To use the Painter tool to add images to a collection in Lightroom, in the Library module, right-click on a regular collection (not a smart collection) and choose Set as Target Collection. Then, select the painter tool and choose Target Collection from the list of Paint options. While the painter tool is selected, clicking on an image in the grid to add it to the collection. You can also click – drag across multiple images to add them to the target collection.
The video below demonstrates how to set a target collection when creating collection, tapping the “B” key to add an image to the targeted collection as well as using the Painter tool to add images to a collection (2:15):
As you probably know, the Painter tool can be used to apply keywords. If you enter a keyword in the Painter tool, Lightroom knows that the Painter tool is “loaded” with that keyword – even after you have put away the tool. So, if you have a “default” keyword that you often apply, enter it in the Painter tool and then use Shift + K to apply that keyword without having to select the painter tool, or use the Keywording panel.
I often see photographers using the Painter tool in Lightroom to apply star ratings. Don’t forget, there is a whole list of different items that can be applied – including Keywords, Label, Flag, Rating, Metadata, Settings (Presets), Rotation and Target Collection!
There are several shortcuts that can help when working with keywords in Lightroom:
• Command + K (Mac) | Control + K (Win) will highlight the Keyword text entry field.
• Command + Shift + K (Mac) | Control + Shift + K will highlight the larger, Applied Keyword box above it.
In addition, the Painter tool can be “loaded” with a keyword(s):
• Command + Option + Shift + K (Mac) | Control + Alt + Shift + K (Win) will display the Set Keyword Shortcuts dialog box where you can set the Painters tool’s keyword. Then, with the Painter tool, simply click on any image in the Grid view to apply that keyword. Click-drag across multiple images to apply the keyword to several images.
• If the painter tool is set to apply keywords, Shift + K will remove the Painter tool’s keyword from the image.
Finally, Option + 1-9 (Mac) | Alt + 1-9 (Win) applies keywords from a keyword set when using the number pad on an extended keyboard. Holding the Option + (Mac) | Alt (Win) key displays the numeric shortcuts next to the Keyword Set so that you can see which number will apply what keyword.
Option-Command (Mac) / Alt-Control (Win) + K invokes the Painter tool (used to “spray-on” information such as ratings and keywords). Option (Mac)/Alt (Win) -click to remove the information. Escape releases the tool.