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I would like to categorize images in my photo collection with tags describing the image. for example, if the image contains a dog, a cat and a baby, and is taken in a kitchen, the list of tags should be cat,dog,baby,kitchen

I don't see which tag that should be stored in. I was considering using EXIF:ImageDescription from the EXIF tag list in the documentation. (e.g. exiftool -EXIF:ImageDescription=baby,cat,dog,kitchen *) But I guess that is not the most optimal way to do it. is there a smarter tag to use?

(Next evolution would be to do some indexing to be able to easier find tagged images on my server)

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    \$\begingroup\$ The IPTC Photo Metadata Standard is a good place to look to see where you might want to place data. Alternatively, you could use a image management program such as Adobe Bridge or Digikam (both free) which will make it easier to put metadata in the correct places. \$\endgroup\$
    – StarGeek
    Aug 1, 2022 at 19:04

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Based on my workflow (use Lightroom) I see keywords are stored in IPTC IIM variable Keywords. Also you can check for variable Subject (Lightroom store the keywords also there).

Image Description is used mostly for the name of particular image.

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