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Making Your Images Searchable With Keywords

Lesson 7 from: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Making Your Images Searchable With Keywords

Lesson 7 from: Adobe Lightroom Classic CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

7. Making Your Images Searchable With Keywords

Using searchable keywords, you can find an image from any size collection in a matter of seconds. In this lesson, Ben walks through adding keywords to images, then using those keywords inside Lightroom for different tasks. Learn advanced keyword tools, like adjusting one keyword in every image using the term.

Lesson Info

Making Your Images Searchable With Keywords

Well, we're back with another lesson in Lightroom Classic: The Complete Guide. If you're just tuning in now you should know that we've already had an entire week of lessons and in that first week we covered the overall mindset of how to think about Lightroom, we covered how to think about Lightroom catalogs, how to use features like collections, how to organize your images into folders, but that sounds pretty basic. We showed you how to really change the way you think about your images through folders. We talked about basic adjustments and exporting, as well as printing. Then yesterday we talked about organizing your images and working with projects. So you can organize things going beyond just using folders. Well, today we're gonna talk about making your images searchable using keywords. And keywords is one of my favorite features in Lightroom, because it's what will ultimately allow me to find just about any image I can remember in hopefully five seconds or less. It'll take us a litt...

le bit of work though to get that to happen. We have this particular lesson and we have two more after it before we'll be able to truly be able to find just about any image you can think of in five seconds or less. That's the goal. So it's time to jump into Lightroom, let's get started. Here I have a series of images and I wanna be able to find them in the future. Well, at the moment the only way I'd be able to locate them in the future is to go over here to my folder list and if I happen to remember that I went to Buenos Aires in 2017 that could be useful. Or if I actually remembered where a photograph like this was taken it could be useful, 'cause then I could search within the folder list for Buenos Aires and I might be able to find this image. But what if I forget where in the world it was that I captured this image? Well, then my folder list over here is not gonna be of very much use, because the only thing I'd be able to see there is the year and the location where I captured it. So let's look at a different way to make your images findable other than using your memory and your folder list. I'm gonna click on an image, I might hit the Spacebar to view it large, and then I'm in the Library module of Lightroom, on the right side of my screen is an area called Keywording. And if I expand this one area here called Keyword Tags under the heading called Keywording what I'm gonna do is click this area right here and I'm gonna start typing in words that I might use when I'm thinking about this image to search for it. So the first thing that comes to mind is cat, then I'm gonna use the comma key on my keyboard to indicate I'm done with that keyword and I'm creating another one. And I'm gonna put in stairs, I'm gonna put in yellow, 'cause I remember the yellow stairs. And if I wanted to I could put in the location and if I don't recall the location I can always expand my folder list over there on the left. Let me actually make it so it stays visible in case I use that for other things. And over here I'm gonna say first this is Argentina. And I'm gonna try to purposefully misspell something, because I wanna show you that you can correct things like that, so I'm gonna say Beunos Aires. So I spelled the location incorrectly. And I'll press return. As I do that you'll find there's a list up above here that shows me all the things that I've tagged this particular image with and those are the keywords that I've typed in. And now I can find that image by searching for any of those words. So if you wanna see that I can find the image I will just stop viewing those images and then I can come in here to my Catalog in the upper left, I can view All Photos, and if I wanna narrow it down to just that one, if I type Command + F, isn't that how you usually find things in various programs? Well, if I type Command + F I'm gonna type cat. And when I do it narrows me down to just that image, because it has that keyword called cat tagged to it. So let's learn a little bit more about keywording. Just keep in mind that the reason we're keywording is so that we'll be able to search and find these images based on text-based searches. So if I click on that image and I look over here it shows me all the keywords that I have typed in. And I notice one odd keyword in there, it's just the letter G. And I don't know why I would've put the letter G in there, I did that by accident. I could select it from this area, I'll select both it and the comma that is either before or after it, and I'll hit Delete, and now I've just removed that keyword from the image. And now below here I see this area called Keyword List. In there I see all of the things that I've ever typed in for a particular image, for every image that's in my entire catalog. And so if I click on another picture and I start to keyword it, well first off, if I start typing a word that's already been used in Keywording it's going to suggest the completion of the word. So for instance, I'm gonna tag Argentina, so I type A-R, and you can see it's suggesting that word. I'll press the Return or Enter key on my keyboard and it automatically finished the word for me. I could then type the comma key, and in this case I might use the word Tango, and I might do another comma, and