The art of keywords in Lightroom

About keyword tags:

Keyword tags are text metadata that describe the important contents of a photo. They help you search for, identify, and find photos. Like other metadata, keyword tags are stored either in the photo file or (in the case of proprietary camera raw files) stored in XMP sidecar files. Once applied to photos, keywords can be read by any applications that support XMP metadata.

art of keywords in lightroom

It might sound simple to put some keywords to an image but it is not all that simple and can in fact be a hard task. Maybe the keywording it self is not so hard but sorting those keywords and keeping them sorted and still be able to add them with out much effort can be hard work. This is specially the case if you want to do a good thorough job of keywording. 

 Its in this part that I like Lightroom so much and its possibilities regarding keywords. Not only can you sort and group (nest) your keywords but you can also use synonyms Many wonder about what keywords to use and how to sort them Here it is that IPTC comes in to play Even though for most people using the IPTC straight out is enough it is geared towards the press industry, thus for the studio photographer and stock photographer as well as the wedding photographer there is a need of some changes and adding of groups. This gives a bit of a problem in regards of IPTC codes but it can be managed and usually the IPTC code is not much used in other sectors then press industry.

If you do nothing more than importing those keywords you will have advantage over man others. Taking it to the next step, you want to refine the keywords and do different sorting. Then you ad some more to fine tune every thing. Do not worry you can add more keywords along the way but the more you do in the beginning the better. The advantage of being able to have nested keywords is enormous. Think about it. I have a dog. Its name is Tara. How would I best implement that as a keyword

Using IPTC Using the IPTC code hierarchy as follows makes my life very easy: Human interest ->Animals -->Pets --->Dogs ---->English springer spaniel ----->Tara 
This means that I have 6 keywords and in some cases synonyms also. I use either latin for species or both latin and Icelandic translation. Thus I have all keywords in two different languages + latin. Here i would use the synonym; Canis familiaris under dog I could also add mammal as a synonym. By typing in Just Tara I get 6 keywords, synonyms and the Icelandic translation when I export the images Any one can see the advantage of this setup and the time it saves Just think about the time saving of typing in 10 keywords and get 50. On top of that those keywords as well a all other metadata stays with the file if you export to DNG. You will not only be able to quickly find your images but also the originals if you need to. When sending images to stock agencies or other clients this metadata travels with the images and now they can always come up with your images. No excuse. for further information on keywording and workflow follow my articles about workflow here


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Kristjan Logason is an Icelandic photographer based in Norway at the moment, where he mainly works in fine art and commercial fine art photography.Kristjan owns and runs The art of Icelandic photography.You can contact Krissby phone: +47.916.62749