(The Tenth of) Ten Simple Steps to a Faster Workflow in Lightroom

The tenth and last step for improving your workflow is: Delete your rejects so that only the images worth keeping and working on are in your catalog. You can use the flag or star attributes to rate your images, delete the “bad” ones, and filter the view so you are only viewing the “good” images.

There are two good reasons for dumping your bad images: (1) It will save space on your hard drive; and (2) it will streamline your workflow so you are only working on your best images and can more easily find the image that you want when you want it. The difficulty is deciding what to keep and what to throw out. I suggest that you set up some guidelines and a process and, while you can make exceptions, don’t make them very often.

Here’s one way to select the images to discard and keep:

  • Step 1: Select the first image in the filmstrip and go to loupe view (press the Enter/Return key or the E key).
  • Step 2: Hide the two sidebars, the filmstrip, and the module picker by pressing Shift-Tab, i.e., while holding down the Shift key, press and release the Tab key.
  • Step 3: Press the CAPS LOCK key.
  • Step 4: Assign a pick or reject flag or no flag at all to the image in loupe view. Click the P key to assign a pick flag, the X key to assign a reject, or the right arrow key to assign no flag. Whether a flag is even assigned and which flag toassignis based on the following guidelines:
    • Assign a reject flag to: (i) accidental shots, e.g., images of your feet; (ii) images so far under or over exposed that they can’t be saved; (iii) heavily blurred and out-of-focus images; (iv) uninteresting and/or boring images; (v) badly composed images that can’t be fixed with a LITTLE judicious cropping; (vi) repeats; and (vii) other images just not worth keeping.
    • Assign a pick flag only to images that are properly exposed and composed (a little cropping is okay), focus is in the right place, and the depth of field is right for the image. These images are the ones that you will edit and show to friends and colleagues. If you wouldn’t show an image to your friends or colleagues, it doesn’t deserve a pick flag.
    • Don’t assign a pick or reject flag to images that don’t fall into one of the categories above. These are images that you may or may not want later but are worth keeping around.
    • Assign a pick flag to an image regardless of the image quality if it sentimental or is otherwise important to you.
  • Step 5: Repeat Step 4 until you have rated every image. If you have set the CAPS LOCK key, when you press P to assign a pick flag or X to assign a reject flag to an image, Lightroom will assign the pick or reject flag to the image and display the next image in the filmstrip. This saves you from having to click on two keys, one to assign the appropriate flag and one to advance to the next image.
  • Step 6: Show the two sidebars, the filmstrip, and module picker by pressing Shift-Tab.
  • Step 7: Delete the images that have been assigned a reject flag. First, go to grid view (click the grid view icon in the toolbar or the G key), display the filter bar (if it isn’t already visible) by clicking on the backslash (\) key, click on “Attribute” in the filter bar to display the attribute filter, and then click on the reject flag icon in that bar. This will filter your view of the images, displaying only the images that you assigned a reject flag in the image preview area and filmstrip. Take one more look at the images to make sure you aren’t deleting an image worth keeping and, if you find one, click on the U key to unflag the image. Finally, press Ctrl/Cmd-A to select all the images and click on the Delete key to delete the images. Remember to click on None in the filter bar to turn off the attribute filter.
  • Step 8:  Review the images that have been assigned a pick flag. First, go to grid view (click the grid view icon in the toolbar or the G key), display the filter bar (if it isn’t already visible) by clicking on the backslash (\) key, click on “Attribute” in the filter bar to display the attribute filter, and then click on the reject flag icon in that bar. This will filter your view of the images, displaying only the images that you assigned a pick flag in the image preview area and filmstrip. Take one more look at the images to make sure you haven’t accidentally assigned too many images a pick flag and, if you find one, click on the U key to unflag the image.

