Lightroom private vs public keywords on export

I’m just getting into Lightroom and one of the best (and worst) thing about it is the keywording functions. LR has a great search function so it’s useful to tag (keyword) images with organisational tags that are only useful inside your library (you want to keep them private). It’s also useful to keyword you images with tags so that when you upload the images to the web the image comes up in search engines such as google (SEO).

I made a startling discovery today and it took me a while to figure out what was going on so I thought I’d blog this for anyone else who also didn’t know.

This image has the following keywords tagged on it inside my LR library.

60mm, Alex Mustard Trip, Crab, Egypt, JPG Created, Nikon D300, Red Sea, Underwater, UnKeyworded_detail

The words highlighted in red should be (so I thought) private keywords that I can use to organise my library with. They are set up with all export the tags unticked and inside a parent keyword like this:

Once I exported my image I found that all my keywords were exported (including the private ones) put the parent tree of the public ones – as so:

60mm; Alex Mustard Trip; Camera; Crab; Egypt; JPG Created; Nikon D300; PUBLIC KEYWORDS; Places; Red Sea; Sealife; UnKeyworded_detail; Underwater;


All these keywords are organised like this in my LR catelog:

  • private keywords
    • UnKeyworded_detail
    • Workflow
      • JPG Created
    • Workshop
      • Alex Mustard Trip
    • Camera
      • 60mm
      • Nikon D300
    • Places
      • Egypt
        • Red Sea
    • Underwater
      • Sealife
        • Crab

The private parent keywords (private keywords, Workflow & Workshop) were not exported. It found its all to do with this function on the export: Write keywords as lightroom hierarchy

I didnt think it would include my private data so I left it ticked (to get the parents of the public keywords included) – bad move. Once I unticked that and re-exported I ended up with the list I expected:

60mm; Camera; Crab; Egypt; Nikon D300; Places; Red Sea; Sealife; Underwater;

If I want the parents of my public keywords I guess I’ll just have to make sure they are tciked as keywords against the image.

I hope this was useful to someone because I could have done with this blog post to help me 😉


2 thoughts on “Lightroom private vs public keywords on export

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