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Your keywording tips

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Ian.B

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Keywords; I hate them but I have gotta hav'em. However I often wonder which is best/do I have too many or not enough and I'm sure others ask themselves the same question so a "Your keywording tips" thread might be handy place to put together some ideas/ways to use/finding photos and so on



One question I have: Should I have a 'yellow flower' keyword or would 'yellow' and 'flower' be better keywords. Should a _ be used?

or "old building", "old stone building" or is "old" and "building" and "stone" a better way to go

I now; very much horse for courses; what work for me but.....


How do you find the photo?
I have been typing into the Filter at the top of the key word list; works OK if I have done my part with k/wording. But would it be better to use grid module/text/keywords


These days photography/editing/posting/sharing/helping online where I can is just my thing to do. I don't consider my images to be overly important although the kids might think differently in many years times
I have often said to newbies not to make digital photography harder/more confusing and complicated than it has to be. Sometimes I feel my keywording is like that.

BTW I do have pretty good hierarchy list.

Got any tips to share.
 
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I found that if you are going to be using similar keywords in smart collection such as those designed to help with a workflow, it works better to have _ in them e.g. Export_to_Flickr and Export_to_Facebook are easier to set up a smart collection for
 

Roelof Moorlag

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It's not 'the' answer to your question but what me helped is to put more effort in keywording my best images. So, i do rating first. I only visit 3 star and better with extensive keywording.
Location info i do in batch on import or with GPS and names of people i do with face recognition.
 

Anthony.Ralph

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I like to do some keywording as I import a batch of photos. I tend to include things like location, season of the year and event - anything that would apply to the whole group being imported. This does take the sting out of things a little. I have also recently used the spray can more frequently to add keywords to groups of photos that are not contiguous in terms of keywording; another easing of the chore.

Anthony.
 

Ian.B

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I found that if you are going to be using similar keywords in smart collection such as those designed to help with a workflow, it works better to have _ in them e.g. Export_to_Flickr and Export_to_Facebook are easier to set up a smart collection for

Thanks David; atm I'm not planning to use collection too much; but .........

It's not 'the' answer to your question but what me helped is to put more effort in keywording my best images. So, i do rating first. I only visit 3 star and better with extensive keywording.
Location info i do in batch on import or with GPS and names of people i do with face recognition.
Thanks for the input, I took on board the thoughts of Scot Kelby about rating photos and not using stars. The image is in or out; although I do leave maybes/not sure/insurance/backup for the best images. Scott K said in his LR book that he has seen people agonizing over whether a photo is 3 or 4 stars. It's not a one star so why panic over an inferior image. That's why I flag; X or just leave the image sit although I can see more use for starring if I was to take up more use of collections. At the moment I getting plenty of fresh files to play with without going back through old files.

I like to do some keywording as I import a batch of photos. I tend to include things like location, season of the year and event - anything that would apply to the whole group being imported. This does take the sting out of things a little. I have also recently used the spray can more frequently to add keywords to groups of photos that are not contiguous in terms of keywording; another easing of the chore.

Anthony.
Cheers; never considered 'season' k/words not that we get the real cold/snow weather down here. I should use the spray can more myself instead of selecting files..... Note taken


Come on folk; spill beans on your keywording secrets. I'm sure there are many following this thread looking for some guidance.
>>And this is an open thread so don't be afraid to ask your questions.

I would still like to hear some feedback on having lots of single k/words or is it better (for you) to have multiple (searchable) words in the key word

What was the BIGGEST keywording/tagging mistake/mess you made. .......promise we will not laugh .......... too much ​:bluegrin:
 

sbtm

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I would love to start keywording but hate the fact that i have to go through 15,000+ photos to do. Unless, I just start with new pics and go forward
 

Jimmsp

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I would love to start keywording but hate the fact that i have to go through 15,000+ photos to do. Unless, I just start with new pics and go forward

When I first jumped into serious keywording I had over 50k of photos to work on. I set a priority workflow:
1. All new photos
2. All 4 & 5 star photos ( I use stars to rate how good they are)
3. Last year's photos, starting with 2&3 stars
4. Year before last; etc.

