Hi everyone! This is Kuan again, and this week, we would like to share an article about keywording for portraits.

When a contributor looks at his/her image, a lot of words randomly come to mind, but sometimes when all these words come at the same time, the thoughts are not immediately organized and it can be a little messy. This sometimes results in keywording whatever that happens to come to mind at that particular point of time, and contributors may overlook certain aspects of the image and forget some simple important keywords.

In this article, we would like to do a simple breakdown on how to think when keywording.

Back in school days, students are taught that when they are writing an essay or story, it is always important to think about the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘how’; and it is actually the same for keywording stock photos!

As a guideline, ‘who’ refers to aspects relating to your model: gender, nationality, age, race, status, number of people etc.

‘what’ generally refers to the activity of the image: theme, expression and emotion, props, action etc.

‘where’ generally refers to the location and the details of the location: country, outdoors/indoors, background etc.

‘when’ generally refers to the time of the activity or image: day/night, any seasons involved, any special festivals or events, weather etc.

‘how’ can generally be used to further describe how the image or subject is like (like an adjective): eg. how elegant the model is, cool and modern, rustic and nostalgic etc.

Here’s a chart that gives a simple yet comprehensive guide to keywording by thinking from the root words of ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘how’:
(you can click on the chart for an enlarged view) 

Portrait Keywording Chart

It is actually a good habit to always start thinking from the root when you keyword so that you do not accidentally leave out certain aspects of an image to keyword. These actually cover a lot of keywords comprehensively.

So next time when you want to keyword an image, do not rush into just throwing out whatever words that come to mind! Try to think from the basics of ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘how’, and you’ll be surprised at how much more organised your keywords become!

For a more in depth keywording tip, you can also read our article on situational keywording here: https://www.pixtastock.com/blog/situational-keywording/