Search for Multiple Keywords


Today’s Question: In Lightroom Classic can you search for two keywords at the same time. For example, can I do a search on “birding” and “New Mexico” so only the images come up that have both those keywords?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can search for images that contain both keywords by using the “Contain All” option with the Text search option on the Library Filter bar.

More Detail: The Library Filter bar in Lightroom Classic provides a variety of ways you can search for specific images. One of the things that makes these filtering options so helpful is that you can search in multiple folders or collections, and even search across your entire catalog of photos.

When searching for images based on keywords, I recommend using the Text option for the Library Filter bar. If you don’t see the Library Filter bar at the top of the grid view display, first choose View > Show Filter Bar from the menu (or press the backslash key on the keyboard while in the Library module).

Choose Text from the set of four options for the search criteria, and then set the first popup to Keywords. This enables you to search the Keywords field specifically, rather than other searchable metadata fields. From the second popup choose “Contain All”, so that only photos that include all keywords you enter will be included in the search results.

Note that you could also search using other options for dealing with multiple keywords. For example, the “Contain” option will include any image that includes any of the keywords you enter. So, in this case using “Contain” would include images that have “birding” as a keyword but not “New Mexico”, as well as those that include “New Mexico” but not “birding”.

With the second popup set to “Contain All”, you can enter multiple keywords in the search field, and only photos that contain all of the keywords you’ve entered will be included in the search results.

Streamlined Printing


Today’s Question: I am an avid user of Photoshop and do a fair amount of printing. I do not use Lightroom. Recently I have seen some printing workflows using Lightroom Classic and it appears there are more features and abilities to make printing more consistent and perhaps easier using Lightroom. Can I use Lightroom Classic just for printing without getting involved with the catalog system, which is why I shun using Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You could certainly import photos into Lightroom Classic for the sole purpose of producing prints, taking advantage of the streamlined layout and printing workflow features in Lightroom Classic. In this case I would recommend using working copies of your original images for this purpose, just to avoid confusion in your normal workflow outside Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic does make it relatively easy to create page layouts when printing your photos. This can make it much easier to produce a print with the intended layout, whether you’re printing a single image or want to have multiple images (or multiple copies of the same image) on the page. In particular, creating print layouts in Lightroom Classic is considerably easier than using Photoshop.

The key is to make sure you don’t create confusion in your workflow. Therefore, my recommendation in this case would be to create copies of your photos for the purpose of printing from Lightroom Classic. You could keep these in a separate folder structure, so they are clearly separate from your primary image files. Note, by the way, that if you’ll save any of the images intended for printing in the Photoshop PSD file format, you’ll need to enable the “Maximize Compatibility” option in Photoshop. You can also simply save these derivative images as TIFF files.

After creating the copies of the images you want to print, you could then import them into Lightroom Classic with the “Add” option, so they will be included in the Lightroom Classic catalog but remain in the folder location where you have already saved them. You could then use the Print module to create prints for the imported images.

Note that when it comes to sharpening for print, I actually prefer Photoshop over Lightroom Classic. While Lightroom Classic includes excellent algorithms for sharpening, it doesn’t provide a preview for that sharpening. You may therefore want to consider using Photoshop to resize and sharpen the photos for the final print, if you prefer this control. Of course, you could also test out the sharpening in Lightroom Classic with some test prints, to get a sense of how comfortable you are with that approach.

Locking Filter Settings


Today’s Question: Is there any way you know of to have Lightroom Classic retain the metadata filters established so that they are not reset if I import photos or otherwise switch to a different folder or collection?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can lock the filter settings to prevent the settings from resetting when switching to a different folder or collection by clicking the lock icon toward the top-right of the Library Filter bar.

More Detail: You can use the various settings on the Library Filter bar to filter which images are currently visible, which effectively provides a search feature. By default, the filter settings revert to “None” when you navigate to a different folder or collection, meaning no filter is applied and all photos in that folder or collection will be displayed.