You can also use the star attribute to edit your images. Follow Steps 1 through 3 and, instead of assigning a pick or peject flag to each image, assign one star (click on the number 1 key) to each image that isn’t a reject then filter for all the images with one star and go through them again, assigning two stars (click on the number 2 key) to images that are better than average. You can repeat this process up to three more times, i.e, assigning three stars, four stars, and five stars in order during each subsequent pass, to whittle down the number of images. Once all the images have been rated, delete the images that have no stars assigned to them and skip Step 8.

Whether you used the flags or the stars to rate your images, you can easily view only your best images by filtering the view based on the Pick flag or whatever number of stars you used to designate the best of the best.

Again, it can’t be stressed enough that once your images are imported in Lightroom that images should only be deleted, moved, and renamed in Lightroom and new folders should only be created and renamed within Lightroom. Otherwise, Lightroom will lose track of your images and you will need to help Lightroom find them.

- Brian

Editor’s Note: In early May, Brian started a series of ten posts each outlining one or more simple but small things you can do to speed up your Lightroom workflow. This is the eighth post in that series; the first post was about how to efficiently manipulate Lightroom’s interface to reduce clutter; the second about the improving your efficiency inside Lightroom by using context menus; the third about how to name folders; the fourth about how to name image files; the fifth about using keyboard shortcuts; the sixth about using keywords to quickly find images; the seventh about using collections to organize your images; the eighth about using filter presets and smart collections to help keep your catalog clean; and the ninth about the why you should always use Lightroom to delete, move, or rename image files.

Lightroom 5.6 is Available and Includes Support for Nikon D810 Raw Images

Although I can find no announcement on the Adobe website, Lightroom 5.6 is available for download and it appears to include support for the Nikon D810. See Uh-Oh! I Can’t See My Nikon D810 Files. I can’t find a download page that I can link to or any information on Adobe.com at the current time. However, I will update this post once something is posted online. To update to Lightroom 5.6 if you subscribe to the Creative Cloud, quit Lightroom, start the Creative Cloud app, and click the “Install” button next to Lightroom 5. If you have a perpetual license for Lightroom, open Lightroom and go to Help > Check for Updates… Click the “Download” button and follow the instructions on the download page.

PS on July 31 at 1:19 pm: Information about Lightroom 5.6 and the links from which to download the update are at: https://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2014/07/lightroom-5-6-now-available.html. If you subscribe to the Creative Cloud, download the update from within the Creative Cloud app.

Uh-Oh! I Can’t See My Nikon D810 Files

With the release of the Nikon D810 last week, we have received a number of urgent e-mails asking why Lightroom can’t see its raw files. Unfortunately, Lightroom must be updated to recognize the D810 files and, until that happens, you must use one of four workarounds. Each workaround has its pluses and minuses. The four choices are as follows:

  1. Nikon Capture NX-D: Nikon has discontinued support of Capture NX2 and replaced it with Nikon Capture NX-D. While powerful, it isn’t Lightroom or Photoshop and doesn’t support any plugins. It will, however, recognize and allow you to edit the D810 raw files.
  2. Nikon View NX: View NX is an image browser only. You can’t edit the images but you can view them and convert them to TIFF images. TIFF images can be imported into Lightroom or opened in Photoshop.
  3. DNG Converter 8.6 (Beta): The DNG Converter will convert the D810 raw files to the DNG format, which can then be viewed and edited in Lightroom or Photoshop. This and the next option are your most versatile solution at this time. Note: The link takes you to the download page for the Camera Raw 8.6 beta plugin; the link for downloading the DNG Converter is at the bottom of the page.
  4. Camera Raw 8.6 (Beta) for Photoshop CC or CC 2014 or Camera Raw 8.6 (Beta) for Photoshop CS6: A beta version of the next update to the Camera Raw plugin for Photoshop is currently available on the Adobe Labs site. It can recognize and edit D810 raw files. It will also allow you to view D810 files in Adobe Bridge. This and the previous option are your most versatile solutions at this time.

