Why and How to Create and Use Smart Collections in Lightroom Classic
Smart collections are an easy way to automatically group photos in Lightroom Classic based on custom criteria. Grouping photos is an essential task to speed up workflow and make things easy to export, print, create a slideshow, export contact sheet and so on... Best of all, smart collections will not change anything in your folder structure on the hard drive but rather will add one more grouping and organizational level.
In this tutorial, I will explain to you why to consider smart collections in Lightroom Classic and how to create and use them.
Why use smart collectionsThe very first question or doubt you may have is why use smart collections anyway? The short answer is because you can add one more automated organization level which can speed up your workflow.
Smart collections are based on custom rules or criteria that you can define and change at any time. Photos or files that meet defined criteria will be automatically added to smart collections.
Example: you can define a rule for smart collections to collect all photos that have a two-star rating or green color label.
Another example is to collect all photos which contains keyword Cuba from your recent trip.
The third example is to collect all photos which contain keywords David (or your son's name) and number 18 (eighteenth birthday, for example).
Another possibility is to define multiple criteria that must be met or to define multiple criteria and to ask for any criteria to be met. Here are some examples:
- Look for photos with a two-star rating and green color label. The image must have a two-star rating and green color label to be added automatically to this collection.
- Look for photos with a two-star rating or green color label. Images with a two-star rating or green color label will be added automatically to this collection.
Grouping smart collectionsWhat about grouping or organizing smart collections? You can group/organize smart collections using collection sets. Smart collection can be added to the collection set while creating it or later using the drag and drop method.
|Smart collections can be grouped into collection set.|
Displaying smart collectionsYou can display the content of smart collection in any module. This can significantly boost your productivity when creating a contact sheet, printing photos or when showing to client-only photos which you want him to see.
How to create a smart collectionBefore seeing the benefit of smart collections you must create them. It is a quick and easy process that can be done in the Library module. I will recommend to you to think about your current habits and workflow and how smart collections that are automatically collecting photos based on some criteria can help you. Familiarize yourself with rules which you can set for smart collections and you will be good to go.
Here are the steps to create a smart collection in Library module:
- Go to Library > New Smart Collection or click the plus sign (+) in the Collections panel then choose: Create Smart Collection.
- The very first thing you should do in the Create Smart Collection dialog box is type name for your smart collection in the Name: text box at the top of the dialog.
- For even better organization you can choose to include smart collection into existing collection set. In Location section tick option: Inside a Collection Set then choose in which collection set to include smart collection which you are creating.
- Match drop-down list is very important so please do not ignore it.
- If you want all rules which you can specify to be met to include the image in the collection then choose the option: all.
- If you want any defined rule to be met then choose option: any.
- To turn off rules and make collection empty choose option: none.
- The next step is to specify rules/criteria using drop-down lists. Start with the first and largest from which you can choose a wide variety of criteria like rating, color label, capture date, camera info, shutter speed and so on, and so on. Use the second drop-down which is basically if function and optionally third field or drop-down list to complete rule/criteria.
- You can add or remove criteria by clicking on plus/minus signs (+, -)on the right side of each rule.
- Alt / Opt + click on plus sign (+) to use nested rules to refine criteria.
- Lastly, click on the Create button and Lightroom will start collecting images based on rules and specified criteria.
- If you change your mind and want to exit without creating a smart collection click on the Cancel button.
|Creating smart collections in Lightroom Classic is easy. Here are the steps:|
How to update a smart collectionYou can update smart collection rules/criteria at any time. Right-click on the smart collection and choose the option: Edit Smart Collection.
|You can update smart collection at any time. Use right-click on collection ten choose: Edit Smart Collection.|
To rename smart collection right-click on it and choose Rename.
How to rename smart collection
How to delete smart collectionTo delete smart collection right-click on it and choose Delete.
Add/remove the color label to the smart collectionYou can also add a color label to smart collections to easier find them. To add/remove color label use right-click on smart collection > Add Color Label to Collection.
Product used in this tutorial:
Photoshop Lightroom Classic 9.0
Work with photo collections