Thursday, November 20, 2008

Smart Collection Workflow - 1 Metadata

This article covers the Metadata section of the Smart Collections Workflow and is part of the complete Smart Collection Workflow for Lightroom.

The Metadata is the heart of the information about an image. Metadata is useful to pull later when printing, using a slideshow or publishing to the web. More importantly, Metadata is how you record your copyright. This section of the Smart Collection Workflow deals with making sure the most important Metadata is input into each image in the Current Work.

Each item in the Metadata workflow is covered under a separate heading. Changes to this portion of the workflow will appear as edits. The first rule of each portion of the workflow is that the collection name contains 'Current Work.' This is done to ensure we are looking at only the images we are working on.

No Copyright

This item shows the images with no copyright message. The rule is that the copyright status is not copyrighted. During the import, I use a standard addition of the copyright information into the images. For my workflow, this item should start out with zero images added.

No Creator

In addition to the copyright, I want to know if the creator has not been filled in as it is also an automatic addition. Unfortunately, Lightroom does not yet have the best consistency between checking fields in smart collections. As such, the creator Metadata does not have a choice for 'isEmpty.' Thus, the rule is creator is where is a blank item, no text or spaces input. This shows all images with no creator input in the Metadata.

No Location

Location is another Metadata item without perfect rules created. More importantly, the rule for the Creator doesn't work for the Location. Thus, we had to resort to workaround type two: check to see that the item doesn't contain any vowels. The rule is location doesn't contain a e i o u. I suppose we could try adding each letter of the alphabet as well, but I did not take the time to input that string.

No Label

Label may not be important for your uses, but when publishing images to the Web, Label, Title and Caption can be more important. To check for the Label, the rule is label text contains .

No Title

Similar to the Label, the rule for checking the Title is title contains .

No Caption

The caption is a Metadata item with more standard rules. Thus, the rule for checking the caption is caption is empty.

No Keywords

The more images you add to the library, the more important keyword assignment is. This rule checks to be sure at least one keyword is assigned to each image. The rule is keywords are empty.


There are other Metadata fields that are important to my workflow, especially when using sophisticated web publishing galleries like Lightroom Galleries LRG Complete. However, Lightroom under its current version does not allow a smart collection for every Metadata item. The best solution to this problem is to continue to ask Adobe to add these additional Metdata items, even if they only have simple 'contains' and 'does not contain' rules.

Adding additional rules can be easy by simply creating another smart collection and putting the appropriate numbers in front of the description to sort it.

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