I had planned to write this post today BEFORE I read Scott Kelby’s post this morning about collections in Lightroom. It was interesting to read his post because we pretty much end up at the same place, but we take a different route to get there…
Screen shot 2009-11-16 at 11.49.07 AM
As you know from my previous post, I import the photos from a shoot into their own folder on my hard drive. For this example let’s say I’m working with a folder called “0001_landscapes”. Before I begin sorting I create a collection set by clicking the plus (+) icon in the collections panel. I give the set the same serial number and description as the folder that contains the images I’m using. In this case I would name the set “0001_landscapes”. I click plus (+) again and create a new smart collection within the “0001_landscapes” set I just created. I call the smart collection “landscapes picks”. The rules for this smart collection are “Pick Flag is flagged” and “folder contains 0001”. I create one more smart collection within the set called “landscapes stars” with the rules “rating is 1-star” and “folder contains 0001”. Now I can sort my images and my collections are populated automatically.
Screen shot 2009-11-16 at 11.51.52 AM

Screen shot 2009-11-16 at 11.51.27 AM
I start my sorting by selecting the folder I want to work on in the ‘folders’ panel on the left side of the Library module. I double-click the first image to enlarge it and press shift-tab to hide the side, top and bottom panels so that my image is as large as possible. The keys I use for my first sort are ‘P’ for pick and ‘X’ for reject. Press the ‘caps lock’ to automatically advance to the next image as you pick or reject a shot. I go through the photos adding a pick flag to my favorites and a rejected flag to shots that are out of focus or otherwise beyond repair. I press command-delete (mac) to remove the rejected photos from the folder.

Now I click on my “landscapes picks” collection, which now contains all of my flagged images. This time I want to select the cream of the crop. Photos that I might show to a client or add to my portfolio. For my favorites I use 1 star. You can use 1 to 5 stars, but for me it’s either a star or not. I go through the “picks” and use the ‘1’ key to add a 1-star rating to my favorite shots. Now my smart collections contain my favorite shots and I can access them easily for editing or exporting.

For complex shoots, a wedding for example, you can create collections for ‘formal’, ‘reception’ etc. You can then create smart collections that include picks and stars from a particular collection. Just add the collection’s name as one of the rules for the smart filter.

I use Lightroom’s color labels for HDR and panoramas. I give the images I shoot for HDR processing a red label, and shots for panoramas a purple label. Then I can find these images easily using the library filters, or I can create smart collections that add these photos automatically.

Next week I’ll get into more develop module ideas, and put some of these ‘star’ images to good use.

Rob Knight's Photo AdventuresNewsletter

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