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Learn Photography

Lightroom > Library Module >

5 - Library Module Panels

On the Left Side >

6 - Collections Panel

As mentioned, collections only appear in Lightroom, not on your hard drive.

Do the following to create a collection.

1) Select some previews.

2) Click the + icon on the Collections panel header.

3) Select Create Collection.

Or, instead of the above, press Ctrl + n.

Virtual Copies

If you select Make new virtual copies in the Create-Selection window, duplicates are created.

Go to Virtual Copies.

Collection Sets

You can create a collection of collections, called a collection set.

Do the following to create a collection set.

1) Click the + icon on the Collections panel header.

2) Select Create Collection Set.

Move Collections

To move collections into the collection set, click the collection, hold, and drag it onto the collection set.

Create a New Collection in the Collection Set

To create a new collection in the collection set, do the following.

1) Select the collection set.

2) Click the + icon on the Collections panel header.

3) Select Create Collection.

Rename a Collection

To rename a collection, do the following.

1) Right click on the collection.

2) Select Rename.

3) Enter the new name.

4) Click Rename.

Keep a Collection on Top

If you want to keep a much-used collection on the top of the menu, insert an underscore at the beginning of the collection name.

For example, change Xerxes to _Xerxes.

Three Specialized Collections

There are three specialized collections.

#1 - Target Collection

Let's say you have a child, Percy, who is about to turn eighteen.

You want to make a poster with eighteen photographs, one for each year of his life.

As you spend hours finding the best photographs, you can have the selected photographs go to a targeted collection.

Do the following.

1) Create a collection called Percy's 18th Birthday.

2) Right click on the collection, and select Set as Target Collection.

3) A + icon will appear beside the name of the collection.

4) Press b to add a preview to the collection.

To stop using the target selection, right click on it, and deselect Set as Target Collection.

When you're using a target collection, the Quick Collection in the Folders panels has a – icon.

#2 - Smart Collections

You can create a collection with certain search criteria.

Then, whenever you open the smart collection, a fresh search is performed for those criteria.

The smart collection is always up-to-date.

Default Smart Collections

There are default smart collections already in Lightroom.

Open Smart Collections and click on these smart collections.

Past Month displays photographs taken during the past month.

Recently Modified displays photographs that have been modified during the past two days.


Right click on a smart collection, and select Edit Smart Collection.

You can see the criteria used to create that smart collection.

Create a Smart Collection

Let's say you publish a blog of restaurant reviews in NYC.

When you import the restaurant photographs, you tag them with keywords.

The keywords are the name of each borough, and restaurant.

The search criteria for the Staten-Island smart collection are the two keywords, Staten Island and restaurant.

When you click the Staten-Island smart collection, all of your Staten Island restaurant photographs appear.

Do the following to create a smart collection.

1) Click the + icon on the Collections panel header.

2) Select Create a Smart Collection.

3) Enter a name for the smart collection.

4) Look for the menu in the Smart Collection window.

It probably has Rating in the menu box.

5) Click the black triangle to open the menu.

6) Select Keywords.

7) In the menu to the middle, leave contains as the choice.

8) In the box to the right, enter Staten Island, restaurant.

9) If you want to add other search criteria, click the + button.

10) Click Create.

Now, whenever you add the two keywords, Staten Island and restaurant to a preview, that preview automatically appears in the smart collection.

We'll cover keywords later.

No Moving previews by Dragging

You can't sort a smart collection by dragging a preview from one location to another in Grid view.

#3 - Module Collections

When using the Slideshow, Print, and Web, modules, you can create collections specific to those modules.