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A collection is a virtual group of photos. Those photos could be located in different folders on your hard drive or even on different drives. When you add photos to a collection in Lightroom, you're not moving them or copying them, you're just setting up a link to them wherever they're stored. So that you can see them all together in one place. You might make a collection that's a portfolio of your best photos. They're located in different shoot folders on your hard drive and in Lightroom. But you can make them easily accessible altogether as a collection too. Another common use for collections is for photos that you plan to use in a project like photos for your website or photos for a book that you're planning to make.
So let's say I want to make a collection of photos for a photo book about Europe. I'll start by going to a folder in my folders panel in the Lightroom library that I know contains some photos from Europe, this Paris folder. I'll select a couple of photos here. I'll click on this photo and Shift click on this photo too. And then to make a collection that contains those two photos, I'll go down to the Collections panel and I'll click the Plus symbol on that panel. And I'll choose Create Collection. In the Create Collection window that opens, I'll give this collection a name.
I'll call this Europe photo book. I'm going to leave all of these options unchecked for now except for Include selected photos. Because I'd like to include the two photos I've already selected in this new collection. And then I'll click Create. Now in the Collections panel you can see my new collection called Europe photo book. And the number next to it tells me how many photos are in the collection, currently only two. We can see thumbnails of those two photos here in the Preview window. Notice that if I go back to the Folders panel and I click on my Paris folder those two photos are still here too.
That's because putting them in this collection hasn't moved them out of this folder. Either out of my hard drive or in the folder structure reflected here in the Folders panel in Lightroom. Now I'd like to add some more photos to this collection. So I'll got to another folder that contains photos from Europe. This photo labeled Siena. Sienna's in Italy. So here I'm going to select a couple of photos. This one and then I'll hold the Shift key and select this one. And then to get those two photos into my Europe photobook collection, I have to drag them. Now you remember that when you want to move photos you need to click inside the photo thumbnail rather than on the frame of a photo. So I'll click inside the photo thumbnail of either of these two selected photos. And drag from the Preview window down into the Collections panel and on top of my Europe photo book collection and release my mouse. Now I'll select that Europe photo book collection in the Collections panel and you can see that it now includes not only the two photos from Paris but the two photos from Sienna, Italy as well.
And if I go back to the Sienna folder, those two photos are still there. I haven't moved them. I've just linked them to my collection. Let's make another collection in the Collections panel. Say I want to make a calendar of photos from France. I'll go down to the Collections panel. I'll click the Plus symbol and again I'll choose Create Collection. I really don't want to include the selected photos so I'll uncheck that. And I'll name this collection France photo calendar. And I'll click Create.
So this collection doesn't have any photos in it yet. That's okay, you can make as many collections as you want with no photos and then drag photos in. Now I'd like to include in my France photo calendar some new photos as well as some photos that I already have put into the Europe photo book collection. That's okay, the same photos can appear in more than one collection. So if I go to the Paris folder, I can select not only this photo but also these two photos, which I've already included in the Europe photo book collection. And then I can drag all three of those into the France photo calender collection.
So here is my France photo calender collection, here is my Europe photo book collection. And back here you can see that those three photos are still in the same folder. I'm going to close the Folders panel for just a moment so that I can show you how to organize collections. You may find that your list of collections is getting rather long. To make the Collections panel shorter so you can see more of it on your screen, you can organize collections into collection sets. These are just virtual groupings of collections. To create a collection set, I'll click the Plus symbol on the Collections panel and I'll choose Create Collection Set. I'll call this Travel projects and click Create.
So there's my new Travel projects collection set. Notice that its icon appears slightly different than the icons on the collections. I'd like to tuck my two collections away inside of that collection set. So I'll select them both clicking on one and shift clicking on the other and then I'll drag from either one up on top of my collection set and release my mouse. Now if I click the arrow to the left of the Travel projects collection set, that tidies up my Collections panel. And it keeps these like collections together inside of this collection set. Of course I can expand that collection set by clicking the arrow to the left of it and select any one of the collections whenever I need to. Now what if you want to remove one or more photos from a collection? So let's say that I change my mind about including this photo in my Europe photo book collection.
I'll just make sure that that photo is selected. I'll right click it and I'll choose Remove from Collection. Or I could just press the Delete key on my keyboard or the Backspace key on a PC keyboard. That photo is removed from the collection but it's still here in my Folders panel if I go there and click on my Sienna folder. I'm going to collapse the Folders panel one more time to show you that you can remove an entire collection from the Collections panel. So if I'm done creating my Europe photo book there's really no need to keep this collection here. And in fact keeping all collections around can make your Collection's Panel really long and unmanageable.
So I'm going to delete this collection all together by selecting it in the Collection's panel. Right clicking it and choosing Delete. Or with that collection selected I could go to the top of the Collection's panel and click the Minus symbol. And then I'll click Delete. Now if I go back into my Collections panel you can see there is no Europe photo book collection. But all the photos that were in that collection are still on my hard drive and still in my Lightroom catalog reflected in the Folders panel. So that's a look at manual collections, one of my favorite organizing features in Lightroom.
There's another kind of collection too, smart collections, which I'm going to cover next.
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