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Creating and using collections

From: Getting Started with Lightroom 4

Video: Creating and using collections

Generally speaking, you'll organize your photos by folder. I generally use the concept of a photo shoot, which is loosely defined as a group of images that I feel belong together. That might just be a brief outing to capture a few images around the house, or it might be an extended trip. In any event, that folder structure becomes the basic organizational tool for my images. However, in some cases, I might want to identify a different grouping of images. Images that belong together, but that are stored in a particular folder with other images.

Creating and using collections

Generally speaking, you'll organize your photos by folder. I generally use the concept of a photo shoot, which is loosely defined as a group of images that I feel belong together. That might just be a brief outing to capture a few images around the house, or it might be an extended trip. In any event, that folder structure becomes the basic organizational tool for my images. However, in some cases, I might want to identify a different grouping of images. Images that belong together, but that are stored in a particular folder with other images.

For example, let's assume that I frequently photograph subjects in New York City and I'd like to group together my favorite images of New York City. Those images might be scattered across a large number of folders, but I can create a virtual folder to contain just the images that I want to group together in that New York City group. That calls for a collection, which you can sort of think of as a virtual folder. It's a way to group together images as though they were in a folder even though the images are actually stored in different physical locations. Let's take a look at how we can get started.

To create a collection, I can go to the left panel of the Library Module and simply click the plus to the right of the Collections label. I can then choose Create Collection and the Create Collection dialog will appear. I'll go ahead and call this New York City. I want to make this a top level collection. I don't want to put it inside another collection set. And I don't want to include selected photos. I'll turn off that check box. I've not yet identified which specific images from this photo shoot I want to include in my New York City collection.

I'll go ahead and click the Create button. And now you can see that I have a New York City collection, a collection with zero images in it. I have a folder called Grand Central Terminal. This includes 23 images captured at Grand Central Terminal in New York City. And so, I can go through this group of images and find some favorites that I'd like to include in my New York City collection. Here's an image from high up in Grand Central Terminal. Oh, and this one's even nicer. I like this vertical. So, this is an image that I would like to include in my New York City collection.

I can simply click on the image and drag it over to my New York City collection, dropping it into that folder. The image itself will remain in its actual folder on the hard drive. It is still in that Grand Central Terminal folder. I've simply made a reference to that image in my New York City collection. I can continue scrolling through the images to see if there are any others that I would like to include in that New York City collection. Perhaps, the gears of the clock, for example, that's on the face of Grand Central Terminal.

I'll go ahead and Click and Drag that image, dropping it into the New York City collection as well. And now, if I click on the New York City collection, I'll see the two images that I've included in that collection. Let's take a look at another example. I'm going to switch to my Europe Road Trip folder. And we'll find a couple of images that were capture in Venice, for example. I'll select a couple of those images. So now, I have two images selected that were photographed in Venice and I want to create a collection called Venice so that I can include my favorite images from Venice, perhaps for a calender project or some other photography project.

With those images selected, I'll go ahead and click the plus to the right of the Collections Header and choose Create Collection. We'll call this Venice and just to be clear that it's not Venice, California I might also add Italy to the name there. And once again, I will make this one a top level collection, but I also want to include the selected photos. In this case, I've selected images that I want to put into this new collection. So, I'll go ahead and turn on that Include Selected Photos option. I'm not going to use the Virtual Copies option however, because I don't want to have a different version of the images, I just want a reference to the same original images that are stored in a particular folder.

So, I'll go ahead and click the Create button and you can see now a Venice, Italy collection has been created and the two images that I had selected are included in that collection. At any time, I can switch between my Collections in order to view the images that I've added to those collections. As you can see, Collections make it very easy to group images together even if they were captured in different places at different times and are stored in different folders in your hard drive.

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Getting Started with Lightroom 4

37 video lessons · 4675 viewers

Tim Grey
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