in this case I wanna remember it by the colors as well. I'll type Red, and I'll type Blue, and press Return. So now that's been tagged. I can go to the next image and well, in general all of these images were taken in Argentina, so why don't I just type Command + A and over here you'll look now in the Keyword List and you'll find that some keywords have an asterisk right after them. And that means that you have more than one image selected and not all of the images have that keyword, but at least one of those that I have selected does. One or more, but not all of them. So I'll now go in here and I'll make sure that we have Argentina, and I'm gonna put Buenes Aires, and this time I'm going to attempt to spell it right, because I wanna show you what happens if you have more than one keyword that you wanna consolidate, so that you have two different spellings of a word for instance. Got that entered. And now if you look at the keyword list you notice that Argentina no longer has an asterisk at the end of it, because that means it's on all of the images that I currently have selected. So any keyword that shows up there without the asterisk means yes, all the pictures you have selected have it. If there is an asterisk it means one or more, but not all have that particular keyword. So the only thing I think is common about all of these would be Buenos Aires and Argentina, so I think I can now start working on them individually again. And so I'll click on a single image here. Usually I hit the Spacebar, so I can view it larger. And I'll just start typing in words that would make me remember this. What might I search for? Well, Tango would be one, the color Red comma, maybe, what would I call it, Storefront maybe, and Sign, 'cause there's definitely a sign in there. What else would I might think of? In this case, maybe Black, because it's black and red are the primary colors. Maybe either doorway or window if that would be something that would actually come up with a memory in my head of this image. But in this case I think that's pretty good. I could do Street. And then I can do more than one word, so I can do Street Shooting. And I think that's pretty good for this image. When I wanna go to my next image this little field that's here where I can type in keywords is still selected or active and that means when I use the arrow keys on my keyboard it won't switch between my images, because it assumes I'm trying to edit any text that might already be typed into this area. Might wanna move over one character to the right or left. So there's a special keyboard shortcut for switching images, which allows you to switch images while still having that field available. Otherwise you'd have to click somewhere else, so that field is no longer active, then the arrow keys would work. But if that field is active the arrow keys don't work, 'cause it assumes there could be some text in there, like here's some text, and I'm arrowing through it. So the special keyboard shortcut for switching images while that field is active is Command + right arrow on a Mac, that should be Control + right arrow on Windows. So if I type that we still have the keyword field active and I can see this. I see I already have the word Tango, I already have Red, I already have Blue, I don't have the word Sign. And sometimes I'll put in things like foreign language or some other things depending on what it is, or I could say either Closeup or isolated view or something like that. Whatever it was that would help me to do this. Maybe I'm into hand lettering and sign painting, so I type Sign Painting. That type of thing. I'll do Command + right arrow, I get to this image, which we've already keyworded, so you can see what we have. We'll go to the next one. This one I'm gonna put in the colors, 'cause that might be one thing that makes me remember it. Red, there's some Yellow, some Blue in there. There's a Sign, Sign Painting as well as a Sign, 'cause that looks like it could be a hand painted sign. There's Karen in there, that's my wife Karen Willmore. There's Yoga happening. This is a street shoot, Street Shooting. And it's just whatever would help you remember the image. And if those words wouldn't help you I wouldn't tag them. You don't wanna clutter up your keyword list with too many choices that are there. Now if I knew the name of this yoga pose I would most likely put that in as well. All right, so those are the things I might think of, although I might also put the words foreign language for the sign. So if I wanna be able to find anything in my images that are in a foreign language, at least foreign to me, I could do that. Go to the next image and I'm gonna say this is a Doorway, 'cause that's what it's gonna remind me of, at least Door. And I'm gonna call that a Relief. And what else in here? Well, we already have Argentina and Buenos Aires. It is street shooting, so maybe I add that. And there's not really dominate colors in here that I would actually use to remember this, so I'm not gonna add any of those. And I think that might be what I need. Here we have obviously signs and they look hand painted, so I'll just do Sign and Sign Painting. And if you're ever typing in a keyword and you find, like it was here, where it gives you a suggestion, if there's more than one word that starts with the letters you're typing in you'll get a list and if you wanna choose in the list instead of just continuing to type, use the up and down arrow keys on your keyboard. So here I don't want Sign Painting, I already have that in there. I just use the down arrow key and it will highlight the next word down, I hit Return and it will accept it. So when you do have this adjusted list you can very quickly cycle through them, press Return when you get what you like. So I'll also do a comma here. This is Street Shooting. And let's see, what else would I think of here? Some prominent colors I might remember there is a yellow sign that's there. And