I’ve been doing a massive push to get my digital photo archives up on my Smugmug site. In that process, I’ve had to somewhat relearn Lightroom and come to terms with some idiosyncrasies about Lightroom and also with Smugmug.
I started out with the idea that this would be one quick article with a few (maybe 10) quick tips.. but as I began to order my thoughts, I realized there’s actually a lot here.. so I will break this up into a few articles
- Lightroom General Tips
- Keywording in Lightroom
- Smugmug Plug-in in Lightroom – Coming Soon
- Smugmug tips – Coming Soon
Here then is the second section: Keywording in Lightroom
I was having this odd Smugmug experience where I *knew* for certain that I had applied a given keyword to an image / set of images.. but they simply were not showing up. I got so frustrated I even reached out to Smugmug support. They indicated that they did not see the keywords in question in the images and they were not removed either.
I was at a loss.. until I read an article elsewhere with some good tips/tricks and lo and behold the magic smoke I was looking for. “Will Publish”
If you go into your Library module then look in the right under Metadata till you find the Keywording section, you can see the default under keyword Tags: “Enter Keywords”. Change this to “Will Publish” and you will now see only keywords that are set up to actually export
So, what’s going on?
It turns out that when a given keyword was created, it may have been set to not actually export on publish. When this happens, you have a valid keyword that shows up and you can use in Lightroom, but the keyword won’t end up being put in the image you publish / export.
This seemed at first to be silly – after all, I wanted to export my darn keywords.. but it turns out it’s highly useful for more advanced Keywording techniques – hierarchical keywords.. see more below
The gist here though is that if you have a keyword that is not exporting, see if it’s missing from the Will Export view of the image.. if it is missing go to the Keyword list, find the keyword in question, right click and choose the Edit Keyword option and ensure that the “include on Export” option is checked.
When I first started using Lightroom, I just used “flat keywords”… add a keyword for “MA”, and another for “Longmeadow” (my former hometown in MA), and then ensure that any images I want to tag for location in Longmeadow, MA I would select both keywords.
This is all well and good, but there’s a lot of magic that Lightroom can do here…
So, if you open up the Keyword list, you can try this… make a “parent” keyword such as a state name (“MA” for Massachusetts in my example), and then add a town in that state (“Longmeadow” in my example). Now, click on Longmeadow and drag/drop it onto MA.
You should now have a MA tag with Longmeadow as an indented sub tag.
Now, if you go and add “Longmeadow” to an image, it will bring “MA” along for the ride … maybe…
Why Maybe? because you need to ensure that the MA tag and the Longmeadow tag are both set up as Include on Export, and further, you must ensure that the Longmeadow tag has the “Export containing keywords” option set. If these are all true then you will be able to tag Longmeadow on a photo and the MA will get added automatically.
You can have many levels of parent/children/siblings…
For instance in my case, I have a tag I named “_world”. It’s a top level organizational tag (I also have “_years” for year of capture and “_meta” for keywords pertaining to meta info like “HDR”, “B&W” etc…). Inside, _world, I have _USA (another hidden tag), then each state where I have photos. so my tree looks like this:
_world _USA CT Enfield Hartford Windsor Windsor Locks MA Amherst Easthampton Longmeadow Northampton Springfield VA Springfield Winchester _Canada AB BC ON Toronto Windsor QC
Now, I did not have to, but for matter of mnemonics, I chose to use an underscore to prefix a tag where I mean it to be “invisible” on export.. those tags are set to not include on export.. they’re merely Lightroom organizational tags.. so now when I type Longmeadow, it will tag the image with Longmeadow, MA. However, I don’t tag my USA photos with USA or US.. for now.. but if I ever wanted to change that I would just edit the tag to USA or US and change it to include on export and all my photos would update…
You may have noticed.. there are some dupes… I have Springfield in both MA and VA and Windsor in both ON and CT. Welcome to the real power of hierarchies… If I go to to add the keyword clicking on the link in the keyword list, it will add the appropriate one .. if I go to type it will give me the two options and I can select the right one.. and when used with a keyword that has multiple parents, it notates it using Parent>Child notation.
Using the Keyword List
This is another small tip.. the Keyword List once set up can be really useful for quickly finding all photos that have a given keyword.
In the list, if you notice there is a checkbox to the far left of a keyword. this may be blank, checked or a minus.
Blank means no currently selected photos have this keyword.
Minus (-) means some of the currently selected photos have this keyword
(or that some selected photos have children of this keyword selected)
Checked means that all currently selected photos have this keyword
There is also a white arrow to the far right. If you click this arrow while in the Library module, Lightroom will display all photos that have this keyword in the current library screen
Smugmug Limits on Keywords
While I was in contact with Smugmug support, I got one bit of clarification that you may find useful: Smugmug supports up to 100 distinct keywords per photo.
This is per photo and there’s not really a limit on length of a given keyword.. just that it will ignore any keywords beyond #100