Adobe is certainly working on an update to Lightroom but it hasn’t announced any release date. It also isn’t clear whether the update will be Lightroom 5.6 or Lightroom 6. Rumors are that Lightroom 6 is coming shortly. We will let you know when an update or Lightroom 6 is available.

PS on July 31 at 10:44 am: Lightroom 5.6 is now available from Adobe. While there is no information currently available online about the update, it appears to support the Nikon D810 raw files. See Lightroom 5.6 is Available and Includes Support for Nikon D810 Raw Images.

PPS on July 31 at 1:19 pm: Information about Lightroom 5.6 and the links from which to download the update are at: https://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjournal/2014/07/lightroom-5-6-now-available.html. If you subscribe to the Creative Cloud, download the update from within the Creative Cloud app.

The Relentless March of Technology and Image Editing Software

Editor’s Note: This post appeared verbatim in the July 15, 2014, newsletter. It is being posted here by request.

One thing is certain when it comes to image editing software: Change is inevitable. Most changes are incremental. Photoshop CC 2014 added a couple of new features for photographers but Photoshop CC 2014 isn’t “all new.” This means I don’t have to learn a whole new program, just a few new features. However, if a company decides that their technology is old or not profitable, they may decide to simply cease development and that leaves you with some pretty serious issues.

Many photographers are currently being forced to create new workflows because the authors of their favorite image editing applications, Nikon Capture NX 2 and Apple’s Aperture and iPhoto, have decided to cease development. NX 2, Aperture, and iPhoto are still available but support and development will soon end. NX 2 will be replaced by Nikon Capture NX-D and Aperture and iPhoto with Photos for Mac OS X and the iCloud Photo Library. However, these applications and services are not the equivalent of the applications they are replacing except for the replacement of iPhoto with Photos.

While you may use neither, there are or were many Nikonians that love Capture NX-2. There is also a legion of faithful Aperture users. While the currently available versions of these applications will continue to work on current operating systems, there is no guarantee that they will in future operating systems or that any bugs will be fixed in the future. So, you have some decisions to make and it is better to make them now rather than later and to get started implementing them now as well.

Depending on your current workflow, switching image editing applications poses some serious compatibility and other issues. (I am not going to address the change from iPhoto to Photos for Mac here because, if you are reading this newsletter, you are probably using something other than iPhoto.) Here are just a few…

  • Edits in NX 2 and Aperture will not translate into Lightroom or other programs
  • Keywords and other metadata may or may not transfer to Lightroom or other programs
  • Lightroom or any other image editing program will require you to learn another application and that takes time
  • Your workflow may need to change to reflect the different capabilities of the new application
  • There will be a cost to the transfer, e.g., buying a license or subscription to a new application
  • If you are a Mac user, do you upgrade your operating system this fall and risk breaking something (I suggest you wait and check the online forums. The early adopters will tell you whether NX 2 (possibly but maybe not) or Aperture (very doubtful) break.

There is also another downside if you are a professional or enthusiast with a large number of images. You really only have, in my opinion, a couple of options: Lightroom or Capture One with Media Pro. Of those two, the only real option for most will be Lightroom. I know that some will disagree with my conclusion but for simplicity of workflow, you can’t beat Lightroom. Also, it is only $149 for a perpetual license, which is much cheaper than the $299 for Capture One, and an extensive number of plugins are available for expanding Lightroom that simply aren’t there for Capture One.

So, if you are a NX 2 or Aperture user, now is the time to start thinking about the transition to a new workflow. You have some work to do before the end of the year.

Editor’s Note: The School of Creative Photography will hold a two-day class on September 20 and 21, 2014, on Lightroom. The class cover organizing, editing, and printing your images from Lightroom.

(The Ninth of) Ten Simple Steps to a Faster Workflow in Lightroom

The ninth step is more of a precaution than a true step: Do not delete, move, or rename images outside of Lightroom. Delete images, create new folders, move images between folders, and rename images only within Lightroom.