I'm not gonna put every single color that's in there, 'cause it's mainly what would be memorable and useful for me to do this. I believe this is a cafe, so I'll do Cafe. Let's see, what else might I think of? Tables, 'cause I might remember there was tables set up and I might do Umbrellas. And other than that, I'm thinking that's good enough for me to remember that picture. Go to the next one. And this, in case you're not familiar what the picture is of, we're looking up at a light post. So I'm gonna do the word light, I could do Streetlight maybe. And this is a black and white, so I'm gonna do Black. I can either do B and W or Black and White. You can have multi word keywords and that's why we use the comma key to go between them. That way you can have United States of America comma and then another keyword. And that's the whole reason why we have to use commas in between these and not just the Spacebar. So anyway, that's Black and White. I think it's a tinted black and white. I can see a hint of a bluish, greenish, and yellowish colors within there, so maybe I do Tinted. And maybe I do High Contrast. If it was a silhouette, it almost is a silhouette where it would be a solid black shape, that would be an additional keyword. I could do something like looking up or something similar, whatever word you would say. Maybe you say From Below. However your mind works as far as describing that. And I think that is good enough. I do my Command and the right arrow key. All right, now we have up top a balcony and we have, I think that's supposed to be the Pope up there. So I'm gonna say Pope, I might say Statue, and I'm gonna say there's a Sign there, I'm gonna say this is a Street Shooting. So I have to use my down arrow key to get to the Street Shooting. There are streetlights here and that might help me remember it. If it wouldn't help me remember it, just the fact that there's a streetlight isn't a useful keyword. It's just whatever you think would have you remember this. I might remember that there was yellow on the building and green. Just sometimes I visually remember things like that. So I'll do Yellow comma Green. That's the other thing is when it suggests a keyword if it's highlighting the correct one I think you can just hit the comma key and it's also the equivalent to accepting it. Trying to think of anything else here. There's steps there and I will remember that there was steps. So we have all that. Let's, maybe cobblestones. Isn't that what the sidewalk is made out of? And there's a flag, but I don't think the flag will actually help me remember this particular image, so I don't think I'll end up using that. And so that'll be good enough for here. And I'll see if there's another image. I think that might be the last image of the sequence. I'm gonna type the letter G to go back to the grid. And now we have all of those images keyworded. Now let's figure out a few other things we can do with keywording. First, done here we have a Keyword List. This is every word that's ever been applied to an image with keywording in my entire Lightroom catalog, not just this set of images. Here I see the letter G and over on the right side it's got the number zero, which means there are currently zero images in my Lightroom catalog that use that particular keyword. Remember when I accidentally added it to an image and then I later on removed it. Removing it does not delete it from the list though, 'cause you can add keywords to this list just planning ahead where you know, since I've tagged something with the word cat, well up here where it says Keyword List there's a plus sign over here, I could add the word Dog. Click Create and now it's in the list just waiting for me to use it. So now if I ever type the letter G it's gonna, or not G, D it's gonna suggest Dog or Door, 'cause those are what's in that list. If I wanna get rid of a keyword I can click on that keyword and if I right-click on it there's the choice called Delete. That will remove it from the list. If that keyword was applied to any picture it would remove it from that particular picture. Now when we look at this Keyword List I can see here that here's Buenos Aires and then here is a similar keyword that is misspelled. And so let's figure out how can we correct misspellings. Well, if I click on this keyword and I simply double-click on it it will allow me to edit the keyword. So I can come in here and correct my spelling. Now it's telling me though that please choose another name, 'cause you can't have two keywords that are absolutely identical. So it won't allow me to change it, so we're gonna have to do something else. And that is if I've never keyworded anything else with the correct spelling it would've worked fine. Here's what I'll have to do instead. When you look at a keyword you will see that there's a number to the right of it. That's how many images total have been tagged with that keyword. If you wanna find all the images that were tagged with that keyword all you need to do is click on the arrow that appears to the right of the number. That arrow will only be there when you hover over one of the keywords. So I'll just click right on that arrow, we'll find the image that has that keyword tagged, and what I'm gonna do is just make sure that it has the correct spelling tagged to it as well. And you can see there's a checkbox right here on the left that indicates that it does have the correct keyword attached, but that might've not have been there had I not done the entire folder as once. So I just make sure that that's clicked, if it wasn't I would've clicked right there to tag it with this keyword. Then I'm just gonna come up here to this one, right-click on it and say Delete, 'cause it's a misspelling. And it's gonna tell me that hey, there's one photo that has that and it's gonna be removed from that photo. That's fine, I'll just hit Delete. Now when you use the arrows that appear to the right of each keyword it's doing a