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Need Guidance Setting Up 1st LR Catalog

jarhtmd

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I'm an amateur & shoot for fun, but I have about 100K image files. I just got LR & want to think thru my plan, before rushing into something only to discover after a lot of work that my approach won't work. Currently, my images are stored by year. Years 2013 thru 2010 are on internal drive. Years 2009 thru 2003 are on external drives. I don't really have a filing system now, but they are stored by year. Finding images is largely by memory. I've always assigned my own unique #/names, altho' there are many duplicate copies scatter around my computer. I'm working my way back thru the years to clean up those duplicates. That's quite a task (that must be done outside of LR), but an absolutely necessary 1st step. Even w/o LR it would free up disk space. My plan is to do that year by year (working backward from 2013) before importing into LR a year at a time. My plan is to store/catalog each year as a subfolder in my main catalog.

Roughly, my plan is to import by year (not necessarily a whole year at once), assign keywords, stars, etc. I really don't yet know what I can/should do when importing & adding to the catalog.

  • My LightRoom Catalog (folder)
    • 2012 Photos (subfolder)
      • Keepers (subfolder) 0 stars
      • Good (subfolder) 1 star
      • Better (subfolder) 2 stars
      • Best (subfolder) 3 stars
    • 2013 Photos (subfolder)
      • etc


  • 99% of my images are JPGs. Are sidecar files written for JPGs?
    • When is metadata actually written to the files?
      • When Exported from LR?
      • Is metadata from LR appended or does it overwrite? Some (small %) of my files already have some added metadata . . . keywords, geotags, copywrite, description. I don't want to lose that.
      • I read references to hierarchical keywords, which seem like a logical approach, but haven't found examples &/or how to use.


  • Many of my files have info within their filenames ("HDR" for instance) that I would like to extract & use a keyword instead. ("2012-1234-NY-0 Statue of Liberty HDR")
    • Can LR search by literals within filenames? If not, any suggestions?
    • I know (at least, think) LR can rename files during Import. How about during Export? Or w/o Exporting?


  • Can LR data be moved/copied between catalogs?
    • Say file1, file2, . . . , thru file1000 are in C:\Folder1 & in catalog1. If I copy them (outside of LR) to D:\Folder2, which I also want to put into catalog2 in LR. Can I copy that part of catalog1 data (whatever, keywords, flags, . . . ) into catalog2?


  • As a kind of side/parallel project, I want all bring all of my catalogs "online" for searching, collections, etc. For various reasons the externally stored images are rarely referenced. I'm thinking about making small JPG copies of all images (via Photoshop File/Script/Image Processor) after removing duplicates. They will be tiny files (<100KB each, but will display big enough to make keep/toss decisions) & can all be stored on my c-drive, allowing me to search all my images during my initial LR builds. Does that make sense? Hopefully, I will also be able copy these tiny files & their LR catalog to my laptop for spare time reviewing when I'm traveling. It will be a long time before I have all my back images cataloged.
 

D4Stone

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I will be watching this thread. I would like to know all of what you have inquired about also. Nice job writing your questions
 

Tony Jay

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Hi, jarhtmd this is a big job you have got for yourself.

Big picture issues:
1. Get yourself a couple of reference books about Lightroom. The two that are best for you right now are Victoria Bramptom's FAQ book (she happens to own this site BTW) and Seth Resnick's Workflow not Workslow book.
Victoria's book covers all the knobs and buttons to press while Seth's book covers important workflow issues in Lightroom with massive attention to the Library module, importing, metadata, keywording and organizing images in Lightroom and much else besides.

2. Stop right now trying to think in terms of organizing yourself with folders on the hard drive. If you are going to use Lightroom then use its strengths: metadata and keywords in particular are the way to go. Once all the appropriate metadata is in place then you can search according to the criteria that you want or use Smart collections.
As an easy but excellent example I have Smart collections for images that have two, three, four, or five stars. The reason why the Smart collection is smart is that anytime an image is tagged with two stars it will automatically become visible in the two star Smart collection. That same image, were it to be a bird would also end up in the "bird" Smart collection once it is keyworded correctly. If you have folders organized by date that is more than adequate.

