Those of us who are regular users of DakkaDakka, I hope like to occasionally make a foray into the Gallery to post up our own latest painting work, perhaps, or just to browse the latest cool stuff that others have posted. DakkaDakka has a particularly good system of rating that allows voters to rate both the paintwork and the "coolness" of a piece. It also has the benefit of offering an "N/A" rating for images that are clearly posted only to illustrate a review or article.
This is all good stuff. But as a regular voter and poster of my own images, I do find it a little frustrating that so few people make the effort to put proper tags on their images, thus presenting me with a pop-up asking me to do it for them. Now, it is possible to ignore this pop-up or, even, to prevent it from appearing entirely. But that fails to do the community any service, so I tend to take a couple of seconds to add tags. But I wondered whether there was any advice, anywhere, on DakkaDakka to give people a hint about what tags to add, how and why. Apparently not, so this is it:
Why should I add tags?
For two reasons. The most important is that it enhances the ability of others to find your images, both to your benefit - so they can effectively rate them, giving you useful feedback on your work - and to theirs, so they can find inspiration and guidance on how to pursue their own painting. But the other reason is because, if you don't, others will. And you may not like or agree with the tags that they give to your work. So if you don't want others to have a say in your tagging, you should make sure you add your own.
How do I add tags to my images?
When you upload your images, you can apply tags either to an entire collection, so that each tag is applied to every image, or to individual images, so that a tag applies to that image only. Even if you didn't do it when you created the collection or image, you can go back and edit your images to apply tags later.
What tags should I add?
This is where, I believe, most tagging stalls. People want to add tags, but don't know what tags to add. But there's a really quick and easy way to know what tags to add. You should always add at least five tags, as that will prevent others from getting the pop-up inviting them to do it for you. You should add tags in a "top-down" approach that answers the following questions:
1. Who owns this image? If it's you, add your username (or, if you are a recognized professional or want to be one, your real name). If it's someone else and you're posting the image as a third party, make sure you add the actual painter's online tag (or, if it is in the public domain, their real name) to the tags.
2. Who manufactured the item(s) show in the image? People may want to see all items by "Wyrd Miniatures" or "Games Workshop" or "Battlefront". Stick the manufacturer's name right in there. If it's a conversion or ensemble photo with more than one manufacturer pictured, put them all in!
3. What game system is the item for? Again, this is what people want to search for: all items for "Warmachine" or "Warhammer 40k" (don't put "40,000" as tags are separated by commas, so the tag won't work). So put your game system right in their in the tags.
4. What faction is the item for? If a person wants to see all items for "Vampire Counts" or "Khador" or "Germany" then let them.
5. What type of item is this? Is it a tank? Heavy cavalry? Infantry? War machine? A titan? A terrain piece?
6. What is the specific unit type? Rhino? Zombie? Obliterator?
7. What special qualities for the image possess? Is it a champion? A standard bearer? A meltagunner? A command stand?
8. What techniques and methods does the image illustrate? If you still haven't got to five tags at this point for any reason, ask yourself what this image can teach people? Is it a conversion? A scratchbuild? A sculpt? Does it demonstrate Object Source Lighting? Non-metallic Metal? A particular colour? Weathering? Leather? Edge highlighting? Drybrushing?
9. Anything else you can say about it
To give an example, here's an image I posted recently:
This is my image, painted for my commission service, so I started off with my business name: "Precinct, Omega". Note that I put a comma between "precinct" and "omega". This is so that if someone searches for just "Precinct" or just "Omega" they will get the image still. This is a way of avoiding images not being seen due to incomplete information on the searcher's part or spelling errors. I could also have put "precinctomega" as my username. I didn't know the manufacturer of this model, although I think it's an early Citadel piece - in any case, it's not available for sale any more, so I didn't put a manufacturer. But I did put "Dungeons, Dragons" as my client intends to use it as a D&D Banshee. I suspect someone else must have added the "Warhammer Fantasy" tag, as I would usually add that as two separate tags. But I then went on to tag it as "Cult, Orcus", as it's part of my "Cult of Orcus" collection; as "Ghost, Banshee, Spirit, Spectre" as those are all the unit types that others might ascribe to it. I could also have added "Undead" and/or "Vampire Counts" but I had my minimum of five tags and I was good.
I hope this helps you to quickly come up with good, effective tags for your images in the DakkaDakka gallery and elsewhere, getting you more views on your images and causing regular voters less trouble.