multi-step process. What it's doing in general is here in the upper left it first chooses the choice of All Photographs, then it sets up the filter bar so that it's set to Keyword and then it highlights the keyword in this list to make it so you're only viewing images with that particular keyword. So it's something that would usually take multiple steps on your part. So now I can come in here if I wanna find that picture of a cat, I see the word cat, I see the arrow to the right, I click it, it searched my entire Lightroom catalog for an image that's been tagged with that particular keyword. If you didn't wanna search the entire catalog, you only wanted to search one folder or you had one collection that you're currently viewing, that kind of thing, then don't click that arrow. Instead just type Command + F. When you do Command + F it gets this filter bar up here set to search for text and you can just start typing in the keyword you're interested in and you would do that search, but it would only be of the set of images you are currently viewing and it wouldn't look at your entire catalog. So there are other things we can do. First, I'm gonna set this to None up here at the top, so we're not filtering down to just that particular keyword. In the Keyword List you might notice that some of my keywords, or at least most of my keywords, are initial capital. We have a capital letter at the beginning, but the word cat doesn't have it that way. It'd be really nice if you decide ahead of time, before you start keywording a bunch of images, what you'd like to use as your standard. If you wanna be fast about it just stay all lowercase. And if you do all lowercase you never have to think about pressing the Shift key. But for me personally I find I like the look of the Keyword List and it's easier to absorb which keywords have been tagged on my image if I have an initial capital. So I can come down here to the word cat, I don't have to be viewing this folder of images or anything, and I can just double-click on it, and I can edit it. So here I'll do a capital C to be consistent. And just from now on I'm gonna remember to use capital letters to start my keywords. Here's the word yellow, I'll double-click on it, and I'll simply update it. What's really nice about Lightroom is that it updates every single photograph that has been tagged with that particular keyword. You don't have to go search them out, find them, and update them individually. Updating the Keyword List is updating all the pictures. And so that's, I think, great. Then there are a few other things we can do here. I might not always think of the word cat when I wanna search for a cat. What if I think of feline, isn't that another word for a cat? Well, I could create a keyword of feline and put it in the list and I could tag that photo with it. The problem with that is I would have to remember every single time I tag a picture of a cat I'd have to just mentally remember that I should also apply the word feline. Why don't we apply some automation to that and have Lightroom do that for me? So here's how we can have Lightroom make this image searchable using either cat or feline, but only have to tag it with a single keyword. Here's what it is. I'm gonna double-click on the keyword called Cat and right down here we have an area called Synonyms. And I'm just gonna type in Feline. And now this image and any other image that has been tagged with the keyword that appears at the top will also be searchable using the alternative one that I've typed in below. And I can type in more than one keyword in here, just use the comma key to type in more. But I think that will be great. I'll click on Save. Now if I'm not very good at remembering which specific keyword indicates cat. I mean, that's a pretty easy one for me, cat versus feline, but sometimes there are other words that would be similar that have identical meanings and you might switch between the two when tagging images, 'cause you just don't remember which one is there. So what I could do is to plan ahead of time. I'll add a new keyword to the list, I'll call it Feline, and I'll put the synonym in as Cat. So now it doesn't matter if I remember cat or feline when I'm tagging an image, as long as I tag with one of those two whatever image it is that I am tagging will be searchable by both. So I just put in both and put in synonyms, so that we're just gotten it taken care of. All right, then there's a whole bunch of other things we can do as far as the features that we have. Let's say there's a particular tag that I don't want to have other people get a hold of. Let's say that when I tag a person, like here's the name of my wife, if I ever export this image I don't want people to know her name. Well, when you export an image, if I go up here to the File menu and choose Export, one of the choices in this list of settings is called Metadata and if you set this to anything that includes the word All that means it's going to include your keywords when you export. And so what if I didn't want my wife's name to be included? Well, later on we'll talk about, in a different session, something called people keywords. And there's something special we could use, but for now I wanna talk about just any keyword. What if you don't want it to export when you export your picture? Well, if I go down to this keyword and I double-click on it you're gonna find a choice here called, let's see, Export Synonyms, that means anything that's down here, would that be exported or not? We have Include on Export, so overall would this keyword be attached to a picture that's exported? Regardless of what setting is used in your export settings this would prevent that keyword from ever being exported. Export Containing Keyword. We'll get into that later. There's another session we'll have that talks about organizing your keywords. Since we haven't done that yet this doesn't quite pertain to it. We'll also talk about doing automated