Adobe Lightroom: everything you need to know about the ‘alternative Photoshop’

Adobe Lightroom: what every photographer must know about the 'alternative Photoshop'

3 things you need to know about the Adobe Lightroom Metadata Panels

Adobe Lightroom’s metadata panels are the engine room of its professional search tools

Adobe Lightroom uses the industry standard IPTC system for tagging photos with keywords, captions, descriptions and more as ‘metadata’ – or data embedded invisibly in the image but available to programs like Adobe Lightroom, and newspaper picture editors, for example. It can also display the EXIF (shooting information) data embedded by your camera in every shot it takes.

3 things you need to know about the Adobe Lightroom Metadata Panels  01 Keywording

Keywords are at the heart of any serious image cataloguing system. They’re words or short phrases which are embedded in the photo and used later to help locate specific images. You can use this panel to type in any keyword or keywords you like with one or more images selected.

Adobe Lightroom will look for similar keywords you’ve already used as you type, to help avoid duplication and save time. It will also display recently-used keywords you can apply with a single click, and user-defined Keyword Sets which you use often.

02 Keyword List
You use this panel for large-scale keyword organisation and editing. It shows all the keywords that you’ve used in alphabetical order, and it also allows you to organise them hierarchically.

To the right, Adobe Lightroom shows how many images have that keyword, and you can select a keyword and click the right-facing arrow to show them. To the left of the keyword name is a checkbox – you check or uncheck this to add or remove a keyword from a selected image or images.

03 Metadata
This panel can display both the camera shooting (EXIF) data and other IPTC metadata fields, and you choose what you want to see using the pop-up menu on the panel’s title bar. For example, if you select Minimal, the panel displays just the File Name, the Rating, any Caption that you’ve added and a Copyright message – for example, your name.

PAGE 1: What Adobe Lightroom offers photographers
PAGE 2: Getting to know the Adobe Lightroom interface
PAGE 3: 3 things you need to know about the Adobe Lightroom Metadata Panels
PAGE 4: Adobe Lightroom Library Module – Folders and Collections

PAGE 5: Adobe Lightroom Library Module – Filter Bar
PAGE 6: Adobe Lightroom Library Module – Flags, Ratings and Labels
PAGE 7: Getting to know the Adobe Lightroom Develop module interface
PAGE 8: Making selective adjustments in the Develop module
PAGE 9: New sharing options in Adobe Lightroom 4
PAGE 10: How to create a website in Adobe Lightroom
PAGE 11: How to make a slideshow in Adobe Lightroom
PAGE 12: How to make books in Adobe Lightroom
PAGE 13: How to speed up your workflow using the Quick Develop tools
PAGE 14: All your options for printing photos in Adobe Lightroom


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  • jmeyer

    You’re right – thanks for pointing that out. Looks like we uploaded the wrong version of the infographic. This has now been fixed and it should be much more readable.

  • Michelle Ropiza

    Hi, I’m so confused. I’ve been scouring the internet and can only find this cloud version of lightroom that costs $9.99 a month (or more) Is there a program I can install on my mac, or just the web based system? Thanks for any advice. Michelle