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How to Write Great Titles for Your Photos

In order to make your photos easier to search for buying customers, Titles are a new metadata field introduced in August 2020.

The Caption field will still be used in search, but in the future we will start to give more weight to the Title.

Captions have been misused by many members of the Twenty20 community, making them unreliable to deliver relevant search results. Because of this, we're introducing Titles as a clean slate for everyone. Learn more here about understanding how to use Titles, Captions, and Keywords.

Let us know if you have any feedback or questions about Titles here.

Adding accurate keywords and titles on your photos is just as important as submitting quality images. Make sure buyers can find your photos when searching on Twenty20 with these tips.

You put a lot of work and time into producing creative imagery that’s a perfect fit for potential customers. The last thing you want is to waste that time when customers can’t find your image collection. On Twenty20, there are millions of beautiful creative images. If a customer can’t find you, they can’t purchase your work. Metadata, including keywords and accurate titles, eliminates that risk.

Here's a great example:


Photo by: @5byseven

Title: Smiling and happy diverse African American active baby boomer smiling during a party
Keywords: smiling, family, happy, diversity, diverse, elderly, grandpa, baby boomer, african american


>> See more examples of good and bad Titles at the bottom of this article.

Here’s our guide for creating the right keywords and titles that accurately describe your photos to ensure that your imagery gets the visibility it deserves here at Twenty20.

Create Accurate Titles

Think of your title as the news headline for your imagery. Who, what, when, where and why. Those are the questions that your title needs to answer, nothing more and nothing less. Be as specific to the image as possible, and refrain from copy and pasting the same title to similar images. You have a better chance of connecting with a customer looking for that specific image if you are accurate and clear.

Include Unique Information

When you add words to your keywords and titles, include any unique information that sets your image apart from the rest. Mention any specific technologic components of the image that are unique, including perspective, angle, or treatment. For example, if you are shooting an aerial image, include that in the description of your title.

Be Descriptive

Being descriptive sets keywords and titles apart from the rest. For example, say you have an image of two kids playing in the park. Instead of a title such as “Two kids,” consider adding a more descriptive element that will allow the right customers to find your work. Two kids playing in the park in the sun is a better example of being descriptive, which helps a customer to find the right image they are looking for.

Describe Diversity in Models

Use as many accurate keywords and titles as possible to describe your models’ ages, races, and genders. And be specific! Our customers are searching for different ethnicities and age ranges around the world. Don’t label a model inaccurately, and if you aren’t sure, ask them!

Think Like a Customer

Sometimes, you need to put your customer hat on. Take a look at the image you’re going to upload. If you were searching for that exact image, what would you search for? Use that as your title. A great starting point often comes from evaluating your own imagery, and thinking about how you would find that image.

Let’s say a customer is looking for a young violinist playing in a concert hall. If a customer was to search “Person playing violin,” they may be able to find this image…in a massive collection of other ones. However, if a customer searched Young person playing violin in a concert,” chances are because it’s more specific, they can find the right image easier because your image is titled correctly.

Include References to Tone

What is the goal of your imagery? Is it to inspire? Is it to be funny? Maybe “Instagram-worthy?” Consider that customers may be searching for these terms too, so consider including them in your titles and keywords.

If you have a stunning image of people sitting at a cafe having a coffee in a beautiful, hipster environment, don’t just say “People having coffee.” Instead, consider being more aspirational. Highlight the image with a description that says Young people enjoying coffee in a beautiful cafe. Think about the difference between ordering coffee at a chain restaurant with your family, and ordering a latte at a bricked hole-in-the-wall cafe you happened to discover on your walk home.

Remember, Not Everyone is a Photographer

While you may know that the reason an image is blurred is because it has a low depth of field, not every potential customer will. Consider using terms such as “blur” for an unfocused background instead of getting technologically specific. Include keywords that may be more searchable for customers, and then include their counterpart that’s more understandable from a visual background. “Streak” and “light rays” are other good examples of those search terms.



Examples of Good & Bad Titles

Good Examples 


Photo by: @samanthavaughn

Title: Young professional millennial business man working on computer at desk in modern startup office 
Keywords: technology, man, laptop, work, desk, startup, millennial, young professional, business, working



Photo by: @crystalmariesing

Title: A mom and baby in a kiddie pool in the backyard enjoying summer
Keywords: summer, backyard, fun, smiling, baby, family, mother, pool, happy




Photo by: @InLightOut

Title: Young man is having great time on a bridge with mountains in background
Keywords: outdoors, winter, travel, mountain, vacation, hipster, inspirational, snow


Bad Examples

Avoid writing Titles similar to the following. They won't work well in search and will hurt your chances of having your photos found by customers.

  • beach, sand, summer, waves, coast, ocean, nature [No keyword lists!]
  • Friends [Don't be generic. Be more specific]
  • Good vibes ✌️ 

(Post inspired by industry standards)

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