keywording where it can recognize the people in your photograph, that's a different lesson. And that's when we might talk about this checkbox. So for now all you need to know about is this would make all keywords that are in this screen right here not export. If that's on, so we are gonna export it, then you could also do this, Export Synonyms or not. It's up to you. All right, so our Keyword List is just gonna get longer and longer. You don't have to inspect it all that much. It's just a useful list to have, because one thing that's really useful is there's a search field at the top. And if you go up to the search field up top you can see if there's a particular keyword in your list. If I type cat, not car, there is no car in my list, but there is cat. I can quickly find a keyword and then I can click the arrow on the right to quickly find every single image that's ever been tagged with it. And that's just a different way of thinking about your images now where you're not having to think about what folder are they in, what year did you shoot them, which is what I usually see in the left side of my screen in the folder list. Instead I can just start to narrow this down and search the top of the Keyword List to see if there is anything in it and very quickly find things with all our arrows. But that's not all we can do to find our images and to keyword. There's a whole bunch more we can do. If you go up to this area called Keywording and you're viewing a particular image, up here there is a setting, the default is Enter Keywords and that means all you're doing in here is you could click either on this area below to add the keywords or you can click up here to add them as well. The main thing is if you go to the area above you could also delete them by selecting, hitting Delete. But you can change what shows up in this area at the top. Let's take a look. This menu will change it. We haven't organized our images yet into where you have parent and child keywords. That's when things get a little more interesting and that's when this choice will come in, but right here is a choice called Will Export. So if I go to that image that included the picture of my wife and I see all these keywords, one of which is Karen Willmore, I choose Will Export, and that keyword of Karen Willmore I thought would disappear. Let's go down here and see if we actually ended up with turning it off. I don't think I did. Okay, I will turn that off. And now if I look at that list and I change this from entering keywords to Will Export, there, it refreshed and you could inspect to see what is going to be exported when that picture is saved out. Just be careful when you choose something like Will Export you can no longer click up here to change what's in here. To delete keywords or to add more, you only can add more by going right down to this space here. So most of the time I have this set to Enter Keywords. And just on occasion, I'm about to export a bunch of images, and I'm just gonna cycle through them with this set to Will Export to see what kind of information is gonna be given to other people that get these images. Because keywords don't have to be used to just describe the contents of a picture. I can also keyword images for, for instance, teaching. I wanna teach and I wanna show people about making things black and white and doing tinted black and white. Well, maybe that's why marked this image with Tinted. Well, I might want that to be a non-exporting keyword, because I only wanna use it when I'm searching for images to teach with. Or it could be all sorts of information about it. It could be, when we get to my main catalog I'll show you a bunch that you might end up using. So more about keywording. This area is what we've used thus far. Let's close it down, let's go to the next section down. It's called Keyword Suggestions. This will start being automated, automatically populated based on keywords you've used recently. Therefore, if you have a folder of 200 images and let's say you were just in Rome and you ended up tagging things with like temple and column and similar words, the most commonly used ones will be right up here. In a single click on one of those choices would tag whichever image or images you currently have selected. And you'll find it changes as you click between images, because some images have already been applied and therefore they don't need to show up here. So if you have that open when you're keywording sometimes it's a much faster way of getting to common keywords. If there are keywords that you use all the time. Let's say you shoot weddings and there are standard shots that you always take and you wanna tag those particular shots with very precise keywords, like here we have the wedding party, and then we have the ring shot, and then the actual ceremony, and so on. Well, then you could use this area called Keyword Set. And so if you look at what's currently in the Keyword Set these are some that I might use commonly, 'cause I visit New Jersey a lot, that's where my wife's parents are from, and other things, but I can change this up and create my own Keyword Sets. Those are just presets that I can click on to apply to images. So if I go to this little menu here here I have one for Outdoor Photography. These are very common words that I need to apply to landscape photography. The season that it was done in, if it was a landscape image, or if there's wildlife in it. Here's Portrait Photography, Wedding Photography, and so on. But you can set up your own. All you do is you come into this menu and you choose Edit Set. And when you choose Edit Set you can come up with nine words that you end up putting in here. Maybe your brain really thinks about color a lot and that's how you remember things. So maybe you put in here, hit Tab, all the colors that you think of. And when you get them all in there go to this little menu at the top and there's a choice called Save Current Settings as New