However, you can lock the filter criteria so you can navigate among different folders and collections while retaining the filter settings. I use this frequently when looking for a photo to use in a project, for example. I set a filter based on star ratings, and lock that filter by clicking the lock icon at the top-right of the Library Filter bar. Therefore, as I navigate among different folders or collections, I’m only seeing those images that meet the filter criteria.

You can obviously turn off the lock as well by clicking on the icon again, but my approach is to leave the Library Filter settings locked always. When I want to see all photos in a given location, I click the “None” option on the Library Filter bar, so no filter criteria are set. I can then re-establish filter settings any time I want to filter my images.

Note that the lock icon for the Library Filter bar is relatively small, and it isn’t especially easy to see the difference between the locked and unlocked state. When unlocked there is a slight gap between the shackle and the body of the lock.

Hiding Location Info


Today’s Question: Can the GPS info be suppressed when exporting from Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can turn on the “Remove Location Info” checkbox in the Metadata section of the Export dialog to prevent GPS coordinates and other location data from being included in the metadata for exported photos. Note that you could also select “Copyright Only” or “Copyright & Contact Info Only” from the Include popup, which would also result in the location metadata being excluded upon export.

More Detail: In my recent webinar presentation on keeping track of the locations where photos were captured (available on my YouTube channel at I shared a variety of ways you can add GPS location information to the metadata for your photos. That information can be helpful in a variety of ways, but you don’t necessarily want to include location details in photos you will share with others. For example, if you photographed a client at their home, you would likely not want to include location information for those images when exporting copies of the photos.

When exporting a photo that includes location information in Lightroom Classic, it is indeed possible to exclude the location metadata from the exported image. If you want to otherwise include all (or most) of the metadata in the exported images, you can choose “All Metadata” from the “Include” popup in the Metadata section of the Export dialog. You could also choose “All Except Camera Raw Info” if you want to exclude the adjustment settings from the Develop module, or “All Except Camera & Camera Raw Info” to exclude Develop settings and camera details.

With the above options for including much of (or all of) the metadata for the image being exported, you can turn on the “Remove Location Info” checkbox in order to prevent the GPS coordinates and other location information from being included in the metadata for the exported image.

In addition, you could exclude location information along with most of the other metadata by choosing either the “Copyright Only” or “Copyright & Contact Info Only” option from the Include popup in the Export dialog.

Converting Keywords into Hierarchies


Today’s Question: How do you add a hierarchy to keywords you already have as standalone keywords in Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can create a keyword hierarchy from existing standalone keywords in Lightroom Classic by dragging the “child” keyword onto the “parent” keyword for the intended hierarchy on the Keyword List section of the right panel in the Library module.

More Detail: While hierarchical keywords can add a degree of complexity to keywording in Lightroom Classic, they can also help streamline aspects of your workflow. Hierarchies of keywords enable you to define a relationship among keywords such as to define Europe as a parent keyword of Italy and Rome as a child keyword of Italy. This will create a keyword hierarchy of “Europe > Italy > Rome”, and when you add Rome as a keyword, Europe and Italy become related “containing” keywords.

You can define a hierarchical structure for new keywords by adding the top-level keyword, and then right-clicking on that keyword and choosing the option to “Create Keyword Tag Inside” that keyword. This can be repeated for as many levels of the hierarchy as you need.

If you have existing standalone keywords you’d prefer to have in a hierarchy, you can drag and drop those keywords on the Keyword List. So, for example, you could drag the “Rome” keyword onto the “Italy” keyword, and then drag the “Italy” keyword onto the “Europe” keyword.

If you want to remove a keyword from a hierarchy, you can drag the keyword from the hierarchy to any line between other standalone keywords. Just before releasing the mouse button, make sure that you see a blue line between the other keywords, indicating you’ll be dropping the keyword at a top-level position, so it is no longer part of a hierarchy.

I demonstrated the creation of hierarchical keywords in Lightroom Classic in my recent webinar presentation on keeping track of where you captured your photos, which you can view on my YouTube channel here:

Applying Suggested Location Names


Today’s Question: With regard to the suggested locations you pointed out in the metadata for images with embedded GPS coordinates in Lightroom Classic, how do you accept the suggestions to make them permanent?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can apply the location name suggestions automatically generated by Lightroom Classic by clicking on the label for the applicable field (Sublocation, City, State/Province, and Country/Region) and then clicking on the suggested name on the popup that appears.

