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Adobe Lightroom Classic CC: The Complete Guide

Lesson 13 of 20

Organizing Your Keywords

Ben Willmore

Adobe Lightroom Classic CC: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

13. Organizing Your Keywords
Keywords can be time-consuming to add -- but organizing your keywords can help speed up the process, allowing you to easily find images without so much time commitment. Here, Ben walks through organizing keyword lists and creating related keywords.

Lesson Info

Organizing Your Keywords

We're back with another installment of Lightroom Classic, the Complete Guide. If we think back to what we've done thus far not everybody tuned in on the first day so let's think about where we started. In the first week we developed a firm foundation of knowledge of how to think about Lightroom as a whole. What is a Lightroom catalog file? Where's it located? How can I rename it? How many of 'em do I need? And all sorts of other information about mindset in thinking about Lightroom. In week two we started to organize our images and adjust them. That's when we learned about things like retouching, working on projects and refining our images with things like noise reduction and sharpening. Then in week three, on the first day, we learned how to do facial recognition where if we can tell Lightroom who certain people are in our photographs suddenly Lightroom can recognize those people in the future and make it so we can automatically have them tagged so we can easily search for them withou...

t having to do a lot of work. We also saw how to view our images on a map. Then we moved on to specialty techniques like how to do black and white. How to combine multiple exposures into an HDR or High Dynamic Range image. And how to stitch panoramas. Well today we're gonna start talking about how to organize your keywords. If we add structure to our keywords we can make it so if we tag an image with a single word suddenly that image might be searchable using dozens of words that are related to it. All we need to do is a little bit of work ahead of time. If we invest that time then, as time goes on in the future, things will be much faster and more efficient. So let's jump right into Lightroom and learn how to organize our keywords. Here I have the same Lightroom catalog file that we used when we initially learned how to keyword our images. And just in case you hadn't watched that lesson yet what we could do is on the right side of my screen when I'm in the library module is an area called keywording and there's a little field that's right in this area I could click on and I can type in words that I could tag this image with. I separate those words with commas and this area above shows me all the words I've tagged to this particular image in the past. Well when I tag an image with a keyword that keyword is added to the keyword list which is found here. This list just keeps getting longer and longer as I keyword more and more images. And if you don't do anything about it then this list can suddenly become thousands of words long and if so it becomes something you don't look at all that often and the only way you usually interact with it then is to use the search field that's found above, you click on it and you type in a keyword to say do I have the keyword of green. Then if you wanna find all the images tagged with that particular keyword you hit an arrow to the right, just to the right of the name of the keyword and that would find all the images that were tagged with that particular keyword. I'll choose none up here to get back to all my images. Well I wanna make this keyword list much more useful than that and in order to do that we're gonna start organizing our keywords. So let's come in here and see what we have. I see that we have Argentina 'cause that's where these images were captured and Argentina is the country they were captured in but then we also have the keyword of Buenos Aires which is the city they were captured in. Well if I want to make those two keywords related to each other I could click on this keyword called Buenos Aires and drag it on top of the keyword called Argentina. Watch what happens when I let go. Now Buenos Aires is what you could call a child keyword and its parent is Argentina. If I collapse that down by clicking on the little triangle that's next to it you can see that you could simplify the keyword list and now you just see Argentina or you can expand it to see the cities within Argentina that I may have captured images in. Now why is that special? Well it makes it so now if I tag an image with one keyword and that is Buenos Aires I can then find it, searching for either Buenos Aires or by searching for Argentina because anytime that you tag something with this single word it also will show up in results for all of its parents. So what I could do is in here maybe I make some new keywords. Let's just develop a little bit of structure in here. If you wanna make a new keyword one way of doing it is hitting the plus sign over here and let's set up some things ahead of time knowing that I'm about to travel to the United States. So I'm gonna create a brand new keyword called United States of America and before we talked about synonyms where it just is another word where these two words mean the same thing, it makes it so it's searchable by either one, I'll put USA as a synonym. And then I'm gonna hit create. Then I'm gonna think about which states within the United States do I plan on visiting. Well I could right-click here and at the moment I'm in California so I can say now, I can either create a keyword tag which means put it on the base level of my keyword list or here it says create a keyword tag inside United States of America. And it only has that choice available because I right-clicked, I think, when I did this and that's how I got this menu to show up and I was right-clicking on the choice called United States of America. So I'll choose that and I'm gonna add California. I'll click create and if you look in my keyword list you'll see the little triangle next to United States of America now became white instead of gray and that means I can actually expand it. Then I can right-click on California and say I wanna create a keyword inside of it. And I'm gonna call that San Francisco. That happens to be where we're recording this lesson. Then I can expand that out and