Rethinking My Keywording Approach

Blog readers will know that Roger and I read a lot of photography blogs and especially appreciate Scott Kelby’s work-http://scottkelby.com .  Each Wednesday, he invites a Guest Blogger in to provide their unique point of view.  Last week, Seth Resnick, a well-respected photographer and Lightroom advocate wrote a piece that really got me thinking—and that is always dangerous.  He talked about keywords and his particular workflow.  I highly recommend you read it in its entirety. http://scottkelby.com/2012/its-guest-blog-wednesday-featuring-seth-resnick/#more-28856.

Now adding keywords is something that we have strongly advocated and have written about on several occasions.  Describing your image so that you can find it is one of the most powerful features of Lightroom and the organization is entirely up to you. 

What blew my mind was the level Seth went to in his approach.  His quote “Most images that I prepare have about 50 keywords which really isn’t all that much when you consider the concept of hierarchies” just stunned me.  On average my images have between one and four keywords applied.

Seth has top level categories for thing I’d never even thought of such as “Point of View” and “Camera technique”.

Luckily there are several ways to edit your keyword lists.

The easiest way is to just work on the list in LR. If you want to add new subcategories, just select the parent category and right click to bring up the menu.  If you want to reorganize the listing, you can just drag the categories around.  For large scale efforts this can be a “drag”. Luckily, there are some common apps which help you visualize layered information.

You can quickly export the list from LR to a .txt file.  Then you can open it in Excel.  Excel offers you the chance to see the hierarchy and move things around.  When you are finished all you have to do is save the Excel file back as a .txt file and then reimport it to LR.  LR then updates your listing. 

Of course once you are done you have to go back and apply the keywords to all those images.  Hooray, winter is coming so there will be plenty of time.

More help directly from the LR community can be found at: http://lightroomsecrets.com/2009/04/building-keyword-lists-outside-of-lightroom/