Entering in metadata about your photographs is one of the more tedious jobs in the digital darkroom. Most of the time, I consider it to be a necessary, but unexciting step. Sometimes, when I’m feeling less charitable, I find it to be a pain in the arse. But, one of the big advantages of the digital darkroom is being able to find images in your library with a quick search, so it’s always valuable to do.
While performing this chore in Lightroom, I’ve found that I spend most of time focused on one of two views of the Metadata panel. The first of these is the Location view, which emphasizes setting up the places where you’ve taken your photographs. I find this view is most useful when I’m on road trips and care most about getting the right location set for my photos.
The second Metadata panel view I use is the Quick Describe. This is most useful to me for static events where I’m setting the location data at import time.
The trick is to find which one of the Metadata views works best for applying the metadata that you work with most often. You could, of course, always show the “All” view, but unless you’re on a large screen monitor, that results in quite a bit of scrolling, which is a drag.
One of the things I’d like to see in a future version of Lightroom is the ability to customize the view settings within the application. It would make me happy if I could take half of each of these views and smoosh them together. Apparently, there is an online tool for creating Metadata panel view sets, but it’s advertised as being for Lightroom 1.1 and we’re now up to Lightroom 1.3. Maybe I’ll play with it soon and see how it works. But for now, I’ll merrily keep toggling between the two views as needed for the particular task at hand.