Lightroom 4 collections
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Ok, so now you have managed to import all your photos in our last Lightroom 4 tutorial (see my previous tutorial) you’re probably wondering how you are gong to go about keeping all your best photos or similar photos nicely organised so you can quickly see them.
Well this is where one of Lightroom 4′s best features comes into play, Collections.
By using collections you can tell Lightroom 4 to group all images that display certain criteria together, whether they all have the same keywords, are shot with the same lens, you literally have hundreds of combinations to select from and with smart collections you can tell Lightroom to do this on future images that that meet the criteria you specify.
To create a new collection just check all the photos that you want to add to your collection then click the ‘plus button’ in the collections drop down menu in the library module and click ‘create collection’
Then just name your collection, choose if it will be a top level collection or part of a collection set and then check the ‘include selected photos’ box.
This is where the really good stuff happens in Lightroom 4′s library feature and its something that will save you loads of time.
Using ‘smart collections’ enables you to set criteria by which Lightroom 4 will organise your photos into collections and even keep them updated with new photos that you import.
I use smart collections to keep all my images in order and in one place. For example I have smart collections for my landscape images, another for black and whites and others for stock shots and simply completed images. It really is a great tool because once you have defined the criteria for the smart collection it manages itself and you can just forget about it until you want to find say, all your landscape images and they are all in the smart collection you created.
To create a smart collection click on the + button on the collections menu in the library module and then click ‘create smart collection’.
You will then be asked to name your smart collection so make sure it is something obvious to you so you won’t forget what images are supposed to be in it.
You can choose to place the smart collection as part of a set of smart collections or not, then you are able to define the criteria for which images will be placed in your smart collection.
You can choose to use all sorts of criteria to pick the images including keywords, title, capture date, camera name, which lens you used, what aperture, shutter speed or ISO the images were taken at. There are hundreds of possible combinations however I would advise trying to keep it as simple as possible to avoid forgetting to add the correct keywords etc to your images in the future.
So as you can see above, my landscapes ‘smart collection’ adds all images to the collection which have the keyword “landscapes” and it has the option “has adjustments” ticked, so the only images that show are the ones I have actually worked on and completed (made adjustments) and I have added the keyword “landscapes” to.
Obviously you can choose whichever options you like but I would suggest having a bit of a think to see what will suit your work flow.
For me smart collections are probably the most important collections in Lightroom 4 but you can also use ‘quick collections to great effect when editing your images.
Quick collections allow you to group together photos at the click of a button. I use it when I have imported photos from a new shoot and I am selecting which ones are possible keepers. I simply add the best images to a quick collection to separate them from the others. I can then go and look in more detail at the best shots and work on them without having to trawl through the shots that I don’t want.
The reason I use this method rather than just deleting the images I don’t want immediately is because sometimes you can make a mistake deleting an image and it’s easier to remove an image from your quick collection than it is to have to import the backup of the one you just threw away.
It’s really easy to make a quick collection, all you have to do to is click the little circle on the top right hand corner of the thumbnail (if you hover the mouse over it, it says “add photo to quick collection”) or you can simply click on the thumbnail and press the B button.
When you are ready to view your quick collection just click the catalogue drop down and click on quick collection and the images you have just selected will be shown all in one handy place.
Ok so that’s just about it for using collections in Lightroom. Hopefully you are now able to easily organise and manage your photos in Lightroom 4 which means you have more time to get out and shoot.
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