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Comparing catalogs, collections, and folders

From: Lightroom 4 Catalogs in Depth

Video: Comparing catalogs, collections, and folders

Another integral component of the Lightroom catalog is what are called Collections. Collections give you the ability to group your images together in a way that isn't dependent or contingent upon the file folder, or hard drive location. And in order to work with catalogs effectively, it's really helpful to understand what collections are and also to understand how they work and how they differ from folders. Let's take a look at how we can work with collections and see if we can't get a better working understanding of how these work.

Comparing catalogs, collections, and folders

Another integral component of the Lightroom catalog is what are called Collections. Collections give you the ability to group your images together in a way that isn't dependent or contingent upon the file folder, or hard drive location. And in order to work with catalogs effectively, it's really helpful to understand what collections are and also to understand how they work and how they differ from folders. Let's take a look at how we can work with collections and see if we can't get a better working understanding of how these work.

Well, here I have this photograph; this is a picture of a professional surfer. And what I want to do is I want to create a Collection, which contains all of my pictures or portraits of professional surfers. So to do that first you want to select an image. Next, you can click on the Plus (+) icon in your Collections panel, and then click on Create Collection. You can also simply press Cmd+N or Ctrl+N in order to open up this Collection Dialog. All right. Well, here I'll go ahead and type out the Collection Name. I'm going to call this Surfers. I'll make this Top level and include the selected photo.

Next, I'll simply click Create. Well, here now I have this Collection which has one image in it. I want to add a few others. To do that, I'll go back to my People folder, and here in the People folder, I'll click on the icon, which takes us to this Grid view. In the Grid view, I'll scroll through this folder here and see if can find some other pictures of surfers. I see some, so I'll press Command or Ctrl, click on those images in order to target them, and then I'll drag these photographs here into that collection.

And you can do that by dragging and dropping these images on to that collection. Well, this collection now contains these five photographs. All right. Well, no big deal, all of these images, they're from the same folder. Yet, you can see I can set these apart. And what gets more interesting is I can navigate to different hard drives or to different folders and add images to this collection from those different locations. For example, if we go to this Raw_DNG folder, I notice I have a few more pictures of a professional surfer. Again, click and hold down Command or Ctrl and then click and drag these images into this collection.

So this collection, well it contains images from two different folders. And again, these images could exist really anywhere. Collections just give us this ability to uniquely group these images together. Many people will say collections are king, and one of the things that people get really excited about in the Lightroom community is working with collections, because they're just powerful. Well, how do these work and also, how does these differ from folders? When you work with collections, you're not creating anything physical or really tangible.

In other words, on your hard drive there's no folder that says Surfers. This only exists within the Lightroom database or within Lightroom catalog. So this is just another way to group things together. It's another function of that catalog. Yet at the same time it kind of works or acts like a folder. Well, let's say that we have two collections, how can you then deal with situations like that? For example, I'm going to create another collection here. I'll go ahead and click off my images and click on this first one and then click on the Plus icon and choose Create Collection.

This one I'm going to call Surfboard. I want to have a collection of my photographs that have a surfboard in them, so I'll go ahead and click Create. I have this one image and then I decide to go back to my Surfers collection, I see I have another image, so I drag and drop that into this collection. So one of the ways that collections differ from folders is that you can have images in multiple collections. And what's important to note here is that while both of these collections have these two images. Let's make those a little bigger so you can actually see them.

While they're both living in these two collections, we haven't duplicated the file. In other words, we're just telling Lightroom, hey, I want to group these images this way and also that way. So again, collections here are virtual. The beauty of this is that collections, well, they just gives us much more flexibility than folders, and because of that Lightroom users typically get pretty excited about working with collections, and many Lightroom users really do all their organizational work in regards to grouping their photograph together by using collections.

And I point that out because this is all of course saved within the Lightroom catalog. And if you're going to do all of this organizational work, well, you better backup that catalog, otherwise you can lose all of this work that you've done. Now you don't have to be scared about this but you just have to understand that connection and understand that this collection, well, it's save inside of that Lightroom catalog file.

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This video is part of

Image for Lightroom 4 Catalogs in Depth
Lightroom 4 Catalogs in Depth

37 video lessons · 8453 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 1m 40s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      38s
  2. 11m 25s
    1. Understanding why digital asset management matters to Lightroom
      2m 35s
    2. Exploring hard drive options: RAID versus JBOD
      3m 59s
    3. Hard drive recommendations
      4m 51s
  3. 30m 46s
    1. What are catalogs and why do they matter?
      5m 33s
    2. Where are my catalog files?
      2m 6s
    3. Importing images into a catalog
      3m 22s
    4. Where are my images?
      1m 59s
    5. Making folder and image changes
      5m 3s
    6. Keeping your catalog current by synchronizing folders
      4m 36s
    7. Comparing catalogs, collections, and folders
      4m 43s
    8. Upgrading legacy catalogs
      3m 24s
  4. 13m 36s
    1. Exploring catalog backup defaults
      5m 2s
    2. Performing a better catalog backup
      4m 6s
    3. Optimizing catalogs
      1m 51s
    4. Deleting old catalogs
      2m 37s
  5. 17m 13s
    1. Exporting catalogs
      6m 38s
    2. Understanding how to work with multiple catalogs
      3m 26s
    3. Merging multiple catalogs
      7m 9s
  6. 13m 29s
    1. Consolidating catalogs
      3m 54s
    2. Relinking multiple images
      3m 7s
    3. Solving catalog conflicts with new hard drives
      3m 30s
    4. Dealing with computer crashes and locked catalogs
      1m 15s
    5. Restoring from a backup catalog
      1m 43s
  7. 42m 36s
    1. Introducing raw and DNG processing
      5m 21s
    2. Understanding how Lightroom saves raw adjustments
      4m 33s
    3. Saving adjustments to raw files
      4m 55s
    4. Saving adjustments to DNG, TIFF, PSD, and JPEG files
      3m 17s
    5. Working with catalogs and virtual copies
      4m 18s
    6. Converting to DNG: the Embed Fast Load Data option and lossless compression
      5m 12s
    7. Archiving a photo as a DNG with lossy compression
      5m 31s
    8. Working with CMYK files in Lightroom
      3m 8s
    9. Making changes to CMYK files
      6m 21s
  8. 1m 32s
    1. Using dpbestflow.org as a resource
      52s
    2. Looking at helpful demo files
      40s
  9. 27s
    1. Adios
      27s

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