Preset. And you can give that a name and then you could very quickly switch to it later on, because that name would be found in this little pop-up menu called Keyword Set. You can also update existing sets. If you choose the set from this menu and either you had a typo in one of the keywords that was here or you just want it to be a different keyword. Maybe you use the word human instead of people. I'll go Human. Then I can come up here and let's say let's, I think it'll let me update. Restore Defaults, Save Current, I thought it would let me update, but I guess not. Anyway, that's where you can set them up. So that's another way to speed up your keywording. But let's think more about the benefits of keywording, because so far all we've seen is if we tag images with different keywords that we can find them either by clicking the little arrow icon or typing Command + F. Well, one other area where I use keywords a lot is over here under Collections. And maybe under Collections I go over here and say I wanna create a Smart Collection. A Smart Collection is really a saved search. So I choose that and I'm gonna call this Animals. And then down here I'm gonna say that would I would like to search based on is either any searchable text or one of these will give me the choice called keywords. It's under Other Metadata and it's right there. I'm gonna say Keywords contains Cat and then I could put other ones in here. I wish it would remember the setting that I used in here, but it's under Other Metadata. And I'll say Cat, Dog, and if I spent five minutes right now doing this I could put in horse, giraffe, all sorts of words, and suddenly I can have a Smart Collection that collects all the pictures of animals that I have. Now I don't actually suggest you doing that, because there is a much easier way of doing that once we learn how to organize our keywords, but that's the subject of a different lesson. There's a way to make a parent keyword called animals and then put the other keywords within it, and then that wouldn't be necessary. So I don't wanna use it too much of a suggestion here. But this is where suddenly I could have, if the Keywords contains all and I could say Portfolio, and then I create another one that says Keywords contains landscape, or I'll say Street Shooting. So if it contains all of those, Portfolio and Street Shooting, I click Create, and the collection I just created, it found zero photos that match that, because I have yet to use the keyword of Portfolio. Now I go to my images and I say which one of these photos might be good enough for my portfolio? I'm thinking this one. I go over here to my keywords and I just put in the word Portfolio and instantly over here on the right side, unfortunately I named my Smart Collection Animals, 'cause that was my first thing. I was gonna name this, I'll double-click on it, Street Shooting Portfolio. But you can see that it already has one picture in it and I didn't have to do anything to drag the picture or anything like that, all I needed to do was to tag it with two keywords, 'cause this was Portfolio and Street Shooting. And so I find using Smart Collections to be tremendously useful. All right, now let's come in here and open my real Lightroom catalog. Because the goal in the end is to be able to find any image that you can remember in a matter of seconds. Well, in order to do that you're gonna need to be able to tag your images with keywords and the problem is my Lightroom catalog has 229,707 images. How long is it gonna take me to keyword all of those images? That's absurd, I'm never, I won't live long enough to keyword all those. Well, that's why I can come up with some intelligence. If you think about all the things we've been talking about throughout all the lessons a lot of them have to do with making life easier and using automation as your friend. So one thing I could do is maybe under a choice called Utility in here I could somehow come up with all of the images that are in base folders. The base folders, remember, is where I put all my finished images. How would I create such a collection? I would do a Smart Collection that says my picture is in a folder that doesn't contain the word Outtakes, it doesn't contain Personal Images, Textures, Skies, or all the other standard named folders that I use. Therefore if it's not in any of those folders it is most likely in the base folder, meaning the base folder of the shoot. So if I did something like that then all I need to do is add one additional step to this and that is Keywords, at least I think I'll be able to do this, are empty. So that means images that have not been keyworded. So my goal in the end is to keyword every single picture that is in the base folder of a shoot, because that represents all of the images that are finished, ready to show the public, or be printed, and those are the ones that I wanna be able to find in five seconds or less. By creating a collection like this one, I'll call it Base folder images, or I'll just call it Hero Images without Keywords. Hit Save, there now I can suddenly find which images do I think really need the most time to get them keyworded. This is the folder or the collection of images that I'm gonna spend my most time keywording. And if you look at it there's only 139 of them. I could finish keywording 139 images in a week. What I do is I try to spend 15 minutes a day keywording images, that's like my new year's resolution you could say, until that number gets down to zero. And it's not gonna take that much time to get there. But ultimately that's what I would like to do. Now let's look at a few other ideas when it comes to keywording. What I find is when I look at my Keyword List I don't usually like that I can't tell just by visibly looking at the list of keywords if a keyword would export or not. What I usually do therefore is any time I make a keyword so it's non-exporting, like I did with the name of my wife, is at the end of the