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Sort Keywords in Lightroom

Lesson 21 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Sort Keywords in Lightroom

Lesson 21 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

21. Sort Keywords 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

Sort Keywords in Lightroom

Let me show you how mine are in real life, organized. And then know that you will not have to do all of the work we just showed you. You're welcome to. But if you happen to purchase the class, I'll give you my keywords. My keywords have taken me years to come up with a structure of it. I spent ridiculous amounts of time on it. (audience laughs) You're going to enjoy that. Look at how ridiculous I am. Here are my base keywords. Do you see how organized they are? Let's go in here to what. Was it an activity? I can find all the pictures of people drinking, by clicking on this arrow. There happens to only be one right now, but once I'm done tagging all my images, just by going in there it'll be easy to find this way. Let's find people jumping. Oh. There's a kid jumping, there's a dog jumping. I just need to get more images tagged with it and they're gonna show up in these results. Let's see, oh I can find people painting. I suppose I could zoom up here, so you can see them. There's one pai...

nting a ship, there's one painting a thing. Photographing, I'm always out with my wife and stuff, so here's pictures of, often me photographing. You remember that picture of my me doing the iceberg framed with an iceberg? That's me taking it. And anyway, I can do all that. But let's look at where the intelligence comes in. So you can explore your pictures in a different way. When you have structured keyword list. Instead of randomly looking through folders, based on when and what the subject matter is, you can just now say, "Well, "I don't know, who was it? "I'm thinking about a certain person." All right, let's go into people. Do you want to do it based on their age? Do you want to only see kids? Do you want to only older people? Do you want to do that? Do you want to see, only males, only females? We can do that. Do you want to see what role they were? Were they a craftsman, were they a dancer? Were they a dentist? Well let's find a picture of a dentist. I think we had one before, didn't we? There it is, picture of a dentist. I think that says dentist. (laughs) (audience laughs) That's in Morocco. Anyway, all that kind of stuff. And, so this becomes a different way to explore your pictures is to instead explore it based on, who, what, where, when, what is it? And I've put in so much intelligence into this, that if I come in here look, it says continent. Do I want to explore images based on what continent they were shot on? Did I ever have to tag a single image with the word Europe? No. I just had to tag it with any of the words that are found within Europe. These are the countries I happened to have visited in Europe. And then if I ended up going to Spain, these are some of the cities I visited in Spain. All I needed to do is make sure that when I added the word for one of these cities, that it was under Spain. And then, from that point forward, anytime I attached one of these city names to a single picture, I can find it by searching for Spain, or Europe, that type of thing. So, you get the idea that I've done a bit there. It gets to be somewhat ridiculous depending on where it is you want to go. But you don't have to make it ridiculous. And let's talk about how you can do that, well all you're doing is typing words into the keyword list for particular pictures. So I'm gonna go down here and just choose a random folder. Let's go to, should we go to Sydney? And this is from back before I did our folder system. I'm not sure if I've keyworded these or not, I'm assuming I probably haven't. First, how can I find all the images that don't have keywords? Well, remember I try to only keyword my best pictures? Well if I wanted to keyword them since I've started using the system, that would be all 2015. I could select every one of these folders. Hold shift, click on the top one, hold shift, click on the bottom one to get them all. And I could come over here and say, do not show subfolders. I don't want to see my outtakes, I don't want to see in progress, only good stuff is what gets keyworded these days. And now I want to see which ones don't have keywords. So I can spend some time. I'm gonna watch the news right, it's on TV. And the news is not entertaining enough to like just stare at it and do nothing. I want to do something while I'm watching the news. So what am I gonna do? Well I'm viewing the contents of all of these folders for this year. I'm only viewing the ones that are done and ready to show people, so I'm not gonna waste my time. 