Before you can organize, edit, or output your images in Lightroom, the images must be “imported” into the currently opened catalog. Unfortunately, the word Import is a bit of misnomer. Your images aren’t being imported into the catalog; they are either staying exactly where they are on your hard drive (the Add option in the Import dialogue) or being copied from their current location to a new location on the hard drive (the Copy option in the Import dialogue). What you are really doing when you “import” images is instructing Lightroom to remember these images exist and where the original copy of these images are on the hard drive. This is different than what iPhoto does, which is physically copy the images into the iPhoto Library, and what the Managed option is in Aperture, which is physically copy the images into the Aperture Library. It is the same as the Referenced option in Aperture.

While Lightroom creates and stores thumbnails and previews (low resolution copies) of the images, it sole link to the original images is the path stored in the catalog, e.g., C:\User\bzwit\Pictures\2014\2014-07-04_National Mall Fireworks\Image001.nef. To edit an image, Lightroom needs more information than is in a preview and this means that the original image file must be available to Lightroom. In other words, if you store images on an external hard drive, that drive must be connected and mounted before you can edit any images on that drive. With Lightroom 5, you can create smart previews and edit your images offline but Lightroom will still need access to the original images to output the them with any edits.

Lightroom will always look for the original image file using the path and name stored in the catalog. So, if you rename or move images outside of Lightroom, Lightroom won’t know that the images have been renamed or moved to a new location. It won’t find the original image files and, as a consequence, won’t let you edit or output your images. The bottom line is, once the images are imported into Lightroom, use Lightroom to delete images, create new folders, move images between files, and rename images. When done inside Lightroom, Lightroom will automatically update the name and path in the catalog or delete the image from the catalog.

screenshot_0461

Screenshot 1: Delete dialogue window with three options: Delete from Disk, Cancel, and Remove

To delete an image or images…

  1. Select an image or images to delete
  2. Right-click the image or one of the images and click on Remove Photos… OR press the Delete key
  3.  Click:
    • Delete from Disk to remove the image from the Lightroom catalog and delete the original file from the hard drive (pick this to delete images that you don’t want)
    • Cancel to cancel the delete operation and dismiss the window
    • Remove to remove the image from the Lightroom catalog and leave the original image file on the hard drive)
screenshot_0462

Screenshot 2: Folders panel and the right-click context menu.

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Screenshot 3: Create Folder window.

To create a new folder…

  1. Right-click on the folder in the Folders panel that will contain the new folder, e.g., to create a folder under the “2013″ folder, right-click on it in the Folders panel
  2. Click on Create Folder Inside “[name of selected folder]” (see Screenshot 2)
  3. In the Create Folder dialogue window (see Screenshot 3)…
    • Enter a name for the Folder
    • If unchecked, check Put in “[name of folder]“ to create the folder under the named folder
    • Check Include selected photos to move any selected images to the new folder
  4. Press Create to create the folder and dismiss the Create Folder window
screenshot_0464

Screenshot 4: Move warning window

To move images between folders in Lightroom…

  1. Select the image or images to be moved to a different location on the hard drive
  2. Drag the images from the image preview area or the filmstrip to the new folder in the Folders panel
  3. When the new folder is highlighted in blue, release the mouse button
  4. Press Move in the warning dialogue box to move the images and dismiss the warning (see Screenshot 4)

Note: I recommend that you don’t check the “Don’t show again” checkbox because trackpads make it easy to accidentally move files. The warning will allow you to cancel any accidental moves.

To rename a folder in Lightroom…

rename

Screenshot 5: Folders panel and context menu with Rename… menu item

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Screenshot 6: Rename Folder window

  1. Right-click on the folder to be renamed in the Folders panel
  2. Click on Rename…
  3. Enter a new name for the folder
  4. Click on Save to rename the folder

Again, it can’t be stressed enough that once your images are imported in Lightroom that images should only be deleted, moved, and renamed in Lightroom and new folders should only be created and renamed within Lightroom. Otherwise, Lightroom will lose track of your images and you will need to help Lightroom find them. It is far easier to just use Lightroom to make these basic changes and not mess up your catalog.