I still have photos with no key words. Most of these were taken many years ago, and many probably should be deleted; maybe someday.
 

sbtm

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When I first jumped into serious keywording I had over 50k of photos to work on. I set a priority workflow:
1. All new photos
2. All 4 & 5 star photos ( I use stars to rate how good they are)
3. Last year's photos, starting with 2&3 stars
4. Year before last; etc.

I still have photos with no key words. Most of these were taken many years ago, and many probably should be deleted; maybe someday.

That's exactly what I am going to start doing. Prioritize.
1. All newly imported pics
2. Any free time I have I start doing older ones
3. Any pics I access or require to go back to
 

rob211

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We've discussed the underscore issue elsewhere here; worth looking at that thread. It got particularly messy with names of people. But now those are special keywords in Lr 6 (although not in the outside world), so perhaps we need to rethink how we do that.

A BIG issue with keywords in Lr isn't the keyword itself, but how Lr searches for it. It is very lame when it comes to spaces, essentially treating a space as "or." It's nice that we can do a keyword like "Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park" but that's a lotta ORs (you'd have to search for "state AND park AND berlin AND ichthyosaur"). And if I have lots of icthyosaur pictures not related to the park, it's a problem. Some just use the underscore or other character to make that all one word, and then remove it for export. And you have to account for how say a web service or other software will deal with those keywords. And the same issue exists for hierarchies, since not all services/software is gonna be able to deal with them in a uniform way. So if I do "State>Park>Berlin Ichthyosaur" I end up with "state, park, Berlin Ichthyosaur" and I may have the same problem with searches.

At least with Lr, then, I find it much easier to use the checkboxes and keyword list to find stuff by keyword. It can be a pain to find the same photos using a smart collection (it would be nice if, having done that, we could save what essentially is a keyword search as a smart collection, but I don't think you can). John Beardsworth's Any Filter can help with this. And BTW, J Friedl's plugin for names can help as well.

It can help to look at some of the more sophisticated keywording info, like the stuff Photo Mechanic users have. They make use of variables, and pre structured lists (you can even buy them). It can help to sort out how to set up hierarchies, especially if you start doing this a lot.

I'd like to see if there was a way to reverse keyword from published photos. I dunno if anyone is using Flickr or Google, but their searching/filtering algorithms are scary useful. They find stuff I miss, and if I could apply a keyword within their filters/searches and then bring it back into Lr it would be very nice. But I don't think there's a way, since it's even hard to keyword from within those services. But it can help with how you view your own photos (and it's fun to see Flickr sort your less-liked relatives into the "dog" category...).
 

Roelof Moorlag

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I would love to start keywording but hate the fact that i have to go through 15,000+ photos to do. Unless, I just start with new pics and go forward
Thats why i do only serious keywording my best images (3 star +).

I'm using 'helper keywords' in my workflow. In the import template i add some standard keywords: @doesneedrating, @doesneednaming, @doesneedkeywords
I have some smart collections (Does Need Rating, Add people's names, Keyword this) which i let collect all images with 3 stars and better + the 'helper keywords'

Now, when i have some time i'm selecting some images (20 or so, a number i'm sure i will accomplish), mark them (with a color label or so) and then rate them, add people names to them and/or put keywords in it. When i'm finished i'm removing the respective helper keyword. These images will disappear from the smart collection. (This is how you can track your work on a big pile like 15.000 photo's also. Add the helper keywords to all of them and then work through them the next years).
 
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gpsmikey

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Lots of good comments here - I think I am going to use underscore in mine (yes, I have read and understand both sides, but for me, underscore works). One point that I have not seen mentioned here yet is the singular vs plural - dog is not the same as dogs, goose is not the same as geese - pick which works best for you and stick with that form.
 

Ian.B

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That's exactly what I am going to start doing. Prioritize.
1. All newly imported pics
2. Any free time I have I start doing older ones
3. Any pics I access or require to go back to

Yep; you have the right idea imo. With old file move from newest to oldest. Good time to delete the old :blush: keepers too. You would already have an idea of some keywords some add those now and then use the paint can to add those keywords to photos. You can also select and drag the image/s onto the keyword. And you will not get it perfect; never will be if it's like mine but k/words are easy to edit/move around/change and LR it brilliant at matching the keywords to pictures when looking that photo
 

Ian.B

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We've discussed the underscore issue elsewhere here; worth looking at that thread. It got particularly messy with names of people. But now those are special keywords in Lr 6 (although not in the outside world), so perhaps we need to rethink how we do that.