More Detail: In order to get suggestions of location names in Lightroom Classic, two things are required. First, you need to have GPS coordinates in the metadata for photos, such as by using a camera with a built-in GPS receiver, synchronizing photos with a track log, or manually adding photos to the map. Second, you need to enable the “Look up” checkbox option under the Address Lookup heading on the Metadata tab of the Catalog Settings dialog.

When these two conditions are met, if you haven’t added text to the Sublocation, City, State/Province, or Country/Region fields, Lightroom Classic can show suggestions based on the GPS coordinates for the photo and taken from the Google Maps database. The details that were determined for those fields will then appear as a darker shade of gray and with the text in italics.

Those suggested location names aren’t technically added to the metadata for the photos, but there is a second checkbox under the Address Lookup heading in Catalog Settings that enables you to have those suggested names included upon export for images where the fields in question are otherwise empty.

If you want to apply the suggested location to the fields, you can click on the label for the field (Sublocation, City, State/Province, or Country/Region), and then click the suggested name text on the popup that appears. The value will then be applied to the metadata field, so the text will appear brighter and no longer in italics.

For more tips on keeping track of the locations where you captured your photos using Lightroom Classic, you can view a recording of my recent presentation on the subject as part of the GreyLearning Webinar Series on my YouTube channel here:

Not Backing Up Previews


Today’s Question: I was using FreeFileSync this morning to backup my photo drive to some external drives. I realized that the Previews.lrdata file was huge at over 200MB. So, I added that file to the Ignore list and saved much time for the backup. So, the question: Can you see any reason to continue to back them up given that they’re transient anyway?

Tim’s Quick Answer: There’s no real reason to backup the previews file included alongside your Lightroom Classic catalog, since those previews could always be re-generated at a later date should you need to recover from a catalog backup.

More Detail: The previews generated by Lightroom Classic represent a cache, meaning they improve performance but can be considered non-critical in terms of backing up because the previews can be recreated at any time.

Of course, if you needed to recover from a backup of your Lightroom Classic catalog, and you have a large number of photos in your catalog, rebuilding the previews after recovering from a backup could require a significant amount of time. For example, I needed to rebuild previews for a catalog of about 250,000 images, and it took more than a day for the previews to build.

One could also argue that it is worth backing up the previews as a last resort option for recovering lower resolution copies of your photos should your primary photo storage be lost. But I recommend simply making sure that you have a reliable backup workflow to safeguard your original photos, so you don’t ever need to rely on the Lightroom Classic previews for this purpose.

Obviously, many photographers may prefer to simply backup everything rather than customizing their backup. But you can most certainly exclude the preview files for Lightroom Classic from your backup without any serious concerns.

Transition to Cloud?


Today’s Question: I currently do my photo editing on a desktop iMac and use a RAID hard drive array to store my Lightroom Classic catalog and photos as well as two backups (one of which I remove and store offsite). These drives are now over five years old and I’m starting to be concerned about their future reliability. Rather than spend a considerable amount of money to replace all of the drives I was wondering whether this might be a good time to switch from Lightroom Classic to Lightroom [“cloud” version] and let Adobe take care of storage for me. Other than slower file retrieval, are there any other reasons for not moving in this direction?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I think the decision to switch to the cloud-based version of Lightroom from Lightroom Classic should take more into account than just where your photos will be stored. You’ll also need to consider issues such as folder management and backup strategy, among other considerations.

More Detail: The key difference between the cloud-based version of Lightroom and Lightroom Classic is how photos are stored. At a fundamental level, with the cloud-based version of Lightroom your primary storage is on Adobe’s servers, accessed via the Internet. With Lightroom Classic you manage your own photo storage locally, though you could employ a cloud-based storage option for those photos as well.

Another key difference is that with the cloud-based version of Lightroom you don’t have as much control or flexibility when it comes to folder structure. With Lightroom Classic you can define any folder structure you’d like on your local hard drives. With the cloud-based version of Lightroom you would use collections (albums) in the place of folders.

