Collecting Lightroom Collections

by Ken Milburn

There will be times when you want to browse through multiple libraries in order to find a certain category of photos to be used for a specific purpose. For instance, I often place on-line ads for some of my photographic services. Lately, I've been suspecting that these ads would attract more attention if replaced the photos that illustrate these ads more often. Lightroom's Collections feature makes this really easy. It just gives you a very handy way to work with any number of images that were taken at different times for different reasons, and stored in different folders.

There are two kinds of Collections, namely Collections and Quick Collections. Collections can be thought of as virtual Folders. Putting a photo into a Collection doesn't actually duplicate the file or move it from its original location. There is no actual image in the Collection, only a pointer, in the form of a thumbnail, to the image that's stored in Lightroom's Folders or Libraries. But this is only a technical difference. You still see thumbnails in the Grid View, can Loupe them just by pressing Return and can develop them any way you like. You can even create a virtual copy that doesn't create a duplicate file, only a duplicate set of Lightroom instructions. Nothing you do to a Virtual Copy actually changes the original file. It just acts as a duplicate set of instructions that shows a different set of Develop instructions applied to that same file.


2007-04-05 15:36:49
Well at last I agree with your assessment! You might also add that each collection remembers the last web or slideshow preset that was used to display it, and will then be available from the filmstrip. Collections are multipurpose.

It's also worth saying that if you fail to add virtual copies to a collection immediately after creating them, you have to select each one manually. With a large number of virtual copies, that can be really painful. Aperture does this better because it exposes the versions' names, which can be picked up by smart albums (collections). Adobe need to match this.

Thanks for your worthwhile additions. One of the benefits of teaching is that you learn more. -Ken Milburn