3. I would get the entire collection onto a single HD. From there one can back up and archive to multiple HD's.

4. I would suggest a single catalog. This way the entire image collection is searcheable. Multiple catalogs will not allow this to happen.

5. In Lightroom the catalog is NOT the image collection (the actual image files, that is). The catalog is a database that keeps track of all the images in the image collection.

6. Lightroom makes previews itself - you do not need to do this (a reference to your side/parallel project).

7. Make the import Template and its preset possibilities your best friend.

8. Read those books I suggested otherwise you wiil get yourself in a real mess with 100K of images. A lot of the ideas you have betray a lot of ignorance in how Lightroom really works.

9. Once you have done some reading and have asked more and better directed questions you will have a much better grip on the workflow required in Lightroom. My strong suggestion then is to test your workflow in a catalog that you can call TEST. Practice importing and organizing a few images (ten are more than enough). This includes the use of import templates, renaming presets, metadata presets, geotagging and/or reverse geotagging, keywording, using collections and Smart collections.

10. Once you have got your head around all the stuff I have already spoken about then you can do some research about exporting images out of Lightroom and what that entails.

11. There is an enormous amount of fun stuff in Lightroom too but by the time you are expert in all the things I have been telling you about, your facility with the other modules will be coming along nicely.

12. It is possible that many of the terms I have used have left you a bit confused but this is the vocabulary of Lightroom - once you really know the meaning of all the words as they pertain to Lightroom you will know how to use Lightroom properly.

13. Once you get to appreciate and understand how Lightroom works you will also start to appreciate how robust and usable it really is.

PS. I think it is nearly time for me to write a book about this stuff - a lot of people are coming into Lightroom a bit back-to-front and some take a fair bit of straightening out to rid them of erroneous preconceived ideas of how Lightroom works or how they would like it to work.

Tony Jay
 

jarhtmd

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Thanks, Tony Jay, for all the points that you've presented.

My plan is to try to catalog my 2013 images 1st and go forward from there. Then work backward thru the years until (hopefully) I'll someday get them all cataloged. I definite will not attempt to work with all my images at one time in the beginning. I'm trying to plan a "road map" of the journey. Sure, there'll be adjustments along the way, but I want to have in mind a general plan of action.

My goal is to get a FIRM handle on cataloging before I try much exploring of other LR features. To date, I've been able to use Photoshop to adequately handle my post processing. I will continue (mostly) with that until I understand cataloging much better & have actually applied it to several years' images.

I've watched several tutorials & taken notes about the "mechanics" (click here, click there) & expanded my knowledge (a little) about LR's capabilities. I have Scott Kelby's "Lightroom4 for Digital Photographers", but like most technical instruction books, it's hard (for me) to use while actually doing "real" tasks. Sort of like trying to learn how to tie a bowline while treading water & putting on a life preserver. I'll be the 1st to admit that, as an Old Fart, I sometimes (often) have a mental block when I try to learn new concepts . . . altho' I designed mainframe systems for 30 years.

I understand the concepts of keywords, smart collections, stars, etc. They are exactly the reasons that I bought LR & want to get my images cataloged. I have already decided to use a single catalog. The ability search my entire image collection is my ultimate goal.

I use the 5P philosophy (Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance) . . . actually there's a 6th P. That's why I've spent weeks turning what-if's over in my mind, before attempting to achieve any of my goals.

I've just cataloged about 400 images & have a couple of additional questions.

  • How do I move files from a subfolder (shown in Source panel) into its parent folder . . . & then delete the newly-emptied subfolder? This is a real situation . . . not a hypothetical.
  • I downloaded & imported a (free) hierarchical keyword Library, but now can't find them from within LR. My goal is to be able to be able to assign for instance:
    • "dog" or "cat" & also get "animal" & "mammal", etc

Jim
 

Tony Jay

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Hi Jim.

I am a little confused as to your terminology.
When you mention the source panel, that is only present in the Import template, but the tasks that you want to accomplish are either done by the OS itself, outside of Lightroom, or equally effectively in the Library module, inside Lightroom.
In the Library module moving folders around is as simple as drag-and-drop.

