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Keywording Tactics in Lightroom

Lesson 20 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Keywording Tactics in Lightroom

Lesson 20 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

20. Keywording Tactics in Lightroom


Class Trailer



Course Introduction


Camera Gear for Travel


What Camera Gear Should You Buy?


Gear Bags for Travel Photography


Location Research and Pre-Trip Planning


Importing and Naming Conventions in Lightroom


Processing Images with Presets in Lightroom


Lesson Info

Keywording Tactics in Lightroom

So let's take a look here. I'm going to create a brand new catalog as if I'm starting from scratch, because if I look in my keyword list, which is where all those keywords are, there's a gazillion things in there. I'm gonna act as if I've never keyworded something. I just went to the file menu. There's a choice called New Catalog, and it is now creating a new catalog. You're not supposed to see my notes back there, but, bonus, you saw my notes. So here's a brand new, fresh Catalog. Lower left, I'm gonna hit the Import button, 'cause we don't have any photos in it yet. So I'm gonna tell it to go onto my desktop, where I've conveniently placed a folder called Keyword Me. And I'll just tell it to add, up here, those pictures, because I don't wanna move them to a different location. I wanna leave them where they are. And I'm gonna leave pretty much everything else alone. If I knew I was gonna process these images, then I might turn on Smart Previews if I knew other things, but for now, it'...

