Most photo software that allows you to organize your photos has the facility to tag your photos. This includes software like Photoshop Elements as well as online services like Flickr.
But what is tagging, and why should you use it? Read on...
Tagging is the process of assigning words to your photos that describe the photo. Once your photos are tagged, your software can group all related images together saving you lots of sorting time.
For example, I could tag the image to the right with these tags : "Caroline", "Linda", "Paris", "Eiffel Tower", "Europe Holiday" and "September 2005".
Once your images are tagged, it's really quick to find all images from September 2005, or during your Europe holiday, or all images with Caroline. Or even all photos with Linda in Paris.
So in essence, tagging allows you to search your photos in the same way a search engine searches the Internet. You can quickly find the photo (or groups of photos) just by searching the tags.
What tag names do I give?
The beauty about tagging is that you can say as much or as little about your photos as you like. For example, I could also have tagged the above photo with "Mid Afternoon", "Caroline on left", "Cloudy Day" or even "Green Sweater" and "Jeans". But these take more time to create, so I recommend that you tag only the most important features of your photos.
A tag can be any (or all) of the following.
- the location the photo was shot
<li>names of the people or things in the photo (as separate tags)</li> <li>what they were doing (ie water-skiing)</li> <li>prominent landmarks in the image</li> <li>the month and year the shot was taken</li> <li>any significant event (21st Birthday, or European holiday)</li>
I try to tag at least a who, where and when for each of my photos.
If you use a photo sharing program like Flickr, you share your tags with all other users of Flickr. So once I uploaded my Eiffel Tower picture, I can click on my Eiffel Tower tag and find lots of other photos of the famous structure taken and tagged by others! (see all Flickr Eiffel Tower or Paris photos).
Another idea for tags is to rate your photos. Sometimes your picture organizer will allow you to assign your photos a number of stars. The more stars, the better you like the photo. If your organizer doesn't give you that option, you can use tags. Add a "Rated 5" or "Rated 1" tag so when you want to just show your best photos, you can search for "Rated 5" photos (or "Rated 5" photos in "Paris" featuring "Linda"!)
Do you tag your photos? Has it helped you to find your photos quicker later on? Let me know by commenting below.
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