With regard to keywords although many free keyword hierarchies exist my strong suggestion to you is to construct your own hierarchy.
Use the concepts embodied in the these hierarchies but make it yourself.
What you are going to find is that when you apply someone elses keyword hierarchy to your images there is not a good fit.
Either the hierarchy is far too detailed or laughably simple.
In the same way that you plan to use a divide-and-conquer approach apply this to building your keywords.
Building the upper levels of a hierarchy is not complicated but it is probably the most important.
My strong suggestion, again, is to make a TEST catalog to experiment.
There are a few things that you need to get straight in your mind to keyword effectively:
The difference between public and private keywords (whether the 'include on export' tab is ticked and whether the 'export containg keywords' option is ticked) is the key to constructing a hierarchical keyword collection.
A small hint - use private keywords to organize your hierarchy and capitalize those keywords to make them obvious:

small hierarchy.JPG

So, ANIMALS is the top-level keyword and does not export but all the other subordinate keywords that you see do export.

I also use synonyms, so birds also has the latin term 'aves' that will export as well.
Importantly though one cannot search for synonyms in the keyword hierarchy but can be found for the purpose of searching, smart collections etc.


How detailed one goes in that hierarchy is dependent on you - I happen to use a full zoological taxonomy to describe animals.
At the species level though the primary keyword is the common name with the latin name as the synonym since that is easier from a search perspective.
This information is shared on a food-for-thought basis.

The important thing about a keyword hierarchy is that if it is well designed at the outset it is infinitely extendable as required.
My keyword collection exceeds 30 000 keywords yet, using the animal hierarchy as an example it is not complete by any stretch of the imagination.
However, adding new species, and filling in the gaps is easy since the upper levels of the hierarchy are correctly constructed.

Keep the questions coming - I am sure you are not done yet!

Tony Jay
 

jarhtmd

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Hi Tony

I apologize for my confusing terminology. I'm sure it will happen more in the future, until I learn some of the buzzwords. During my testing I didn't realize that LR4's left-hand Import panel name had changed. I've moved files around for years "outside of Lightroom". I'm trying to follow the often repeated advice to "do everything (or as much as possible) inside Lightroom".

In the Library module moving folders around is as simple as drag-and-drop.

That is where my question arose . . . in the Library module.
I imported:

  • FolderA
    • SubfolderA
  • FolderB
    • SubfolderB

Then, in the Library module, I dragged (drug?) SubfolderB & dropped into SubfolderA.
Now I have:

  • FolderA
    • SubfolderA
      • SubfolderB
  • FolderB
I want to drop the contents of SubfolderB into SubfolderA and then delete the empty SubfolderB. How do I do that?

As for keywords; I hesitated about loading the hierarchy, but finally decided to give it a try while I'm still at the very beginning. I thought maybe it would be useful, but have rejected that & your comments confirm that. I had already (in earlier tests) assigned my own keywords to some of the images & exported. Those exported images were re-imported into my new catalog. Clearing the keyword library w/o clearing my previously assigned keywords shouldn't cause problems. I had not assign any keywords via the library.

I like your hint of capitalizing "special" keywords to make them easily recognizable. I assume that you (not LR) control which keywords are exported & capitalization identifies the "top level" keywords. Do you just visually use the levels for deciding which keywords to assign? Do you assign ANIMALS? Or only the lowercase words? It also seems logical to always assign plural keywords. Actually, I don't expect to have a sophisticated hierarchy. Will searching for ANIMALS (or animals) find birds?

Please keep the answers coming . . . you are absolutely right; I'm a long way from done.
 

Tony Jay

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Ok I am with you.

In Library module:
Go into subfolderB, click on one image then press CTRL-A to select all images in that folder.
Hover the mouse over the folder that you want to move those images into and R-click, (in the left sub-panel called Folders).
What should happen is that a dialog box should open with several options - the very first one is what you want 'Move selected Photos to this Folder'.
L-click that option and the images will move to that folder.