I could go even further. If I knew the name of this neighborhood I could right-click on it and add the name of the neighborhood or the name of this building so that we can create quite a bit of a structure. Now let's just say that this particular image here was actually captured in San Francisco. It's not but let's pretend it was. I'll go to my keyword list and first I'm gonna clear out what's here just so we can concentrate on the fact that I'm gonna add only one keyword to this. I'm gonna add San Francisco. So all this has is a single keyword attached to it. Well now if I search for San Francisco I'll find this image. If I search for California I'll find it and if I search for the United States of America or USA I'll find that image. And up in here it just shows me the keywords that I've directly tagged to the image but I can also view the others that are related to it. If I come up here where it says keyword tags this is a pop-up menu and do you see where it says keywords and containing keywords. That really means the keyword that's actually attached to this image and its parents that it is located within. So if I choose that now I can see all the keywords I'm getting where it's searchable by these things based on what I've tagged to it. So I have all those nicely in there. Now let's see how we can take this to a little bit more of an extreme. I'll turn this back to just enter keywords so I can type things in and what if I were to come in here and make another new keyword. I'll just hit the plus sign here and I'll just call this North America. And then I'm gonna drag United States of America on top of North America which should move all those things, let's see if it will. Where did North America go, oh I did that a little wrong. I put it up here. Where it's not on top of anything. There. And then I'll grab United States of America and I'll drag that on top of North America. So now we have North America, United States of America, California and San Francisco so we're getting even more out of it. If I really wanted to be absurd I could put the word Earth and put North America on top of it. Then it would of course make it even more searchable. So it becomes somewhat obvious when it comes to geography but there are other things we can do as well to organize. It all depends on what your personal needs are for finding pictures. Let's show you an example. Here we have the word blue. Here I have the word green. And here I have red. And I have yellow. Well why not create parent keywords called warm tones. Create another one, cool tones. And I'll do one more. I created warm, cool and neutral. So then if I find my keyword of blue I can take that, I consider that to be a cool tone and I'm gonna drag that, if I can find my cool tone choice which'll just take me a moment here. It looks like I accidentally put them inside of yellow. I must have had that selected at the time and there's a little checkbox that says do you wanna put it inside of another keyword. When I actually went up here and hit the plus sign you see there's a choice right here called put inside and that lists whatever keyword I'm on. And that's what caused it to be put there. I simply ignored this which is why it ended up right in here and I didn't mean them to be. If I grab that though and I drag and I drag not on top of another keyword but in between two that should get it out of there. Now let's do this. I'm gonna come up here and choose blue and I'm gonna drag that on top of the choice called cool tones. I'm also gonna come down and find green, put it on top of cool tones and then I'm gonna come way down here and choose yellow, put it in my warm tones and I might do the same with red. And I'm not sure if I have any others in here, I have black. That would be what I would call a neutral tone. And then I could plan ahead. I'll click here on warm tones and I'll add a new keyword and I'll have that checkbox turned on to put it inside of warm tones and I'll say let's put orange. And I could add others to kind of plan ahead for when I might use those particular terms. But now it starts to become a different way of exploring my keywords. So instead of seeing just a long list of words that it's really hard to focus on I can start to give it a little bit of meaning and organization and it makes it a bit easier to find what I'm thinking about. So let's think about how are the different ways we can create the structures. so far we've seen that I can drag one keyword on top of another and that makes it a child of the one I put it on top of. The other thing is I could click on a keyword like this and hit this plus sign to create a new one and right down here, if that's turned on, it would create a child keyword. But there are other methods. Let's say I'm working on a picture, I'm working on this one here and I'm gonna come in here and say that I wanna add cafe to this maybe. I start typing cafe. And I see it there but now I wanna create a new keyword that is a child of cafe. Meaning it's indented from the word cafe but I wanna do it right here when I'm typing things in. Well I can do that. I'm gonna just do the greater than symbol then I can type in any keyword I want and it will create that keyword but it will make it a child of what is just to the left of that greater than symbol. So maybe I call it street cafe. And then I have other different kinds but if you look down here and now on my keyword list I take the word cafe and I expand it and you see right there is our newly created keyword. In this case there happens to be a typo in it, there's no R in street. I can always double-click on these though and edit them and it's really nice because any edits that I make here automatically updates all pictures that have it tagged with that particular keyword. So let's see, what could we do. We could drag one keyword on top of another. We can use the plus sign at the top of the keyword list. Or when we're typing in keywords we can end up creating that kind of structure. Now on occasion if you add a lot of structure you can end up with a little bit of issues where things become complex. Let's see if I can show you what I'm talking about. I'm gonna create some keywords just by typing in here that are actually unrelated to this picture but sometimes it's just a fast way of creating then. I'm gonna type car and then I'm gonna type brand and then I'm gonna type Ford and therefore we're gonna