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Smart Collections

Lesson 5 from: Automating your Post-Processing Workflow

Daniel Gregory

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Lesson Info

5. Smart Collections

Next Lesson: Catalog Storage

Lesson Info

Smart Collections

I hated collections when light room showed up because I didn't quite get what the purpose of a collection waas and what the collection does is. It's a really interesting way of organizing things because your catalog is a database. It's one of the great things that gives us all this meditate and makes it search so fast behind all of our images. It's this database. If we go back to my final naming problem that we started with, that was a one toe, one toe oneto. One problem. I have one file name. I need to change something in a different file name and if I have an image that maybe needs to be in two locations, actually physically make a second copy and all that so collections was born out of trying to solve that problem. I need a way of organizing photographs that is not bound by what the computer does with its files. The computer says, I'm gonna put things on. It's stay organized this way, but we think differently. Our brains are really different. This is the part I love about whoever yo...

u are. Once you start to see a collections could work, it could be a really powerful tool because it's highly customizable. They give us some collections to get started in some smart collections to get started, and you're like, Oh, that's cool. I can find my photos that are red or my photos are five stars, but that doesn't really help me understand what. Therefore, there's also a notion of a collection set in a collection a collection set. Think of that as a file drawer, a collection said is a file drawer that holds collections. Collections are the folders, the file folders that go in the file drawer file folders, hold photographs, folders, go into this drawer, and that's the set. So it's a way to start to help. You kind of keep organized collection sets, never hold photographs that was going to kill me when I first got started. I try to put the photo on the collection set. It just says, you can't do that. You need the collection. So the collection is the little bucket. The things are gonna be held in, and the cool part is I'm not bound by any parameter, and I'm not bound by what's going on in my computer's hard drive. I could have 13 hard drive. Sitting over here in a stack and in my collection could be an image off of each one of those hard drugs. And the cool part is, it doesn't make a copy of the hard drive. It little he's just in the database is a little pointer that says, This is where the photograph lives and this is what it does, so I can start to build collections like Here's a collection of images that are all plans. Here's images that are of music. Here are some landscape images and if you notice there's a plant and there's a plant that's the same image in two different collections when we're dealing with computers hard drive. We're in a 1 to 1 relationship. Each folder each hard file, 1 to 1. But with the collection, I can have the same photograph in multiple collections, so that process have allowed me. To put it in multiple places means I could have portfolio. I could have client information. I could have printed information. I could have sinned. A mom portfolio. She always likes the commercial stuff, put all of that down there and have the same photograph in all of those. If I take the photograph out of the collection, it has no impact on the hard drive because this is just a representation of the information in light room. The I think it does from a work efficiency standpoint, as I can make things more quickly accessible because I don't have to search through potentially multiple file folders. So if I have plants across 10 different folders to find them, I would have to click on folders and then go search through do the scrolls course roll game with the collection. I can consolidate things down based on those topics. So that's kind of the collection piece, the other kind of collection you'll see, and they have a little gear here. This is called a smart collection. The smart collections are basically this library filter up top. They allow us to apply a Siris of the metadata searches, and in real time it will keep the information up to date. So if I come back here and I've got this image of missing a copyright information is what this smart filter is. If we come look at what the smart filter does is the copyright status is set to unknown so the photograph doesn't have copyrighted or public domain applied to it. It shows up in this smart filter. If I come over here into the metadata and change that over to the I p. T. C and come down to my copyright and I changed that to copyrighted, you're gonna see that image instantly disappear because the smart filter is working in real time based on those parameters to keep itself up to date all the time. Okay, so those are kind of my my buckets that are in there. So from a workflow standpoint, this is where the rubber meets the road on getting yourself highly efficient. I can come in here and build and nest multiple different collections and smart collections. I'm not bound by just having a mile of the top level. I can kind of stay organized. So in this case, I've got projects that are being worked on. I have an alternative wind energy set of Panorama sports photography a trip to Yellowstone. There's some fly fishing images, so I can kind of build these little buckets to stay organized. But what I've realized over time was it was kind of cool to go Look at all. These are all my plant photographs. This this is that. But what I really needed to do was get mawr efficient with what I was doing within these collections. So I realized I could build a workflow in here and actually structure and build a way for me to create my images so that I knew what I was working on. So I import images. And then I said my selected images. Then I have a images that are being edited. Then I have images that there have been printed on. I have any doesn't get exported to the web. So this workflow and I was building it over and over again, and that was keeping me structured. My problem was, I have O C D. To the max. So one of my issues with light room from a problem solving standpoint is if I can come in and why I get up here and I'm like all photographs. I need to edit this photograph, that guy cold and he's like that Picture me fly fishing by the Snake River Dam. I'd like the picture that for my mom for Christmas, Great. But I come in the light room and I'm like, there's an elk. Oh, I haven't edited that yet. Develop module and I'm off doing stuff. And then, like two days later, I was like, I was supposed to do something. Oh, yeah, The old store photograph Start light room. And I'm like, I'm my go Oh, yeah. Oh, look, Let's Vegas. I'm off again. So part of the reason I built the workflow in the collections was to help solve that problem. I needed to be able to come in and immediately sit down. And no, this is what I'm working on today. This is what I'm doing and I'm gonna stay focused so I would come in and build collection after collection. So, basically, to build a collection, you come in, I'd build a collection set, call it creativelive, and it puts it in alphabetical order. And then in here I would build my collection. I'd call it initial important. And then I would build another collection, and I would call it to be edited. And then I created another