- Brian

Editor’s Note: In early May, Brian started a series of ten posts each outlining one or more simple but small things you can do to speed up your Lightroom workflow. This is the eighth post in that series; the first post was about how to efficiently manipulate Lightroom’s interface to reduce clutter; the second about the improving your efficiency inside Lightroom by using context menus; the third about how to name folders; the fourth about how to name image files; the fifth about using keyboard shortcuts; the sixth about using keywords to quickly find images; the seventh about using collections to organize your images; and the eighth about using filter presets and smart collections to help keep your catalog clean.

(The Eighth of) Ten Simple Steps to a Faster Workflow in Lightroom

Screenshot of the filter bar and present menu

Screenshot 1: The filter presets are accessed by clicking on the currently selected preset located on the right end of the filter bar.

The eighth step, while not as fun as organizing and editing your images, is a necessary step: Use filter presets and smart collections to help keep your catalog clean and organized.

Screenshot of the Collection panel displaying a Collection Set titled "Catalog Cleanup"

Screenshot 2: The Collection panel displaying a Collection Set titled “Catalog Cleanup” used for cleaning my catalog.

As covered in previous posts, there are a significant number of steps in organizing your images in Lightroom and, as a result, it can be difficult to know whether you have completed every step in your workflow. However, Lightroom can help you determine what steps are left to do using filter presets (see Screenshot 1) and smart collections* (see Screenshot 2). Filter presets display images in the folder selected in the Folders panel that met the condition or conditions in the preset; smart collections will include any images in the catalog that meet the text condition or conditions of the smart collection.

A filter preset’s or smart collection’s criteria can be simple, consisting of one text condition, or complex, consisting of many text conditions. For example, a preset or smart collection can display all the images in the folder or catalog, respectively, that has a specific color label, e.g., red label, assigned to it or has a specific color label and a specific keyword assigned to it. You don’t add images to a smart collection Lightroom add all the images that meet the criteria to the collection automatically; it will also remove any images that met the criteria but have been changed and no longer met the criteria.

You can use filter presets and smart collections to help you maintain your Lightroom catalog. For example, a filter preset and smart collection that displays images that have no keywords assigned to them tells yow, respectively, what images in the currently selected folder have no keywords and what images in the catalog have not been assigned at least one keyword. To help you manage offline editing, I have two presets, one that displays the images with a smart preview and the other images that do not have a smart preview. This allows you to create smart previews for images that you want to edit offline and delete the smart previews that you no longer need.

To create a filter preset…

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 11.06.18 AM copy

Screenshot 3: The preset menu actions with the Save Current Settings as New Preset… command.

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Screenshot 4: The New Preset window for naming a new preset.

  1. If not already in Grid View, go to Grid View
  2. If the filter bar is not visible, click on the “\” (backslash) key
  3. Set up a filter as desired based on searchable text, attributes, and metadata (see Screenshot 1)
  4. Click on the filter preset menu and select Save Current Settings as New Preset… (see Screenshot 3)
  5. Enter a name for the preset and click Create (see Screenshot 4)

To use the preset later, click on the preset menu in the filter bar and then on the preset in the menu to active the preset

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Screenshot 5: The Create Smart Collection window.

To create a smart collection…

  1. Click on the “+” (plus) icon in the upper right corner of the Collections panel
  2. Click on Create Smart Collection in the popup menu (see Figure 2)
  3. In the Create Smart Collection dialog window (see Figure 3)…
    • Enter a Name for the collection
    • To place the new smart collection inside an existing collection set, check Inside a Collection Set and then select the collection set from the drop-down menu to add the collection to a collection set
    • Chose Match [any or all or none] of the following rules to determine whether an image needs to match any, all, or none of the rules to be include in the smart collection
    • Select the text condition, e.g., the metadata to search on, the condition, and the value, to set up the smart collection, every image meeting the condition will be automatically added to the collection
    • If desired, add a second, third, or more text condition by clicking on the “+” (plus) icon at the end of the first condition (Note: Once there is more than one text condition, a “-” (minus) icon will appear at the end of each text condition; clicking on the minus icon will delete that text condition from the smart collection.)
  4. Click on Create to create the new collection and dismiss the dialog window

