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The collections workflow

From: Lightroom 3 Advanced Techniques

Video: The collections workflow

The more you learn about Lightroom and the more you talk with people who use Lightroom, the more you'll discover that people use collections all the time. So what I want to do here is propose to you a collection workflow for organizing your photos, and also for whittling them down to the final keepers. So let's say, for example, that we went to Mexico and we captured these photos in a little town, and we want to use collections in order to organize these and also to find which images are our favorites, or which ones are the ones that we think are the best. Here's what I would typically do.

The collections workflow

The more you learn about Lightroom and the more you talk with people who use Lightroom, the more you'll discover that people use collections all the time. So what I want to do here is propose to you a collection workflow for organizing your photos, and also for whittling them down to the final keepers. So let's say, for example, that we went to Mexico and we captured these photos in a little town, and we want to use collections in order to organize these and also to find which images are our favorites, or which ones are the ones that we think are the best. Here's what I would typically do.

I would import the photos from a CompactFlash card to a folder, and then after those images are in a folder, I'd go down to Collections, and I'd create a structure for myself. The structure is going to have a number of different levels, as you'll see. First, I'm going to create a collection set. Now, this set is going to be called "Travel." I want to have a set which contains all of my travel photographs. Inside of that, I want it to have countries and then also specific locations. So here, I'll click on the plus icon, create another set inside of Travel-- I'm going to call this one "Mexico"-- and then click Create.

And then, I need one more inside of that. Create a collection set here. It's going to be called "Sayulita." Now, why all of this structure? What this structure does for me is it allows me to have a collection organizational structure that I can replicate, that I can use again and again. In other words, inside of this Travel folder, I could have all the different countries that I've traveled to-- Mexico, Canada, Spain, Thailand, whatever--and then inside of that I could have these subfolders which refer to a specific shoot or specific location.

Now, you don't have to have this level of nested sets, yet sometimes it can be helpful. And this is what I do in my own workflow. So here, we have Sayulita. Well, inside of Sayulita, what I would do next then is create just a regular collection. And I typically call this one r1 for round one. And I think of this as these are the images that I've gone through, and I think these are basically the decent photos--barring anything that's out of focus or the exposure is completely bad.

So these are the ones that I want to start thinking about. So I create this r1 here, and I'll go ahead and do that, and then I'll go into my Mexico folder up top, and I'll go through, and I'll add a star rating, which just gets these images out the gate. I'll press the E key to go to the Loupe View mode. This gets a one-star. This one not so much. This one's okay. One star. One star. And I'm just going to go through, and basically most of these images I think are going to get one star, except for perhaps a couple of them that I don't like very much. All right! So here we have it. A couple of images didn't make the cut, but for the most part, the one-star photos are the ones that I'm saying, "Hey, these are the ones that I at least want to make it to round one." Then what I would do is turn my filtering on.

There's a number of different ways to do this. One technique that you can use is to press the Backslash key. That will open up your library filter. Here we can go to Attribute and say, just show me the images that have this one-star rating. You'll also notice that we have the option down here above the filmstrip. Here it's showing me that my criteria is based on one star. Here's a great shortcut for you, too. You can turn this on and off by pressing Command on a Mac, Ctrl on Windows, and then the L key. Think Library Filter.

You can see I'm turning those filters, or that criteria, on and off. Well, now that I'm seeing just these one-star rated photos, I'll select all of them. You can do that on a Mac by pressing Command+A, on Windows by pressing Ctrl+A. Then what I would do is drag these to this r1 collection. All right! Next, I want to target this r1 collection, because I want to take a look at these photos, and I want to go through them. And I'm going to go through them a second time now, looking for the ones that stand out, looking for photos that I think are a little bit better than others.

Again, to the Loupe View mode. Press the E key to do that. And here what I'm going to do is just go through these images, and in this case I'm going to add perhaps a two-star rating. And again, you want to come up with a rating, a flag, or a label system that's consistent, that makes sense for you. And in this case I'm just going to use simple stars 1, 2, and then I'll go up from there. And I like those photos. Next, I'm going to click on two stars here and then press the G key to go back to that Grid View mode. So now what we have are just the images that have this two-star rating.

