Track Your Photos Out in the Wild

by David Miller

Lightroom’s keywording infrastructure is pretty straightforward: by applying any number of keywords to your photos, you are essentially creating a catalog that can be searched through to retrieve photos that match your desired criteria. I have been pretty diligent about cataloguing the subject and whereabouts of my photos.

Having recently started my own photo blog (check it out!), I wanted to keep track of which photos I had posted within Lightrooom. Sure, I could always go ahead and check the archives of my site if, at some point in the future, I’m unsure whether or not I’ve posted a particular photo. But that process requires a few extra steps; I want the information to always be at my fingertips when flipping through my catalog. It turns out that Lightroom’s keywords are perfect for this situation, too: by simply creating an appropriately named keyword (“RMR”, in my case) and applying it to the photos I can keep track of which photos have been posted to my blog.


After seeing the value in this process, I took things one step further and created a keyword set named “Exported” to allow me to quickly flag—and retrieve—photos that I’ve sent to be published (both online and in print). Sure, I canfind this information elsewhere, but I had yet to consolidate it in one place until now.

Viva Lightroom!


2007-11-28 11:51:32
This would seem to be a good way to accomplish what you describe IF you want the info to tag along with the photo. Otherwise, I find Collections a better way to represent this sort of data about photos. To me an Exported keyword doesn't so much communicate data about the photo. As for retrieving, you can't get much faster than a Collection.

Viva Lightroom indeed!

Dan W
2007-11-28 12:15:58
I don't have lightroom in front of me but can't you even tell lightroom not to export that keyword in the exif data? now your photos won't have a flickr tag when flickr slurps in the metadata.
2007-11-28 16:12:34
i am hoping that export plugins can do this automatically
i thnk they can judging by friedl's plugins (the regex guy who also works for adobe)
2007-11-29 18:32:42
This is an ingenious idea, but I'm interested in keeping track of the exported jpgs, in addition to which raw files have been converted to jpg (and then where they subsequently end up in the "wild"). At present I export to a separate file, called "Lightroom exports" and then to subdirectories named for the date of export. In order to keep track of these exported jpgs, I'd have to reimport them to lightroom and then pair them with the original raw file.

Do you bother to keep track of where you've filed the exported jpgs? Do you have an ingenious system for doing that as well? I've thought about exporting them to the same file as the original, and setting the auto stack feature to group the original and exported file, but that does not eliminate the problem of having to reimport the jpgs after exporting them.

Any suggestions are welcome!


2007-11-29 19:46:21
Yeah, there's more than one way to skin a cat :). Using collections is another possibility; but, as you mentioned, I'd prefer to have . If you don't want the keyword attached to your photo then adding the shot to a selected collection is a great way to do that.

And yeah, Lightroom *can* remove metadata when exporting the photos, but as far as I know Lightroom will strip *all* of the metadata (ie: it's not possible to only strip selected metadata). Perhaps Adobe will adjust this limitation in future updates?

And Brendan: I've thought about the best way to keep track of where the exported JPEGs end up, but have yet to come up with a solution I'm happy with. I'll definitely spend some time thinking about it and keep you posted.


Mark Sirota
2007-11-30 11:51:43
Dave, if you right-click on a keyword in the left panel and select "Edit Keyword Tag...", you'll get a dialog box which allows you to tell lightroom whether to export that tag.

Still, for me, keywords are about image content, while collections are about image disposition. So I use collections to determine what I've done with 'em.

As for keeping track of the exported JPEG files, I dump 'em after a little while. I can always export them again if I need them; they're just wasted space. It is possible that future versions of the raw converter will give slightly different results, but that's a compromise I'm willing to make.