To create a collection set…

  1. Click on the “+” (plus) in the upper right corner of the Collections panel
  2. Click on  Create Collection Set in the popup menu (see Figure 2)
  3. In the Create Collection Set dialog window…
    • Enter a Name for the collection set
    • Check Inside a Collection Set and then select the collection set to add the collection set to that the selected collection set
  4. Click on Create to create the new collection set

Simple but frequently overlooked, filter presets and smart collections can help you to keep your catalog clean and up to date. By doing so, extraneous images, mistakes, and overlooked workflow steps can be corrected before they get in your way later, speeding up your workflow and allowing you to easily and quickly find your images.

*As discussed in the last post, there are two types of collections, collections and smart collections, and one type that exists at all times, quick collection, in Lightroom. You can have as many collections and smart collections as desired but only one quick collection per catalog. Images are manually added to and removed from a collection (so I sometime refer to these as manual collections). A smart collection is a collection that is populated according to a rule or set of rules and any images that meet the criteria set by the rules existing at the time the smart collection is created or exists in the future are automatically made a part of the collection. Images are added to the quick collection by dragging and dropping the image on the Quick Collection or using a shortcut.

- Brian

Editor’s Note: In early May, Brian started a series of ten posts each outlining one or more simple but small things you can do to speed up your Lightroom workflow. This is the eighth post in that series; the first post was about how to efficiently manipulate Lightroom’s interface to reduce clutter; the second about the improving your efficiency inside Lightroom by using context menus; the third about how to name folders; the fourth about how to name image files; the fifth about using keyboard shortcuts; the sixth about using keywords to quickly find images; and the seventh about using collections to organize your images.

Aperture and iPhoto: They Are Going Away

In a long anticipated move, Apple will cease development of Aperture, its pro photo editing application, and iPhoto. Mac’s new operating system called Yosemite and scheduled for release this fall will include a new photo app called Photos for OS X. While Apple has been showing off Photos for OS X and has said some of the advance features of Aperture will be in Photos, it isn’t at all clear how sophisticated Photos will be. Because Photos will be for everyone, I would expect its functionality to be more like iPhoto than Aperture and what few remaining pros and enthusiasts using Aperture will quickly move to Lightroom.

Editor’s Note: If you need to make the switch from iPhoto or Aperture to Lightroom, the School of Creative Photography can help you. Our Lightroom class is scheduled for September 20 and 21 in Sterling, VA, and will get you up to speed quickly on managing and editing your images in Lightroom.

(The Seventh of) Ten Simple Steps to a Faster Workflow in Lightroom

collection panel

Figure 1: The Collection panel, which is organized by subject using Collection Sets, e.g., Catalog Cleanup, Projects, etc.

The seventh step follows the third and sixth steps: Use collections to keep track of images for projects.

Assuming you are storing your images by date and location, as discussed in a previous post, and consistently keywording your images, as discussed in the last post, finding all your images of a specific event or your dog should be quick and easy. However, it gets more complicated as soon as you start working on a project and, while you can easily find numerous images of your dog, you most likely want to identify a subset of those images and keep track of them regardless of what folder they are located in on the hard drive.

In the days before Lightroom, we would take out a piece of paper and write down the names of the files that we wanted to use for a project or, even more confusing but less time consuming, create a second copy of the images in a new folder. A collection in Lightroom is similar to that piece of paper but much more powerful. You can add images to a collection and subtract images; with a piece of paper, you would have added an image to the bottom of the list and simply scratched through a file on the list to remove it. However, unlike with a piece of paper, you can display and work on the images in a collection by simply highlighting the collection in the Collection panel. The paper approach required searching for each individual image every time it needed to be edited or used in the project.

