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Making collections

From: Up and Running with Lightroom 3

Video: Making collections

When you select or filter down to a particular group of photos, you'll often want to save that group so that you can access it later. It might be your best photos from multiple shoots, or photos of a particular person over the years, or a retrospective of your work that you're preparing for a show. That's when collections become invaluable-- when you want to access related photos even if they're not located in the same folder. You might think of a collection as the visual equivalent of a music playlist. Putting a photo in a collection doesn't move it anywhere in your drive, or even make a copy of it.

Making collections

When you select or filter down to a particular group of photos, you'll often want to save that group so that you can access it later. It might be your best photos from multiple shoots, or photos of a particular person over the years, or a retrospective of your work that you're preparing for a show. That's when collections become invaluable-- when you want to access related photos even if they're not located in the same folder. You might think of a collection as the visual equivalent of a music playlist. Putting a photo in a collection doesn't move it anywhere in your drive, or even make a copy of it.

A collection just virtually points to photos wherever they're located, and for that reason, you can have the same photo in multiple collections. There are three kinds of collections: Regular Collections, Smart Collections, and Quick Collections. Let's see how each works. First, we'll talk about Regular Collections. These are static collections. In other words, you manually add and delete photos from these collections. So I often take photos of public art when I travel, and they are all located in different folders in my drives, since I organize my photos into folders by shoot date.

So let's say that I want to put all of these photos into a collection so I can quickly access them. I could start in my Catalog panel here in All Photographs and filter it down to just the photos that I want using the filter techniques that I showed you in the last movie. Or I could just select a few of these photos that are easy to access. So I'm going to click on this folder where I know that I have some photos of public art, and I'm going to select some there. I'll click on this thumbnail, and then I'll hold the Command key on a Mac, the Ctrl key on a PC, and I'll click on a few others here.

Now, I'm going to make a collection that includes these photos, and I'll be able to bring others in as well. I'll go down to the Collections panel and I'll click the big Plus sign on the right side of that panel, and I'll choose Create Collection. Here I can name the collection. I call this one 'public art'. I can organize collections into related sets or categories, but I don't need to do that yet because I only have one collection. I do want to include the selected photos, so I'll check that, and I don't want to make new virtual copies, and then I'll click Create.

Now you can see that the new collection down here in the Collections panel, and here I see that I have three photos in this collection. Let me see if I can find some other public art photos that are in other folders. Here, for example, is a folder labeled denver art. Now there are some examples of public art in here, so I'll select those, clicking on one, holding the Command key, and clicking on these others. Now, some of these photos aren't public art; they're photos of a museum.

So I'll just select those, and then I'll click on any one of the selected photos and drag it down and drop it on the public art collection. Now I've got 12 photos in the public art collection and if I click there, you can see them. What's important is that I haven't actually moved these photos or copied these photos. I'm just having the collection point to the photos where they live in the denver art folder here and the san francisco art folder here. Putting these photos in my public art collection hasn't disturbed them at all in their folders.

So that was a subject-matter collection. Sometimes I make collections that are different, collections for a project, like gathering photos that I want to include in a slideshow. Because collections are just links to photos that live in their original folders, I can use the same photo in another collection too, so I'm going to make a slideshow collection and include some of the same photos that I have in my public art collection. So I'm going to make another selection for this project that I have in mind and I'll include some of the same photos in that second collection.

I'll make a new collection without selecting any photos first. I'll deselect all these and then click the Plus+ symbol. And then I'll choose Create Collection again. I'll call this one 'web project' and click Create. Now I'm going to go back to my public art collection and I'll select some photos here that I want to include in my web project. I'll click on this one and I'll hold the Shift key and click on this one to select these four, and then I'll click and drag the photos from one collection, the public art collection, and drop them on the web project collection.

Now, notice they haven't moved out of the public art collection-- they're still there--but if I click on the web project collection, those photos are in that collection too. I can add new photos to a collection at any time. So let's say I know I have some more art photos here in the chicago folder. I'll select that folder and I'll drag one of these photos from this folder and drop it on the public art collection, and that adds it to that collection. If I want to delete a photo from a collection, I'll select that photo, and then I'll Ctrl+Click--that's right-click on a PC--and I'll choose Remove from Collection.

And what's important is that removing that photo from this collection doesn't remove it from my catalog or from my hard drive; it just removes it from this virtual collection. And if I want to delete a collection altogether--maybe I'm done with my web project--I'll select that collection in the Collections panel, I'll Ctrl+Click or right-click on the collection and I'll choose Delete, and then I'll choose Delete again. And again, that doesn't disturb the original photos. They are still there in the folders where they've been all along.

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This video is part of

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Up and Running with Lightroom 3

29 video lessons · 10990 viewers

Jan Kabili
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