Join Tim Grey for an in-depth discussion in this video Utilizing Smart Collections, part of Learning Lightroom 4 (2012).
While we typically use a folder structure to organize our images at a very basic level, we can also use Collections in order to group different images together, images that came from a variety of different folders, for example. In addition to Basic Collections, we can also use Smart Collections. Smart Collections can be thought of, in some ways, as a saved search result. We can identify parameters for our images and then filter them instantaneously using a Smart Collection. Let's take a look at how this process works by starting off creating a new Smart Collection.
I'll go ahead and click the Plus button over to the right of collections, and then from the popup menu I'll choose create Smart Collection. That will bring up the create Smart Collection dialog where we can identify the images that we'd like to include in this Smart Collection. I'll start off by giving the collection a name. Let's assume that we'll create a collection that contains all images with a three star or better rating. I'll call this, Three Plus Stars. I want to create this inside a collection set, specifically, my Smart Collections set, so that all Smart Collections will be grouped together.
I then want to specify the rules that determine whether an image will be included in this Smart Collection. I can match all of the following rules and then specify multiple rules that I'd like to include. For example, in this case, I want to use the Rating option. And I want to specify that images will be included in this Smart Collection if the rating is greater than or equal to three stars. So, I'll choose the Greater Than or Equal to option from the popup, and then specify three stars by clicking on the third dot here.
If I wanted to, I could also specify additional criteria. For example, maybe I want my three star or greater images, but also those that include a red color label. In this case, I don't actually want to use that red color label, I only want to identify three stars or greater. So, I'll go ahead and press the Minus button to remove that criteria from my list of rules. So, in this case I have a very simple definition of which images will be included in the Smart Collection. But obviously I could get far more sophisticated if I wanted to.
I'll go ahead and click Create, and my Smart Collection is created. That collection has also been selected by default, so now you can see all of the images in this collection contain three stars or more. And this is a dynamic Smart Collection. It will change automatically on the fly. For example, let's go to a different group of images. I'll select my Grand Central Terminal folder and I'll go select an image within that folder and I'll go ahead and assign a star rating to the image.
Let's just give it a four star rating. And now if I swtich to my Smart Collection for three plus stars, that image will also be included in the collection because it has three stars or more, in this case four. If I later decide to change the rating for that image, for example to make it a two start image, it would no longer fall in this Collection and that update will be reflected instantly. I'll go ahead and click the two star rating and you can see that image disappears from my Smart Collection. Lightroom includes a series of Smart Collections by default.
For example, there's a colored red for images that have a red color label. Five star images, images added in the last month, recently modified images, and video files. But at any time you can add a new Collection so that you can define your own criteria for which images you want to group dynamically together. As you can see, Smart Collections provide a great way to maintain a dynamic group of images that meet specific criteria, helping you locate exactly the image you need very easily.
- Getting to know the Lightroom interface
- Establishing Lightroom preferences
- Using catalogs
- Importing images
- Image review
- Identifying and locating images
- Optimizing and sharing images