A BIG issue with keywords in Lr isn't the keyword itself, but how Lr searches for it. It is very lame when it comes to spaces, essentially treating a space as "or." It's nice that we can do a keyword like "Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park" but that's a lotta ORs (you'd have to search for "state AND park AND berlin AND ichthyosaur"). And if I have lots of icthyosaur pictures not related to the park, it's a problem. Some just use the underscore or other character to make that all one word, and then remove it for export. And you have to account for how say a web service or other software will deal with those keywords. And the same issue exists for hierarchies, since not all services/software is gonna be able to deal with them in a uniform way. So if I do "State>Park>Berlin Ichthyosaur" I end up with "state, park, Berlin Ichthyosaur" and I may have the same problem with searches.

At least with Lr, then, I find it much easier to use the checkboxes and keyword list to find stuff by keyword. It can be a pain to find the same photos using a smart collection (it would be nice if, having done that, we could save what essentially is a keyword search as a smart collection, but I don't think you can). John Beardsworth's Any Filter can help with this. And BTW, J Friedl's plugin for names can help as well.

It can help to look at some of the more sophisticated keywording info, like the stuff Photo Mechanic users have. They make use of variables, and pre structured lists (you can even buy them). It can help to sort out how to set up hierarchies, especially if you start doing this a lot.

I'd like to see if there was a way to reverse keyword from published photos. I dunno if anyone is using Flickr or Google, but their searching/filtering algorithms are scary useful. They find stuff I miss, and if I could apply a keyword within their filters/searches and then bring it back into Lr it would be very nice. But I don't think there's a way, since it's even hard to keyword from within those services. But it can help with how you view your own photos (and it's fun to see Flickr sort your less-liked relatives into the "dog" category...).
good info Rob; thanks for the time to explain it all
 

Ian.B

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Thats why i do only serious keywording my best images (3 star +).

I'm using 'helper keywords' in my workflow. In the import template i add some standard keywords: @doesneedrating, @doesneednaming, @doesneedkeywords
I have some smart collections (Does Need Rating, Add people's names, Keyword this) which i let collect all images with 3 stars and better + the 'helper keywords'

Now, when i have some time i'm selecting some images (20 or so, a number i'm sure i will accomplish), mark them (with a color label or so) and then rate them, add people names to them and/or put keywords in it. When i'm finished i'm removing the respective helper keyword. These images will disappear from the smart collection. (This is how you can track your work on a big pile like 15.000 photo's also. Add the helper keywords to all of them and then work through them the next years).

Thank you; more to take in when I have a clearer brain :blush:
 

Ian.B

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Lots of good comments here - I think I am going to use underscore in mine (yes, I have read and understand both sides, but for me, underscore works). One point that I have not seen mentioned here yet is the singular vs plural - dog is not the same as dogs, goose is not the same as geese - pick which works best for you and stick with that form.

do you have any really helpful links re: underscore. we can all google it but then we need sort the rubbish from understandable stuff

Thanks for the input folks; good stuff just like this forum
 

Ian.B

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gpsmikey

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Most of the discussions I had read on the underscore were here, but there were others as well. John Beardsworth comment about corrupting the data is valid ( that was discussed in this thread also referenced above - "two word keywords" , however, in my case, things like "mt. Rainier", "snow goose", "canada goose" etc. are all single words to me. If I want to search for "snow", then I will have a keyword of "snow" for the picture with snow in it. Actually, a good search term for more information is "keyword underscore" - that will narrow down the search a bit. Since (unless you are working with stock images for sale etc.) the primary purpose of keywords is to allow you to find what you are looking for, then you need to use what works best for you. My thoughts on it anyway
 
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Hi Ian.

Your query does raise some important issues that are worth comment.