'Cause it can take you forever to keyword every picture. Instead, only keyword the good ones. And then up in the filter bar, I'm gonna go to a metadata filter bar and I'm gonna come over here to set one of these columns to the choice keyword. And I'm gonna choose none. That means they don't have any keywords. So now I'm seeing all the pictures from this year, that are good pictures that have no keywords. That'd be a great time to spend time doing those. Especially if I'm sitting here and you guys can help. (laughs) You know. (audience laughs) So anyway you can set that up. Then all you're gonna do is click on a particular image. And after you click on a particular image on the right side you go to the keywording area. And in the keywording are you're going to start keywording your images. Now if, you don't remember where you shot something, remember my system for naming files? You're gonna see, right up here, this was taken in China, in this part of China. Because it's right in your file name. And so I'm gonna start off by typing in X-i-a-m-e-n, just to see, is it used? You notice how when I start typing in that name it doesn't automatically complete it? That's my indication that it's not in the keyword list yet. So let's try to do this intelligent, let's see if China is in there. C-h-i-n, yes it is, do you see it down below right there? Well check this out. I put in China and all I'm gonna do is a little greater than sign, to say this new keyword I'm about to create, put it inside China. So I don't have to do it in the keyword list, I just do it right here. And I'm gonna type in X-i-a-m-e-n, 'cause that's where this photo was taken. Return, I just tagged that with both of those. Now I got to be careful though, that picture's gonna go away right now. The reason it's going away is because now it no longer conforms to the filter that I have. So I'll choose actually undo for a moment there. And here's what I would probably do. I would take all of these pictures, all the results, and I'm gonna drag them over there into something called a quick collection. A quick collection is a temporary collection that you're only gonna use for now, for whatever little task you have in front of you. I just dragged them over there. And I'll click on the quick collection and get rid of any filtering. Therefore if I add a keyword it is not gonna disappear because we're not filtering for images that don't contain keywords anymore. We did that just to get the initial finding of the images and we're putting them over here in this thing called a quick collection. If you haven't used the quick collection it might be a little bit confusing, but you can get used to those. So now let's do that. So I start typing, I notice it's not in my keyword list 'cause it did not auto complete. I checked to see if China is. It is, I can arrow down to get to it. And then I add that little greater than sign and I'm gonna go X-i-a-m-e-n, return. Now that image has it. I might look also to see if there are other pictures in the same folder. I can see the one down here that has the same thing. Now when I click on it it looks like that one has been tagged. Oh, I had all these images selected, oops. Remember the last thing I did was drag them all over there? They were still selected which means every single one of those pictures just got tagged with that. I still have them all selected, I'll just delete it off of there. I just went to the keywords area and deleted it. And I need to get these images unselected. So I only had one. (chuckles) Okay, now let's add it. Now I'm not gonna go into too much of this, but I just want to let you know, how do you get one to be a child without doing that? And then what if you want to add a new keyword, but you don't know where it should belong in that organization system. How can you keep it organized and spend time when you feel like it, organizing it. Well here's what I do. Do you see down here a weird thing called Zunsorted? Do you see there's a little dot right after it? Well that little dot is there because if you create a keyword and then you right click on it, there's a choice called put new keywords inside this keyword. Put new keywords inside this keyword. And that means that instead of getting a list that just keeps growing, of random keywords that haven't been organized, it keeps getting longer and longer, every new keyword I create it's just gonna show up in there in Zunsorted. And the next time I'm watching the news on TV, man I'm sitting there and got a little bit of mental activity, you know I got some energy I can use, I'm gonna visit this folder, it's not a folder it's a keyword, called ZUnsorted and there will be a list in there. And I'll decide, well here's flashlight. Is flashlight a who? No, is it a where? No, a when? It's a what, right? So I go into what and I come in here and say, "What is it?" It's an object, isn't it? All right. And I'm just gonna figure out where should it go? And I'd say for now it's just gonna be an object. And so I can go over here and say, "Okay, "it's gonna be an object." Therefore I'm gonna drag it on top of that. So I'm gonna go over here to flashlight, drag it up here. Put it on top of object. Now it's out of the ZUnsorted area. And this I just slowly whittle down and get it organized. I do it when I have just, I'm doing an activity that doesn't take all my effort, I'm just gonna be in here doing a little bit of that every once in awhile. Not something I enjoy, but boy do I enjoy the results. I enjoy being able to search and do that kind of stuff. So anyway I would tag these images. You can tag more than one. If