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Finding photos

From: Up and Running with Lightroom 3

Video: Finding photos

Lightroom really shines when it comes to helping you find particular photos among the thousands of photos that you may have in a Lightroom catalog. That's because Lightroom is a database system that has a record of each photo that contains lots of information about that photo, and Lightroom's filter system can search much of that information. That's done with the filter system that's accessed from the Filter bar at the top of the Library module. If your Filter bar isn't showing now, you can open it by going to the View menu and choosing Show Filter Bar.

Finding photos

Lightroom really shines when it comes to helping you find particular photos among the thousands of photos that you may have in a Lightroom catalog. That's because Lightroom is a database system that has a record of each photo that contains lots of information about that photo, and Lightroom's filter system can search much of that information. That's done with the filter system that's accessed from the Filter bar at the top of the Library module. If your Filter bar isn't showing now, you can open it by going to the View menu and choosing Show Filter Bar.

The Filter bar offers three ways to filter. Earlier in this chapter, we took a look at filtering by text in the context of keywording, and we took a look at filtering by attribute in the context of reviewing and rating photos. In this movie, we'll focus on what I think is the most powerful kind of filtering, filtering by metadata. When you're filtering by metadata, the first step is to select the source files that you want Lightroom to filter. Sometimes you want to cast the widest possible net, in which case you would select All Photographs here in the Catalog folder.

For this lesson, I want to limit the search to a particular folder of photos, which I've selected down here in the Folders panel. By the way, some of the thumbnails that you see over here in my Content panel have pick symbols and keyword symbols from earlier work that I was doing. You won't see these if you're using the exercise files, and they're not relevant to this lesson, so you can just ignore them. Now to search by metadata, I go up to the Library Filter bar and I'll click on Metadata. To open this table of Metadata categories, I can use its filters.

Now where does metadata come from? Some of it is added to a photo by your camera, like the camera's exposure settings, and then is imported into Lightroom with the photo. And some of it you can add to a photo here in Lightroom over in Lightroom's Metadata panel, which is down here. Let's see how to use metadata filter options to search and find photos by metadata. Up here in the Filter bar, I'm going to search by one criterion, say the date on which my photos were taken. I'll go to the Date column and I'll choose a year, and now in the content window I see just the photos that I took in the year 2008.

I can get even more granular, filtering down to photos that I took in a particular month or even on a particular day. Now, let's use multiple criteria. Say I want to see all the photos that I took in the year 2008 with a particular camera, my Nikon. I'll click on 2008 in the Date column, and then I'll move to the next column labeled Camera and I'll click on Nikon D40, and there are the photos that I took in 2008 with my Nikon. To see all the photos again, in the Camera column, I'll choose All and in the Date column, I'll choose All also.

And there are all the photos in the source folder. The criterion on these column labels are just defaults. I can search other criteria by clicking on any one of the column labels and making another choice from this pop-up menu. For example, I can search by file type and from here I can choose to see all of my JPEGs or all of my RAW photos. I can go back up to the column label and I might choose to search by aspect ratio, if I want to see just the portrait, or vertical, photos, or just the landscape, the horizontal photos.

I can change the labels on all four of these columns at once by going over to this menu, the Custom Filter menu, and choosing a different preset combination of columns from here. For example, if I choose the Exposure Info present, I can now search for new criteria, which represent my camera settings at the time that I took photos. For example, I can search by the shutter speed, aperture, ISO speed, or focal length. So let's say that I want to see all the photos that I shot with an ISO of 200. I'll click on ISO 200 here in the ISO Speed column.

If I want to turn off all the filters, I'll go back to the Custom Filter menu and I'll choose Filters Off, and again, I can see all the photos in my source folder. One big thing to keep in mind about all filters in the Library Filter-- the Metadata filters, the Attribute filters, and the Text filters--is that they can only search one catalog at a time, and that's the catalog that's currently open--in this case the exercise files Catalog--and that's why I suggested early on in the course that you set up your copy of Lightroom with all your photos in one big catalog, so that you can search them all at once.

Of course, that's with the exception of the exercise files for this course, which we put into a separate catalog for teaching purposes. Finally, using any of the library filters to locate certain photos gets you only a temporary grouping of those photos. What if you want to keep that grouping of photos together so you can access them as a group later? In that case, you can use another feature, collections, which is the subject of the very next movie.

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Up and Running with Lightroom 3

29 video lessons · 11058 viewers

Jan Kabili
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