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Lightroom Smart Collections

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Lightroom Smart Collections

Practical uses of Lightroom Smart Collections

Photo Tip Friday December 19, 2014

One of the most exciting features of Lightroom is its ability to help you organize your digital photos. Lightroom Smart Collections is a powerful tool for organizing images without duplicating them. There are two types of collections in Lightroom: Regular Collections and Smart Collections.

Lightroom Regular Collections:

Regular Collections are collections you populate with photos you choose to put in them. Images remain in these collections until you remove them. Regular Collections are very useful when you want to group images for a particular reason. For example you want to create an album for Jane and John’s wedding. You can create a Collection and populate all their wedding photos within this collection and when you are done with the project you simply remove the collection.

Lightroom Smart Collections:

Smart Collections are populated according to filters which you define to identify images you want to add in that collection. For example, a Smart Collection might be defined as 5 star images which have keywords which include the words “Jane and John’s Wedding”.

Lightroom Smart Collections are dynamic so if an image no longer matches the filter you have defined for that Smart Collection it will be removed automatically from it. Likewise, newly imported or edited images which fulfill the criteria will be added automatically to that Smart Collection.

Lightroom Smart Collections Vs regular collections

Lightroom Smart Collections Vs regular collections

Let’s take a closer look at some practical aspects of using Lightroom Smart Collections.

How to create Smart Collection:

In Lightroom Library go to collection and click on “+” sign to add a Smart Collection.

Add Lightroom Smart Collection by clicking the + sign

Add Lightroom Smart Collection by clicking the + sign

How to set filters or rules for Smart Collection:

Here is the most important part of creating a Smart Collection: you should set the rules or filters precisely to narrow down the images to just those you need for your project. In this example I wanted to see all the photos I took with my iPhone and had the keywords “Workshop”. I set the first rule as the “Camera” and by clicking on “+” sign I added another rule which is “Contain Keyword Workshop”.

smart-collection-2

Add rules or filters to Smart Collections

Add rules or filters to Smart Collections

You can add as many filters as you need to refine the list of images inside the Smart Collection.

What do you mean by “Smart Collections are dynamic”?

As you set the filters, Lightroom Smart Collections monitors the Library and as soon as the rules apply to a photo, Lightroom Smart Collections will add the photo to this collection for you. Or as soon as any photo inside the Smart Collection loses one of the filters, it will be removed from the collection!  It’s like having an assistant working along side you, adding or removing content as you go!

Lightroom Smart Collections brows your image Library and picks up the images that contain the filters

Lightroom Smart Collections brows your image Library and picks up the images that contain the filters

For instance you create a Smart Collections and set the filters as “Rated 5 stars, Year 2014, Lens 24-70” and – Voila!  All the photos you took in 2014, rated with 5 stars and taken with the 24-70mm lens will be included in this Smart Collection!

Lightroom Smart Collections are dynamic.

Lightroom Smart Collections are dynamic.

I hope you enjoyed this tip about working with collections. If you want to learn more about Lightroom 5 join us for our Lightroom Techniques workshops in 2015, or inquire about private lessons which tailor the learning to the techniques you are most interested in.

Ted and the Omnilargess Team

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