Welcome back. Glad you made it to see #5 of the 10 Things I would tell new Lightroom users!

Ok, so here we go…

Don’t Shoot the Messenger…

…It’s another boring topic on getting organized.  I know, I know.  Being creative is so much more fun!  I agree 100%.  So, next week, I’ll provide a HUGE tip on the creative process.

Until then…

Your workflow should (or should not) include using keywords.


Well, keywords allow you to organize your photos in a way that will make finding specific photos in a flash. In last weeks installment I briefly mentioned it – “would you like to find any photo, among thousands, within seconds”.

Keywords are the key!

Here is why you may wish NOT to use keywords…

  • photography is a hobby and you don’t mind spending endless (and, if I may add, unnecessary) time looking for photos
  • or maybe you use Collections as discussed in lesson #4…

…in that case, you may be able to find the exact photo you need within your Collections.

But, if you’re a stock photographer, photojournalist, wedding photographer or portrait photographer with a client base, etc.. it may be in your best interest to use keywords.  They will make your life easier after all.  So, add them to your workflow like a pro.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed

I get it.

It’s not fun.

It’s time consuming.

It sucks, actually.

When your digital assets grow to 50K, 100K, 200K and then you decide, oh gee, I should have added keywords…  I just can’t find that photo of lil’ Johnnie (for your client or for Grandma) among my 11,555,654 photos.


Now, how many days, weeks, months is it going to take to keyword all 1 billion and 2 of your photos?

You’ll be overwhelmed.  Guess what.  Chances are you’ll do it “another day”.  Good luck with that.

So, why not take a few minutes for each new import?  It really doesn’t take that long when you have a workflow.  Plus, when you’ve mastered all the Lightroom tools, to streamline your workflow, it’s a breeze.

Do You Have One?

Don’t have a workflow?  Why not?  You should have a written workflow for the Library Module AND for the Develop Module.  After you follow your system enough times, it becomes a habit.  Habits are good.  You won’t forget anything.  You’ll be more organized than you ever thought possible.

You’ll be ONE with Lightroom.

Imagine and feel the bliss. It’ll be like hanging out at the beach on a warm sunny day – without a care in the world.

It will help you stay consistent, increase productivity and help you keep your sanity… a written workflow provides -> a stress-free and as calm as you can be lifestyle (er, work-style. Is that even a word).

Plus, your spouse, kids, friends or clients will thank you for it.

Your kids or clients; “Wow, mommy/daddy/name of your business… is so happy today!”

And you: “That’s because mommy/daddy/Photographic Elements is blissfully organized”.


Or you could just skip key-wording and enjoy the cold, rainy day, with a side-of-a-torturous migraine, ignoring the kids/clients or spouse until you’re able to find, you know… “that photo”.

But seriously, key-wording is something that you should consider doing. Regardless if you’re a pro, amateur or hobbyist. The benefits far out-way the negatives. The only negative would be the time it takes to add them. Then again, how much time are you going to waste “looking” for something? I guess, if you never plan on “looking” for something then you can skip key-wording.

The choice is yours. What will you do? To keyword or not? Let me know in the comments below…

How To Add Keywords

Option 1: There is an option to add keywords during import.

Pro: It’s quicker.
Con: Limited to basic keywords.  Keywords will be added to ALL photos during import.

Option 2: Use the inner panels; “Keywording” and/or & “Keyword List”.

Pro: Set keywords for each photo individually.

Con: Can be time consuming. However, “Keyword Sets” can greatly reduce the time needed to add. Plus, having a workflow makes it easier.

We are now half way through all 10 things I’d tell new Lightroom users.  As promised, number 6 will be about the Develop module.  I’ll answer a very, very (insert voice of Yosemite Sam) important question.


Are you excited?  I know I am.  “I’m so excited, I just can’t hide it! <-> name that group (if you don’t know, I’ll give you a hint next week)…

…just another awesome reason to come back next week for #6!