Collections; An Introduction To A Better Workflow

Collections. I would argue the MOST unappreciated, overlooked afterthought in Lightroom Classic. If you have been ignoring them please stop. They WILL make your life easier. They WILL make your workflow stronger - understanding them is key to good Lightrooming. 

So there are three categories of Collections. Collections - which is best compared to a single folder of images. Collections Sets - which is best compared to a folder hierarchy system containing multiple Collections. And lastly, Smart Collections - which is best compared to wizardry (actually probably best compared to a saved search). In this post we will cover Collections and Collection sets and save Smart Collections for another post. 

Collections can be found in the left panel - no matter what Module you are in. Yep, Collections are so important that they appear in every single Module. You can drag and drop a single photo into a collection or select multiple images and drag and drop into a collection. You can also set a collection as the Target Collection. This can make your workflow even faster. To set a Collection as the Target Collection simply right-click on the Collection you want to "Target" and select the "Set As Target Collection" option - you will see a plus (+) symbol next to the Target Collection. Once you set the Target Collection you can use your "B" key to add to that Collection. Simply select an image or multiple images and tap the "B" key, those images will then appear in the Target Collection. You can also right-click an image (or multiple selected images) and choose "Add To Target Collection" to add images to the Target Collection.

 Collections can be found in the left panel.

Collections can be found in the left panel.

 Right-Click on the Collection you want to Target and select Set As Target Collection

Right-Click on the Collection you want to Target and select Set As Target Collection

 You will see this icon in the lower right hand corner of an image that is in a collection

You will see this icon in the lower right hand corner of an image that is in a collection

How many collections can you have? As many as you want! What images can you add to a Collection? Any images that you want! Does adding an image to a Collection move it's location? Nope! Adding an image or images to a Collection simply ADDS them to a new "viewing folder" (Collection) it DOES NOT move them from ANY other location in Lightroom or your computer. Any image within your Lightroom Catalog can put in a Collection.

So what should you use collections for? Well that is totally up to you but I can give you a few suggestions. I would suggest having a Collection Set for 5 Star images with 2 Collections in the set, one collection for color images and one collection for BW images. Then maybe a collection for Social Media - images you have shared or plan to share. One collection for images you plan to put on your website. Maybe you want a Collection for all Landscape photos and one for all Family photos and one for all Portrait images and one for Cityscapes. I also have Collections by year (sometimes a Collection Set per year and the months as Collections within the set). Well, hopefully you get what I am going for here - you can have Collections and Collection Sets for just about anything! And hopefully you are starting to realize how helpful collections can be to your Lightroom workflow!