Quick tip on Keywording Using Google Maps

This will a quick post on a little technique I’m using to keyword images of places that I’m not familiar with.

Bella Venezia

So I’m going through my latest batch of Venice images and since I’m not so familiar with the city I’m using Google Maps and its 3D tool to add accurate captions and keywords. Let me illustrate this with one example:

How would I caption and keyword this beauty?

Thanks Google! Now I can add:

  • Riva degli Schiavoni (the waterfront promenade)

  • Rio del Vin (the canal)
  • Chiesa San Giorgio dei Greci (the church)

  • Castello (the neighbourhood in Venice)

For completeness it would be nice to have the type of boat, but that’s probably going too far as probably not so relevant to what buyers are looking for (if anybody could help me out I would really appreciate it).

Anyway, this is the complete editorial caption that I’ve settled for:

Caption: Venice, Italy – March 28th, 2018: Leisure boat on Venice’s historic waterfront with the Church Tower of San Giorgio dei Greci in the background

Keywords: architecture, attraction, background, blue sky, boat, bright, building, buildings, castello, Chiesa San Giorgio dei Greci, church tower, city, copy, copy space, copyspace, destination, docked, european, exterior, historic, horizontal, italian, italy, lagoon, leisure boat, pedestrian, pedestrians, promenade, reflection, riva, Schiavoni, sunny, tourism, tourist, unesco, venetian, venetian canal, venetian lagoon, veneto, venezia, venice, venice boat, venice italy, vertical, vin, water, waterfront, outdoors, waterscape, cityscape

(I’m fully expecting an editorial rejection by Shutterstock)

Update (as expected):


The more specific & accurate the better

You’d be surprised at how specific some buyer searches are. I check almost everyday on Alamy Analytics what clients searched for on the previous day.

Here’s a small example of how specific searches can be (these were results from April 11) and how some of my images appeared:

  • “italy italian woman young portrait NOT elderly NOT boy NOT couple NOT group NOT food NOT meal NOT eat NOT eating [RM]”
  • “romanian woman NOT elderly NOT boy NOT couple NOT group [RM]”
  • “london underground rush hour”

Being specific, although time consuming, will help your images rise in the ranks for those terms, even if the image itself isn’t that great.

Hope that’s helpful and let me know if you start using Google Maps to help keyword your travel images.

Until next time – Alex


  1. Great tip! Thanks for sharing!
    What I also tend to do, is take a quick look at the Wikipedia page of the subject. It often gives me extra ideas, especially for editorials, as you can find the style of buildings, the architect and much more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your comment, Borniet.

      That’s also another good tip.

      At the end of the day I got 500 pics of Venice to go through post-process, keyword + upload. Even if I spend 5 minutes on each that’s 2500 minutes or 41 hours (a whole working week). All for a few subs? lol. The kid at McDonald’s is making more than me 🙂

      Now, I try to be quick and accurate. I’ll miss out on a few here and there but that’s the price you pay for submitting to micros. For a client paying good money for bespoke work…I’ll spend as long as needed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, I’m learning about keywording every day, but good captions is a problem. Why did you expected that the caption was rejected? And what caption did you use to get it accepted?
    Thanks, Laurens


    • Hi Laurens,

      Thanks for your comment.

      For some reason, which I suspect Shutterstock management have decided to implement the use of bots for QC, something like half of my editorial captions have been rejected. In the end I opted for the following which has been accepted, finally:

      “Venice, Italy – March 26th, 2018: Historic church and canal in Venice”

      It’s a pity since it’s such a generic caption but I made sure to include specific keywords about the name of the church, the name of the piazza and name of canal, so buyers can find the images.

      Hope that’s helpful


      Liked by 1 person

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