you just select more than one. When you type in a word in the keywording panel you can do that. You can also do really fun things once you have it organized. For instance, I'm gonna go in here and you don't have to navigate your keywords manually. Do you see it says filter keywords? So let's see, can I look for, I'm guessing I'm gonna have a keyword called animal. I type it in and it only shows me right now the childs, child keywords of animal. And so now I can suddenly explore my entire 200 and some thousand photo library and pick out animals. Do I want birds, bugs, fish, mammals, reptiles, snails, whales, you know? All that kind of stuff. But they're organized and I can find it. So somebody says, "I'm gonna do an article on animals. "What do you got?" Well, as long as I've done it this way I can do that. It's only about mammals, fine. It's about cats. Well, a cat, a leopard, a lion? You can organize it as much as you want. So if you purchase this course you get my keyword list. Now it will take me awhile to get it ready for you 'cause I need to clean it up. I have things in my keyword list that you don't need like model, and then my wife's name. When are you ever gonna tag an image with that? So I need to go through my keyword list and get rid of the things that are personal to me that doesn't make sense. And also add some more keywords when I go, well somebody else might need a few here. And this is something that I'm developing. It will eventually be an actual product that will come with an ebook that shows you how to think about keywords, how to use them, how to transition through them. Somewhat similar to what we did here, but much more in depth. And that takes a lot of time, so it's just not ready yet. But that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of these. So finally, the ZUnsorted. If I ever come in here and I notice that I'm tagging an image with a word that I've never used before. I come in here and say lamppost. L-a-m-p, no, I don't see it, it's not auto completing. So I type in lamppost. I don't know if that's one word or two, you can always change it later. Then you can always come in here and just add the word before it. What I can do is just do what I would usually do is if I notice it, just type in instead of the word you're thinking of, type the letter Z. And do you see ZUnsorted? I could put it in the base one because I have no clue where I'm gonna put it, I don't even want to think about it. So I put it there. But if I know that a lamppost is a what, I'll put it in that. And do you see what it did just now? It just typed this in, what, ZUnsorted, and right here I just add another little guy and I put in lamppost. And it's putting it inside of what? Inside of Zunsorted, is where I'm gonna find it. You don't have to always put it in those subfolders, at least just put it in unsorted. Or you wouldn't even need to do that because we set up that unsorted to contain all your new keywords, so you could just not worry about it. It all depends how ridiculous you want to get. So if you go through this, remember only keyword for me my good pictures. And that means only the pictures that are in the base folder. So is it easy to find all the images that need keywording? Yeah, I select all my folders, I say show me only what's in the base folder, I say filter, no keywords. Okay here's all the pictures that need it. I'm doing some activity, I've got some mental capacity to do, I'm gonna start keywording those. And then in the future all I need to do is go to the filter bar, search by keyword and I can find a monk on a bicycle. So, folder structure, keywords. If you do it, start by committing and saying, "From today forward, whatever I shoot, "I'm gonna do this with." Don't stress about the past, the past is a mess, mine is too. And whenever you get time if you revisit a folder say, "Fine, I'm gonna transfer it over "to the folder system." Then check the base folder, see what's in there and keyword them. And you can slowly migrate your archives. It's gonna take me, I'm sure years to get the entire archive, 200 and something thousand photos, it's gonna take some time. But the more I do it the better I can get at finding all my photos. So what questions, comments, stuff do we got? Well Ben, first of all, as people in the chatroom are saying, this is gold. (both laughing) The amount of time that you have put into this, is truly remarkable. It's absurd actually. I'm sorry. (laughs) If you actually know about it. (laughs) I personally would not have the diligence to be able to do that, so incredible. I simply got sick of not being able to find the pictures I knew I took. Yeah, no it's incredible! Yeah. So thank you, first of all. So I have a number of questions that are coming through about keywords. Starting with, do you, are you able to import therefore a keyword list? Yes. If you're talking about you're giving, you're talking about how to do that. And then do you keep that keyword synced if you have multiple catalogs, or how do you manage that part of it? Well you can, and it'll take me a minute to find out exactly where this is, 'cause I don't do it very often. I use one catalog, so I don't have to think about it. But if I go to the metadata menu at the top of my screen there is a choice called keyword set. And in there you can have various other keyword sets. I have one called buses. 