Use Collections and Collections Sets In Lightroom To Organize Your Photos

Since I started using Lightroom 3, I began to appreciate the power of collections and collection sets. I’m starting to use them more and more and it helps me organize my catalog and greatly improved my workflow. When I was using LR2 I used to have separate Catalogs for each type of  photos that I make, leaving me with dozens or more of Catalogs to maintain. I use to have one catalog for wildlife, one for nature, one for each events and birthday engagements that I shoot. It was ok, provided I can keep track of all those catalogs that I have created, which I find hard as the number of catalogs increases. The reason why I created several catalogs is mainly because of LR2’s performance.  I noticed that  as a catalog becomes bigger and because I have all my photos resides on a Windows 2003 networked server, the more it becomes a problem. With photos on several catalogs, the performance is not all that bad because I only have a hand full of photos and only the ones I need on each catalog.

When LR3 came out, all that has changed, I noticed a great performance increase and I started to use one catalog and just organized my shoots using Collections and Collection Sets. I still have the same hardware setup, accessing my photos over a network server.  Now what are these Collections and Collections sets  in Lightroom, Collection is a container of  photos I selected that I wanted to organized and group together, were as Collection Sets is a container that includes one or more collections. A collection set does not contain photos, it contains collections.

Why use a collection?

We use collection mainly to make our lightroom exprience easier. I use collections to group together all of my favorite photos, I also use collections to separate each or group together all of my shoots, or I can create a collection for all the photos taken with a specific lens like for example all taken with a EF-s 10-22 or a EF 70-200mm and not only that, you can create a collection for all the photos you have rated and much more.

Below is simple step by step instruction on how to create a collection. In the example below, I created a collection for one of my shoot .

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Photo 1. Goto Folder in Library
To initially create a collection for a set of photos, first, I needed to be sure I am in the correct folder, right click on one of the photos and I goto folder in the library
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Photo 2. Create Collection
Inside the folder, I select the photos I want to put in my collection, so I press Ctrl A to select all the photos. Then in the Collection group on the Left Panel –> Create Collection.
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Photo 3. Include your Collection in a Set
Here I have the option of making this new collection a part of an existing collection set, which in this case I did include it under the collection set Shoots. Otherwise, choose none.
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Photo 4. Name your collection
Name your collection and press Create.
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Photo 5. Processing
You should see the status on the upper left corner of your screen.

And there it is, my photos are now in a collection and the new collection is now part of the Set Shoots.

If you have any questions, inquiries, suggestions or corrections, I would love to hear them. You can send me an email or just feel free to post a comment below.

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