collection print another collection website. I create another collection, Social Media, How to spell it that way because that's kind of how I feel about social media today. Okay, so I'd end up with these set of folders and then because of this one to many relationship, I'm coming. Grab Chuck and images and let's say like that was part of my import. You see, I just drag and drop those into any collection I want. Now, when I was up here, let's say I was gonna print this one in that one. I just put them in the print folder. So when I come into print because one of things I do is I printed volume, I'll come in. I can click on print. Now I know those are to be printed, So it's printing time. I come in and look at just that one thing to print. I was like, Okay, that actually worked for me from a solving standpoint. Is that how collections were intended to be used? Probably not, But for me, that was a cool way to do that. Because here's the other thing I can Then do you remember I talked about having these multiple collections from all my different projects. I come up to smart collections. I'm gonna create a smart collection. So These are all the rules that I have toe live by and all the things I can create from a smart collection. Help me stay organized. I'm gonna call this to be printed. I've got some options in here, One of which is, um I just lost where it lives. It'll come back to me Source under sources collection, where collection contains the word print. So now, anytime it finds a collection and it contains the word print, it's gonna show me those photographs. So I do create to be printed. Now, you see, there's 15 photographs in there. That's cause I have other work flows built in there that have that print folder. So now I know these are the 15 images to be printed. Now, if I printed them for show and they're all going the same way I can use the power of light room to select all of them going to my print module and batch burnout. So now I've got just everything going. So now I'm doing a standard printer and just pulling stuff off is it comes off off the printer. I'm not having to come in and do a bunch of things as I print that that printer gets energy gets done. I can't delete it out of here because it's a smart collection. But as soon as I removed the image, come back down here, too, to be printed to see there's that image. As soon as I have printed it, I take it out of the collection and then it will have disappeared out of a smart collection. Except in this case, it's also another to be printed so you can see that that's actually gone now. So that way I is. I worked with workflow, the smart collections, just kind of keeping me organized. Okay, so that's a one way to use a smart collection. I also mentioned one of the great things about a smart collection was because it's automatically looking at a set of rules in real time. One of the things that I do want to make sure I do is that I get my copyright information taking care of. So when we look at copyright, you've got 90 days to technically registered. If it's ever been published on the look back and then he goes, and all those rules, they have 2016. We look at these smart rules. There we go. My third filing those of the photographs will be in the third filing. So what this this smart collections gonna look for is where the capture date was in that date range. So these air photographs, because I wait to the end of the 90 days I was trying to sell the Do I need to send these up or not? So these by date, get Batch Tup and get sent out. He says that makes sense. Kind of another way to think about a smart collection element. OK, a couple other things in terms of collections that are really kind of interesting from an organization standpoint. And I'm going to show you my favorite collection trip because you are laughing at me as I created 40 little collections for my workflow. You're thinking really he does that. You would automate that? Yes. Yes, I would. When we look alike Room mobile. If you look at this little symbol out here that indicates that it's synchronized. Okay, So one of things I can do when I'm building collections, as I can start to synchronize with light room mobile So we come back over and look here. Here's a set of collections that have been synchronized. Come and look at my abstracts. Thes air, my images. I can come in here. I can change the star rankings. Put a pick flag on him. I can actually come in and edit the photograph. So I've got coming here and use some of the tools within here. I can change. Change the exposure converted to black and white, click, save and exit. If I go over here into the abstracts when this synchronizes in a second, you'll see Ellis changes actually automatically appear. So I've got a way of quickly in the field making those those decisions. But the challenge I was looking for is I need some collaboration needlework with people. Sometimes I want some feedback for my photographs. I have photographers I work with. They work all around the world, so one of things I could do is I can come in and grab a collection and I can share it. So if you look here, there's a little globe on the bunny work. There's a little little globe. So if I click on that and I click on Shared, I've got some options for some shared settings. What Adobe does is gonna give me a link that I would have access to the link. And it's gonna didn't let me have access to see that collection if I have an adobe account. So if I have another critical creative cloud account don't have to speak rabbit software. Just have to have ah, log in. I can come in and work on a collection. So we jump over here, I'm logged in under my studio account. So the only thing I can see now is the bunnies for that money book I'm working on. If I click on this one, you can see there's actually comments that have been added here. And the photos been like, If I click on this one, I'm gonna come in and say I like that photograph. IHS, there's a pool bunny. I'm gonna post that comment. Okay. If I come back now in the light room on go to my bunnies of Langley, you can see I have that little yellow marked there that tells me a comments come in on the photograph because it's been sink. If I come down here, here's that photograph. I just clicked on with a little bunny, you can see I ended up with the Why. Comment piece if I click on that now, under my metadata panel is the comment from silly Dog that this is a cool bunny and that silly dog likes the photo of silly Dog studios is the name of my studio. I can comment back now. I agree. That's print this one. Okay, so I've done that. I come back over here, and when it synchronizes that common will appear here.

Ratings and Reviews


I would consider myself an advanced Lightroom user, but this class challenged me to rethink the way I use it in my workflow. Daniel is a great instructor with an incredible wealth of knowledge!

Beatriz Stollnitz

Great class if you're a beginner Lightroom user or if you're looking for ways to improve your workflow.


Daniel Gregory talks fast. Real fast. But he has really good ideas about workflow with Lightroom. What to do? While watching "Automating", have your copy of LR open in another window. When Gregory triggers an idea that works for you, pause the class, switch over to LR and try out what he said, make the changes that work for you. I learned a lot from Gregory in this class and highly recommend it. His structure (Commercial photography) isn't applicable to me but I saw things that I needed to do.

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