Starting generally it is clear that keywording images cannot be done to a single universal set of rules.
One's genre of photography is a clear factor that markedly influences how one keywords. Each genre of photography has its own 'vocabulary', and, hence, keywords that make sense.
If one shoots only family members and family events then names and events are important keywords to capture.
If one shoots birds as a dedicated pursuit then keywords need to include species and subspecies as well as location. In the case of the birds a detailed deep hierarchy is the only way to adequately capture this information.

The depth of the keyword hierarchies used and the number of keywords applied to individual images are a direct reflection of the need to find a particular image.
Clearly an image keyworded with just the keyword 'bird' is not helpful to the dedicated bird photographer who needs to find three images of a subspecies of kestrel in an image catalog of 100 000 images.
However the photographer who just shoots family members and special events like birthdays and anniversaries can do with a much simpler set of keywords generally.

So, if one can always find images via keywords, and other metadata of course, using the filter bar or via Smart collections, then keywording to a greater depth arguably is redundant.
If one struggles to find images at the current level of keywording then there is an issue that needs to be addressed. (Perhaps I am over-reading your post Ian but I get the impression that you may reside in the latter camp.)

On a different track it is clear from many of the replies to the OP, and the OP itself, that most individuals regard keywording as a necessary evil. Unfortunately, any evil, whether necessary or not, will be approached with a reluctant distaste and more likely total aversion.
I regard keywording (and other metadata capture for that matter) as an indispensable part of my workflow. Not keywording an image appropriately to me is the same as driving to work but then leaving one's car out in the traffic blocking the intersection while at work. Just park the car!
I don't have negative feelings toward keywording rather I regard a well keyworded image with as much pleasure as a beautifully crafted landscape image in post-processing. To me these are two sides of the same coin. A properly processed image is a properly processed image!

I appreciate that there is a broad range of possible workflows that can be applied in post-procesing. However, my strong suggestion is to start culling and keywording while importing. Rate and keyword images right there and then. Learn to do it quickly - it is possible. I can finish a minute or two after Lightroom finishes its import.

What are the keys to achieving this kind of workflow?
I use metadata presets to quickly apply things like copyright and locational metadata on import.
My keyword hierarchies are set up in such a way that adding specific keywords such as a location will give me all the locational keywords from perhaps a street address to the continent in which that location resides. One mouse click can add up to a dozen keywords via the hierarchy.
Of course not all keywords reside in a deep hierarchy but arranging keywords by subject with the apex keyword in a hierarchy being a non-exportable keyword allows one to quickly traverse a keyword collection potentially numbering on the ones of thousands.
Make use of the multiple options for keywording several images simultaneously. I tend to select a single representative image and keyword it and then copy the metadata to other images via 'Synch metadata'.
Practice makes perfect. Five minutes of effort will not raise your workflow efficiency by much. Disclosure: It took about a year of persistent effort and research to build my workflow to suit my needs.

Whether anyone takes on my suggestions will be dependent on one's take on keyboarding and metadata acquisition. I regarded it as a crucial part of workflow and got on top of the issues involved.

Tony Jay
 

sbtm

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Yep; you have the right idea imo. With old file move from newest to oldest. Good time to delete the old :blush: keepers too. You would already have an idea of some keywords some add those now and then use the paint can to add those keywords to photos.

I actually have an idea on what "themes" I would be naming my pics. For example, location, event, people in pic (immediate family at least), land marks, vacations, etc. That's how I access pics on computer and my brain at least. And of course, date which is already there as pics get imported into folders (Windows) when the pics were taken.

Thanks Ian.
 

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wow; thank you Tony; great long list of info. Actually my keywording is not too bad now and I can find most; but not all images most of the time. But I do often wonder if there is a "better way" knowing there is no best way. I also know there are many silent members/lurkers who will get even more from this thread than I will and that gives me that fuzzy warm feeling :)

my biggest dramas is ready/writing/typing and I'm certainly not the most organized sort of bloke so all this file stuff doesn't come naturally to me. Although it always surprised my family, and myself how quickly I used to be able the find clients files/negs. But my personal stuff was a different story until I started to understand lr and keywording

New York as a keyword was mentioned above and the way I approach those is usually NewYork

I have also amended my keywords to work better on flickr: Where live atm, Mildura is under Victoria which is under Australia and under Mildura are the more local places that mean more to me. Take this recent image

attachment.php

Keywords added
BackStreet, Black and white, Coloured, FrontYard, Mildura, Pickets, Seat

Keywords exported
BackStreet, Australia, Black and White, Coloured, FrontYard, Mildura, North West Victoria, Fence, Pickets, Seat, Street, Victoria

Is there something I could/should do different? Is it worth worrying about tags on Flickr? (I'm not there to count followers) How would you file the photo?

