Google can't read photos. Without all that metadata an image will have little or no contribution to people finding my images and me online.
And as photos are obviously a significant part of what I do this is quite important.
Add relevant metadata and your image works for you. And your image has the metadata embedded in the image proving it is yours and that the copyright is yours.
Quite important then.
I did not relise this in my early days learning digital photography. And I now have a Lightroom Catalogue with over 50,000 images.
So what to do?
I have tried setting aside time to go through my images and add metadata. But this never works - too many images - not enough time. I have tried this many many times but know I will never get to the end of this mammoth task.
So why bother? I do not need to do this for images sat on my hard drive. It is the ones that leave my hard drive that I am interesteed in.
Once I realised that, and accepted what is done is done, the problem became a much easier one to deal with.
And this is what I now do to every image that is issued to clients/ potential clients/ publications/ social media/ my website/ posted anywhere online.
Basically every image that leaves my hard drive.
OK - there is one big exception to this - pictures from my iPhone. But apart from them....
I add the following metadata in Lightroom in the Metadata fields in the Library Module.
- Filename - I rename the file to something relevant including a relevant keyword.
- Keywords - I add relevant keywords describing the content of the image. I add important ones like "no people" and "copy space".
- Title - I add a title to the image. This includes that same single keyword from the filename.
- Caption - this is a full text description of the image. I try to write something so Google can make out what the image is all about from the words. I add the keyword from the filename within the text. As well as the location. And my name.
This might seem like a lot of work, but it is not as bad as it sounds. It is an essential part of my workflow now. Just something I do.
For client work it is essential to me - once images have been issued to a client I have no idea where they might go so having all that stuff about the images and me is a good thing.
And once this is done in Lightroom the metadata stays with the image - I only have to do this once.
And as I am going to upping my game in the stock photography market this winter it is work I would have to do anyway.