have that structure and then I'm gonna type in what else, I'll do truck and then I'll do brand and then I'll do Ford. What that means is the word Ford is in, it's in there more than once. Now since this is not actually a Ford and it's not actually a car of any kind I can just come right up here and just delete this from this image. There's the ones that I added. If I delete them here it doesn't delete them from the keyword list. The moment I added it to a image it was in the keyword list and it will not delete anything from this list unless you do it manually. So here I can see car. We got the brand and we got Ford. And if I found truck down here I would have the same thing. We could add a little bit more structure. Let's make a new keyword and this time I'm gonna call it transportation. And I'm not gonna put it inside of cafe, that was my issue before. And then I'm gonna drag both car and truck into transportation. I could put boats in there, I could put all sorts of things under transportation and it would give me a different way of looking at my keywords. Gives me a bit of structure. All right so now I have an image and let's just say this was a picture of a Ford brand something. Well I click on here on the image, I come over here to keyword and if I start typing in the word Ford notice that it finds it in more than one location. And it shows me that it's in more than one location. And so now I can choose between the two. I just use the up and down arrow keys on my keyboard to switch between the two. When I find what I like I hit the return or enter key to actually use that. But what if it's a car, it's a Ford and it's a Mustang. So I wanna add another level of structure to this. How can I do it when it has this stuff in here? 'Cause this is the base keyword of this of that. So I'm gonna just click on the far left edge of it and instead of doing a greater than I'm gonna do a less than. I'm just following the same format that I'm already seeing there and then I'm gonna type in Mustang, hit return and what it just did is if I look in here and I find transportation, car, brand, Ford, there's my Mustang. So I don't always have to work in the keyword list itself. Most of the time when I'm creating keywords I have that closed up 'cause it's usually just a clutter of words and instead I'm just typing up here and it just happens to be that if I come in here and type a particular word and it tells me that it already exists and I wanna add a child to it I use a little greater than symbol. And if it's a keyword that I'm adding and it is found in my keyword list in more than one spot then I'm gonna see the keyword list shown in a different kind of structure where it looks like this, showing me it kind of going in the opposite direction all I gotta do there is work in that opposite direction by just clicking on the left edge and instead of using greater than I use the less than symbol and I type it right over on the very end. This isn't a Ford so I'm not gonna add that. So that gives us some idea for how we do that. Let's look at a few other things that I do related to my keyword list and then I'll actually open my real Lightroom catalog file so we can see how I use all these features. I just wanna make sure you're familiar with them individually first. Now I don't want every keyword that's in here to export. Sometimes I end up putting keywords in here just to help organize this list. For instance I could put the word continent in here and then I could put North America inside of it and then I could put South America in there, I could put Asia, Africa, all the various continents. Well the word continent itself isn't usually useful for a photograph but it does help me to structure this list. And so therefore if I don't want the word let's say transportation to export when I save out a picture, when I export my image, what I can do is double-click on that keyword and there's a checkbox right here called include on export and you could turn that off and that means I'm gonna use it only in here to organize my keyword list where it's useful to me in Lightroom but it wouldn't be useful to someone else outside of Lightroom if they were to receive my picture. Anytime I do that I turn on or turn off, include on export, I try to make it so it's visually obvious so when I look at my keyword list I can tell what's gonna export and what won't and the way I do it is I add a little hashtag at the end of my keyword. And that's just for me a way of visually marking all my keywords that will not export and therefore I can look at my keyword list here and very easily tell that this is not gonna export and these are as long as I'm consistent with that. I can also then tell up here when I'm keywording my pictures if I ever see in this list of keywords that little hashtag then I visually know that this word right here will not export with my images and therefore I don't really need to come over here and ever choose this choice called will export, 'cause this would show me only the keywords that export and it would exclude those that don't. But I find once I add that little hashtag to the end of non-exporting keywords that I don't need that view anymore. All right, then we started to get a little bit of structure in here. We've seen that we can create non-exporting keywords and I can tell that this one, the name of my wife, will not export 'cause that's when I put that hashtag on the end but I can also double-click on a keyword and put in synonyms. So I could just say this is my wife so I'll just say wife 'cause maybe that's what I wanna search for. My nickname for my wife is peanut. I could put that in there so now I can find it searching for any of these terms. And down here do you see this choice called export synonyms. Well that's where I can decide. Should these end up being attached to the image or not. And in this case these are personal words that I use to describe my wife so I'm not gonna export them. All right now let's switch to a more complex document. I'm gonna open my real Lightroom catalog and therefore you're gonna end up seeing my real keyword list. Remember how long the keyword list was in the catalog we just came out of. It was getting to be quite long even though we only had six or seven pictures in that catalog. Well this particular catalog has 229,000 photographs in it. Many of them, but not all of them, have been keyworded. When I come over