s unimportant. I just need to get them in here. Then I'm gonna click on a picture, and I'll hit the space bar. Space bar means show it big. And I'll hide the left side of my screen so we can get a big view and just get this a little cleaned up over here and look at this area called Keywording. So you see here where it says, click here to add keywords. That's where we're gonna do it. So I'm gonna click there, and all I'm gonna do is type in words that I might use, I might find helpful to use to search for this image. So first word that comes to mind is sunset. So I type it. Then I put in a comma so it knows I'm done with that, because, otherwise, keywords can be multiple words long, like United States of America. Well, to know that that's one keyword instead of multiple, we need to put a comma between them. So I do the comma, sunset. This is in the Badlands of South Dakota, so I'm gonna say Badlands, I'll do another comma, and South Dakota, South Dakota, and it's a panorama, right? So that would be... And then if I was one of the color freaks, the people that are like, I love color, then I might put orange, if that's my thing. But I'm not that. So any other things you could think of, just glancing at this photo, that you might type in if this photo came to mind in your head, and you didn't know where it was, you wanted to get it. Can you think of any other words, by chance? Mountains, or-- You wanna grab the mic? Canyon or mountains, OK. So I'm gonna just do comma, canyon, comma, mountains, and I just press Return to actually attach those to the image, and now, this area right up here has all those words, and those are attached to the picture. And if I do a search in the filter bar for keywords, and I type any one of those words in, it will find this picture. Now I'm just gonna press the right arrow key, which is gonna take me to the next picture, 'cause I'm in the library, and usually the arrow keys go between pictures. So now I'm gonna keyword this one. This is a slot canyon, so I'm gonna put in slot canyon, and that is a kind of canyon, so it's suggesting the word canyon for me, 'cause we used it before. And if I want that, I can just hit the comma key, and it'll kind of put it in there. This is the slot canyon called Antelope Canyon, so I'm gonna go... if I can spell. And I think it is in Arizona. Yeah, Page, right near Page, Arizona. So I'm gonna say Arizona. And let's see, what else? What makes this particular picture of that slot canyon unique? I'm gonna say vivid, because the colors are vivid, and usually they're not in a slot canyon. The other thing I might say about this is there is that extra element in it, which is that thing, that bush or whatever. Is that tumbleweed, or what would you call it? Tumbleweed? OK. So I'm gonna say, is tumbleweed one or two words? Hm. I'm gonna make it one word. It just feels better. However you spell tumbleweed. And now I've just tagged that image, and I'll be able to find it if I search for any of those words. And if I type in the word canyon, I'll not only find this image that was taken in a canyon, if I got the word canyon in there. Yes, I did. But I'll also find the image that we last tagged, so I'd find two. And if that was too many images, I could narrow it down by typing another one of these words. Does that make sense? So let's just do a few more. There's another slot canyon, so I'm just gonna go, I just start typing and it remembers if I typed it before and suggests it. And if it's the right thing, I just hit the comma key, and you can either type them up here, or in the area directly below. But in here, what's different about this one, let me finish the rest of these. Antelope Canyon, this was in Arizona. Looks like I spelled Arizona wrong. There's no A on the end. That's all right, we'll fix it. And this one has a photographer in it. And I think that might help me remember this one. Also it's black and white. Do you think those might help locate it? All right. The problem with doing it the way I am right now is this is gonna take time. If I get another picture later on from this location, I might have to tag it with Arizona and with all these other things. I can do this more intelligently, and I'd like to show you that in a moment. But first, there's a question. So are these keywords available in the metadata? Let's say I post them to my blog, like if someone Googles, Arizona Canyon, will my photo come up? Is it-- They can be. They can be? When you export an image, you usually use an export preset for that. Part of an export preset has the choice of do you want to, how much of this metadata, metadata is just text attached to your picture that isn't the picture itself. So that's like your shutter speed, what camera it was shot with, or these keywords. And when you create an export preset, you can choose how much of that metadata goes out with the picture that's exported. And so you can hide all those or not. Go ahead. So since you're a travel photographer, it wouldn't be advantageous for you when you're searching to tag everything with travel photographer, but if you're a travel photographer, when you get hired as a travel photographer, you might metadata keyboard them? Well, with this, if you're tagging these to make them easily searchable by other people, the more of these tags you can put in, the more they're gonna show up in search results. So you start putting in tags that are more conceptual. So I don't personally do that, 'cause these are for me to find. And if I put in too many keywords, it makes it so I get too many results, and it's harder to get to the exact picture I was thinking of. But if these are being sold to a stock photography company, then I would be putting in a good amount. They usually want a certain minimum amount. It might even be 30 keywords or something like that. They have standards for that. And that's if you're using it for those purposes. Thank you. Sure. So Ben, this might be where you're going, but a lot of people are now asking, is there a way to do this in batches, say, for a whole shoot or, take us through this, getting more efficient. Yes, but I used to do this for whole shoots, and the problem is that I tagged a bunch of images that were bad images. They were out of focus. They were bad exposures, bad compositions, and now it makes it so when I do certain searches, I see so many pictures where I have to, not only do a search for the keyword, but then I have to start adding a metadata search for star ratings or picks or something else, and it makes it so I can't find images in five seconds. Instead, it takes 15. And if 15 seconds is fine for you, then you can tag everything. In fact, when you import your images, in the import dialogue box, on the right side is a field for keywords. And so if I just came back from, like this, Yellowstone National Park, right when I'm importing the picture, I just on the right side, I put in Yellowstone, comma, where it is, comma, fall, if it was fall or something like that, and all the pictures that I'm importing would already have those tagged. So there's all sorts of things that we can do. We could literally do a whole day on keywording. So we'll have to limit what we get into. I wanna mainly show you my system for doing it, because I think it's going to help you the most. So anyway, here, rush hour, Yellowstone. Love the shot, though, if you look at what's in it. Is that a buffalo? I hope it is. And I might tag it with that, just whatever words are gonna help me. Now, after you've done that to some photos, what's gonna happen is you're going to have this area just below where you were typing that in, you can either type things in up here or down here, by the way. And when you click on a picture, what's up here is what's tagged to the image, and if you notice a problem with it, like the wrong thing got tagged, you didn't realize you had four photos selected at the time you typed something in, you can click on a picture, like I'll click back on this one, and you could just come up here, select part of this, and hit Delete to untag that, like, oops, didn't mean that. And so if you ever see anything showing up in your search results, if I search for monk, and I see a picture of a clown, and I'm like, What, what's going on? That's the wrong thing. I click on that picture, and I look in that field and say, "Why is it showing up for monks?" And I say, "Oh, I must've been "viewing a collection called People," and I didn't realize that when I clicked on that monk and tagged it, I already had another picture down below selected too. And so sometimes you have to clean up some stuff, 'cause you create some errors. But then, let's close up that part and look at this thing called your keyword list. Your keyword list is a list of all the keywords you've ever added to images. And so here I can see all those things, and you notice there's a number next to them. It tells me how many photos have been tagged with each one, and if I wanna see all the photos that are tagged, all I need to do is go up to the one I'm thinking of, and on the right side will be a little arrow icon. It only shows up when you're hovering over it though. You see the arrow right there? If I click on the arrow, that instantly searches for every image that was tagged with that keyword. And boom, you got 'em. If you no longer wanna be viewing just those, all it did is it went over here and did a filter bar search for it. So up in the filter bar, choose none if you wanna go back to viewing everything. But now let's try to make it so that we can be faster when we keyword things. And there can be some automation, semi-automation, some intelligence in it. You can have parent and child keywords, where just like you can have a folder and then a sub-folder within it, well, I can have a parent keyword, and then within it a child keyword, that kind of thing. So let's see how could we do that. Well, the Badlands up here are in South Dakota, right? So what if I click on the word Badlands, and I drag it on top of the word South Dakota, so that now, if you look at it, it's almost like folders and sub-folders where South Dakota is the parent. That's what that holds the one called Badlands. You know what that does, it now makes it so that if I tag any photo with the word Badlands, now when I search, I can search for either Badlands or South Dakota, and it's gonna show up. Does that make sense? So I can also go in here, you don't have to tag a photo to add keywords. You can do it right here in the keyword list. Do you see the plus sign? I'm just gonna click there, and I'm gonna add United States. And I'm gonna add another one. I'm gonna call that North America. And then I'm gonna organize these, so I'm gonna say, the United States of America is part of North America, and South Dakota is part of the United States. So now if I tag something with the word Badlands, I can search for North America, I can search for United States of America, I can search for South Dakota, or I can search for Badlands. And all I had to do after setting this up is tag an image with one word, one keyword, Badlands. And it automatically is included in results for all of its parents. Does that make sense? So sometimes it can be useful to make it so this list doesn't look like a thousand mile-long list of all the words you've attached to images, but instead, to organize them so that it's easier to absorb what's there. And so let's look at some of the ways of organizing this and some of the ways for making this more convenient. Let's say I had a keyword in here called bicycle. That might've been the one that I would tag with the monk riding the bike, right? But you remember when I first searched for it? It didn't find any results. And that's because I searched for the word bike. I didn't search for the word bicycle, which is what it was actually tagged with. So if I come in here and look, we have bicycle right here. I haven't tagged any pictures with it yet, but I wanna set it up so if in the future I ever do, it's got some intelligence built in. I'm gonna double click on it, and if I do that, it's gonna bring up this. And in here, look at what it has right below where it says Keyword Name, Synonyms. I'm gonna type in bike, so that now if I search, I can search for either one of those words. It thinks of them as being the same word, but I never have to tag an image with both. I only have to tag it with bicycle. Or other things that I might do, United States of America, I'm gonna double click and call it USA. Whoops, I didn't mean to change that. Let me click Cancel. I typed it in the wrong field. Down here, Synonyms, USA. So now I can search for USA and find everything tagged with United States of America. Does that make sense? So dog can be canine, cat can be feline. Child can be young, can be, what other words can you guys come up with? Kid. The more you spend the time doing that, the more you can suddenly tag an image with one word and search for it using a variety. But doesn't this sound like a lot of work that could take a lot of time to get set up? Well, it can, I'm gonna save you that time though. But before I do, I need to just describe a couple other features. Let's say I wanna organize things more when it comes to location. I'm gonna come in here and create a new keyword, and I'm just gonna call it location. No, I'm gonna call it where, hit Create. So I have where, and I'm gonna drag North America in there. I'll drag everything that has to do with where it was taken. Let's see, I'm gonna go up here. Arizona. Remember I misspelled Arizona? Well, I don't have to go back to all those pictures to change every single one of them to add the A on the end. All you need to do is double click on this one, and right up here just add the A. And every single picture that was tagged with that just got updated. So now they're all tagged with Arizona. I'm gonna drag Arizona onto where, and actually, let's put it inside of United States. All right, and wait a minute. Wasn't Antelope Canyon in Arizona? So why don't we drag that on top of Arizona. So now all we need to do is tag something with Antelope Canyon, and if we search for Arizona, United States, North America, or Antelope Canyon, we'll find it. But where isn't a word that I would search for. I wouldn't say where and wanna see a bunch of images. So what I'm gonna do is I'll double click on that, and there's a choice here called Include on Export. And that means if I export a picture, and I tell it to include the keywords, so I'm gonna update it to a stock photo website, or I'm gonna use it in a way that Google might be able to search for keywords. I don't want where to be a keyword that I search for. That's just being used to help organize my keyword list, and therefore, I don't want it to be exported and be attached with any of my pictures if I ever export my pictures out of Lightroom. That make sense? And so I use that for any organizational keywords.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lightroom Presets Quickstart Guide
Lightroom Preset Sampler
Pre-Trip Planning
Actions Sampler Guide
Travel Photography Handbook
Actions Sampler
Lightroom Keywords
Big Set of Lightroom Presets
Practice Images
Travel Photogtaphy Mobile Guide
Gear List
Lightroom Tips and Keyboard Shortcuts

