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Library module Tag hierarchy question


New Member
Dec 30, 2015
Lightroom Experience
Lightroom Version
Lightroom Version
Operating System
macOS 10.14 Mojave
Hi guys,

I've implemented a tag hierarchy for my pictures, but I've had problems recently when I could not assign tags clearly.

My tag families (if the feature/tag item is dominant in the picture). Otherwise, there is no tag
  • Color (I try to stick to one per image)
  • People
  • Flora (flowers, trees etc.)
  • Fauna
  • Picture type (black&white, HDR, long exposure...that sort of thing)
  • Location
Now I didn't want to make it too complicated - I don't care what specific kind of bug or plant it. Rough categories are fine for me.
My pictures can have multiple tags, for example "red" and "flowers".

But what happens, when there is a macro picture with for example a bright yellow bug on a pink flower? Both colors and objects are dominant and define the image. If I tag "yellow/pink/bug/flower", the text search will yield said image if I look for "yellow flowers" or "pink bugs" - which is not what is shown in the image.

That tells me the tag system is flawed (or at least how I apply it). But I don't know how else to do it. Sometimes clear choices are hard to make.
How do you go about it?
May 9, 2015
Lightroom Experience
Power User
Yes. This is a well known short coming of the tag system - not only in LR but in many other apps as well. there are no really good work arounds that I am aware of, but there are a few that may help out.

1) in your case the tag "Yellow" can mean two things. Either it is the overall color feel of the image or it is the color of a specific item in the image. If the later, then LR has no way of knowing which of the other tags the "Yellow" refers to. For example, as you point out, does the Yellow tag refer to the Fauna or Flora

2) To solve this, you can put each relevant color under both Flora and a duplicate under Fauna. Now, for example, if you use a metadata/keyword filter you can isolate the search to only the "Yellow" that is under "Fauna" or the one under "Flora" and if you want both then use the text filter for just "yellow"

3) If you do #2, but prefer using text rather than metadata filters, you can then employ synonyms. For example, on the "Yellow" tag under "Fauna" make a synonym called "YellowFauna" (probably want to uncheck the export synonyms box. Similar with the "yellow" under "Fauna". Now you can use a text filter for "YellowFauna" or "YellowFlora" or just plain "Yellow".