One of the things that I really love about Photoshop Elements is its ability to build heirarchal keyword tags. If you aren’t sure what that is, it’s like having subsets of keywords inside of broader keywords. So, let’s say you like to shoot flowers. You could have an overarching keyword for flowers and within that, you could set up different types of flowers, like roses and tulips. Then, you could have even more detailed keywords inside of those to describe the different colors. So when you are out shooting some red roses and come back to Lightroom, you could select that Red keyword within the Flowers/Roses hierarchy and all of those words would then be assigned by just one click.
Unfortunately this feature is not available in Lightroom, at least not in a manner that allows you to build them from within the program interface. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have them for your everyday workflow. UPDATE – See end of post for more info You can easily build them outside in a text editor outside of Lightroom and import them. Here’s how it works. First, you need to do a little thinking and figure out just how you would like to have your hierarchal keyword set laid out. I’m going to go with my flower example.
On my Mac, I open the TextEdit program and type my main category -
Then I press return and press Tab once and then type my next sub-category -
Next I hit return to go to the next line, Tab over twice, and type in my descriptive keywords, repeating this procedure for each keyword I want in that group -
Then I just repeat for the next sub-category and keywords -
When I am done I just save the file on my desktop as a TXT file.
The next step is to go to Lightroom, go to the Library Module, and click Metadata>Import Keywords…
Then locate the text file and click Choose.
If everything went right, you should now have your hierarchal keyword list located in the Keyword List panel. Just select the appropriate thumbnails from the bridge and click the checkmark next to the keyword to add it to the metadata for the photos.
Of course you can use this type of keyword setup for just about anything you like. If you shoot weddings yo could set up groups for the Bride with sub-groupings for formals, family, friends, etc, and then do the same for the Groom. The options are endless and only bound by your desire to organize your keywords into neat and tidy groups.
♦ Thanks to the wonderful readers out there I was informed that hierarchal keywords do exist in Lightroom, they just aren’t as apparent or elegant as they are in Elements. You can create a hierarchal list while entering the keywords by using the “|” character to seperate keywords (hold Shift while pressing the Backslash key). This will create the keyword dropdowns in the keyword list. You can also drag and drop one keyword ontop of another to “put it inside” of another keyword. At least that’s how Adobe describes it.