Using Collections in Adobe Lightroom Classic: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

By | March 7, 2020

Hi everybody, welcome to another episode of Exploring Photography right here on Adorama TV. I’m Mark Wallace and in today’s episode we’re gonna dig into Lightroom and explore collections and collection sets. Collections are a tool in Lightroom classic that allows you to organize and publish photos get them out to your clients, and you can do these very, very quickly and easily, it’s a tool that if you’re not using, you’re missing out, so without further ado let’s dive right into Lightroom so I can show you how it works. Collections are very simple, I’m going to show you first how to create collections, but then stick around because I want to show you why you want to create collections, and why they’re so powerful. This catalog is a catalog of just images that I’ve shot in Cambodia over the last few years, so over several visits and everything is all mixed up, I’ve got temples that I shot at the very beginning of this, I’ve got Angkor Wat and some other temples, then at the bottom here I have a bunch of model photo shoots that I did for Adorama TV. I need to sort all of this stuff out, collections are the way to do that. So the first thing we’re going to do is just create a standard collection, and so what I’ll do here is I’m going to go to the very first photo of Soriyan, this is a model that we shot for Adorama TV. I have put links to these photo shoots in the description of this video, so you can get all that goodness, but here let’s create this first collection. So I’m gonna click on the very first image of Soriyan here, and then I’m going to scroll down to the very last image of our photo shoot, there we go, so actually there’s a little bit more here, so I’ll keep going, okay. So there’s the last image of Soriyan, and so I’m just gonna hit shift and click, so I’ve selected all of those, I’m going to put these images in a collection, it’s just sort of like a file folder, I’m just putting those in there so I can quickly get to them later. So to do that I’ll go over here to collections, there’s this little +, I’ll click on that, and then I’ll click ‘Create Collection’, the first thing I need to do is name this, so I’m going to name it Soriyan, so that matches our model, we can also put this inside of a collection set, we’re going to get to that here in a little bit, and of course I want to include the selected photos, the pictures that I just selected, I want to include those too, I put those into this collection, I have the option of making virtual copies, I’m not going to do that for this demo, but you might want to do that for example, maybe you want to have a collection of images that you want to do some editing, you want to crop those to square, or vertical or maybe you want to create them to be a black and white, or some special process, and you want to leave the originals alone, no problem, create a collection, create some new virtual copies, then you can edit away without having any changes to the master files, which is really cool, we’re also going to talk about what a target collection is at the end of this demo, so now we’re gonna just create this collection, so I’ll click create, and now you can see over here we have,- ‘Collections’, ‘Smart Collections’ and then ‘Soriyan’ in this collection that we just created, and here are all of our images which is really cool, now one of the things you can do with collections is, if you have some images that you don’t want, it’s my friend Matt Badly being funny in the studio, I don’t want him in this collection, so I can select these folders and hit delete, the delete button, and they are just removed from the collection, but they’re still in the catalog which is really cool. So you can do all kinds of things in your collections, it doesn’t affect the catalog at all, so the next thing we want to do is create our second collection. We’re going to do this a little bit differently, instead of selecting all of our images and then creating the collection, first I’m going to create the collection, and then I’ll drag and drop the images inside of that, so this is Kongka, she is another model that we shot, so what I’m going to do here is, I’m going to create a collection, I’m going to name this Kongka, and I got to spell that right, there we go, and I’m not going to include the selected photos for this one, so we’ve got our folder, basically our collection, there’s nothing in there. See this 0, it says there’s no images in this collection, so all I have to do to add these images to this collection is I’ll select an image, drag it over, there it is, you can see I have one image now, the nice thing about collections is, if you accidentally drag the same image in another time, it doesn’t add another copy of that, it knows that it’s already in there, it doesn’t do anything so what I’m going to do here is, I’m going to do what I did before. I’m just going to select all of my images, of Kongka, got a bunch of them here, we did a lot of photo shoots so I’m going to the very bottom here. There it is, okay we’ll just select this one right here, is the last one, all right and then I’m going to drag and drop all of those in, BAM, now you can see we have 537 images, awesome, okay, well there’s another way that we can create a collection, we can create collections that are smart, they automatically throw images into a collection, so what we’re going to do is, I have another set of images, so this is Nicki, Nicki we shot a bunch of images of Nicki, when we were shooting down in Cambodia, and all of these images have the keyword Nikki Nikki, and so what I can do is, I can have Lightroom automatically look for images with the keyword Nikki Nikki, and put them in a catalogue to do that or into a collection, sorry, so to do that I can hit the +, and then say ‘Create Smart Collection’, Smart Collections are awesome because you can use all kinds of different criteria, so I’m going to call this Nikki Nikki, and then what we will do is, I want to make sure that the other metadata keywords contains the Nikki Nikki, then I’ll hit that, and then hit c ‘Create’, now look at this automatically we have 271 images in this folder, it just looked for every single image that had the keyword Nikki Nikki, and it throws it in here automatically. Now here’s something that you can do, now let’s say that I shoot with Nikki again down the road, I can automatically have those images added to the Smart Collection, so let’s pretend this image is of Nikki, it’s not but let’s fake it, all I have to do is add the keyword Nikki Niki, there it is, so I’ve added the keyword Nikki Nikki to this image, if I go back here to this smart collection, there it is, there is that image, because it’s looking for the keyword, we can even do other things, I’m going to remove this, because that is not Nikki, we can do other things, so I don’t want all of the images of Nikki to be in this collection, I just want all of the images of Niki that I’ve selected to show up in this collection so we can edit this smart collection. So I’ll right click on there, click ‘Edit Smart Collection’, and I’m going to add another rule, so we have one rule that says if the keyword contains Nikki Nikki, add it automatically, I’m gonna hit