So I am whittling my images down. I'm getting closer to finding the actual keepers. What I would do next is select all of these, click on one, press Command+A on a Mac--Ctrl+A on Windows--then go to the plus icon, and here we'll create another collection. We'll call this one "r2," and I'll go ahead and name this "r2." Include these selected photos. I want this to be part of the Sayulita set, and then I'll hit Create here. So now what I have is all the images, again, that made it past the first cut.

Now here I have the second cut, and then I could keep going. Here I have 25, and they're already pretty good photos. But when I have a huge set of images-- let's say 500--what tends to happen is if I shoot 500 images, my r1 is probably going to be about 20% less than that, or so. Let's say I walk away with r1 has 400 images in it, then r2 might get down to 300 images, then r3, maybe I have 250, and I'm whittling these down and I'm doing this by way of collections.

The nice thing about this is that sometimes I'll change my mind. I may decide, you know what? I don't have enough vivid color in this set. I can go back to r1 and say, I really wish I'd pick some more vivid color images. Well, grab one of those and then drag it to that r2. In a sense, you're kind of promoting that image to that next level. Another great thing to do with these type of collections is that eventually as you get down to your final keepers--you find the images that you like best, what you probably want to do is create another Collection in order to print those, or to deliver them to a client.

So in cases like that, this is what I would do. I would select perhaps the images out of this set that I really want to print, that I really enjoy. So I'll go ahead and just choose a couple here. And again, I'm not trying to say these images are great; more I'm trying to show you the structure of working with collections. So if these were the files that I wanted to print, I'll click on the plus icon, and I would create a collection, and I will go ahead and call this one "print," and I will include these select photos and then click Create. So again, if we go down to our collections for a moment, we have this r1, we have r2, and then we also can have other criteria--say, a little collection for printing or a little collection for delivering images to a client or whatever it is.

The nice thing about this is that this gives me really easy access to the images that I think are best. At the same time, if ever I change my mind, I can always go back. For example, let's say that I get to r2, and I say, you know what? This particular image, it's okay, but it's not great. I don't want it here. Well, just press the Delete key. That will then remove that from this collection. Now, it didn't delete the file off a hard drive; it just deleted it from this collection, this grouping of these particular images.

So as you can see, you can use collections in some pretty powerful ways in regards to sorting your images and ultimately finding those keepers, finding the gems amongst the rubble. All right. Well, in closing, I hope that by walking through a bit of a workflow using collections will be helpful for you. And I want you to keep in mind that you want to create a naming convention and a structure for your own collections that works best for your own images and for the type of photography that you do.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Lightroom 3 Advanced Techniques
Lightroom 3 Advanced Techniques

