It’s a tempting cost-saver, particularly when setting up a new image library, to do the keywording in-house. If you’re considering going DIY, it’s worth understanding the pitfalls.

Consider these problems before making a decision to start, or continue further with, in-house keywording:

1. Do you, or does someone in your team, have the skills? – Finding a person with keywording experience is rare.  If you can, that’s great, but be wary about thinking that someone with photography skills can make the transition to a literacy-based job that requires precision, a high typing speed and a great vocabulary.

2. Can you meet the standards of third-party sellers such as Getty or Adobe? – Many companies doing DIY keywording do so with a bespoke standard they’ve put together themselves. Often that’s limited in scope and misses crucial aspects of the images, but perhaps even more importantly it won’t cut it if you plan to one day submit the images to a third party seller such as Getty, Adobe or Alamy.

3. How will you develop a keywording standard? – Even creating your bespoke standard will be a big task. A consultant might create one, or you might buy a basic taxonomy from a third party, but it’s difficult to know what works and what’s value for money.

4. Are you able to do the training? – Who will train the staff member/s doing the keywording, and how long will that take you? At Picsell Media we find that full training takes about three months, followed by six months of close supervision. The can be a pricey option if you employ a consultant to help with the training, but to do otherwise is likely going to be the blind training the blind.

5. When your keyworder/s leaves, what will you do? – Training staff is one thing. What about if they leave. They might not be easy to replace, and you are likely to again be facing the expensive and time-consuming process of training.

6. If it all goes wrong, do you have the budget to re-keyword your images and videos? – We’ve almost lost count of the number of image libraries who’ve decided to start by doing their own keywording, only to have to abandon that plan and re-keyword by an outsourced team of professionals.

7. Is it really saving money? – If in-house keywording staff are normally slow but accurate, or inaccurate and fast. Neither is good for the bottom line, especially if re-work is needed.

For all of these reasons, it’s a great idea to judge your in-house keywording programme against a professional alternative, being realistic about the speed, quality and cost. We’re happy to give you a quote to judge against. Just make an enquiry by clicking here. You might still go ahead with in-house keywording, but at least you’ll make the decision with your eyes open.