this plus I’m going to go and say, if the pick flag is flagged, in other words if it has a flag, only put those in, so it has to have Nikki Nikki and it has to be flagged, all of the following rules have to apply. I’ll save that now, look BAM, only 34 files are there, so only the files that are key worded Nikki Nikki, and flags show up, so now in the future if I want to see all my good shots of Nikki, I just go to this, and bammo, I don’t have to go up here and click attributes, and keywords, or any of those things this Smart Folder knows how to do that, let’s talk about collection sets, if I want to sort all of these things, so in the future maybe I would have a bunch of temples, I might have scenics, Imight have a bunch of things, I want to organize that stuff so these are all images of models, so I can go in here and create a collection set, and I’m going to name that ‘Models’. I’ll create that now, if you look at this icon here, it looks like one of those boxes you get at an office supply store, they put file folders in. That’s exactly what it is… so now I can take this Kongka, and put that inside of this collection set. I can take my Nikki Nikki collection, stick in there the Soriyan, put that in there, so now I have a container for all of my models. I could create a collection set or a container for scenic photos, and I could break those down to temples and city shots and street photos, however you want to do it ‘Collection sets’, just contain Collections, you can have collections that you manually create, or you can have collections that are smart, and they automatically create themselves based on criteria that you’ve set, these things are really, really awesome, the last thing I want to show you is how to create a target collection. So what I’m going to do here is, I’m going to create one more collection, and I’m going to name that temple ‘Temples’, I’m not going to put it in a collection set, I just want this to be a standalone collection, and I’m going to say ‘Set as target collection’, and I will create that now. Notice that this has a + after it, that little + used to be after the quick collection, but now it’s down here at temple. If you look at your Lightroom catalog, you probably have a + after the quick collection, because by default the quick collection is the target collection. So what the heck is a ‘target collection’, let me go back here to all of my photographs, what I want to do is I just want to be able to really quickly throw things into my ‘temples’ collection if you look closely at any photo in Lightroom you’ll see that there is a little circle in the upper right hand corner – that is for adding photos to a target collection, whichever collection you’ve set as the target collection, if you click on that photo, or on that circle it is automatically added to whatever collection you’ve set as the target, for instance ‘the temples’, that’s what I just said as my target collection, or you can hit the shortcut key which is B, so if I just hit B on any of that, it’s automatically added, so I can just go through here, anything I want to add I always hit B, okay, there’s a temple, there’s a temple, I’m just hitting B as I go through, here, that’s cool, and so as I’m sorting through these, anything I see that I want to add, I’ll just hit the B shortcut key, and it adds it in there, so now you can see here are the eight images that I’ve added to my target collection, you can change the target collection at any time, just by right-clicking on a collection, and then saying ‘Set as target collection’. By default, I almost always keep my ‘quick collection’ as the target collection, because that’s exactly what it’s for, for quickly adding things so I can work with them quickly, thus the name quick collection, Okay now that we know how to create these different collections, and collection sets, let’s learn why they’re so powerful, and why you should use them. All right, now we’re looking at a more realistic scenario, this is my catalog for my travel photos, I’ve got almost 36,000 images here, so I use collections to sort and organize all of these things quite a bit. One of the things that you’ll see, if I zip through here, some of these collections have these little squiggly next to it, so beasts it’s got a little squiggly next to it, homepage image, Lincoln township, life in black-and-white, Lightroom, mobile images, These are the collections that I have synched with Lightroom, so we have Lightroom classic which is what I’m showing you here, there’s also Lightroom, the new version, that is a web interface. It also works on tablets and mobile devices, so iPhones and Android devices, so if you want to share all this image, or all these images through your collections, all you have to do is right-click on a collection, and then say sync with Lightroom, now what happens is these images will now go to the cloud, if I zip over here to a web browser, you’ll see this is Lightroom, the new web version, and here are all those collections that I shared, so Langa Township, Life in black and white, Reflections, the Beast’s I showed you, now the nice thing about this is now you can take these, there’s a little person here with a + next to it, I can click on that, and I can share these collections. So I can share this album either with a person or a group of people, or the world, so I can click enable sharing, and that is how I can let people see the stuff that I’ve worked so hard on. The other thing that this does is, it allows me to work with the Creative Cloud, so if I zip up here to Creative Cloud, you’ll notice that I have Lightroom web, which is what I’m showing you now, and there’s also Adobe portfolio for building a personalized website, so here is Adobe portfolio, and you’ll probably notice there’s my reflections, and the Beasts and Studio and Langa Township, all of those collections that I shared, are in my portfolio. To add those all you have to do is click Add page and then click Lightroom album, so the stuff that you’ve shared from Lightroom classic to Lightroom, through those collections will show up here. So here are all those albums I just showed you, so there’s reflections, and scenic, and studio, all that stuff shows up, so I can just choose whatever I want, and I can bring that into my website, and then if we go over, here’s the finished project, so You’ll find my photography, and then if I exhibit here, here is the reflections, if I click on that, here are all the images that I shared. If I sip back over here to Lightroom classic and I go down to reflections, so here we go, reflections, there they are, here are all those images, you’ll see the little squiggly, I shared those with Lightroom, and it’s all synced, and so whatever I do here, I can sync and then publish over here on my website. It’s a very easy and extremely powerful tool in Lightroom classic, that’s all there is to it. Collections are awesome, very powerful and very easy to use, well if you like this video please click on the subscribe button so you don’t miss a single episode. We’re publishing new videos on Adorama TV almost every single day, follow me on Instagram, so you can get sort of behind the scenes views of what I’m doing in my photography and travels around the world, thanks again for joining me, and I will see you again next time.