'Cause if you remember I said I have a separate catalog that's about buses? Well this one has different brands of buses, it's got different models of buses, (laughs) it's got all sorts of weird stuff. But it makes it so I can find any kind of picture of a bus I want. I know you guys probably don't need that keyword list. (laughs) And so anyway you can do that. And you can also come up here and if you choose edit, what's it gonna do? Well these are keywords sets. Those are where you can set up keywords that you use all the time. Down here is an area called the keyword set, if I expand it, and click on a picture, you can put things in here, like little presets that you apply all the time. Like so when you ask what's the most common one I apply, that kind of thing? If there was an answer to that I'd put it here. Or if you're a color freak you'd put red, blue, yellow, orange, fushia, all those kinds of things in here, or whatever it is most important to you. You can put them here and then with a single click you'd be applying that keyword to an image. But, otherwise when I go to the metadata menu and choose keyword set, this is where I can switch between them. There is also an area, here's edit, metadata presets. Here's save metadata to file will actually attach it to the file. If your catalog is not set up to do that by default. And then down here is what you're really thinking of which is import keywords. And that's where I can give you a file, that's what you'll end up getting. You'll choose this and feed it that file. And once you have that, if you need to get the same keyword list on a different computer, you could export your keyword list, go to the other computer and import it. Be careful with this one, purge unused keywords. That means any keyword that hasn't been tagged to a picture, but is in your list would go away. That can be nice in some situations. If you're just getting started with keywords you just have a list of random stuff you don't know where they came from. And you just want to make sure anything that's not used you don't have to deal with, you could do that. But in my keyword list if you choose that after importing my keyword list, most things would disappear from my keyword list, because you don't have a picture tagged with Arizona, you've never been to Arizona, you know the kind of thing. But you don't want to lose that word Arizona. So anyway, that's where you find all that stuff. Great. So just to follow that Sam had asked, if when I start using your keyword list might it conflict with some of my existing keywords and head it out, is it additive? I wouldn't say it's going to conflict. What I would do is if you have an existing list of keywords sitting there, create a new keyword called legacy keywords. And then select all of your keywords every single one, and then unselect the one called legacy keywords, so you have everything except for that. And drag it on top of legacy keywords, so that all your existing keywords are still there, they're just not organized. And so they show up inside of this one called legacy and you know why you have those in there. And then slowly over time you can organize them. What you can do is let's say you have a keyword called Arizona. And my keyword list has one called Arizona. So what I could do then is go to my keyword list and at the top we have that filter, you could type in Arizona. And there would be more than one result. And you can come in and click on the arrow on the right, on the one underneath legacy. Select all the pictures and then if you want to tag an image with a keyword from within here, there's usually a check box to the left of this that you click on. I'm not sure why I'm not getting it, must be because I've filtered it. But you could, or it could I just don't have a picture. You can usually, oh right there it is. You can click right here and that would tag it with my version of Arizona. And then you could come down to your version and delete it. Just delete the keyword called Arizona that's under legacy. And you've somewhat migrated into my system. Or just leave it alone. Because all the search results will find both instances of it. And what'll happen is, let me just show you, I'll come in here and add one. I'll act like you might have had some. I'm gonna put in one called legacy keywords just like I suggested. Oops, I don't know it went. I must have told it go inside of one. Undo. Let me make sure it's not inside of another. If I can spell. And I don't want to put the photos in it. And okay, hopefully that shows up. You have all of your new keywords going into unsorted. Oh, that's right, thank you! (laughs) Sometimes keywords get in your way too I'm gonna drag that to the base level here. Try to get up there, or for now I'll just do it here, it doesn't matter. I'm gonna say I want to create, add a, where is it? Create keyword inside it and I'm gonna call it Arizona. I'll show you what will happen. Okay, here's what'll happen. If you create a keyword called legacy keywords and you drag all your keywords on top of