Minding your own business
Adding value to your images Digital images, on their own, certainly have value. But with extensive keywording and captioning, the same image is potentially far more valuable. Many people think of metadata (data about data) as merely an organizational aid, without realizing how much value can be added to the image. Our good friend and colleague, Seth Resnick, strongly advocates extensive keywording and, just as importantly, captioning of the image. Seth does this primarily because he’s so anal but also because he depends on the stock sale of images where metadata is an asset. So, for him and many others competing in that industry, adding metadata is a must. The image shown in Figure 7.1 has 35 keywords (about average for a well-keyworded image) and has almost 150 words in the caption (called ‘Description in Bridge CS4’, but we still think of it as a caption). Seth has boasted of having images that needed over 100 keywords for completion. We rarely go that far. How do you keyword? One of the best tips from Seth is ﬁrst write the caption (the story) and remember the who, what, when, where and why of journalism. When you write the story, many of the keywords will come from the story itself. Be sure to list word variations and alternative spellings, such as color and colour. Use gerunds (verbs that function as nouns) and participles rather than verbs, such as running rather than run. Try to use the plural rather than the singular form of a word unless the plural spelling is different than merely adding an ‘s’, in which case add that word as well. Some keywords can be conceptual attributes, but use these very sparingly because overuse will make them useless – everybody thinks their own work is ‘beautiful’ so beautiful as a keyword is pretty useless. Above all, be consistent in your approach and, if you are a poor speller, keep a dictionary handy. There’s nothing quite so embarrassing as misspelling a keyword for the world to see. Using a ‘ controlled vocabulary’ is critical; for more information, see the website run by photographer David Riecks (www.controlledvocabulary.com).