4 Replies Latest reply on Apr 23, 2016 1:53 PM by dj_paige

    Cleaning up an organization mess: Keywords vs. Collections?

    rjsphd Level 1

      I am turning over a new organizational leaf ahead of a large project.  Over the years I have loaded 6000 photos in Lr without using Collections or much rhyme or reason to keywords.  My bad, but not so many to fix.

       

      A book I bought suggests putting the keepers in Collections, yet some of the advice I read on the forum said to eschew Collections and stick to rigorous keyword labeling. 

       

      Should I use collections, go back and clean up my keywords or both?  Not many hours involved for my previous photos, but I want develop better habits going forward!

       

      What is best practice?

       

      Many thanks in advance.

        • 1. Re: Cleaning up an organization mess: Keywords vs. Collections?
          trshaner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          rjsphd wrote:

           

          Should I use collections, go back and clean up my keywords or both?

          Both. There are many advantages to using Collections for organizing your image files, but you need to start with good keywording.  I'm not sure what book you are referring to, but here's a very good eBook on the subject by Peter Krogh: Organizing Your Photos with Lightroom 5 - The DAM Book

           

          A preview available here: Organizing Your Photos with Lightroom 5 on Vimeo

          • 2. Re: Cleaning up an organization mess: Keywords vs. Collections?
            dj_paige Level 9

            I agree, I would start with keywords. Give each photo a meaningful keyword or keywords (plural) that describes the contents of the photo. Examples: mountain, waterfall, church, school, people's names, geographic location, event name, etc. Then you will be able to easily find photos by keywords, for example: Grandma; or by multiple keywords: Grandma Thanksgiving; etc.

             

            There's one major benefit that keywords have over collections. Keywords can be written to the photo file (or sidecar xmp file in the case of RAW originals) and so keywords stay with the photo. So if you want to share your photos or eventually move to other organizing software, your keywords will move with the photos. But Lightroom does not do this by default, if you want this to happen you have to specifically instruct Lightroom to do so by issuing the proper command or turning on the option to do it automatically. If you organize by collections, the collection information will not exist outside of Lightroom; should you ever want to share your photos or move to another organizing software, you would have to re-create your collections somehow.

             

            I use regular (non-smart) collections for special projects, such as creating a slideshow, or book, or web page, or other similar purposes. I use the smart collections as an additional method of filtering my photos.

            • 3. Re: Cleaning up an organization mess: Keywords vs. Collections?
              Conrad C Adobe Community Professional & MVP

              Keywords and collections are complementary, so both are often applied to the same set of images to achieve different goals. I'll often use keywords I created months ago to help find images I want to arrange into collections now.

               

              Collections are containers, mostly an alternative to folders. For example you can make a collection that includes images from multiple folders without duplicating the image files.

               

              Compare that to a keyword, which is associated with an individual image. The organizational info is in the image itself, which makes it possible to have your images organize themselves with Smart Collections or metadata filters.

               

              One more very important advantage of keywords is that they can be preserved outside Lightroom. If you embed keywords in files like JPEGs you export, the keywords in those images will be seen anywhere else that supports standard keywords, including web sites and non-Adobe photo software. If you keyword all your "cat" images in Lightroom and upload them to Flickr, you will be able to find them on Flickr with a "cat" keyword search on that website. Keyword once, find everywhere.

              • 4. Re: Cleaning up an organization mess: Keywords vs. Collections?
                dj_paige Level 9

                I agree with all of this, except

                Compare that to a keyword, which is associated with an individual image. The organizational info is in the image itself, which makes it possible to have your images organize themselves with Smart Collections or metadata filters.

                The keywords are in the database, not in the photo themselves. In Lightroom, keywords are not written to the photo by default, you have to specifically instruct Lightroom to do this; and even if Lightroom does write the keywords to the files, lightroom still uses the database for organization, not the info in the files.