4 Replies Latest reply on May 4, 2017 1:36 PM by thomass92409899

    Lightroom Keywords Hierarchy

    thomass92409899 Level 1

      I am preparing to enter several thousand photos into Lightroom for the first time.  I am totally new to Lightroom and I am also only an amateur photographer ... personal use only.  External to Lightroom, I building a Keyword hierarchical structure which I will soon import into my new Lightroom catalog. But I am questioning if it is necessary to have Keyword uniqueness within this structure. As an example under Birds I have Cardinal and under Cardinal I have Male and Female as separate keywords. But also under Goldfinch I also have Keywords Male and Female.  Is this permissible? If so, will I have difficulty doing searches? There are many other places in the hierarchy where I do not have unique keywords. I would be delighted if I could get some guidance on this issue.

        • 1. Re: Lightroom Keywords Hierarchy
          johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

          LR lets you have non-unique keywords in the hierarchy (e.g. Birds > Cardinal > Male and Birds > Goldfinch > Male), and it can work OK. But some considerations on doing this:


          - It takes a little more care to search non-unique keywords with smart collections or the text-search box in the Library Filter bar.  In either, you would use the criterion "Keywords Contains Words Goldfinch Male" or "Keywords Contains Words Goldfinch Female" to distinguish the two.  Read carefully this section of the help to understand how LR does text matching: How to find photos in a catalog in Lightroom .  It's non-intuitive and trips up many people.


          - You can do exact match of hierarchical keywords by using the Library Filter bar's Metadata browser with the Keyword column.  A shortcut for opening that column is by clicking to the right of a keyword in the Keyword List panel.


          - When you export photos, their metadata will contain both the flattened keywords (e.g. "Birds, Cardinal, Male") as well as the hierarchical version ("Birds|CardinalMale"), but most other applications and Web services don't know how to handle the hierarchical version. 


          - Rather than having Male and Female as subkeywords of each species, you might make another top-level keyword Sex, with Sex > Male and Sex > Female.  Then each photo would be tagged with two keywords, e.g. Birds > Cardinal and Sex > Male.  This extends to other attributes of the birds you might want to record.  This would reduce the need for non-unique keywords.

          • 2. Re: Lightroom Keywords Hierarchy
            dj_paige Level 10

            I would say it a little more emphatically than John did.


            Sex (and similar attributes that don't depend on species) is a top level keyword, not to be placed under species. It doesn't make sense to me otherwise (although I'm sure people do this).

            • 3. Re: Lightroom Keywords Hierarchy
              thomass92409899 Level 1

              I thank you for taking the time to offer your advice.  I appreciate!!!

              • 4. Re: Lightroom Keywords Hierarchy
                thomass92409899 Level 1

                Thank you John for addressing my issue. With the second response combined with your comments, will cause me to reconsider my structure and adding in this case a SEX parent keyword.  Obviously this will also decrease the length of the Keyword Hierarchy in that under each bird I will not have to have Male and Female Keywords.  Again thank you.