Now that subfolderB is empty R-click on that folder, again in the left sub-panel, and a dialog box will open - select 'Remove...'.
You are done.

With regard to keywording the point of the hierarchy is to assign keywords as far down into the hierarchy as is appropriate.
All keywords above that assigned keyword are also added as keywords - see below:

WORLD LOCATION
Continent
Africa
Australia
Queensland
Brisbane
Arana Hills
24 Smith Street

WORLD LOCATION is a private keyword that does not export. It functions as container for the location-based keywords.
The next immediate child keywords are 'Continent' and 'Island'.
The immediate children of 'Continent' are ''Africa', 'Australia', 'Asia' etc.

In the WORLD LOCATION hierarchy all the children are exportable.
Simply selecting '24 Smith Street' will assign that keyword and every keyword above it on the hierarchy.
This is the power of using keyword hierarchies.

Tony Jay
 

jarhtmd

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Thanks, Tony.

I had "almost" tried that . . . instead of R-click, I had tried to drag-&-drop (like I used for moving the folders). I just didn't think about R-click . . . another case of not seeing the forest for the trees (& there are a lot of trees in LR).

In your keyword example, is WORLD LOCATION private & therefore not exported because it is recognized by LR4 as "top-most" of a hierarchy? The CAPITALIZATION, as I understand it, is for your convenience, so that it is easily/quickly recognized as private.

I loaded the keyword hierarchy via metadata > Import Keywords. I assume that I unload/uninstall via metadata > Purge Unused Keywords. All of MY (used) keywords were established either prior outside of LR prior to Importing assigning in LR or singly within LR.

Let's say I have keywords, cat, animal & mammal assigned to images & I drag-&-drop cat into mammal & mammal into animal. I also change to ANIMAL in the keyword list. That will change all of my previous uses of those keywords & the ANIMAL keyword will not be exported, even if it is the ONLY keyword in an exported image (right?). Suppose, for some special (maybe 1-time) reason, I want ANIMAL to be exported. Can I do that?

Jim
 

Tony Jay

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Jim, the capitalization per se means nothing to Lightroom.

Look at the 'Create Keyword Tag' below:
Create keyword tag.JPG

Lets go through this in detail:
Keyword Name is simple: lets use 'cat'
Synonyms: a common Australian synonym of cat is 'moggy'.
The 'Keyword Tag Options' are important and dicate how the keyword behaves in the hierarchy.
An exportable keyword will have 'Include on Export' ticked.
A private keyword will not have 'Include on Export' ticked.
'Export Containing Keywords' determines whether keywords lower in the hierarchy, children to the parent, are exported.
Ticking 'Export Synonyms' will achieve just that.

The creation options can be useful but lets leave those for now.

The best way of creating nested keywords is to find the parent keyword and R-click on it - a dialog box appears.
Select the option 'Create Keyword Tag inside'.
Once you have finished and clicked 'create' then the new keyword will be a child of the selected parent.

Play around with these options and get familiar with the results.
It is very easy once you have got it.

Tony Jay
 

Brad Snyder

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...and when moving images, 'drag-and-drop' should work also. The great big flaming red gotcha' within Lr, is that you have to click and drag on the actual image part of the grid view thumbnails, as opposed to the gray frame/bezel. Maybe that's what's causing your hiccups. (Maybe not, but this is certainly in the top 10 required explanations for 'non-intuitive' Lr features.)
 

jarhtmd

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Thanks, Brad

aah . . . that explains it . . . as you said, it is certainly 'non-intuitive'.
 

jarhtmd

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As I said in an earlier post, I downloaded & imported a hierarchical keyword Library (via Metadata > Import Keywords...), but now within LR I don't see any evidence of having done so. Just for a test I added "xxxxx" as a keyword to 1 image, which showed up in the Library Module keyword list as it should. I removed that keyword from that image & the count in the list changed to 0. Then, via Metadata > Purge Unused Keywords, I removed "xxxxx", which was the only keyword with 0 count.

