Laura Shoe's Lightroom (and Occasionally Photoshop) Blog for Digital Photographers

Saving Time with Collections in Lightroom

In Uncategorized on February 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

Before the time saver, a few basics on collections:

Collections in the Library module of Lightroom are virtual grouping of images.   They allow you to pull together images from anywhere in your catalog without having to create physical copies of your files.  I use collections alot, to group images for  portfolios, show submissions, examples for the classes I teach, slide shows I plan to create, images I want to show to friends, etc…     A single image can be a member of an unlimited number of collections.

You can select photos in grid view and then create a collection that will contain them, or you can create the collection first, and drag photos into it afterwards.

To create a collection, click on plus sign (+) the top right corner of the Collections panel -(below the Folders panel.)  Name your collection.  A collection set is a folder to store collections in so that you can keep them organized.  If you haven’t created a collection set at this point, choose None.    If you selected photos first, click the box “Include selected photos.”  If you want your collection to be of new virtual copies of the images you selected, perhaps because you plan to develop them differently than the master images, click “Make new virtual copies.”   For most of my purposes I want my collections to be of the master images, so I don’t use this feature often.  Click Create.

Create Collection Dialog

To add images to your collection, select one or more images in grid view, click inside the thumbnail of one of them, and drag over to the collection.

Now the time saver:

As you are searching through folders looking for images to include, dragging images over to the collection can be a bit of a hassle, because you have to scroll up and down from the Folders panel to Collections and vice versa.  Plus it just takes time to drag an image over.  Instead, take advantage of the target collection shortcut:

  • Right-click on your collection name and select “Set as  Target Collection.”
  • To assign an image to the collection, click on it to select, then hit the shortcut key “B”.
  • To remove an image from the collection, hit B again.
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  1. laura, thank you for this very helpful post, especially the shortcut bit!
    i recently discovered collections, and it really made a huge impact on my worklow-things are much clearer now.
    i’d add this bit to your spot-on observations: i find smart collections (based on attributes, stars, flags, or even better, keywords)to be a more rigid and simpler way of doing this. for example, as far as i know, lr3 beta does not recognize the (manual) collection structure yet, (since it doesn’t recognize lr2 catalogs. one of the main reasons why i switched to smart collections), which makes it painful to upgrade in the future.
    just my two cents, hope it will be helpful 🙂

    • Hi arslan, thanks for the comments; I do plan to talk about smart collections soon. Fyi, the official release of LR 3 will support upgrading LR 2 catalogs. The beta was never meant to be used as a production tool, and was not far enough along in the development and testing process to guarantee that your LR3B catalog would be something to rely on.

  2. great, thanks for the update, laura!

  3. Fab! Thanks so much!

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