Today’s Question: Watching your recent presentation at B&H Photo on mistakes to avoid in Lightroom Classic, you mentioned that we should use keywords for each photo. Can I create a Smart Collection of photos without keywords? Then I can add keywords as needed.
Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can indeed create a smart collection in Lightroom Classic that automatically includes all photos that do not have any keywords. As you then add keywords to the photos in that smart collection, the photos that have keywords added will automatically be removed from the smart collection.
More Detail: Keywords can certainly be very helpful both for locating particular photos and reminding yourself of some of the details of a photo, such as the name of a subject that appears in the photo.
If you want to make sure that all photos have at least some keywords assigned to them, you can create a smart collection for this purpose.
Start by clicking the plus (+) button to the right of the Collections heading on the left panel in the Library module and choose “Create Smart Collection” from the popup. In the dialog that appears enter a meaningful name, such as “No Keywords”. You can also choose to put the new smart collection into a collection set if you’d like.
You can then click the left-most popup on the first row of criteria in the large box within the dialog and choose Other Metadata > Keywords from the popup. From the second popup choose “are empty”. If you want to add additional criteria, you can click the plus (+) symbol to the far right of the first row of criteria. Add as many rows of criteria as needed to suit your needs.
Note that if you have created more than one row of criteria, you’ll want to check the value for the “Match” popup. In most cases you would probably want to choose the “all” option, but this depends on how you are specifying your criteria. Click the Create button to create your smart collection.
At this point, that smart collection will be listed in the Collections list, and you can go to that collection to see all images that meet the criteria you specified, which in this case would include photos that do not have any keywords assigned to them.