How do I get Lightroom to return photos that contain a single word I search for?


I have pictures that I have keyworded with two names, Max and Maddie. I have pictures of Max on his own (keyword Max) pictures of Maddie on her own (keyword Maddie) pictures af them both together (keywords Max, Maddie). If I search in the keyword text for Max, I am getting the pictures of him on his own (which is what I want) but also the ones of both of them together. So, how do I get just Max on his own to return?

2 Answers 2


It actually works the way you would expect, it's just not documented (at least as far as I know...I had to experiment to figure this out). In library module, grid mode, enable Text search. Choose Keywords -> Contain, and type in "Max !Maddie". You should get a list of results that contain the keyword Max exclusive of the keyword Maddie.

Now, that is not the same as a purely exclusive keyword search that will only find things with just the one keyword "Max". That is different than a "keyword exclusive of" search where you explicitly exclude one or more keywords in favor of one or more keywords. If you truly want to search for just a single keyword and nothing else at all, I am not really sure how to do that.


One way to do it is:

  • Find the Max keyword in the Library's Keyword List panel
  • Hover over it, then click the right arrow next to it to show photos with that keyword
  • In the Library Filter bar's Text section, select "Keywords" → "Don't contain" → Maddie"

You can build on this, such as by multi-selecting keywords in the metadata filter in the normal way.

If you need something more powerful than this, you can step up to Any Filter. It isn't real-time like the LR built in filters, but it can do more. For example, if you have a Max > cousins > family keyword hierarchy and search for cousins with the built-in filtering, you will also get photos with the Max keyword. That is often what you want, but maybe you're trying to show photos generically tagged cousins. That is, those without any person name keywords. In this case, you can use Any Filter to collect those photos with the exact keyword cousins.

  • Thanks for both the answers, I'm sure both solutions will work for me. Jan 25, 2013 at 10:01

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