Lightroom: A way to Turn off Keyword Alphabetical Indexing

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  • Updated 3 years ago
  • (Edited)
The feature request I want to submit concerns keywording and Lightroom's re-ordering of them alphabetically. I am freelance photographer who submits photographic images to stock photography libraries. Some of these libraries have optimized a search engine for images in their library to give greater importance to the first keyword in the image keywords field than those that follow this keyword. In short, keywords that appear at the start of the keywords list have greater importance than those that follow. Keywords that appear further down the list have less influence on the results that are displayed for the prospective image purchaser.

As an example, if I have an image of a turtle, I would keyword this image as "turtle, fauna, nature, reptile, animal" with the most significant keyword being "turtle" and the less significant keyword being "animal". This way, buyers looking for "turtles" will have a greater chance of seeing my image closer to the start of their image search and I would have a greater chance of making a sale with that particular image. However, the moment I press the "Enter" key when my cursor is in the keywords field, Lightroom takes it upon itself to re-order the keywords alphabetically. The result is, my keywords are now re-arranged as "animal,fauna, nature, reptile, turtle". "Turtle" is now my least significant keyword and this will cause me to loose image sales to other photographers who are also targeting image buyers looking for turtles.

The only "work-around" for this, is to do a lot of cutting and pasting for each and every image and keyword that I upload to a stock library. This can turn out to be quite an effort to re-arrange keywords, and more than doubles my post processing efforts in order to bring my images to market. It is time consuming and laborious, to say the least, and I feel the time I am spending to cut and paste my keywords in proper order could be better spent in the field acquiring more images with which to build my business.

Please enable a setting in the preferences window to be able to turn off alphabetical indexing, or at least provide functionality in the Lightroom SDK where I may write custom plugin fields for my keywords in the order I want and have them written permanently to the jpg or raw sidecar file. The Lightroom SDK will not write custom fields to jpg files or raw file sidecar files permanently, now, although Adobe did mention that it might be something they would implement in future versions of the Lightroom SDK.

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Paul Walker

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Posted 5 years ago

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Photo of CarolynMarshallPhotography


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I am totally amazed with all the people unhappy about this that more people haven't voiced their opinions here. I just Tweeted, Liked (and posted on FB) and posted in another photography thread. Hopefully, someone will hear and do something about it. Leaving our keywords exactly as we enter them is extremely important for any photographer uploading and selling their work online. I've seen posts by people about the Alamy plugin, but I don't submit to Alamy (or stock for that matter), and I'm sure many others don't, either.

Lightroom, PLEASE, give us the option to alphabetize or not.
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Kathy Adams Clark

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I notice this topic has been mentioned for three years. The ability to turn off the alphabetical keywording in Photoshop and Lightroom would make my life a lot easier.