NOTE: Guest Post by Laura Shoe

Keywords let you assign terms that you can use to recall them later via search in Lightroom. For an ocean photo of mine, examples might be Oregon, Seaside, coast, seascape, sunset. Keywording your photos will make finding them so much easier and faster, so don’t skip it!

Lightroom has at least five different ways to keyword. I’ll discuss the most commonly used three. Experiment with these to find the way or ways that work best for you.

* Type Keywords in the Keywording Panel

The Keywording panel is on the right in the Library module. Select one or more photos in the grid, then type in the large or small box, separating keywords with commas. Hit Enter/Return to finish. (Note, you must be in Grid view to apply keywords to a group of photos!)

* Use the Painter Tool to Spray on Keywords

Click on the spray can in the toolbar at the bottom of the grid. If you don’t see your toolbar (shown below), type T to reveal it. If you see your toolbar but not the spray can, click on the downward pointing triangle at the right edge of the toolbar and choose Painter.

Next to where you clicked on the spray can, choose Paint: Keywords, and in the box to the right of this, type in the keyword or keywords you want to apply. Hit Enter/Return.

Finally, click on each photo thumbnail you want to apply the keyword(s) to. To remove the keyword(s) you applied, hold down the Alt/Option key as you click again to erase.

Why the paint can symbol? It’s a fun reference to graffiti tagging!

* Use the Keyword List Panel

This panel is below the Keywording panel. It shows you all keywords you have ever applied to any photo in your catalog. To apply a keyword already in the list to one or more selected photos, click on the little box to the left of the keyword to put a checkmark in the box. To remove a keyword from selected photos, click on the checkmark to remove it.

To add a new keyword, click on the plus to the left of the Keyword List panel name, and enter it as the Keyword Tag. Generally you can keep the options set to the defaults. If you don’t have a photo in the grid selected, the keyword will just show up in your list for future use. If you do have a photo selected, the dialog will have a checkbox to add the keyword to the selected photos.

Of course the next step is learning how to search for your photos based on keywords. I will discuss this in my next post.

The other two ways to keyword are to use the Keyword Sets and Keyword Suggestions portions of the Keywording panel — these will be covered in a future post as well.

Laura Shoe is author of the Digital Daily Dose Lightroom (and Occasionally Photoshop) blog.


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