here and look at my keyword list though it's all really really short. And so let's see how can we get the keyword list to be very useful without getting too cluttered. Well the first thing that makes that workable is I have a special keyword in here that I call zUnsorted. The only reason it has the letter Z on it is because this list is sorted alphabetically and I wanted it to be at the end of the list. So zUnsorted. Also it's a keyword that doesn't export 'cause it's got a little hashtag on it. But then do you notice the little dot after that. That indicates this is a special keyword. If I right-click on it there is a choice right here called put new keywords inside of this keyword. And I can do that for any one of these but only one. So if I wanted to put it up here I could right-click and say put new keywords inside of this keyword and if I do watch what happens to that topmost keyword. Do you see that little bitty dot just moved to right here. So one of your keywords will have a dot on it only if you right-click on it and choose put new keywords inside of this keyword. So what does that do for me. Well that makes it so if I ever click on a picture that has yet to be keyworded I come up here to the keywording area and I start typing in some new keywords. It can be either existing or new ones but if it's a keyword that I'm adding that is not already in this list it will become a child of this one. What that means is if I expand this particular keyword to see its children there's gonna be a boatload of keywords contained within it. That's where all the clutter is gonna be in my keyword list and that's where it's a little less useful then above that this is where I've organized all the keywords. So these are the ones I've had a chance to organize and then the rest of the clutter is contained in there. I find having that makes it essential to have an organized keyword list. So that's zUnsorted. I right-clicked on it and I chose put new keywords inside of here and so you could just think of that as a clutter bin of unorganized keywords. Now let's start exploring my actual organized keywords. What I do is I try to create the most basic base keywords I can so what do we have. Well first I have where. That's where the photo was taken. What continent, what country, what city, what maybe national park within there. Something about the location where it was captured. Here I have when. Was it winter, was it fall, was it summer. That type of stuff. Was it Christmas? That's where I keep track of when was it captured. Now there are certain things I don't put in there. I won't put the exact date I captured it 'cause that's automatically included with your image. Your camera actually tags your picture with those so I don't really need to put it in manually. Here I have what. That's describing the actual content of the photo. Was it a car? What was the brand of the car? Was it a station wagon, a sedan, a convertible? What was it? Then I have how. How is how I captured it or other details about it. So let's start expanding some of these and see how they work and on occasion this list becomes cluttered and the main reason that can happen is if you ever import any pictures that already have keywords attached. So for me personally I only keyword here in Lightroom and if anybody ever gives me a picture that they've given to me I inspect the picture first before I get into Lightroom to make sure it has no keywords attached. So right here I can see a little clutter, there's the word how, there's actually two of 'em. That had to do with me preparing for this class and most likely right here there is an image that I imported from an archive on my computer that had a different structure but that's something I'll clean up later. So anyway let's look at these. So first off, where. Well. Here's my continents. There's all the continents in the world and I can now see how many pictures have I tagged with keywords that are in those various continents. That's not a total though, it's actually the number I believe that were directly tagged with the word Europe. If I tagged it with one of the children that are here I don't believe that number's gonna go up meaning I have tagged things with children of South America. I just never directly tagged South America. So I come in here, let's look at North America. Here's a lot of the countries in North America and what I do is I plan ahead. I'll actually put in every single country that's in North America so that if I ever do visit these places the moment I start tagging things with the name of the country it automatically gets tagged with North America so I can plan ahead a little bit there. Let's come in here to United States. Then I can see all the states, I put all 50 of them in here. And then I can tell how many images have been tagged directly with those. And now this becomes a different way of exploring my images. I can say Alabama, I don't even remember being there. Well where did I go? Ah, that's where I went. Okay what about in Alaska. Oh I can see that I've been to three different locations at least, at least the ones I've tagged. And I can dial in here and find all sorts of different areas but it's a different way of looking at my images. So let's do California and in California let's dial down to San Francisco and look I can see all these places that I've been to in San Francisco. Do I wanna see any of the pictures that were captured here? All I'd have to do is click the little arrow to the right next to any one of these choices. The arrow only shows up when you're hovering over one of those choices. I could add children keywords to this. Maybe the Transamerica building, I got inside of it somehow and I got on what I would call the roof which, what would that be, 'cause it's a triangular shaped building. Maybe it would be somehow getting up where antennae is on top or something. Well I could add a child to this if I wanted to. So it becomes a completely different way of exploring your photographs if you start to organize your keyword list. And I've shown you here the choice called where and if you look at the other choices in here I have some state parks, national parks. Is it a museum and those types of things. So if I wanna see all the national parks I've tagged it's pretty easy to get to them here by just expanding that. So that's where, let's look at when. With when was it an occasion. Well if it was an occasion