16 thoughts on “Using Collections in Adobe Lightroom Classic: Exploring Photography with Mark Wallace

  1. Gene Waddle Post author

    After five years I'm only now really starting to use collections and I learned some things from this that will be very helpful. Thanks, Mark. 🙂

  2. Desert Mav Post author

    That’s cool because I was wondering what the difference was between Catalogs and collections

  3. Brian Aikens Post author

    WOW….that was fabulous, and will require a few viewings to capture all the functionality you exposed. After using LR for a number of years, that was the best explanation I have had on how collections can be used. Many thanks….

  4. Mike James Post author

    Thank you, Mark! I'm a Lightroom user, so I knew many of these things. Still, videos like this are super useful, reminding me of different ways to quickly organize images. (Your work is excellent and interesting, and I remain a fan of what you do!) Thanks again, and take care.

  5. phynx2006 Post author

    Man, you just answered so many questions, thank you Mark!

  6. Vito Le Post author

    Nice, but I don't understand, how to edit imported photo, edit them , mark with stars and than sort in collections, delete others (or not) and make selected visible in some smart or not smart collections….portfolio etc.

  7. Mark Tom Photography Post author

    Definitely learned a couple things I didn't know, so thank you for that! Had a question. You mentioned having 35K+ photos in your catalogue. Have you considered breaking your collections up? By year for example. LR seems to have gotten noticeably more sluggish for me over the past year and am wondering if that would help. What do you think Mark?

  8. Bill LAFEVER Post author

    Wow, this is just hat I have been looking for. However, when I tried to duplicate the "Sync to Lightroom" from my Lightroom CC collection, It was not there. I tried rebooting my computer and that did not help. I have installed both Lightroom (for the cloud) on both my PC and phone. Any suggestions?

  9. Phillip Cohen Post author

    Hi Mark. Excellent video, as always. I can't find the "Add photo to target collection" circle that you refer to on any of my images? Best regards

  10. Jay G. Post author

    Virtual copies is a very powerful tool in LR. I did not know that you can easily move them into Collections with one click!

  11. Black Sky Lenses Photography Post author

    I had no idea about collections. Always seen it but never paid attention to it..Now I know. Thanks mate

  12. Hans Eras Post author

    This really helps! Was looking for more guidance on this. Thanks for this excellent tutorial.

  13. Northryder Post author

    Thank you for posting this detailed reference to Collections.
    Back to Basics! Collections are awesome and extraordinarily useful and an unparalleled time-saver. Well time for me to go back through to refine mine. Love the new features Adobe have added.


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