Do it now, save time later.
I wrote about the need for key wording back when Lightroom 2 was the current thing here.
Since then I have been eating my own cooking and after several ‘catch-up’ sessions now make it a practice to keyword all new snaps placed in the LR3 catalog immediately. You are not restricted to one keyword per snap and can mix and match in any way that works for you. Exciting it is not, but apply this discipline routinely and you will find that the ease of picture retrieval with a burgeoning catalog is greatly simplified.
My overall approach tends to be to break down catalog directories by genre – Cityscapes, Landscapes, etc. – with sub-directories dedicated to locations. So Cityscapes->New York, Cityscapes->Los Angeles and so on. The keywords added tend to be snap specific, such as humor, mural, street sign, etc.
I still occasionally struggle when trying to find a favorite picture but it’s getting better all the time as I make a practice of adding keywords in spare moment from time to time. And bear in mind that the target is not stationary here. Especially with digital capture, catalogs tend to grow faster than in the days of film, so constant enhancement of key wording helps you stay ahead of a steepening curve.
It does work. The other day a friend remarked how many store front pictures I had shared with her over the years from diverse locations. Some of these are filed under ‘Abstract’, some under ‘Cityscapes’, etc., but all share the keyword ‘shop front’. She asked whether I could assemble a collection for my semi-static web site, and all I had to do was pull up all the snaps with the ‘store front’ keyword and select the two dozen best, which you can see by clicking the image below.
Click the picture to see more.
If you want to determine which pictures in the LR3 catalog have no keywords whatsoever, read this.