How I Use Lightroom - Collections

Last time, I talked about how I import images. This week, I'll cover how I use collections, both regular and smart. When I first started using Lightroom, I rarely used collections.  As I began shooting more often and having to post-process my images, I forced myself to take advantage of collections, especially since the folders panel is only available in the Library module.

I've also discovered the Workflow Smart Collection.  During import, I add all images to the 0.00 Current Work collection.


I use collections for grouping images together which may have been taken at different times.  Also, collections allow an image to be in multiple collections without taking up any more space on your hard drive.  Some of my collections include:

  • Family photos
  • Photos of our cat
  • Photos taken at a specific location

I also use collections for syncing with Lightroom Mobile.  As of this writing, Lightroom Mobile only allows synchronization of static collections.  I duplicate some of my static collections as smart collections.  I use the smart collection to identify the images which should be in the static collection and then copy those images to the static collection.


As for smart collections, I use them for a few reasons.  I use smart collections to group images together with similar metadata.  I also use them to identify images which are missing keywords, have not been processed, have the same color label, have the same rating, etc.  The image to the left shows some of my smart collections.

While it's probably overkill, I keyword my images with the camera and lens used to take a particular image so that if that portion of the metadata disappears, I'll still know what I used (so long as the keywords don't disappear too).

For more information on how to create collections, check out the Lightroom Queen's How do I create and manage collections?