keyword I actually put the pound symbol. It looks like a little tic-tac-toe grid. And so right at the end of the keyword I put that for every single keyword that I ever set to not export. Therefore if I ever see the Keyword List I never need to change this view from Enter Keywords to Will Export, because I can just leave it on the top choice and I can glance and see which keywords will not export, because I have them all set to have that little pound symbol or some people call it the hashtag at the end of the keyword name. And so that's one little trick I use. Another trick I use is I will use a special character at the beginning of certain keywords, like the exclamation point for instance. Let's say that you're gonna use keywords to keep track of the status of an image. In images that need retouching you could start a keyword with an exclamation point and then put needs retouching. Then you could have other ones for an exclamation point and then needs compositing or whatever other kind of work that you need to do. What's nice about that is you remember how you get a suggested list of keywords, as you start typing in a keyword it gives you a suggested list of keywords that start with that. Well, if I were to go here to the Keyword List and type an exclamation point I can get an entire list of the different kind of statuses that I might end up tagging an image with. So therefore I could either continue to type, so it selects the right choice that's here, or just use the down arrow key here to switch between and find out which one I would really like to be able to tag, press Return or Enter and I've tagged it. So if you think about using special characters at the beginning of some special keywords then you might be able to do special things. Here I might use the hashtag symbol to tag a different set of things, or maybe I use the at symbol for where I've shared people. Like I shared that with a particular friend, so I'm gonna tag it to remember, because sometimes I have, for instance, companies that use my images for advertising and I don't ever wanna send them the same image assuming they've never seen it before and just do that over and over again, noticing that they've never picked it to use in their ads. Well, they might get annoyed that every time I submit images to them I always include that one. Well, if I tag my images with the at symbol and then the name of the client that I've sent it to then any time I'm about to send the images I look over at my Keyword List for whatever image I'm thinking about sending them and if I see that little at symbol and the client's name there I know I've already sent it to them, and so I'm not gonna just keep sending it assuming they haven't seen it in the past, 'cause that's something that can easily happen. So special characters at the beginning of your keywords suddenly gives you an entire new set where I can just do exclamation point and see an entire list of every keyword that starts with that, arrow down to end up working on it. Another thing you might wanna consider is you can keyword images at the moment you import your pictures. If I go to the lower left of my screen and click on Import on the right side, right here, is Keywords. Whatever I type in here will be applied to every single image I import right now. I'm not gonna do that, 'cause I don't have any images set up to import. But you should be aware that you could do that. Usually I would just type in the location name or the client of the shoot that I would do, because this keyword will be apply to every single picture, so it really needs to be pertain to all those images. Well, because of that I find it can be useful to apply a keyword that simply indicates an image is finished. And therefore if I'm ever doing a search of keywords where I type Command + F and I search for cat, I could do comma and then if I use that exclamation point and then I just use maybe the word Final, meaning the image is finalized, then any time that I'm doing a search from now on, I do Command + F to search, I wanna find cat, so I type in C-A-T, and I notice a whole bunch of images showing up where maybe there's thousands of them, 'cause it's including images that are not finished as well. So I type the word Cat comma and then exclamation point and then F and that's the only thing that has the letter F after the exclamation point is the word Final. Suddenly I'm limiting all my Cat search down to only finished images. Just another idea that you might find to be useful. Let's get rid of that one, 'cause that particular image is not actually final. All I'm gonna do is select it and press Delete. So here's my collection of images. I'm gonna search 229,000 photographs and let's see how long it takes to find a picture of a monk. Well, I type Command + F for find and I type M-O-N-K. And usually I wouldn't see it even pause and I can see here it has found a monkey. And so up here I see lots of pictures of monks, and monkeys as well. So here it says Any Searchable Field, that means it's gonna find images that have a file name that include the word monk, I don't want that, so I'm gonna change this to only search my Keywords. So now it's limiting me to only images that have been keyworded. And now I'm gonna say here do I want it to contain entire words, meaning that it won't find the word monkey when I type monk. It's instead that entire word. And that kind of stuff. Let's see if I can find a monk on a bicycle. So I type the word monk, I put a comma and I start typing a second keyword. I'm gonna say B-I, and I don't. Let's see. I'm surprised, I know there's a bike in here. I'll type the word bike and I see bikes in a bike rack. I think what's going on is I don't think, no, I have my full catalog, so let me put this instead to Contain and see. Yeah, there's bikes. So I type bike, I hope I have synonyms of bicycle. Okay, we have bicycles. And let's see, I don't have a monk on a bicycle. Oh, no, there's one right there. Now