize) use the same philosophy (more is better). It behooves you to increase the wordage in your search key words to hit on that "exact" picture need.
Keywords have become a popular exercise for researchers who use our PhotoSourceBank (each photographer member gets to use 3,000 words to describe specific photos in their files). Photographers know that it is important to use the usual who, what, why, where, and when to describe his/her image, but also to include text that could describe the mood, emotion, or conceptual nature of the image. For example, the boy skipping might also illustrate joy, delight, bliss, rapture, fun, play, pastime, and amusement. Conversely, if the boy were jumping across a chasm, the mood of the picture might be danger, hazard, peril, jeopardy, and risk. In that case, your key word search would also include: boy jumping, danger, hazard, peril, jeopardy, risk
Welcome to the Internet way of picture search! -RE
Note: At our website, you can find a list of dozens of helpful "word ideas" that can be applied as conceptual words to search for highly specific images. Visit: > http://www.photosourcebook.com/wordideas.php <.
Rohn Engh is director of PhotoSource International and publisher of PhotoStockNotes
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