Lightroom Through Aperture Eyes - Keywords
With Aperture dead and OS X Photos not cutting it, I've started mapping out my migration to Lightroom. I downloaded the trial for LR 5.7 and the Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) to test the waters. I'm going to wait for LR 6 before I do the actual migration (which, if rumors are true, will be really soon now). As I poke around and map my Aperture workflow to Lightroom, I figured I may as well share my thoughts with you.
This post is all about keywords. Keywording isn't for everyone. Why do I keyword? Two reasons. First, I write books and articles and sometimes that calls for a genre of photos (seascapes, for example) which are sprinkled throughout my catalog of images. Having keywords makes finding them easy. I can quickly create a smart album (er.... smart collection, gotta start using LR parlance) for what I need. Keywords are great for ad-hoc queries like this. Second, I keyword so that others can find my work. I put photos on Flickr and 500px. Keywords are essential for potential buyers to find and license my work.
If you don't keyword your images, that's fine. If you're not catering to an audience other than yourself and you can find your images lickety-split, that's awesome. And you can stop reading this post now, too. :)
I am very happy with Lightroom's keywording. LR easily handled an import of my Aperture keyword list and matched up the keywords in migrated photos very well. I still have some exploring to do. Since I use hierarchical keywords, I have a suspicion there's trouble lurking if keywords with the same name exist at different levels in the hierarchy. General house cleaning for keywords is on the list prior to migrating out of Aperture for sure.
A few things I really like about Lightroom's keywording over Aperture:
- Hierarchical Keyword Exports: They work like you'd expect them to work. If I have a hierarchy of Place > North America > Texas > Austin and I tag a photo with "Austin", the exported photo also gets "Texas", "North America" and "Place" added to the keyword list. That didn't happen in Aperture and I wrote an AppleScript to expand Aperture keywords to fill that gap. This behavior is on by default and can be tailored per keyword container. Excellent level of control. Now... "Place" isn't really helpful here... well read on.
- Include/Exclude on Export: Any keyword tag can be excluded from an export. Using the example above, Lightroom lets me edit the "Place" tag and exclude it from exports. The hierarchy contained within "Place" can still be exported. Each and every tag can be customized if need be. This is really, really useful.
- Synonyms: A keyword tag can have one or more synonyms, which can be selectively included on export. A photo tagged with "Inspiration" can have a synonym "Inspire" and the export process will include both. Tag once inside Lightroom and gain the SEO benefits on export.
About the only thing I miss from Aperture is the Keyword HUD. The HUD's filtering was smarter. "San Diego" would show only keywords with "San Diego" in it (shocking, I know). However, in Lightroom, the matching is lazier and shows everything with "San" in it. I get stuff like "Pagsanan Falls", "Sand Castle", and all of the cities in California that start with "San" or "Santa" (there's a lot of them).
I'll cope. The pros outweigh the cons.
Update: The paragraph on keyword matching refers to the "Keyword List" pane on the right side of LR's Library module. The keyword filtering options do offer complete string matching via a "Contain All" choice from the filter pulldown.