Tip Of The Week

Keywording your images in Adobe Lightroom

Over time you will hundreds if not thousands of images on your computer that you have taken with your digital camera. Although these images may be stored in structured file system, this will not help you find the image you want quickly and easily unless it contains keywords.

The “Import and forget” approach

When we come back from a shoot, the first thing we want to do is see the frames we’ve made. We fire up Lightroom, connect the camera to the PC or pop the card in to the card reader and hit the import button.

But wait! By spending 1 extra minute here and another minute or two once the images have been imported, we can tag the files with searchable keywords.

Ok let’s say we have just come back from a short weekend break in Barcelona, Spain. The first thing you see when you import images into Lightroom, is the Import dialogue box as shown here.

At this stage we need to add some generic keywords that are applicable to every image that you are about to import. In the keywords box near the bottom of this window, I would add the following words all separated by a comma: Spain, Barcelona, January 2012, Spanish. Then just hit the “import” button and make a coffee while the programme does its stuff.

Adding additional Keywords

Once you have imported your images, take a moment to click on each on in the library module. You will see that every image is now tagged with all of the keywords that you entered in the import dialogue window. Now to really nail the job we need to spend a further 2 minutes adding some additional keywords.

For arguments sake we will say that you have just imported 40 images. 10 are of churches, 10 of your wife Sue, 10 are of the beach, 10 of La Rambla and 10 of the street entertainers.
Ctrl + click on 10 images of churches. Below the “Keywords Tags” box is a smaller dialogue box that reads “click here to add keywords” (you may need to scroll down a little to see this). Here we word type the word “church” and then just hit enter on the keyboard. The 10 images that you just selected would now all contain the additional keyword “church”. If you have more than one image of the same church, you can take this one step further by adding the name of the church, the district it’s in etc. Just remember to separate each keyword with a comma.

Then it’s just a case of repeating this process for the remaining images that you have imported.

Lightrooms Database

Here you can see how Lightroom’s powerful database comes in to its own. Still in the library module and grid view, click on the small “text” writing in the top middle of the screen. Then type a keyword that you applied during import in to the search dialogue box.

Every image in your catalogue that contains that keyword is now bought up in a matter of seconds!

By spending at little time at the import stage, you will be able to search and find all of your images quickly and easily for years to come.


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