Having decided how you’ll keyword your photos and whether to use a flat list or hierarchy, you can either start by building your keyword list in the Keyword List panel and then apply these keywords to your photos, or you can start keywording the photos and allow your keyword list to build gradually.
Adding your first keywords
There are numerous ways to add keywords to your photos, including:
- Type in the Keywording panel
- Create a new keyword using the Keyword List panel
- Click the Keyword Suggestion buttons in the Keywording panel
- Use Keyword Sets to group your most frequently used keywords
- Assign an existing keyword using the checkbox in the Keyword List panel
- Click and drag to/from the Keyword List panel
- Use the Painter tool to quickly assign keywords
- Use a Keyboard Shortcut
- Use Face Recognition for names of people
To help you get started, we’ll cover the first two options, but for more detailed information, see pages 140-150 in my Lightroom CC/6 book.
Type in the Keywording panel
Select the first photo, perhaps in Loupe view, and go to the Keywording panel in the right panel group in Library. Click in the keywords field that says Click here to add keywords (or the field above) and type your keywords, separating them with a comma (,). As you start to reuse keywords, they’ll be suggested as you start typing, which helps to avoid differences in spelling. When you’ve finished, press the Enter key and your keywords appear in the Keyword List panel, as well as being attached to the selected photo.
Create and apply keywords using the Keyword List panel
At the top of the Keyword List panel is a + button, which is used for creating new keywords without applying them to the selected photo. Click the + button and enter your keyword in the Create Keyword Tag dialog.
There are a number of additional options in this dialog. They’re all explained in a diagram on page 146-147 in my book (the interaction is complicated!), but there are three we’ll look out for here:
- Unchecking Include on Export is useful if it’s a parent (grouping) keyword such as WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, etc. I suggest using all caps when naming these keywords, so they can be identified at a glance.
- If another keyword is already selected in the Keyword List panel, it offers to Put inside [keyword]. This is useful when building your keyword hierarchy. Once the keyword is created, you can also drag/drop keywords onto each other, but we’ll come back to this next week.
- If one or more photos are selected when you’re creating the new keyword, Add to selected photos automatically applies the new keyword at the same time. If you forget, click the square to the left of the keyword in the Keyword List panel, which adds a checkmark.
Don’t go overboard!
Don’t go overboard, especially to start with. If you try to add 30 keywords to every photo you’ve ever taken, it can become an overwhelming job, so just start with a few significant keywords on your best photos.
If you want to add the same keyword to a lot of photos, for example, you have a series of photos of snow, select them all in Grid view (it must be Grid view!) before typing the keyword in the Keywording panel or checking the checkbox in the Keyword List panel.
Finding photos using keywords
Once you’ve keyworded your photos, there are also a number of ways of finding the photos again later, including Text Filters, Metadata Filters and Smart Collections. We’ll come back to filters in more detail in a future post, but they’re all explained on pages 181-192 in my Lightroom CC/6 book. But for now, here’s the easiest… simply click the arrow on the right of the keyword in the Keyword List panel. This opens the Metadata Filters to the right keyword. When you’re finished, click None at the top of the Grid view.
Have you already been doing some keywording, but created a mess? Or you want to convert your flat list to a hierarchy, or vice versa? Don’t worry, we’ll tidy up in the next post.