There are two types of collections* in Lightroom: (1) collections and (2) smart collections. See Figure 1.  Images are manually added to and removed from a collection (so I sometime refer to these as manual collections). On the other hand, a smart collection is a collection that is populated according to a rule or set of rules and any images that meet the criteria set by the rules existing at the time the smart collection is created or exists in the future are automatically made a part of the collection. The best thing about collections and smart collections is that you can shutdown Lightroom and all your collections and smart collections will be available the next time you open Lightroom with the same catalog.

A manual collection is great for a book or other project. (I also use smart collections frequently and will discuss them in the next blog post.) To use it, simply add all the images for the project to the collection and then, when you want to work on or use those images, go to the Collections panel and highlight that collection. All the images in the collection will be displayed in the image preview area if in Grid View and in the filmstrip. Anything changes made to the images in a collection are actually made to the original image and will be reflect in the view of the image in its original folder. When you are done with the project, it is easy to remove a collection without deleting the images.

To create a collection…

collection

Figure 3: The Create Collection dialog window for creating “manual” collections.

collection panel plus menu

Figure 2: Click on Create Collection to display the Create Collection dialog window (see Figure 3).

  1. Click on the “+” (plus) in the upper right corner of the Collections panel
  2. Click on  Create Collection in the popup menu (see Figure 2)
  3. In the Create Collection dialog window (see Figure 3)…
    • Enter a Name for the collection
    • Check Inside a Collection Set and then select the collection set from the drop-down menu to add the collection to a collection set
    • Check Include selected photos to include the selected photos in the new collection
    • Check Make new virtual copies to make a virtual copy of all the selected images and include the virtual copies in the new collection instead of the original images
    • Check Set as target collection to set the new collection as the targeted collection (If it is the target collection, images can be added to the collection by using the Quick Collection shortcuts)
    • Check Sync with Lightroom mobile to have the image in the new collection automatically sync with Lightroom Mobile on your iPad or iPhone
  4. Click on Create to create the new collection and dismiss the dialog window

To add images to a collection…

  1. Drag and drop one or more images on to the collection in the Collection panel

OR

  1. Right click the collection in the Collection panel
  2. In the popup menu, click on Set as Target Collection
  3. Select the image or images to be added to the collection
  4. Click on “B
collection set

Figure 4: The Create Collection Set dialog window for creating a “collection set,” which is a folder for organizing collections in a coherent manner.

To delete an image from a collection…

  1. Select the image
  2. Click on the Delete or Backspace key

To create a collection set…

  1. Click on the “+” (plus) in the upper right corner of the Collections panel
  2. Click on  Create Collection Set in the popup menu (see Figure 2)
  3. In the Create Collection Set dialog window…
    • Enter a Name for the collection set
    • Check Inside a Collection Set and then select the collection set to add the collection set to that the selected collection set
  4. Click on Create to create the new collection set

Collections are a great alternative to creating copies of images or creating a handwritten list of images for a project. Using them for projects should increase your productivity and save you a significant amount of time.

*There is a third catalog type called a Quick Collection but there is only one per catalog and it is generally used to start a manual collection because, by default, images can be added to it by clicking on the “B” key, i.e., it is the “targeted collection.” While it can be useful at time, I find it better to just create a new collection and populate it directly rather than starting a manual collection as a Quick Collection, saving the Quick Collection as a manual collection, and then clearing the Quick Collection.

- Brian

Editor’s Note: In early May, Brian started a series of ten posts each outlining one or more simple but small things you can do to speed up your Lightroom workflow. This is the seventh post in that series; the first post was about how to efficiently manipulate Lightroom’s interface to reduce clutter; the second about the improving your efficiency inside Lightroom by using context menus; the third about how to name folders; the fourth about how to name image files; the fifth about using keyboard shortcuts; and the sixth about using keywords to quickly find images.