it. Then in the future you go and you shoot some new photos in Arizona. When you come up here to tag it with Arizona, got to click on a picture, and I type it in, it will say, "Hey! "There's more than one Arizona in your keyword list. "Which one do you want to put it in?" And so I start typing Arizona, I would decide not to put it in my legacy, I want it in the organized one. Does that make sense? So it does that, it has some intelligence in it. I do not want to tag that picture though. So there's all sorts of things related to it and that's why I'm working on an ebook that will be overly in depth, it's gonna cover all that. It'll be the equivalent to a book, you know. But that takes a lot of time to put all the information together. And that's why it's not ready yet. So anyway, hopefully that gives you some idea of how to deal with parts of that. So I have question. So currently I'm a wedding photographer, so I have a wedding keyword with some children folders in it. Is it possible, 'cause obviously I'm gonna download your keyword list, is it possible for one child folder to be part of two parent folders? So for example, flowers, bouquets, I'd like them to be in the what, but I'd also like them to be in the wedding folder. Um. You just have to tag the image with two different keywords. They might be the same word, but it'll have a different parent. So in other words I could have gone over here, and I wish I wouldn't have just deleted that word Arizona, but I could have come up here and put in Arizona and say, United States, and then type Arizona again and choose legacy. And it would then be tagged with two Arizonas that happen to reside in different parents. Okay, yup. Does that make sense? You can get crazy with it. It's hard to think of, but once you get into it it's amazing. It's like a whole nother world of the program. What do you think, Ben, is the biggest sort of time saving, aspect now is you, like what has this relieved for you in terms of what it gives you for your travel photography? It's just been ridiculous, because once you get a well organized keyword list, I can take an image with like three keywords, but yet it will show up when I'm searching for 30 different keywords. And it makes it also so you can do crazy things. Over here on the left if you go to, collections, well guess what? You know how you have your portfolio? Well my portfolios are automatically generated. You see in here? Here's my subjects, portfolios. Do you see all those numbers in here? I never dragged a single picture on top of a single collection. These are all created based on keywords. You can have normal collections where you drag your pictures on top of them, like a playlist. But do you know how you can sometimes have a smart playlist in certain programs where you can say, "I want music from the '80s. "That I've rated five stars." And suddenly it does that kind of automatic search and does it. You can do the same thing here in Lightroom, and what I can do is go to the side menu to say create smart collection. And I can just come in here and say I want to make sure that this has, take me a minute to find it here. But there's a choice in here of keywords. This has a keyword that contains all the words monk bicycle. And, suddenly I'm gonna have a list of all the images that have that. So what I have done here is I've created ones where, if I edit this, it's saying this contains a keyword called portfolio. And it's got a label called done. That just means I'm done working on it, that's kind of a legacy. And it's a got a rating of something and you know that kind of stuff. In doing so, now all my portfolios for locations, they're automatically populated. The moment I tag an image with Antelope Canyon and then put the word portfolio on it, it's in my portfolio, it might even be in multiple portfolios, landscape, canyons, whatever because of all the parents. It's ridiculous. So anyway what this has done for me, it's completely changed how I find and how I think about every image I've ever shot. Ben, I, I, I can feel the people in the room (everyone laughs) as well as the people at home. And I have so many comments I'm just gonna go with one from Wavewatcher who is a regular here who says, this is so valuable. I've watched several of these classes on Lightroom and nothing came close to this for details and organization. Even classes that I have bought because they were about organizing in Lightroom. (everyone laughs) But if I'd only known I may have passed on that class and bought this one instead and gotten all of the travel photography too. So truly, that section alone in addition to the keyword list, is truly worth its weight in gold, as keyword length. Well the keyword list is actually the key, because otherwise you have to do all the work to create it and organize it. And so, that's the thing that makes it so it's easy. And if you don't have the keyword list then it's a lot of manual work, which you can do and you'll have a nice personalized list. But starting with one that's already structured is gonna save you so much time it's ridiculous. Lots. Lots. Yeah.

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!

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