Ratings and Reviews


This was simply an amazing experience! Without a doubt the best investment of time and money I have experienced in quite awhile. Ben's complete command of the subject, the practical tips, suggestions and reference information was outstanding. I have enjoyed point and shoot photography for some time and recently decided to invest in some decent DSLR equipment (Canon EOS D70). I have a trip to Cape Town and Johannesburg South Africa rapidly approaching and thought it might be a good idea to take some classes and make an effort to get up the learning curve ASAP to take advantage of this travel opportunity. "Discovering" Creativelive and Ben Willmore's class was literally an answer to prayer! There is nothing like sitting at the foot of wisdom, taking notes, and having numerous "ah-ha" moments! This was great....looking forward to more classes. Thanks for the high quality effort!

a Creativelive Student

Genius! Ben is a brilliant master teacher - focused, clear and holds back no information. The best! This course has condensed the equivalent of 10 courses into one. He is a perfectionist in his approach and knows how to present the material. He is the leader in photoshop and photography "par excellence". Highly recommend any of his courses. Save your time and start with the best - everyone loves Ben!!!!

Nichole Sams

I feel the title of this class, Travel Photography, is much to limiting for what you are really going to get. As a wedding photographer, who dreams of traveling, I attending the class live in Seattle, and was hoping to get some inspiration for on location shoots. What I got, however, was a WHOLE LOT MORE. I would recommend this class to anyone with a camera and Lightroom. What I learned about how lightroom works and how to integrate it with photoshop is invaluable. I actually think they should charge WAY more for this course. The bonuses with purchase from the keywords (we are talking every key word you could possibly imagine) and the presets (holycow everything you would ever need) are worth exponentially more than the course price itself. Ben is a gentle easy going teacher and nice to listen to. His ease of teaching pretty complex ideas was truly wonderful. If you are reading this you must buy this course, it is well worth it!

Student Work