The imported keywords haven't showed up in the list (Library Module, right pane, Keyword List) before or after purging unused keywords. Where did they go when I imported? Are they still there, lurking to surprise me later? If still there . . . how do I get rid of them? If gone . . . how do I verify that they are gone? Is it possible to print a "hardcopy" of keywords? That would be useful when I'm away from my computer & thinking/designing my keyword structure.
 
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Tony Jay

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Jim I am not really sure why the keywords did not show up in Lightroom once imported.
The keywords are stored in a text document and so the file can be opened in any text editor that recognizes the file.
In Windows Wordpad and Microsoft Word open the file no problem.

I import and export my keyword list between two computers regularly with no problems so give it another go and see what happens.

Tony Jay
 

jarhtmd

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I created my own keyword list using my Flickr tags as a starting point. Then Imported them & with drag-&-drop, I created nests & Exported the keywords. That just seemed the easiest way to create the nests. Everything seemed to work with only a few minor blips, probably caused by accidental clicks by me.

For a couple of years I have geotagged most of my images, using a logger & used GeoSetter software for matching the times to get coordinates. Only a few of my test files are geotagged, but the keyword list shows entries like geo:lat=99.99999 & geo:lon=99.99999 for each of the geotagged images. My keyword list contains just under 200 entries (including synonyms, which I haven't yet learned much about), but it seems that it might get cumbersome to work with a long & growing list. The geotag lats & lons will add considerably to the list. I know that geotagging can be done in LR & I hadn't planned to dig too deeply into that feature for awhile, but I may have no choice. There wouldn't, per chance, be a way to hide selected keywords? Those entries are really useless as keywords. I'm thinking that the GeoSetter software probably inserted geotags into keywords (in addition to other place(s) in the metadata). If that's the case, I could then remove it from keywords. This might force me to detour from my plan of mastering the Library module before venturing further into LR, as well as learn something about metadata in general.

Thanks for your continuing help/advice. I'm learning . . . & beginning to appreciate LR's power.

Jim
 

Tony Jay

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I have to confess that geotagging information showing up as keywords is beyond my reference range.
The only way to get rid of them is to delete them.
Hopefully there are not too many images with this problem otherwise it might become a major pain in the arse.
I am not sure if any of the plug-ins that are available can help.

I probably need to download several and work with them but that is for another day.

BTW despite having about 20 000 keywords in my collection there are only 60 top-level keywords that form the categories under which the rest of the keywords are organized.
This prevents the collection getting out of control.

Tony Jay
 

jarhtmd

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Wow! I can't imagine 20,000 keywords.
After a good night's sleep, I realized that there's a simple way around what I thought yesterday (after a long, hard, tiring day) would be a problem with the geotag keywords. I just created a new GEO-LAT-LON top-level keyword, into which I'll drag all the geo:lat & geo:lon keywords as they are added/created. By keeping that top-level collapsed, they are hidden & out of the way.
 

Tony Jay

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Jim, everything is divide-and-conquer.
Go for the keyword categories that give you bang for your buck.
Don't worry about trying to keyword place names in Russia if you have never been there.
However you are from Maryland so if you shoot outdoors you would have a ton of images from there and the surrounding states.
You know how Maryland is divided up geographically all the way from State down to local neighbouhoods in Towns and Cities.
Concentrate on that.

Over time you also will be amazed how many keywords you accumulate - after all you have 100 000 images to organize.
The wonderful thing about the hierarchical approach is that applying one low-level location keyword gives me six to ten keywords.
Add in information such as parks, reserves, rivers, and mountain ranges from their hierarchies and just a few clicks gives about twenty keywords pertaining to geographical location. And all this before starting to keyword more specifically for the subject and contents of the image.

