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Library Module Organization in Lightroom 2

Chapter Description

Learn how to organize and access your images in Lightroom, including how to use Lightroom Catalogs, Folders, Collections, Filters, Image Sorting, and Renaming. These techniques will help you not only to become more organized, but also to be more creative as you find you have more time on your hands to make images.

#32 Using Collections

Both collections and folders allow you to view a specific group of images, but each feature is distinct. Collections can be viewed, utilized, or modified in every module except the Develop module. Folders can only be viewed in the Library module. Another difference between collections and folders is that folders contain images that are located in one place, while collections can contain a set of images from multiple folders. In other words, collections allow you to group, view, and access images in a way that is not dependent on the traditional folder structure.

In this tip, I want to cover three types of collections: Collections, Smart Collections, and Quick Collections. All three can be used in different ways to create groups or sets of images, based on specific criteria.


To create a normal collection, you can select multiple images in the Filmstrip or in the Library Grid view, or simply create a collection without selecting images. Either way, the next step is to click the plus icon in the Collections panel (Figure 32a) and choose Create Collection. This will open the Create Collection dialog (Figure 32b), where you can define a collection name, include the collection in a set, Include selected photos (if you have selected photos), and Make new virtual copies of the photos for the Collection.

Figure 32a

Figure 32a The Collections panel as viewed in the Library module.

Figure 32b

Figure 32b Use the Create Collection dialog to define the collection.

While normal collections are created by selectively adding images, smart collections are based on specific criteria or rules. By default, Lightroom is equipped with a set of predefined smart collections, as shown in Figure 32c. Of course, you can also create your own.

Figure 32c

Figure 32c Use Create Smart Collection to define rules specific to a particular smart collection.

Smart Collections

To create a Smart Collection, when you click the plus icon shown in Figure 32a, choose Create Smart Collection to open a dialog (Figure 32c). Use this dialog to name the smart collection, to include the smart collection in a collection set, and to define specific rules for the smart collection. You can add or delete rules by clicking the plus or minus icons next to the rules. Next, click on the pull-down menus to change the criteria for the rules.

Quick Collections

The advantage of Quick Collections is speed; it allows you to quickly group images together. You can save a quick collection to a collection by right-clicking and choosing Save Quick Collection. Also, if you want to save a particular group of images, you can turn it into a normal Collection, as described above.

To add images to a quick collection, navigate to the Library module. Next, select one or more images and press B or drag the selected image(s) to the Quick Collection option in the Catalog panel (Figure 32d). Once an image has been added to a quick collection, press B again to remove it. To view the images in the quick collection, press Control + B (Windows) or Command + B (Mac).

Figure 32d

Figure 32d Quick Collections lets you select and view a group of images quickly.

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