I appreciated all the tips and advice given and I will certainly spend more time taking it in.
 

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rob211

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(warning: crabby rant)

Since keywording is about finding images (and that's not only in Lr, but other applications, the computer's system, and online) you'd think after all these year Lr would have noticed some of the improvements that have been made in other areas.

For example, tag clouds. Or fixing Lr's lame search capability when it comes to spaces. Or keyword suggestions. Or grouping by date and time: just about every other application does this well, and it's a great time saver when tagging, since it helps group similar stuff together. Sure, you can use a filter, but you shouldn't have to.

And although Lr and Adobe probably don't have the chops to do it, image searching has evolved considerably. I can find stuff in my photos in Flickr and Google photos even when the photos are not tagged or described. It's not reliable or an alternative by any means, but it is an interesting way to sort through photos. I can even sort and filter by predominate colors using other software. And software like Snapselect can find suspected duplicates, which helps with culling. Or even finding photos shot in the same location at very different times.

At its core Lr is about organization; there are tons of editing tools, not so many organizers. Yet editing evolves; organization has hardly changed in years and years. About the only significant change is the addition of geolocation, and that was late. This matters to keywording because it is, and should be, an adjunct to organization and finding stuff, and not the only tool we use. I may need a certain photo, but sorting those down to "bird" or even "kestrel" or to any keyword grouping often isn't enough; these days a computer should be able to assist more with content. Lr is long on categorizing by metadata like geeky camera parameters, but unless someone pays me to review lenses how often am I gonna care about searching for 20mm shots? Meanwhile, you can't even put keywords in cells in grid view. Keywording could be much more effective and easier to use if Adobe put some energy into those goals instead of yet another Ps tool ported into Lr.
 

rob211

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Keywords added
BackStreet, Black and white, Coloured, FrontYard, Mildura, Pickets, Seat

Keywords exported
BackStreet, Australia, Black and White, Coloured, FrontYard, Mildura, North West Victoria, Fence, Pickets, Seat, Street, Victoria

Is there something I could/should do different? Is it worth worrying about tags on Flickr? (I'm not there to count followers) How would you file the photo?

I appreciated all the tips and advice given and I will certainly spend more time taking it in.

I am not sure what the hierarchy is; that adds tons of info. "Fence>picket" for example is different than "labor union>strike>picket." Or "street": is that a style of photography, or part of the name of a street, or the object shown in the photo? Hierarchies can make those distinctions, at least as long as they remain heirarchies. So "Australia>state>Victoria" and "street>Victoria" and "queen>Victoria." Of course Queen Victoria on Victoria Street in Victoria is a problem once the hierarchy gets flattened out to a list. But at least then all the terms are included, so "Victoria AND street AND state AND queen" would find it; it would be excluding all the other stuff (and in commonwealth countries every other thing is named "Victoria") would be the tough part. And that's sorta true in searching in Lr. But using the list it would be pretty easy to find such a photo to the exclusion of others, since the hierarchy in the list drills right down to it.
 
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(warning: crabby rant)

Since keywording is about finding images (and that's not only in Lr, but other applications, the computer's system, and online) you'd think after all these year Lr would have noticed some of the improvements that have been made in other areas.

For example, tag clouds. Or fixing Lr's lame search capability when it comes to spaces. Or keyword suggestions. Or grouping by date and time: just about every other application does this well, and it's a great time saver when tagging, since it helps group similar stuff together. Sure, you can use a filter, but you shouldn't have to.

