#CreativeFriday – Adding custom metadata to Photos using the Lightroom Spray Can.

One of Lightroom’s core strengths is it’s ability to support the photographers need to find images extremely quickly, regardless of where the image is located. This is enabled within Lightroom by the use of a Database that contains information about the image, that information is collected when an image is imported into the Lightroom. The type of information that is collected by default is the camera settings for the picture when it was taken (i.e. If the flash fired, the Aperture value, ISO, capture date, GPS co-ordinates, as well as many other attributes), this is all important and valuable data that can help narrow down a selection of images when required. However, to add even more context to the image and enable you to find the right images, Lightroom enables the ability to add user defined data to the image, for example, where the photograph was taken, who is in the picture, where the picture has been published to etc etc. It’s free format text, so can contain anything that will help you quickly find and group images together. This additional meta data (as previously described in this blog post), can be added at multiple places within the workflow, i.e. On import of images into Lightroom or via the keyword panel in the library module. Another way of adding the type of meta data to images is by using the Lightroom Spray can, this tool can help when speed is required.

The Lightroom Spray can tool is a simple and effective way to add additional meta data (as well as other attributes), to an image or a set of images. The Spray can (marked Red below) can be found in the tool bar (marked Yellow) (incidentally, the Tool bar is available by pressing ‘T’ on the keyboard if it is not displayed in your Lightroom environment).


You enable the Spray can by just clicking on it, it will then be taken out of its holding area (see area marked Red below). Once the tool has been selected, a specific activity can be chosen (you can see area marked Light blue below). One of these options is key wording, and can be used to “paint” a keyword(s)/meta data into an image’s meta data.


I would like to mark specific images for my Turban project and will paint this into the keyword data. To achieve this, I have entered the word ‘Turban Project’ in the text field next to the tool,  you can specify multiple keywords using a comma to separate the keywords.


To apply the additional data to a single image, take the Spray can and click on a photo. To apply the data to a series of images, hold the right click button down on your mouse or pen and paint over the images that are to be tagged. Once the keyword has been applied, you will see a notification appear in the bottom third of the screen.

This tool is a very efficient and fast way to add additional keyword(s) and more context into your images that will ultimately improve your results when searching for images, especially when you are short or rushed for time.

You can explore the other options that are available on the Spray can in your own time as they all work the same way.


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