With the cloud-based version of Lightroom, the primary storage for all of your photos is in the cloud, which means you can access all of your photos from virtually anywhere using the Lightroom desktop app, the Lightroom mobile app, or Lightroom in a web browser. With Lightroom Classic you choose which photos to synchronize to the cloud through the use of synchronized collections.

Some photographers may prefer to let Adobe manage the storage of their photos for them. I would still highly recommend having a local backup copy of your photos in this case.

Personally, I prefer to manage my storage locally, and so I prefer Lightroom Classic. It is also worth noting that the two versions of Lightroom are different in terms of supported features. For example, Lightroom Classic includes more options for sharing your photos in a variety of ways, while the cloud-based Lightroom offers some additional features such as search based on image analysis, which can reduce the need to assign keywords to photos.

Ultimately it is up to each photographer to decide between the two versions of Lightroom based on their specific workflow needs and preferences. In my view, Lightroom Classic is still preferable over the cloud-based version of Lightroom, but with updates and changes to the cloud-based version of Lightroom, that could certainly change in the future.

Filtering Black and White Images


Today’s Question: Is there a way in Lightroom Classic that I can find my black and white conversions and group them so that I can review just the images I’ve converted to black and white?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can filter images to display only those you have converted to black and white using the “Treatment” option for the Metadata controls on the Library Filter bar.

More Detail: There are a wide variety of ways to filter photos in Lightroom Classic, which basically amounts to a sophisticated search feature. Among those options is the ability to filter based on whether you have converted an image to black and white or kept the image in color.

The initial step in converting a photo to black and white from color in Lightroom Classic is to change the Treatment setting in the Basic section of the right panel in the Develop module to “Black & White” rather than “Color”. That is one of the options available for filtering images using the Library Filter controls.

To filter based on converting to black and white, the first step is to switch to the grid view display in the Library module, and then access the Library Filter bar. While in the grid view you can press the backslash key (\) to hide or reveal the Library Filter bar.

On the Library Filter bar you can choose the Metadata option to access the columns for various metadata criteria. You can then set one of the columns to the “Treatment” option by clicking on the heading for a column and choosing “Treatment” from the popup.

Within the Treatment column, you can then choose “Black & White” so that you will only see images that had been converted to black and white with the applicable Treatment setting in the Basic section of the right panel in the Develop module.

Correcting Keyword Spelling Errors


Today’s Question: I saw your excellent tip for correcting misspelled keywords in Lightroom Classic. But when I attempted to correct one keyword I got a message that I couldn’t make the change because the keyword with the correct spelling already existed. Is there a way to work around this problem?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In this scenario rather than correcting the misspelled keyword you’ll need to add the correctly spelled keyword to all images that have the incorrectly spelled keyword, and then delete the misspelled keyword altogether.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic makes it very easy to correct a misspelled keyword. You start by right-clicking on the keyword in the Keyword List on the right panel in the Library module and choosing “Edit Keyword Tag” from the popup menu. You can then correct the spelling of the keyword, and click the Save button. Not only will the keyword be updated on the Keyword List, but it will also be updated in the metadata for all images that included the misspelled keyword.

However, if you have two spellings for the same keyword, you won’t be able to simply correct the misspelled keyword. Instead, you’ll need to add the correct keyword to the affected images, and then delete the misspelled keyword.

To get started, hover your mouse over the keyword that is misspelled on the Keyword List. Then click the right-pointing arrow to the right of the keyword to set a filter so you will only be viewing photos that have the misspelled keyword applied to them. Then switch to the grid view display by pressing the letter “G” on the keyboard, so you can update multiple photos.

Next, choose Edit > Select All from the menu to select all of the photos with the misspelled keyword. Then, on the Keyword List, click the checkbox to the left of the correctly spelled keyword to add that keyword to all of the photos. Once you’ve added the correctly spelled keyword to the images, you can right-click on the misspelled keyword and choose Delete from the popup menu, in order to delete that keyword. The result will be that the misspelled keyword will have been replaced with the correctly spelled keyword for the affected images.