3 Replies Latest reply on Mar 22, 2015 10:25 AM by johnrellis

    How to add and search "event" tags to photo




      I am relatively new to lightroom and try to tag my images I made in the past the best way to be able to find images as fast as possible.


      In the past I made a foldert structure in the way "yyyy-mm-dd event" like "2014-02-05 Birthday party Peter". In these Images I used Picasa to recognize all people important to me and I added tags with the Peoples names. So I was able to find the images of "Mary" in this folder by one click. It was a bit more work to find the corresponding image if I am NOT on that particular folder because all images tagged with "Mary" came up. So I had to look where each image is stored...


      Now I work with lightroom 5.7 and thought that my life gets easier in managing my photos.


      My problem: how can I store the "event" in the pictures? I have more then 2000 folders with images so copy the folder name into a tag would be a LOT of work.

      I started that and came up with next - and my biggest - problem: How can I find Images of "Peter" if I store the event name "Birthday Peter" in every single image in that folder? Every Image of "Mary" will also have the Tag "Birthday Peter" so by searching "Peter" I get all images with "Mary" too...


      Is there a way to use custom tags for this kind of information? So that the images only contain the tags "Mary" or "Peter" (or both or none of course) bit the event name is stored elsewhere whithin my metadata?


      The best thing for me would be an "Event Tag" where the name of the event can be stored - but it must be handled complete seperately from the normal tags. Eg I can search "Event Tag" "Peter" (to find all "Birthday Peter" events) and additionally the Tag "Peter" to get all Images from Peter on Peters Birthday party...


      Is that possible? And how can I achive that?


      I think it could be possible if I eleminate all spaces within the event name "Birthday_Peter" and search only complete words in tags... But this is a really not a nice possiblity...


      Thanks a lot in advance,



        • 1. Re: How to add and search "event" tags to photo
          dj_paige Level 9

          I think you want keywords to do the job. If you want all photos with keyword Peter, this is a simple search. If you store a keyword for an event, then this is also a simple search.


          So in your case, if you want to find all photos of Peter on Peter's birthday, you search for all photos that have both keywords. To do this, you use the Filter Bar, set the dropdown menu to keyword, select Peter, set the 2nd dropdown to Birthday, and that's it. A similar search can be done using smart collections.


          2015-03-22 08_50_34-Lightroom.jpg

          • 2. Re: How to add and search "event" tags to photo
            john beardsworth Adobe Community Professional & MVP

            Use the standard IPTC field "Job".

            • 3. Re: How to add and search "event" tags to photo
              johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

              You’ve raised two somewhat separable issues:

              - Going forward, what is a good method for managing “events”, to allow them to be searchable in combination with other keyword tags?

              - How do you transition the folder-naming conventions of your existing 2000 folders to the new method? 


              Which Method


              Paige has recommended creating a parent keyword Events and creating a child keyword for each event.  Then you use LR’s standard filtering and smart collections to look for photos in a particular event containing other keywords.


              John Beardsworth has recommended using the IPTC metadata field Job (also called Job Identifier).   With this approach also, you could use LR’s standard filtering and smart collections search. 


              Both approaches offer similar search capabilities.    You can filter for both keywords and Job in the Library Filter bar, and you can search for both keywords and jobs in smart collections.  However, smart collections let you test for exact match of the Job field, whereas Adobe inexplicably omitted exact match for keywords.   This only matters if you have spaces in your event names, and even then, if you use  “contains words” as the search operator, you’ll get reasonably close to exact match.  (For example, Keywords Contains Words “Jermiah Birthday” would match the event keywords “Jeremiah Birthday”, “Birthday Party Jeremiah”, etc. but not “Peter Birthday”.)


              An advantage of using keywords is that, compared to Job, LR has somewhat better features for entering an existing event and avoiding typos.  You can use auto-complete in the Keywording Field, you can select the photo and then check the box next to its keyword in the Keyword List, you can drag a photo to the keyword in the Keyword List, or vice versa.


              The Job field does auto-suggestion as you type, which is almost but not quite the same as keyword auto-complete.  Auto-suggestion only works for event names you’ve already manually typed in, and it wouldn’t work if you use a tool to transfer your existing folder names to the Job field.    There’s no way to use the mouse to drag an existing event to a photo or vice versa.


              With keywords, you can see a complete list of all your existing events in the Keyword List field.  But with the Job field, you could only see a complete list of the events in the Job column of the Filter bar. 


              With keywords, you can introduce a hierarchy of events, which may be useful for very large numbers of events.  For example, you might have the subcategories Events > Birthdays, Events > Weddings, Events > Trips, etc.  While you could use a naming convention for this in the Job field, the Keyword List panel makes it easier to view and navigate the hierarchy.


              How To Transition From Your Folders


              If you use the Job field, you could use the LR/Transporter plugin or Search Replace Transfer plugin to transfer the folder name to the Job field.


              But if you use keywords, I’m not aware of such an easy method to transfer folder names to keywords.   If you’re technically oriented, you could use the free Exiftool to append a photo’s containing folder name to its keyword field.   If you’re not a tech geek, though, the learning curve on Exiftool is pretty steep.   If you don’t use the IPTC Location fields in your photos, I think you could use Search Replace Transfer to copy the folder name into the IPTC Sublocation field and then use the plugin to copy that field to the keywords.


              My Recommendation


              Going forward, if you will continue to maintain large numbers of events, I agree with Paige – use keywords, since LR has better facilities for maintaining and using large lists as keywords.   It could be significantly harder, though, to transition from your folder names to keywords than to the Job field, but since it’s a one-time task, it is likely worth the effort in the long run.