Tony Jay
 

jarhtmd

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I decided to arrange the [top-level] keywords in workflow sequence (order of assigning keywords). When working with a group of images I can collapse the list for all except the current level. When done, close that level, open the next . . . moving on down the list. If I'm interrupted, when I return I know where I stopped. Does that make sense? If I decide to change the workflow, all I have to do is change the #. This should serve as a checklist to insure that I don't forget something.
[1-MOOD]...what emotion does the image invoke?
[2-WHAT]...what's in the image?
[3-WHERE]...World Location, continent, country, state, county, city, etc
[4-WHEN]...Seasons of the year, holidays, etc
[5-TECHNIQUE]...just a placeholder for 5a & 5b
[5a-SHOOTING]
[5b-PROCESSING]
[6-PEOPLE]...by name...family members, celebrities, etc
Question: Suppose I make a mistake and assign the wrong keyword(s) to some images, but don't discover the error until later. Or maybe I just decide that aaaa would be a better keyword than bbbb. Is there a way to a "change all" aaaa to bbbb? I could filter & select images with keyword aaaa; add bbbb; delete aaaa, but I think there must be a better way than that.
 

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Jim, your proposal could work.
However it is worth posing the question to you now: What is your particular photographic bent?
The answer will help guide me, and others, as what else might need consideration.

If you have concerns about whether images have been keyworded correctly there are are few ways to check but the easiest is just to go to the keyword in question - there will be a number next to it in the keyword list. Clicking on that number will select all the images that have that particular keyword.
One can then select the images that need changing to different keywords.
However if it is only the keyword itself that needs alteration, eg spelling or capitalization, just edit the keyword in question and it will update, realtime, every instance of that keyword in every image in your collection - in the catalog.
You will need to do a metadata save to the XMP files, DNG, TIFF, JPEG files to get the metadata changes updated into the files themselves.

Tony Jay
 

jarhtmd

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Probably because LR does so much, so easily & I've been doing things the hard way for so many years, LR's obvious answers don't come to my mind immediately. My last question is a good example of that. After your suggestions, I sometimes think "why didn't I think of that?" Hopefully, LR's methods will soon become 2nd nature. Until then I'll take literally (& liberally) that "no Lightroom question is too stupid".

Your metadata save reminder is the most critical for me to keep in mind. It's not like exiting Photoshop & being asked "do you want to save your changes".

I have travelled a lot, so my LOCATION keywords are most complete now as I'm just starting. Of course, that too will grow as I work back thru my archives. I have always shot whatever catches my eye, with a lot of people I don't know . . . strangers that I've simply asked "may I take your photo?" (maybe I'll keyword as "headshots" & after post-processing add "portraits", or maybe both keywords from the beginning, altho' I think the "possibilities" should be differentiated from "done"), landscapes, buildings, abstracts, animals (most of which I cannot identify, so I'll probably keyword generally as antelopes instead of specifically as impala, elan, etc) & flowers (most of which I cannot identify, so I'll probably keyword generally by color & flowers or lily instead of by name). I even started shooting a lot from moving vehicles, especially if in a far away location to which I'll probably never return. It's amazing how many good images I get that way . . . of course, I delete a lot too.

I'm also trying to make all my keywords plural. Even tho' an image might be of a single cat, when I'm looking for a specific kind of image I'll be looking for "cats". Would synonyms be appropriate for men, women, children, etc?
 

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Jim use the synonyms: keyword 'cat' but synonym would be cats, or keyword: 'domestic cat' synonyms 'cat', 'cats', 'moggy', 'Felis catus' would all be appropriate.
Note that one can only search directly for keywords but not the synonyms.
The value of synonyms depends on whether your images are exiting Lightroom or not.

BTW there really is no such thing as a stupid question with Lightroom. Some of the most fundamental (simple?) things in Lightroom tend to cause the most problems.
Also, remember there was a time when you knew nothing about Lightroom but now you do know stuff, likely a combination of reading, experimentation, and asking questions. At the end of the day it doesn't really matter how you learn as long as you do learn.

Tony Jay
 

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Lightroom Version
Classic 7
You do realize that LR has automatic reverse geocoding? This means that if a photo have GPS-coordinates, or if you manually place it somewhere on the face of the earth in the map module, LR will automatically fill in the metadata fields for Country/State/City/Sublocation. All based on whatever Google Maps find appropriate of course.

I'm currently writing an article about handling large photo shoots, and I've included som e stuff about GPS and tracklogs there:
http://sprng.me/hup3c
 
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