When you take a photograph on a modern digital camera, metadata is stored with the image. Metadata is imported into Lightroom with your photographs. Also, unless you opt to remove it, the data follows the image around when it gets loaded onto the web. Metadata in the context of a digital image is just data that provides information about your image, and can be quite powerful:
- You can embellish the information with keyword tags, copyright information, titles, and descriptive content. You can use this to manage your image library, as well as being useful to others.
- Search engines like google use image keyword tags to help deliver content. So carefully chosen tags can help you get traffic.
- Some Social Media platforms like Flickr utilise keywords to deliver contextual results to their users. This can, for example, include geo-data, so that, if someone is searching for a specific area for photo spots, and you have already been there your image is served
- Portfolio platforms like Smugmug use metadata to display information about your image file. Again, this contextual information can help with your search engine optimisation, if you use a portfolio service to manage digital sales.
Lightroom Metadata Panel
When you look at an image in Lightroom, you can access the meta-data right from the Library panel. In this article, I will emphasise the metadata that you should be using in your images.
Title & Caption
By default, the Title & Caption for your images will blank. Filling these in is a great opportunity to describe to your users what the image is all about. The Caption space is particularly useful, as you can even add html links in your description.
Copyright & Copyright Status
It’s important to fill in the copyright status. The copyright should include your name, and whether you want the image to be public domain or copyrighted to you.
The rest of the data in the Metadata panel tells you all about your photograph. This Includes when it was taken, what camera and lens you used, and the settings for the shot. If your camera includes it, you also get the specific GPS data for your shot. If you don’t want your users to see this information, you can opt to remove it, I tend to leave it in though; as many photographers are interested in this information.
Lightroom Metadata – Keywording Panel
There is another panel in the Library module which contains metadata. For some reason, Adobe saw fit to put this in another panel, but anyway, metadata it is! The panel sits above the metadata panel and is called Keywording.
By default, keywords metadata is blank. You can input these into the text box provided as comma-separated. After you have created several keywords for different images, Lightroom will start to suggest keywords for you. To use the, left-click the suggestions, and they will auto-populate into the keyword field.
A great feature that is often overlooked in this panel is the Keyword Suggestions drop-down menu. By left-clicking the drop-down menu you can create your own groupings of keywords that you reuse frequently. You can save these as a preset. Selecting the presets makes it a breeze to add your reused keywords to your images.
I hope you found this short introduction on metadata and keyword tags useful. Why not check out our other Lightroom articles and how-to guides.
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Specialising in landscape and wildlife photography, David is a semi-professional photographer based in Scotland, with an established fine art and stock photography portfolio; which includes published photography with the New York Post, Huffington Post, as well as various travel and tourism companies worldwide.