Types of collections
Collections are a way to group photos in one place for easy viewing or for performing a variety of tasks. For example, you can assemble photos in a collection into a slide show, contact sheet, or a web photo gallery. Once created, collections are listed in the Collections panel of every module. They can be selected anytime you need them. You can create as many collections as you need.
Regular collection A group of any photos you choose to put in a group.
Smart collection Collections based on rules that you define. For example, you can create a smart collection of all photos that have a five-star rating and a red color label. Photos that meet the criteria are automatically added to the smart collection.
Quick collection You can temporarily group photos for certain tasks into the Quick Collection. Unlike regular or smart collections, there can be only one Quick Collection at a time in the catalog.
Here are some things to keep in mind about working with collections:
Make sure that you understand the difference between catalogs and collections: Collections are groups of photos within a catalog.
Photos can belong to more than one collection.
You cannot stack photos in a collection.
You can change the sort order of the photos in a regular collection, but you cannot sort by User Order or drag photos to rearrange them in a smart collection.
Removing a photo from a collection doesn’t remove the photo from the catalog or send it to the Recycle Bin (Windows) or Trash (Mac OS).
You can create collection sets to organize your collections.
You can explicitly save Slideshow, Print, and Web module settings as output collections. See Save slide show settings as a slide show collection, Save print settings as a print collection, and Save web settings as a web collection.
For a video about using keywords to organize your photos, see Keyword overview.
Work with collections and collection sets
The collection appears in the Collections panel with a photo-print icon . Photos that are part of a collection display a Photo Is In Collection badge in the Grid view and the Filmstrip.
A collection set is a container that includes one or more collections. Collection sets give you flexibility in organizing and managing your photos. A collection set does not actually contain photos; it only contains collections, including regular collections, smart collections, and output creations. A collection set has a filing box icon .
Photos in a collection display the Photo Is In Collection badge in the Grid view and the Filmstrip. Click the badge to see which collections the photo is in.
Note: Smart collections are not listed.
In a collection, Ctrl-click (Mac OS) or right-click (Windows) a photo and choose Go To Folder In Library to go to the folder that contains the photo.
- In the Collections panel, click the Plus icon (+) and do one of the following:
Choose Sort By Name to sort collections alphabetically.
Choose Sort By Kind to sort collections by type.
A target collection allows you to override the temporary Quick Collection. A target collection lets you make any permanent collection behave as a Quick Collection for as long as it is targeted. Targeted collections are an easy way to quickly group photos together for further processing.
Work with the Quick Collection
Use the Quick Collection to assemble a temporary group of photos to work with in any module. You can view the Quick Collection in the Filmstrip or in the Grid view, and you can convert the Quick Collection to a permanent collection.
Video tutorial: The Quick Collection
- In the Library module, select Quick Collection in the Catalog panel.
- In the Filmstrip Source Indicator menu, choose Quick Collection.
In the Library or Develop module, choose Photo > Remove From Quick Collection. In the Slideshow, Print, or Web modules, choose Edit > Remove From Quick Collection.
From any module, select the photo and press the B key. Or move the pointer over a thumbnail image and click the circle in its upper-right corner.
A Quick Collection can be saved as a collection. You have the option of clearing the Quick Collection after saving it.
Work with smart collections
A smart collection is a collection based on metadata criteria that you specify. Smart collections automatically include all photos that meet the criteria. You don’t manually add or remove photos from a smart collection.
Lightroom includes a set of five default smart collections: Colored Red, Five Stars, Past Month, Recently Modified, and Without Keywords.
The rules used to define searchable text conditions for smart collections are the same as the rules used to search for text with the Library Filter bar. For definitions, see Search for photos using the Text filter.
Lightroom adds the smart collection to the Collections panel and adds all the photos in the catalog that meet the specified rules. Smart collections have a photo-print icon with a gear in the lower-right corner .
You cannot sort by User Order or drag photos to rearrange them in a smart collection.
You can share smart collections by exporting smart collection settings and then importing those settings into a different catalog. Lightroom applies a .lrsmcol filename extension to smart collection settings files.
Exporting a smart collection exports the rules for the smart collection. It does not export the photos that are in the smart collection.
When you import smart collection rules, Lightroom creates the smart collection to the Collections panel and adds any photos in the catalog that meet the smart collection criteria.
- To export a smart collection, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) it in the Collections panel and choose Export Smart Collection Settings. Specify the name and location of the exported smart collection settings file and then click Save.
- To import a smart collection, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) it in the Collections panel and choose Import Smart Collection Settings. Navigate to and select a smart collection .lrsmcol settings file and click Import.
Export a collection as a catalog
You can export a collection of photos as a new catalog. When you create a catalog from a collection of photos, the settings in the photos are exported to the new catalog.
Exporting a smart collection as a catalog adds the photos in the smart collection to the new catalog. It does not export the rules or criteria that constitute the smart collection.