by Julieanne Kost

 Comments (22)


February 23, 2012

• The difference between a Smart Collection and a  regular Collection is that the Smart Collection is based on the search criteria you specify in the Smart Collection dialog. Once you set up the criteria, Smart Collections constantly monitor your entire catalog looking for any photograph that meets the criteria set in the Smart Collection – which is why they are smart  – they can add and delete images dynamically if you make changes to an image.

• In order to organize your collections, use the plus icon on the Collections panel and select Create Collection Set, name it and then drag and drop your Collections and Smart Collections into the Set.

• In order to target a collection (as oppose to the Quick Collection), Control (Mac) / Right Mouse (Win) -click a  regular collection. And choose “Set as Target Collection”. Then, tapping the “B” key will add the selected images(s) into your targeted collection instead of the default Quick Collection. Caps Lock (or add the Shift key) will auto advance to the next image while adding to the Quick/Target Collection.


  • By Lladro@Swarovski Figurines - 2:49 PM on February 23, 2012  

    Can someone answer why after setting up a Smart Collection would I want to go back and use the regular or Quick collection method again. I understand I may want to add something outside my settings but would it be almost as fast just to change and add through Smart.


    • By Julieanne Kost - 3:21 PM on February 24, 2012  

      For one thing, you can create a custom sort order when using a regular collection which I find helpful when I am telling a story using multiple images. Also, quick collection is an excellent way for me to collect images that I might want to work with, but at the end of the day, I won’t use the same images again so I don’t need to “keep” the collection of images but it’s handy to have them in a “temporary” collection.

  • By al dampier - 1:51 PM on March 4, 2012  

    thanks for the tips and I enjoy your blog. what i haven’t figured out is how to organize the thousands of photos over the last 6 or 7 years prior to lightroom???

    • By Julieanne Kost - 7:51 PM on March 7, 2012  

      I would suggest that you import the files, maybe a few folders or a year at a time (as your schedule permits) and organize them using ht eLibrary module in LR.

  • By David McGill - 4:19 AM on April 16, 2012  

    I have collections set up in CS5 Bridge and have just recently bought LR4. Is it possible to copy the collections from BR to LR iwthout having to create new collections in LR and add each image to the “new” collections?

    • By Julieanne Kost - 1:25 PM on April 16, 2012  

      Unfortunately there is not an automated way to copy collections back and fourth between Lightroom and Bridge.

  • By Tim - 5:50 PM on May 19, 2012  

    I love Smart Collections, but I also love collection sets. I often have a collection set for an event, and then a number of collections underneath for different things at that event, such as a collection for each band at a gig in a single collection set for that gig.
    I set up some Smart Collections for things like ‘Videos’ or ‘Rated’ or ‘Published’ inside the collection set to quickly find items.
    I use the limiter ‘Collection’ in the filter, but it would be a lot better if I could use ‘Collection Set’ or just set a Smart Collection to only process down from where I add it in the hierarchy.

    Will this feature being included in an update of LR4?

  • By Filip - 10:56 AM on June 7, 2012  

    Is it possible to search all photos that aren’t a member of any collection.
    So you can search for pictures in a certain folder that you forgot to add to a collection>


    • By Julieanne Kost - 10:30 AM on June 9, 2012  

      No. Although when you set your View Options to Expanded CElls, and you choose to show Thumbnail badges, the images that are in a collection will display a badge (this might be helpful if you have a limited number of images, but if you’ve got hundreds this won’t be too helpful – sorry.)

  • By JCN - 9:42 AM on August 3, 2012  

    When creating a page in LR4 I noticed little red plus signs in a box on some of the cells. What are those?

    • By Julieanne Kost - 10:08 AM on August 6, 2012  

      In which Module are you creating a page?

  • By Bette Lee - 5:18 PM on October 10, 2012  

    How do I change the name/title of Folders and Collections from previous names/titles? For example, if I want to change the title of a collection (or folder) from 2011 Spain to 2012 Spain, how do I do this?

    • By Julieanne Kost - 9:53 AM on October 11, 2012  

      Right mouse click on the folder and choose Rename.

  • By John C - 1:48 PM on November 13, 2012  

    Thanks for the new ideas!

  • By Steve - 11:36 PM on December 2, 2012  

    I started using collections and quickly found out that the images in a collection are linked to the image in the folder it came from. Even though I can edit, print, export, etc from the collection it appears as though it is just a virtual copy. So if you decide to clean up the folder they came from in order to export the processed images done in a collection you will lose all of your work since they are linked.

    What I did was export my images I liked to a folder called portfolio, then created stacks and rated the pics. I then filtered the pics specific to the rating assigned to them and created collections from the filtered results. When I went to clean up the portfolio folder it also cleaned out my collections. So I now have to start over again after losing a weeks worth of work. There was nothing to alert me to this fact. Adobe might want to address this so the collections are not linked once created or at least provide for a pop up warning alerting a user to this fact. And just when I thought LR couldn’t get too much better. Ugh

  • By Sigrun G - 2:22 PM on December 5, 2012  

    So far I have been mainly using my folders in LR4 to organize my pictures but now I want to use collections too in the way that you have recommended. Since I have ca. 60.000 pictures in LR I would somehow want automate the creation of collections e.g. automatically create collections exactly as the name of all my folders which approximately one folder per day for the last three years. Is this possible or do I manually have to create these 1000 folders?

  • By David Vaughan - 10:59 AM on March 20, 2013  

    Can you change Collections into Smart Collections after the fact…? I made a ton of collections but meant them to be smart (I’m dumb)… is there a workaround? Thanks

  • By Richard - 7:39 AM on March 26, 2013  

    I have upgraded to Lighroom 4, and when I was initially prompted, upgraded from Lightroom 3. All was fine, until I opened Lightroom a moment ago and the catalog was empty. I found the catalogue, and have imported it (one big one) but all the collections are lost – HELP! What am I NOT doing??

    • By Jennifer Stewart - 10:31 AM on June 1, 2013  

      I just upgraded my LR4 and when re-launching I found that all my collections had disappeared. How do I get them back??