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The Library Filter

From: Getting Started with Lightroom 4

Video: The Library Filter

At a very basic level the filtering capabilities found on the film scrip might be more than adequate for locating your favourite images in a particular group of photos. However, in many cases you might find that that's not just sophisticated enough and you need to be able to go down a little bit deeper. That's where the library filter comes into play. We can display the library filter by choosing View an then Show Filter bar from the menu, or simply by pressing the backslash key. That will display the Library Filter bar, up at the top of the grid view display. Note that we've automatically switched to the Grid view, so that we can see all of the results of our filter.

The Library Filter

At a very basic level the filtering capabilities found on the film scrip might be more than adequate for locating your favourite images in a particular group of photos. However, in many cases you might find that that's not just sophisticated enough and you need to be able to go down a little bit deeper. That's where the library filter comes into play. We can display the library filter by choosing View an then Show Filter bar from the menu, or simply by pressing the backslash key. That will display the Library Filter bar, up at the top of the grid view display. Note that we've automatically switched to the Grid view, so that we can see all of the results of our filter.

At the moment that filter is set to None. I'm not filtering images at all, but I can certainly change that very quickly. In this case I'm going to start off by working with all photographs. I want to see the result for every single image within my catalogue, but I could certainly filter based on the particular folder or based on the collection, for example. After selecting which images I want to filter with in I can go ahead and chose the attributes that I want to use for the filter.

If you really don't want to search based on keyword then you might want to chose the Keywords option. That way images will only be displayed if they actually contain that keyword. I'll go ahead and leave this set to any searchable field, and then we can specify how particular we want to be about the text we type. For example do we only want to type the first few characters of the word and see all images that have words that match those letters. Or perhaps end with a particular set of letters, or that contains all of the words we type. I'll go ahead and leave this set to Contains All, and then in the search box I'll go ahead and type Flower. That will filter the images that contain flower.

Now these particular images contain the keyword Flowers. And so, even though used a plural keyword, I can search without the s on the end and still get the results that I'm looking for. I might also tie it to location, for example, I'll go ahead and clear that search and then type Halstat and that will show me all images that contain the word Halstat. In this case that is also a keyword. I might also type a different word. For example, I had added some information about an image. I have put Stephen Stone, the local name of the Saint Stephens Cathedral in Vienna, as part of the description for the image. And so just by typing Stephen I get that image displayed. Of course I can make things a little more complicated by using additional criteria. For example I'll go back to my Halstat search, and once I've filtered I can also choose additional attributes.

So here are all images that contain the word Halstat somewhere in their metadata... But I can also switch to attribute, and choose to only see images with a red color label. So now, I'm only seeing images that contain Halstat somewhere in the metadata, and also have a red color label. I can clear out all of the filters at any time, simply by choosing the None option. You'll notice by the way, that the attribute option for the most part contains all of the settings that are available for filtering on the film strip.

Those include pick flags, star ratings, and color labels, but we also have a kind option. Here we can choose to only see the master photos. In other words the original photos or only view virtual copies which are copies that you can make of your images in order to, for example have two different interpretations of an image. Maybe one in color and one in black and white or to only view videos. One of the more powerful ways to filter images is through the Metadata options. Here we can choose from a variety of metadata fields in order to filter our images in a more specific way.

I'll go ahead and turn off the attribute option so that I can see all of my images and then I can specify particular attributes that I'm looking for. Let's say, for example, that I'm looking for an image from Austria that was captured with a relatively wide angle lens. My trip to Austria was in 2010, so I can start by filtering based on the date. Here I've chosen 2010. I could also expand the list and choose a particular month or even a particular day of the week.

I'll go ahead and leave this option set just to 2010. That filters us down to 26 images. The next option that's displayed is camera, and in this case there's only one camera that was actually used in 2010, at least for the photos that are currently in the Lightroom catalog. I'll go ahead and leave that as it is, and under lens you'll see that all of the images that are currently filtered were captured with the same lens. If I'm looking for a wide-angle shot I might want to restrict this just a little bit more because some of the images might have been captured at the longer end of this zoom range. And so that won't really help me find a wide-angle shot from Austria. Instead of using the Lens option, then, I'll switch to the Focal Length option. So, I can click on that header that will bring up a popup and I can choose Focal Length from the display.

You can see that I have images captured at 24 millimeters, 28 millimeters, 32, millimeters. Let's assume that I've decided that wide angle equals 40 millimeters or less. So I can click on 40 millimeters, and then hold the Shift key and click on 24 millimeters, and all of those focal lengths will be included in my filter. So at the moment, I'm seeing all images that were captured in 2010 with the Canon EOS 7D, and with a focal length of between 24 and 40 millimeters.

I could of course also define additional criteria I'll click the Label popup and I could choose some other option that I'd like to filter my images by. Let's just assume that apiture is of interest to me because I'm concerned about depth of field. In this case, this doesn't really help me very much because all of these images happen to have been captured at F8, so perhaps I want to find some other attribute. The point is that I can use a variety of different parameters to help filter my images, and I can even go back to my Attributes option and specify that among the images I've filtered. I only want to see the red color labeled images, for example. And perhaps I also only want to see images with a three star or greater star rating.

In this particular case I've drilled down with a variety of criteria and I've gotten to a single image selected. Of course, when you have a large number of images being managed by Lightroom, you won't always be able to narrow it down to just a single image. But you should be able to narrow it down to a relatively small number so that your can more readily find the particular image that you want to work with. One other feature of the filters is an ability to lock the settings even when you change folders. For example let's assume that I want to see images with a red color label and three stars or greater for the rating. I don't need to worry about the metadata attributes so I turn off the Metadata option by clicking on it.

Now because am looking at the All Photographs option am seeing every single image in Lightroom that includes a 3 star or greater rating and a red color label. However I might want to further filter images based on the folder those images are contained. If I turned on the lock icon of the top right I can now scroll down and a chose a particular folder and the images will only be displayed in that folder based on the criteria I've specified. No matter which folder I look at, I will only see images that match that criteria.

If I turn the lock off then when I switch to a different folder, the filter will be reset to None so I can see all images in that folder. As you can see, the library filter options in Lightroom are quite sophisticated and make it relatively easy even with complex criteria to find just the image you're looking for.

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Getting Started with Lightroom 4

37 video lessons · 4654 viewers

Tim Grey
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