And although Lr and Adobe probably don't have the chops to do it, image searching has evolved considerably. I can find stuff in my photos in Flickr and Google photos even when the photos are not tagged or described. It's not reliable or an alternative by any means, but it is an interesting way to sort through photos. I can even sort and filter by predominate colors using other software. And software like Snapselect can find suspected duplicates, which helps with culling. Or even finding photos shot in the same location at very different times.

At its core Lr is about organization; there are tons of editing tools, not so many organizers. Yet editing evolves; organization has hardly changed in years and years. About the only significant change is the addition of geolocation, and that was late. This matters to keywording because it is, and should be, an adjunct to organization and finding stuff, and not the only tool we use. I may need a certain photo, but sorting those down to "bird" or even "kestrel" or to any keyword grouping often isn't enough; these days a computer should be able to assist more with content. Lr is long on categorizing by metadata like geeky camera parameters, but unless someone pays me to review lenses how often am I gonna care about searching for 20mm shots? Meanwhile, you can't even put keywords in cells in grid view. Keywording could be much more effective and easier to use if Adobe put some energy into those goals instead of yet another Ps tool ported into Lr.

Rob, I'm not disagreeing with most of the rant, but I feel you're doing it in the wrong forum.....I doubt very much that Adobe staff would read it in this forum, so you'd be better advised doing it at the official Adobe feedback site. Though I'd imagine most if the features you'd like to see have already been requested....
 

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(warning: crabby rant)

Since keywording is about finding images (and that's not only in Lr, but other applications, the computer's system, and online) you'd think after all these year Lr would have noticed some of the improvements that have been made in other areas.

For example, tag clouds. Or fixing Lr's lame search capability when it comes to spaces. Or keyword suggestions. Or grouping by date and time: just about every other application does this well, and it's a great time saver when tagging, since it helps group similar stuff together. Sure, you can use a filter, but you shouldn't have to.

And although Lr and Adobe probably don't have the chops to do it, image searching has evolved considerably. I can find stuff in my photos in Flickr and Google photos even when the photos are not tagged or described. It's not reliable or an alternative by any means, but it is an interesting way to sort through photos. I can even sort and filter by predominate colors using other software. And software like Snapselect can find suspected duplicates, which helps with culling. Or even finding photos shot in the same location at very different times.

At its core Lr is about organization; there are tons of editing tools, not so many organizers. Yet editing evolves; organization has hardly changed in years and years. About the only significant change is the addition of geolocation, and that was late. This matters to keywording because it is, and should be, an adjunct to organization and finding stuff, and not the only tool we use. I may need a certain photo, but sorting those down to "bird" or even "kestrel" or to any keyword grouping often isn't enough; these days a computer should be able to assist more with content. Lr is long on categorizing by metadata like geeky camera parameters, but unless someone pays me to review lenses how often am I gonna care about searching for 20mm shots? Meanwhile, you can't even put keywords in cells in grid view. Keywording could be much more effective and easier to use if Adobe put some energy into those goals instead of yet another Ps tool ported into Lr.

I hope you put your fingers in a bucket of cold water after typing that :p :)
 

Ian.B

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I am not sure what the hierarchy is; that adds tons of info. "Fence>picket" for example is different than "labor union>strike>picket." Or "street": is that a style of photography, or part of the name of a street, or the object shown in the photo? Hierarchies can make those distinctions, at least as long as they remain heirarchies. So "Australia>state>Victoria" and "street>Victoria" and "queen>Victoria." Of course Queen Victoria on Victoria Street in Victoria is a problem once the hierarchy gets flattened out to a list. But at least then all the terms are included, so "Victoria AND street AND state AND queen" would find it; it would be excluding all the other stuff (and in commonwealth countries every other thing is named "Victoria") would be the tough part. And that's sorta true in searching in Lr. But using the list it would be pretty easy to find such a photo to the exclusion of others, since the hierarchy in the list drills right down to it.

Thanks rob; :oops: just realize I should use 'StreetPhotos' or 'StreetPhotography' and not just "Street" .Good point

Australia, Black and White, Fence, Street (now "StreetPhotos":) ), are the hierarchies and Seat is under a non-explored 'General photos'

Been a good thread; maybe we need a "to pass onto Adobe" thread or section (??)
 
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