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- What is Lightroom used for?
- Importing photos and videos
- Organizing your library with collections
- Adding keywords and ratings to photos
- Cropping and straightening photos
- Adjusting color and white balance
- Reducing digital noise
- Working with video
- Making changes with the Adjustment Brush and Graduated Filter tools
- Sharing photos on Facebook
- Printing photos
Skill Level Beginner
Keywords are subject matter tags that you can add the photos and video clips in the Library module. If you're consistent about keyword tagging, it can be the most effective thing you do to ensure you'll find particular photos later when you need them. In the Library module, you can create keywords at the same time that you apply them to photos or you can come up with them ahead of time. First, let's see how you can create and apply keywords at the same time. Now that I've selected a Source folder, I'm going to collapse the column on the left by clicking in the bar over there and then I'm going to go over to the column on the right and I'm going to click on the title bar of the Keywording panel and the Keyword List panel to open both.
I'm going to select some photos in the Image window to which I want to apply keywords. I'll click on this one, I'll hold the Shift key and click on this one to select all in between. To create and apply keywords at the same time, I'll go to the Keywording panel, not the Keyword List panel, and I'll click in this narrow area where it says click here to add keywords. I'm going to type a keyword, I'll type Lake and then I'm going to type a comma so that I can type a second keyword. A keyword doesn't have to be just one word, it can be a couple of words separated by spaces.
These photos were all taken in Crested Butte, Colorado so I'll type Crested Butte. Now I'm going to press Enter or Return on my keyboard and that has done several things. If you look at each of these photos, you'll see that there's a keyword tag symbol at the bottom right meaning that, that photo has one or more keywords applied to it. I'm going to deselect these thumbnails, pressing Cmd+ or Ctrl+D on my keyboard which is a keyboard shortcut that you do want to remember because you'll use it all the time. Now, in the Keyword list, you can see that I've started to build a list of keywords.
Here's my two-word keyword, Crested Butte and here's Lake. And the number to the right of each of this keywords indicates the number of photos to which I've already applied that keyword. Often, I want to see a list of the keywords that I've applied to a particular photo. To do that, I'll click on the thumbnail in the Image window and then up in the Keywording panel, here, I can see a list of all the keywords that I've applied to that photo. So that's one way to create and apply keywords. Another way is to use the Spray Can icon. The Spray Can is located down here in the Toolbar.
And using it us not only fun, it's also really quick. So first I'm going to deselect any thumbnails I have selected now by pressing Cmd+ or Ctrl+D on my keyboard. I'll pick up the Spray Can by clicking on it and now the Spray Can goes along with my cursor. I'll go to this menu, the Paint menu just to the right of the Spray Can holder and I'll choose Keywords as the parameter with which I want to paint. Then I'll go to this field, I'll click and I'll enter the keywords with which I want to load my Spray Can. Those could be existing keywords like Lake or Crested Butte or brand new keywords.
I'm going to enter a new keyword, the word Boat. I'll press Enter or Return on my keyboard and you can see the Boat keyword over here in the Keyword List. The Plus symbol there just means that I still have the word Boat in this field. Now look how quick and easy it is to apply this keyword to multiple photos. I'll click on this photo, and this one, this one, this one and so forth. I think this really comes in handy when you have a lot of photos in your Image window and the relevant photos are scattered about like this.
When I'm done spraying this keyword on multiple photos, I'll come back down to the Toolbar and I'll click Done and that hangs up my Spray Can back in its original spot. Now, over on the Keyword List, you can see the keywords boat has been applied to seven photos. Some photographers like to build a well organized Keyword List and later, apply the keywords to photos. To do that, I'll go to the Keyword List panel and I'll click the Plus symbol on the left side of its title. Here, I can create a keyword. I'm going to type Italy and then I'll click Create.
And now there's a new keyword tag Italy in my Keyword List. I could start building a hierarchy of keywords by right-clicking a keyword in the list, like Italy, and then choosing to create a keyword tag inside of the Italy keyword tag. So, I'll type the name of the town in Italy where some of this photos were taken. And now in the Keyword List there is a Triangle to the left of Italy. I'll click that and you can see the indented keyword Monterosso underneath Italy. I could continue to do this, adding more towns inside of the Italy keyword tag, and then even adding more levels to my Keyword List.
But I'm just going to stick with that for now. If I want to apply an existing keyword like this Monterosso keyword to multiple photos, I'll select them in my Image window. I'll click on this first thumbnail, I'll hold the Shift key and I'll click the last thumbnail in the first row there and then I'll come down in the Keyword List and hover to the left of the keyword Monterosso which displays this small Check Box. I'll click in the Check Box, and that quickly applies the Monterosso keyword to all six selected photos. If I want to also apply the higher level keyword Italy, I'll do the same thing.
Hovering over Italy and clicking in its Check Box. And now I'm going to deselect all those photos by pressing Cmd+ or Ctrl+D on my keyboard. So, that's how to create and apply keywords. The whole purpose of doing that is to make it easier to find photos later. So, how can you use keywords to find particular photos? One way, is to go to the Keyword List and click on the number to the right of the keyword. So, for example if I click on the number seven to the right of my Boat keyword. In the Image window, I see just the seven photos to which I applied the keyword Boat.
I'm going to undo by pressing Cmd+Z, that's Ctrl+Z on a PC keyboard and show you an even more powerful way to search by keywords. Because if your Keyword List is really long, finding a particular keyword there and clicking on this number isn't that efficient. So, what I'm going to do now is bring up the Library Filter bar by pressing the Backslash key on my keyboard. In that bar, I'm going to click on Text which is one of several kinds of Library Filters. And then I'll use the fields in this bar to formulate a Search Query by Keyword.
I'll go the First menu here and from that menu, I'm going to choose Keywords. I'll leave the Middle menu set to Contain All or I could choose Contain there. And then in this field, I'm going to type the keywords by which I want to search. So, I want to see all the photos with the keyword Boat again. I'll type Boat there and that brings up just the images that have the keyword Boat on them. So, I think you can start to see how powerful keywording is. Now, keywording lots of photos at once can be daunting. But if you chip away at it, on your initial existing photos that you've imported into you library and then you're consistent about keywording after every shoot, keyword tagging can be the most effective search tool that you have.