Lightroom Ecosystem: Please add add advanced keywords - controlled vocabulary

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  • Updated 4 weeks ago
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  • (Edited)
Lightroom CC and Keywords.
It appears that the CC version only has limited support for keywords. For those of us who have spent years collecting or building controlled vocabularies, this would be a critical requirement and is a potential game-changer in respect of migrating to the CC version. Dealing with 10,000 bird species in a variety of languages including scientific binomials ain't going to be fun in a flat keyword list. I recognise that for people who only want 'blue', 'sky', 'holiday' this won't be important, but for digital asset management it is pretty up there.
Support for a continuation of hierarchical controlled vocabularies would be much appreciated.
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Mike Creighton

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Posted 3 years ago

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I have commented earlier on this thread - requesting that Adobe strongly consider syncing of keywords between Lightroom CC [LR Cloud] and Lightroom Classic [LR Classic]. I still believe it is an important feature.

Victoria Brampton’s comment that LRClassic is not a 2nd class citizen, rather a citizen of a different country is a perfect analogy and has clarified something I have been thinking for a while, so thank you Victoria. I find your books always helpful and your insights into Lightroom invaluable.

Country” LR Classic

LR Classic was developed in conjunction with professional photographers to meet their needs in managing the then newly emerging digital photography and the workflows that digital photography required.

LR Classic’s central feature was its robust database, which also provided ways to categorize photos [Keywords, Stars, Flags, Colors], coupled with editing tools to enhance digital photos with non-destructive editing. This made LR Classic the go to product for professional photographers and serious amateurs.

Over the years I have recommended LR Classic to newcomers to digital photography as a step up from the free Apple and Google products, simply because of the robustness and strength of the key-wording feature, the ability to find your photo irrespective of clumsy folders or other storage choices.

Country” LR Cloud

LR Cloud seems to be Adobe’s response to the possible dominance of iPhotos [1 billion active iOS users] and Google Photos [500 million users] for smartphone users, which gives an easy default choice for uploading and storing photos in the cloud and both of which continue to improve their tools for cataloging and editing photos.

Relationship between LR Classic and LR Cloud

Victoria’s comment that LR Classic and LR Cloud “talk different languages, so while they have some ability to communicate, the governments tend to argue! ;-),” raises the question, should they communicate better?

Who are the core users of LR Cloud? I don’t pretend to know, but given the existing pricing model every LR Classic user is also by default a “user” of LR Cloud.

The question for Adobe is, are their sufficient customers prepared to pay $120 a year for LR Cloud on its own, simply to gain a better version of Apple iPhoto or Google Photos.

Is this dual usage masking a reality from Adobe? How many users would be prepared to license LR Cloud on its own? Is LR Cloud attractive enough on its own either to lure the casual iPhone photographer whose photos automatically upload to iPhotos? Or to provide a robust system for the professional or serious amateur?

I have serious doubts as to the number of casual users who would use [and pay for] LR Cloud as an alternative to the free and ever improving iPhotos or Google photos options. The work flow to get photos into LR Cloud is clumsy and non-intuitive, and while the editing tools are superior perhaps only the serious photographer will really value them enough to pay for them.

For a serious photographer with a large library LR Cloud on its own is not viable. The storage cost, speed of access, ready availability in low bandwidth environments and the lack of serious hierarchical keywording make it a non starter.

Having said that I do use LR Cloud to:

  1. Make photos in collections available on my iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.
  2. When I travel with just my iPad I upload my camera to the iPad. Of course I have to go through iPhotos to upload the originals to iCloud and at the same time I can upload to LR Cloud to allow me to do some processing while I am on the road. 
  3. In some countries with low bandwidth it can take days to upload to the cloud. 
  4. The obvious problem from my workflow perspective is that no keywording can be done on LR Cloud, as it just doesn’t sync with LR Classic. 
  5. On my last trip I reverted to the MacBook and LR Classic to allow a more seamless process, but there are still times I would appreciate the ability to travel with just the iPad.

So is Adobe risking its loyal user base of Classic by not giving full functionality in the iOS environment? What happens if a serious alternative offers full functionality on both the desktop and iOS/Android environments?

Would Adobe have been better to go the Photoshop route and offer an [almost] full function version on the iPad?

If I am right and the core users are LR Classic users who want the additional benefits that LR Cloud can provide, then there is a real need to get the two “countries” communicating better with each other.

So again Adobe, my request is that you enable keywords to sync between LR Classic and LR Cloud.

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Lewis Craik

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A great overview of the situation.
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I do the same:
  • use LR Classic on my Macs as it's the only app of the two with professional features (like batch processing with various 3rd party plugins)
  • use LR Classic's Synced Collections to have selected photos of my mine available on-the-go on an iPad, iPhone and LR Web
  • use LR Mobile on iPad to review my photos from time-to-time and occasionally present my photos face-to-face
  • use LR Mobile on iPhone to have my important selected photos available to me on my pocket all the time
So I do love being able to sync selected photos of my professional photo assignments to my iPad, iPhone and the web. But I do not want ALL my LR Catalog photos synced as syncing all my 250.000 photos would be totally unnecessary. Already I'm having 50.000 photos synced and probably would need to manage them better, I don't want to ever change to new LR Desktop where all these photos would need to be synced to cloud – as designed. 
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Patrick Hudgell

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I agree. I  use the Lightroom ecosystem in pretty much the same way. I have no reason to sync all my photos. I would however like to be able to batch edit and keyword on my iPad when I am away from home and have all of the results available on my desktop. I still see the lack of keywording compatibility as a major flaw and think it is quite astonishing that Adobe cannot or will not come up with a solution to this.
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Pam McPherson

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Hierarchy of Keywords.

I hate that the Hierarchy of Keywords went away as I am moving from Lightroom Classic to Lightroom CC.  All that hard work for nothing.
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It's a perfect direct analogy of DAM within this industry as a whole. The focus is on amassing loads of content, with only seasoned pro's knowing that everything is nothing without metadata to find and search it all. Wish LR cloud had a custom field for 'flattened classic keywords' that could be imported from classic (and synced occasionally to update). it may not be hierarchical, but terms could at least be findable in the cloud environment, without losing every ounce of search functionality from your entire library.