is it a birthday, wedding, whatever. If it's a wedding I expand it out and whose wedding was it. So it suddenly becomes a completely different way of thinking about my photographs. But only if I add the structure. I don't expect you to add as much structure as I have in my list but what I'd like you to do is just think about your particular way of shooting. Is there certain subject matter that you shoot the most? If it's pictures of children do you wanna be able to tag in here if it's a male or a female. Do you wanna tag the age range of the kid so that you could very quickly narrow it down to only people that are three years old or younger or something like that. It really depends on what's important to you. So if I come in here to the choice called what then I have other choices, let's take a look. Here's activities. I wanna find people that are cooking. Well all it takes is one click over here to that arrow and suddenly I should have pictures of people cooking. Or I wanna come down here and find people, does that say hanging. What the heck, oh yeah there's something hanging like from a string so I can find that. Here I wanna find people taking photographs so I can do it with a single click. So you'll notice though, with mine, there's a lot of keywords that have the number zero next to it. And that's become I planned out my keywords ahead of time and you can do that, you can actually download a keyword list and load it into Lightroom. So someone else can do the work to create the structure of your keyword list and then all you have to do is tag your images with keywords and it kind of automatically uses that structure. And that's what I was planning on doing here was building in that structure ahead of time so I can share my keyword list with others. Let's look at the other base keywords. Here's how. Was it a compositional technique that I was using? A lot of these are named for different kinds of teaching that I do but it could be does it have to do with the rule of thirds that a lot of photographers use. Does it have to do with me framing a subject matter within something else, like here's framed with a fence. Here's framed with an opening. All sorts of those choices but it makes it much easier for me to find those especially if I'm teaching these particular concepts. So for me the how is more about how is the photo captured. Was it an in camera technique where I'm using like narrow depth of field. Where I'm zooming my lens while I'm doing a long exposure. Does it have to do with instead the lighting because maybe I need to teach lighting. So this is how I can organize to very quickly find those kinds of images when I'm teaching. Up here details, it's a little different. With details I'll end up creating one called action needed and this is where I can tag where if something needs a particular thing to be done, like here are some images where I need to merge them into HDR's. Here are some images I just wanna process soon. Here are some images that need retouching. I can put in the names of models in here for the part down here called who. All that kind of stuff. So it's a matter of thinking about what would be most useful for your particular situation. Now let's look at a few tips related to organizing your keywords. You might notice that my base level keywords are in all caps and that's just my way of making it so it's easier for me to tell if some other keywords have snuck into the list that are not my main base ones. And I just find visually it's easier for me to view my keywords when I can drill down to it and the base keyword is in all caps. Personal choice for me. When I've gotten this set up oftentimes after a while of getting my keyword list going I wanna inspect it in detail because you know how you can double-click on a keyword and you can choose if it exports or not, what there's no visual mark on here other than my manually adding that little hashtag on the end to make sure that that has been done. Well there's a way to actually export your keyword list. If you go here to the metadata menu there's a choice called export keywords. What that does is if you choose it and then you give this a name, click save, you're gonna have a text file on your hard drive. That text file will contain this entire keyword list. Let's go take a look at it. If I take the file it's right here, double-click on it. If I have a word processor on my computer it will most likely be able to open that file 'cause it's a standard text file. If you take a look at it all it is is here is my base keyword right there and then indented from that would be a child of that keyword and if there's anything indented from that that's another child. So you can see the structure that's there. But why would I wanna open this text file in a word processor? Well this is where I can end up finding typos like right here because usually word processors will highlight misspelled words in red. It's not that I wanna fix my typos here, I wanna fix them in Lightroom. But at least here I would know this is supposed to say inspection instead of insprection and so I would head over to Lightroom, I would find this keyword and I would fix the typo. So I could scroll through the entire list looking for things that are underlined in red to see if there's something that might be misspelled because the problem is if you misspell it in a keyword then that's the only thing that's searchable based on and if when you're searching you correctly spell that keyword but when it got tagged to an image it was misspelled it's not gonna be able to find it. So therefore it's nice to look through here and look for typos. Fix the typos though in Lightroom not here in this file. Then when I look at this file you'll also notice that some of the keywords have brackets around them. Brackets around a keyword indicates that it will not export. So in my particular keywording system I add a hashtag symbol at the end of a keyword if it won't export and therefore I can visually tell in my list. So if I look here, anything with brackets around it should have a hashtag near the end and I can glance through and I notice that right here I have some that do not have a hashtag at the end. So that tells me I haven't fully implemented that system. Right here are a few without it. And then I can see I picked back up on it there. So that just tells me I'm gonna go back to Lightroom, I'm gonna look at the area