Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

February 22, 2017

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

You probably already know that almost all camera phones and many DSLRs and compact cameras embed GPS (location) data in images as you take them.

Lightroom’s Map module allows you take advantage of this embedded location data by letting you view your images on a map. So with the Lightroom Map module, you can see where your photos were taken, mapping your images out using the GPS coordinates embedded in the images' metadata.

Mapping Your Photos in Lightroom

You can tell which of your photos have embedded location data when you view them using the Grid view of Lightroom's Library. The images that include GPS data will be marked with a small pin icon in the lower right corner.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

You cans see the GPS data embedded in an image in the Metadata panel. Open the Metadata panel by clicking on the its heading and then scroll down to the field labeled GPS. There you'll see the GPS data embedded in that file.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

If you want to see the location that you captured the image on a map, click on the pin icon showing on the image thumbnail while in Grid view, or click on the small arrow just to the right of the GPS field.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

This will take you to the Map module where you'll see where the image was taken shown on a map.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

Note that the Map module uses Google Maps, so you have to be connected to the internet to use it.

To navigate around the Map module:

  • To zoom in and out on the map, you can either use the scale at the bottom of the interface…
Mapping your Photos in Lightroom
  • …or you can simply use the + and - keys on your keyboard. The + key zooms in and the - key zooms out.
  • To zoom to a specific area on the map, hold down the Option key (Alt key on Windows) and then click and drag a box over the area you want to zoom into.

You can also change the view of the map by clicking on Map Style at the bottom of the interface.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

Or use the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • Cmd+1 on a Mac/Ctrl+1 on a PC changes to Hybrid view
  • Cmd+2 on a Mac/Ctrl+2 on a PC changes to Road view
  • Cmd+3 on a Mac/Ctrl+3 on a PC changes to Satellite view
  • Cmd+4 on a Mac/Ctrl+4 on a PC changes to Satellite view
  • Cmd+5 on a Mac/Ctrl+5 on a PC changes to Light interface
  • Cmd+6 on a Mac/Ctrl+6 on a PC changes to Dark interface

For example, the Satellite view looks like this:

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

Adding GPS Data to Images

So far, we've looked at mapping images based on the location information embedded in the image metadata.

But what if your images don't include GPS data? What if you have taken some photos with a camera that doesn't record location information?

The good news is that you can very easily add location data to those untagged images using the Map module.

One way to do this is to manually enter the GPS coordinates into the GPS field in the Library or Map modules. But you can also use the Map Module to pin images to a particular location, adding the GPS data in the process. Here's how that's done.

Find the Images to Tag

While still in the Map module, move to the folder containing images that you want to tag. You can do this by clicking on the word Folder just above the Filmstrip at the bottom of the interface. This will bring up a list of the image collections that you have in Lightroom.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

Click on the source that you want to tag and those images will load into the Filmstrip at the bottom of the interface.

You can see which images already have GPS data by looking for the small pin icon on its thumbnail in the Filmstrip. A faster way is to can filter to find the untagged images by clicking on Untagged in the Location Filter above the Map area.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

Doing this grays out all of the images in the Filmstrip that already have GPS data, leaving only the untagged images visible.

Tag the Images

Now that you know which images need location data, it's just a matter of tagging them with location data.

In my example, I want to tag photos taken on Hilton Head Island. I'll select those images from the Filmstrip by clicking on the first and then Shift-clicking on the last. This will select the first and last and all of the photos in between.

To find Hilton Head Island on the map, I'll type it into the search bar at the top and hit Enter. The location appears, marked with a yellow dotted pin.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

By the way, if you ever want to know what the different colored pins mean, you can find this out by choosing View>Show Map Key from the top menu bar.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

And the Map key will appear, showing the different markers.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

Getting back to our example, to tag the photos with this location, right-click on the pin at Hilton Head Island and choose Add GPS Coordinates to Selected Photos.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

When I do this, I can see that the GPS data has been added to the metadata of images.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

Save Favorite Locations

If you have places that you photograph frequently, you may want to add it as a Saved Location.

To do that, click on the plus sign next to Saved Locations in the panel at the left of the workspace. Then name your location in the New Location dialog box, along with a radius that includes the entire area and click Create

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

After you create your Saved Location, you can move and change the size of the area by clicking and dragging on the pins along the outside and in the center of the area circle.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

In the future, you can quickly show a Saved Location on the map by clicking just to the right of the location name in the Saved Locations Panel.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

Note here that the number next to the location name is the number of images in the current collection or folder that are tagged in that particular location. To show all of your images in that location, you'll need to choose All Photographs from the Source picker.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

Keyboard Shortcuts

Here are few helpful keyboard shortcuts that can come in handy when mapping your images in the Lightroom's Map module:

Lock Markers

To Lock your markers so that you can't accidentally move them, use Cmd + K on a Mac/Ctrl + K on a PC.

Information Overlay

To toggle the information overlay on and off, press the letter I.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

Open Image Location in Google Maps

Finally, to open a photo's GPS coordinates in Google Maps, hold down the Option key on a Mac/the Alt key on a PC and click on the small arrow next to the coordinates in the image metadata. You can do this while in either the Library or the Map Module.

Mapping your Photos in Lightroom

For Further Reading…

Lightroom Map Module

Mastering Lightroom: How to Geotag Photographs in Lightroom 4




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