91 video lessons · 17754 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 5m 57s
    1. Welcome
      2m 11s
    2. Strategies for success
      1m 49s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 57s
  2. 39m 0s
    1. Understanding how Lightroom, Bridge, and Photoshop work together
      6m 25s
    2. Working with Lightroom, Bridge, and Photoshop
      6m 35s
    3. Maximizing compatibility with Photoshop
      4m 7s
    4. Resolving Camera Raw mismatches
      7m 47s
    5. Customizing external editor naming
      3m 54s
    6. Stacking multiple photos
      5m 25s
    7. What to do when Bridge isn't seeing the raw adjustments
      4m 47s
  3. 18m 30s
    1. Setting up an additional external editor
      6m 38s
    2. Should I work with TIFF or PSD files?
      1m 3s
    3. Setting up an export preset
      4m 4s
    4. Integrating Photoshop actions into Lightroom
      6m 45s
  4. 11m 46s
    1. What are catalogs and why do they matter?
      3m 38s
    2. Where are my images?
      4m 2s
    3. The nuts and bolts of catalogs
      1m 52s
    4. Understanding catalogs, collections, and folders
      2m 14s
  5. 15m 22s
    1. Working with folders
      3m 22s
    2. Working with collections
      3m 55s
    3. The collections workflow
      8m 5s
  6. 16m 5s
    1. Exporting and importing catalogs
      7m 52s
    2. Diagramming multiple catalogs and computers
      2m 10s
    3. When to use multiple catalogs on one computer
      3m 40s
    4. Cleaning up the catalog mess
      2m 23s
  7. 10m 55s
    1. Catalog backup defaults
      4m 7s
    2. Performing a better catalog backup
      3m 45s
    3. Restoring from a backup catalog
      1m 27s
    4. Optimizing catalogs
      1m 36s
  8. 12m 24s
    1. Hard drive options
      9m 50s
    2. Further resources
      2m 34s
  9. 9m 46s
    1. Setting up tethered capture
      3m 12s
    2. Custom tethered capture white balance
      6m 34s
  10. 43m 38s
    1. Enhancing eyes
      8m 59s
    2. Whitening teeth
      2m 51s
    3. Smoothing skin
      6m 45s
    4. Reducing small blemishes
      6m 56s
    5. Darkening or dodging with the Adjustment brush
      2m 29s
    6. Adding dimensions and contrast
      4m 53s
    7. Retouching workflow with Photoshop and Lightroom, pt. 1: Reducing blemishes
      7m 10s
    8. Retouching workflow with Photoshop and Lightroom, pt. 2: Smoothing skin
      3m 35s
  11. 21m 42s
    1. Understanding color space and preventing color profile mismatch
      3m 29s
    2. Monitor calibration with ColorMunki
      1m 5s
    3. Working with ColorChecker Passport
      59s
    4. Creating and exporting a ColorChecker Passport profile
      5m 44s
    5. Choosing and applying a profile
      6m 42s
    6. Saving a profile as a preset
      3m 43s
  12. 19m 0s
    1. Are your prints too dark?
      5m 47s
    2. Monitor brightness presets
      3m 4s
    3. Custom grid layouts
      3m 38s
    4. Importing and exporting custom presets
      2m 31s
    5. Exporting from Lightroom to Pictage
      4m 0s
  13. 20m 19s
    1. Designing a custom watermark in Photoshop
      7m 0s
    2. Implementing a custom watermark
      3m 54s
    3. Using a custom watermark for effect in a slideshow
      5m 54s
    4. Using a custom watermark for effect in a web gallery
      3m 31s
  14. 15m 28s
    1. Exporting images for a Blurb photo book
      6m 45s
    2. Downloading and installing Blurb BookSmart
      44s
    3. Building and designing a Blurb book
      7m 59s
  15. 17m 26s
    1. Publishing to the iPhone or iPad
      8m 45s
    2. Publishing to Facebook
      2m 24s
    3. Publishing to Flickr
      3m 19s
    4. Publishing to SmugMug
      2m 58s
  16. 17m 31s
    1. Web galleries and web hosting
      2m 52s
    2. Creating and uploading a gallery
      6m 29s
    3. Popular web gallery plug-ins
      3m 10s
    4. Installing and uploading a web gallery plug-in
      5m 0s
  17. 25m 44s
    1. Exporting to burn on DVD or Blu-ray
      5m 33s
    2. Exporting to a blog
      9m 16s
    3. Exporting for the web
      3m 26s
    4. Exporting and posting a slideshow or video
      4m 34s
    5. Creating a Lightroom screensaver
      2m 55s
  18. 10m 10s
    1. Creating a client web gallery template
      4m 1s
    2. Sending high-resolution images via FTP
      6m 9s
  19. 10m 23s
    1. Emailing images from Lightroom
      5m 31s
    2. Emailing images from Lightroom with Gmail
      4m 52s
  20. 11m 59s
    1. Installing plug-ins
      6m 17s
    2. Accessing plug-ins
      3m 10s
    3. Creative plug-in resources
      2m 32s
  21. 45m 6s
    1. General navigation shortcuts
      6m 21s
    2. Importing shortcuts
      5m 49s
    3. Library module shortcuts
      8m 15s
    4. Develop module shortcuts, pt. 1
      4m 42s
    5. Develop module shortcuts, pt. 2
      4m 29s
    6. Develop module shortcuts, pt. 3
      5m 24s
    7. Develop module shortcuts, pt. 4
      3m 39s
    8. Develop module shortcuts, pt. 5
      5m 11s
    9. Shortcut resources
      1m 16s
  22. 6m 13s
    1. General tips
      2m 28s
    2. Increasing the cache size for greater speed
      3m 45s
  23. 55s
    1. Goodbye
      55s

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