called processing status and each one of these keywords I'm gonna edit them by double-clicking on them and I'm gonna add the little hashtag at the end. The other thing you can tell when you scroll through here is if you ever see a keyword, it might just take me a moment to find one, that has curly brackets, that indicates that it is a synonym. So if I come through the list and I'm looking for anything with curly brackets. Here's some right here. So if I look. Here is speed light which is a synonym of speedlites, this one and that's the same as flash, the same as strobe and so therefore I can just see if those have synonyms or not and I just might glance through this list because you can't see those without actually double-clicking on a keyword within Lightroom. But if I look at this file I can easily scroll through it and just get an idea if there's anything in here that would be useful to add synonyms for. And if so I'm gonna pop over to Lightroom, double-click on the keyword and type in the synonym. So looking for typos, non-exporting keywords and synonyms is what I'm usually doing in here. I don't re-import this into Lightroom. You can import one of these lists. Let's say you purchase one from someone because they do sell these. If you, for instance, shoot birds there are people that have created really extensive lists of all the technical names of birds in an organized structure and you could import them into Lightroom. You'd go to Lightroom. You'd go to the metadata menu and that's where you'll find a choice here called import keywords. The only problem with importing keywords is it doesn't really know what to do with your existing keywords. It's not gonna suddenly take those existing keywords and say hey here is a keyword and it's called car and should that be put in the exact same location as the same keyword car in this list that I'm importing. 'Cause it doesn't know if they truly are the same. Do you remember how we talked about having the same keyword in more than one place in your keyword list and doing it on purpose? I think I used the example of a brand of car and I might also have it listed as a brand of truck and I'm sure that company makes other products. Well it doesn't know if it should do that automatically or not so it's not gonna do any extra work. If you end up importing somebody else's set of keywords what I would suggest is you first create a keyword in here called zUnsorted, then drag all of your existing keywords, whatever you got, on top of that so that you've put that into a separate area. Then import their list of keywords and it will be in the list on the base level that's here and all your previously keyworded stuff will be inside of a separate one called zUnsorted. Then whenever you're keywording images in the future if a keyword is found in more than one spot, just like before when I was keywording something with the word Ford, it will show you where it's found in your keyword list and you can choose the one from the structured version of that list. Also if you're gonna end up using someone else's keyword list I would suggest you first create a brand new catalog file so you're not gonna mess up your current one, import their keyword list and just inspect it. Make sure it looks like something that's really useful for you and if there's something in there that isn't all that useful for you start deleting it out of there before you really incorporate it into your main Lightroom catalog. Because once you have these in your Lightroom catalog you mainly can delete them one at a time. It is difficult to delete a lot of the keywords in here. There is one choice though. If I go up to the metadata menu. There's a choice called purge unused keywords. You know all those keywords that have the number zero at the end of them that indicated we've never tagged an image with them. Well if I choose purge unused keywords all of those keywords will be thrown away. When would I use that? Well if you're not using somebody else's keyword list and you're not planning ahead of time adding keywords like I did for all the countries, even though I haven't been to those countries yet, that kind of stuff and so the only thing you expect to find in your keyword list are keywords that you've actually applied to a picture. Then you could go up to that metadata menu and purge your unused keywords just every once in a while. What would that be useful for? Well it would clear out any keywords that don't pertain to your pictures. Maybe you accidentally tagged a keyword to an image. You did a typo in the keyword and then you deleted it off that picture. That doesn't mean it deleted it out of the keyword list. So you can somewhat clean it up. But I would not choose that. I'd be very careful not to choose that if I'm using someone else's keyword list or you've planned ahead and put in a lot of keywords that have yet to be used to tag images with 'cause suddenly all those would disappear. The ones that have yet to be used. So that is a nice choice to know about. So when it comes to keywording it really depends on your mindset. For many people it'll be easiest to simply never structure your keyword list. Let this list become a really really long list and then the only thing you're gonna do to be able to easily find things within it is the use of the search field that's found at the top. And all you'll say is well I wonder if there is the keyword of cat in my list. So you type C-A-T. And it suddenly limits what you're viewing here so you're only finding keywords that contain the word cat, like here cat, caterpillar, catsuit and so on. Yours won't have as many results as mine 'cause if you're not adding a bunch of keywords ahead of time, pre-planning, you'd only have a few here. One thing is if you do organize your keywords you should be aware that right over here on the right you can click on this magnifying glass and there are other choices here. You can limit it to only searching what's known as people keywords and we cover that in the session that has to be do with facial recognition. If you choose other I believe that means things that are not people keywords. And there's this choice here. Show all keywords inside of matches. So I'm gonna show you what that means. If I were to choose California. It shows me where California is found in my keyword list and I see it's in three different places. There's a conference that I used to speak