#16 – Not so cock-a-hoop over keywording

Cock and hen, France. [Alamy image ref. AR6NRN]

One of the few images from my collection on Alamy – now numbering close to 7,500 – that has stumped me for keywords, is the above. Maybe I didn’t think this early-morning, back-lit, farming image would ever be seen… let alone chosen for use because I’d encouraged the two characters to pose by placing pieces of bread on the grass at a nice frame-filling, pre-focused distance from my Nikon 70-200mm zoom.All I had to do was click the shutter every time these cute creatures stood still for a moment – if you’ve never tried photographing friendly fowl before, you won’t know how quickly their heads bob up and down and blur a high percentage of shots!

However, when it came to key-wording, all that came to mind for the “Essential” box was “cock, hen, poultry.” I had also written “Cock and hen – poultry” as the caption, as well as “farm, bird, birds, rooster,” in the additional keywords box… but that was it… probably my shortest set of keywords of all my images so far on Alamy.The result? This image sits 1st of 648 Rights Managed images (there are 985 including RF) with “cock, hen, poultry” as the keywords. Scratching around a bit more I found there are 1,821 images using “cock, hen” as keywords, and more than 27,000 images found using the single word “poultry”. Interestingly, when “poultry, hen, cock” (the original three search words but used in reverse order) are used in the keyword search, my image drops down from position #1 to 165, although the total number of RM images found stays the same at 648.

All of which makes me think that perhaps during 2011 I should start to look at my frequently excessively descriptive key-wording… and start to pare it all down to the basic essentials. I did a lot of kissing – with both men and women… as is normal here in France – over the New Year, so perhaps I should take the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) acronym to heart.

Used in a UK national newspaper with print run up to 5 million, inside spot size on a 1-day license under my “Farming Today” pseudonym.

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