in order to find that image, I'm not sure what I typed that was odd there, but I'm gonna type monk, monk comma bicycle. All right, now I have monks and bicycles. You're seeing both just monks and just bicycles. And so I can say here Contains All, meaning it has to contain both of those. And now it's narrowing it down to just monks on bicycles. I can say I wanna see a temple. And so I see pictures of temples. I wanna see a temple with a monk. A temple comma monk. I see just that. Maybe I wanna go further and I'm not sure if I've keyworded this extensively or not, but you can see how useful it will be if I could, is I wanna see a monk at a temple wearing orange. And I doubt I've keyworded it. No, it would've been nice had I done that. So I'm gonna go to this picture right here, I'm gonna go to the Keyword List, and I'm gonna add Orange. So that now that it's been keyworded I could bring it down to just that. And that gives you an idea of why you might wanna put various colors when you're keywording, because sometimes you do narrow things down and suddenly you have just too many images in front of you and you suddenly want to narrow them further. And oftentimes that's due to color or season, that kind of information. So I'm gonna find only pictures of people doing yoga, make sure it's Karen, my wife, and I'm gonna see if I can have any at Yellowstone. There, I can find them that quickly. It should be a matter of seconds to find an image as long as you've done a good job keywording them. So I think it takes a little time, but I think it's very much worth it, because it makes it so now I can suddenly find images very quickly. So if you purchase the course know that you get homework each day and tonight's homework would be to think through keywording. And what would be a good keywording system for you? You know how I use the exclamation point as a special thing that'll give me a nice list of what kind of work needs to be done? Well, think about your kind of workflow and what might be special about the way you work and therefore what kind of special keywords you might wanna work with. If you want me to walk you through that then get the homework, it's part of purchase. Now we have 13 days to go, we're just really getting started and we're developing our essential systems here in Lightroom and it should make things so that they're much smoother and you can find images very quickly. Tomorrow we're gonna talk about fixing problems that don't affect the entire image. That means we'll talk about selective editing where you can paint in an edit just on somebody's face, just their forehead, just their lips, wherever you happen to need it in Lightroom. Now before tomorrow rolls around you should probably head over to Facebook and if you have any questions related to this lesson or any previous lesson that's where I'd love to see your questions. I pop in there on occasion when I have time to answer them. When you purchase the course you should know you get a lot of extras. One of the extras you get is a workbook. The workbook summarizes what we do on every day, so you don't have to go back and rewatch the video each time you wanna remember something. Instead you can refer to the PDF guide for that particular episode. Each week is kind of grouped together into I believe a single PDF for that. You also will find a lot of example catalogs for Lightroom where you can go in and either adjust pictures, possibly keyword images, and do other things where you can work on the same images that you see me use on screen. You also will get a starter keyword set, which means there's something you can load into Lightroom that will populate your Keyword List with preexisting ones that make it a little bit easier to be consistent with your keywording. You also get homework assignments every night. So it's a really nice thing to purchase, 'cause you'll get the most out of the class. If you wanna find me online here's my website and my various social media outlets. And this is Lightroom Classic: The Complete Guide. I'll see you tomorrow.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Week 1 Workbook
Week 1 Homework
Week 2 Workbook
Week 2 Homework
Week 3 Workbook
Week 3 Homework
Week 4 Workbook
Week 4 Homework
Week 4 Catalog
Develop Presets
Develop Presets Pre 7.3
Lightroom Endmarks
Develop Presets Guide
Lightroom Keywords Guide
Lightroom Keywords Sampler
Lightroom Endmarks Guide
Ben's Smart Collections
Lightroom Classic Q&A (very large 3+ gb zip file)

Ratings and Reviews

fbuser 199e5619

Just wow! Ben is such an amazing instructor - he is able to explain everything very succinctly and in just enough detail that your eyes don't start glazing over. I've used Photoshop for over 20 years and have been afraid (and didn't really want to learn yet another program) of using Lightroom, until I've heard how awesome it is from my fellow photographer friends. This course is extremely comprehensive and if you're a more experienced user, you can skip some of the lessons and just watch the ones you want - but even experienced users might get at least a few nuggets of information that they didn't know in every lesson. Highly recommend! And thank you, Ben. P.S. You're wife and her yoga poses are amazing. I just got into yoga a few months ago and can only hope to be half as good as she is! :o)


I was taking a lightroom course from another provider and decided to give Creative live a shot as I wasn't happy with the other class. This class blows that one out of the water! I love the detailed instructions, he goes at a good pace and I love the transcription (I didn't even know that was there until I scrolled down). I would definitely recommend this class to anyone wanting to learn lightroom. Thank you Ben for giving this great class!


I have been searching for something to help me with my images. I am fairly confident with my ability to take nice photos but sometimes they need help. I might actually enjoy editing now!

Student Work