at. There's California Redwoods as a type of tree and then here is the state. But it doesn't show me the children of those. So therefore I can't see which cities within California I visited. Well if I go here to the side that choice called show all keywords inside the matches really means show all the children of what we found. So if I do that now it expanded it and I can see all the places within California that I have visited and you can see that there are quite a few and that makes it much more useful for me if I do have a structured keyword list. Therefore if I wanna see all of the images I shot at a national park I can type national to get to near national park and down here it's showing me all the children keywords as well. Even if they didn't have the word national within them they would appear here because they are a child of one that does match my search. So that's great. Couple of other things about keywording. If you've got an image and you wanna keyword it usually I do it in this field right here. To get there you can type command K, that's control K in Windows. That's gonna highlight the field for you. But once you start typing in keywords you can't use the arrow keys to switch between your images. If you wanna switch between your images do command right arrow. Or command left arrow. And what that'll do is send you to the next image but it'll still keep that keywording field active. Therefore I can keyword one image, command right arrow and just instantly start keywording the next and I can very quickly go in and do that. For me, personally, my goal is not to keyword every single picture that I have captured. Instead what I do is with our folder organization system, at least the way I use it, is when I go to a particular shoot in my folder list what I do is I have in progress, outtakes and so on and it's only the base level images that are finished. Well it's the base level images that I try to keyword every single one of. Well how can I do that? Well if I close down all my folders here I could go up to my library list and make sure I'm not gonna view images from sub folders. I'm just gonna view images directly in the folder I click on and then I can say well let's take a look in 2016 here, what I might need the keyword. I'll just click on the topmost folder. I'll drag all the way down here holding shift, click on the bottom most one and right now I have every single image that is in the base folders that I shot in 2016, these are all the images I'd like to keyword. So I try to spend minimum of five minutes a day keywording my pictures. Ideally 15 minutes a day if you have a large archive. And the idea is to get it so all the base level images, those are all my finished images, get keyworded. Therefore anytime I wanna find those images I can do so very quickly because they all have text tagged to them. So when you think about keywording either have an unstructured list and just don't worry about it or if you really like to think about how to organize things start developing that structure of parent and child keywords because there are a lot of advantages of doing so. For most people I think it'll be a hybrid of the two. I would create that keyword called zUnsorted and let that be your clutter and then above that you might only have about five base folders. Maybe it has to do with what kind of shoots you take at weddings 'cause that's your kind of shooting. Maybe it has to do with the age of people because you shoot a lot of people and you wanna be able to find the children, get them separated from the adults and all that kind of stuff. You just have to think about what would be most useful for your particular case. It's not worth wasting time just structuring a keyword list unless it's gonna directly benefit you when you decide you want to find those images. Well today's homework is to brainstorm your own keyword structure. And so it's a matter of going through the pdf file that describes the homework. If you purchased the class you get that. And thinking through what would be the most effective structure for your business so that it really speeds up your ability of finding any particular image. Well we have seven lessons left. That's still quite a bit. In that time we're gonna talk about things like creating slideshows. We're gonna lay out books and show you how you can send them off to be printed, even if it's dozens or even hundreds of pages long. We're gonna show you some tips and tricks and I'm gonna show you how to troubleshoot any problems you might encounter when working in Lightroom. Tomorrow is when I'm gonna talk about how I work to find any image I can think of in five seconds or less. And it has to do with first doing the work ahead of time with keywording but in order to truly find them that quickly you really need to get good at the search capabilities in Lightroom and we got a lot to learn there. Now before tomorrow rolls around though why don't you head over to Facebook. Type in any questions you have about keywording. I'd love to answer them. Also you can get feedback from other people. Maybe you ask, hey I shoot portraits. What kind of keywords do you use for that? And you'll hear from other people that are watching the class, get other ideas. Now know if you purchase the class you get a lot of extras. You get a workbook for every lesson. Those workbooks make it so you don't always have to re-watch a video. Instead you can just refer to a pdf to remember what we covered. I believe we group those into weekly documents so you don't have one for every single lesson. Instead it's really, I think, four pdf files but they're known as the workbooks. You also have a lot of practice images so if there's ever an image you see me use on screen I most likely include it for download so you can practice on the same files. Every day you get a homework assignment as well and it's really me trying to think of how could I get you ready to truly use these features before you actually need to. Meaning before you have the demand in your work you'll already be practiced and comfortable using it because of the homework. We also include a lot of presets and just extra images as well. If you wanna find me online my main website is but you can also find me on various social media networks. So here's where you can look for me. And this has been another installment of Lightroom Classic The Complete Guide. I hope to see you tomorrow.

Class Description


  • Develop the confidence to use your imagination and create images you'll be proud to share with your clients
  • Thoughtfully use the Lightroom suite to streamline your workflow and add flair to your images
  • Organize your entire photo collection


Adobe® Lightroom® Classic CC can streamline your workflow, add drama to your images, and organize your entire photo collection -- but only if you know all the hidden features. Lightroom CC is one of the best non-destructive editing tools out there, designed to handle tasks from importing off an SD card and organizing to editing, printing, and exporting for social media. But the extent of the photo editing tools likely means that, if you are self-taught or just opening Lightroom CC for the first time, you're missing out on some key features.

As part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, the Lightroom Classic photography plans also include Photoshop and cloud storage, creating a complete image editing toolkit for photographers.

When you purchase this course you’ll gain access to an enduring resource to build your skills. You will also receive a workbook that acts as a reference guide, Lightroom presets, and Lightroom keywords, all included with the class.

Join well-known software instructor Ben Willmore to learn how to process and organize your images more efficiently, leaving more time to spend capturing amazing images. In this 20 lesson course, Ben covers everything from importing to troubleshooting and everything in between. As a boot camp, this course is set up so professional photographers can spend about an hour or so each weekday to learn the ins and outs of Lightroom in just four weeks.


This class is designed for Lightroom newbies as well as self-taught Lightroom users ready to uncover the hidden features and Photoshop experts ready to try Adobe's non-destructive RAW editor and organizer. As a recent class, the workshop also explains Lightroom's latest new features.

Adobe Lightroom Classic CC 2018


Ben Willmore is a member of the Photoshop Hall of Fame who has taught over 100,000 Adobe® Photoshop® users on all seven continents. His bestselling books, DVDs, and hit seminars have established Ben as one of America’s favorite Adobe Photoshop instructors, and he is often the top-selling speaker at design and photography conferences throughout the world. He writes for numerous digital imaging publications, including Photoshop User magazine, and his award-winning books have helped helped hundreds of thousands of design and photography professionals make the transition from blindly following step-by-step techniques to “Ah-ha! I finally GET Photoshop!”

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

Student Work

Related Classes


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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!