Lightroom: Limit Smart Collections to a Collection or Collection Set

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There doesn't seem to be a way to limit a smart collection to a collection or collection set. When I create a smart collection inside a collection set, my expectation was that it would apply the criteria to the parent collection set only. Instead, it filters the entire library, regardless of where the smart collection is located. This is really confusing to me, and apparently to others.

To give an example of why this is helpful, and why it is an expected behavior, here is a workflow I typically use: I load my images through Lightroom onto a drive. The folder name is just a date. I then use collection sets as the equivalent of a "Project" (I was an Aperture user for many years). Inside the collection set, I create collections of photos. Then, what I would want to do, is create a series of smart collections to, say show my TIFFs that I am editing in Photoshop, or have between 3 and 5 stars. I would expect this to be filtered to parent collection set, so that I could re-create those smart collections inside each collection set.

Now, yes, I can gain similar functionality via filters and such. But, that is another place I have to go, create and find a preset, etc. Not nearly as intuitive or convenient.
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Michael Brodt

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  • confused

Posted 3 years ago

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Yeah, many people are frustrated that you can't interactively apply a smart collection to a subset of sources (a folder, collection, collection set). Over many years, Adobe has shown no inclination to improve the mediocre (at best) search features in LR. You used to be able to intersect a smart collection with particular folders, but Adobe removed that in LR 4!

Alternatives that are clunkier but can get the job done, some you are probably aware of:

- You can add the criterion Source > Collection to a smart collection to limit to a particular collection. But you'd have to edit that each time you want to apply it to a different collection. And inexplicably there is no Source > Collection Set criterion.

- You can limit a smart collection to another collection/set or folder in 3 steps: Click on the smart collection in the Collections panel, to display its results. Type Cmd/Ctrl-A to select all of the pics. Then click on the collection/set/folder. At this point the selected photos are exactly those in the collection/set/folder that match the smart collection. Clear the Quick Collection if necessary, and then type "b" to add the selected photos to the Quick Collection.

- Filter presets aren't that inconvenient. Define a filter preset that's equivalent to your smart collection, and you can then freely apply it to a collection/set/folder or even a smart collection. There are three main differences between filter presets and smart collections: 1. Filters have significantly fewer criteria and don't allow for arbitrary and/or combinations. 2. To invoke a filter preset takes 2 mouse clicks, whereas invoking a smart collection takes one click. 3. Filters intersect with the current source, whereas smart collections union with the current source.

- My Any Filter plugin lets you define smart-collection-like searches, with more criteria than smart collections, and you can apply those searches to any collection/set/folder. But it takes 3 keystrokes/clicks to invoke a saved search.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Smart collections can be limited to a collection:

Choose Source>Collection
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Dennis Monk

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You will notice the first bullet mentions this, but the process is very clunky. For example, when selecting a smart collection within a collection set, why can't a simple indicator be selected to indicate you want the smart collection to reference ONLY the photos within the set?
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Barton Taylor

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This doesn't work for me. I want smart collections (ratings) to reference a capture smart collection (which is referencing a specific folder for a specific shoot) . capture is inside a collection set (with the name of the shoot).

The idea is to make a default set which I can easily duplicate (and rename to the shoot name) at the start of a new shoot (often onsite when ingesting files so I don't have time to mess around) and then all I have to do is point the capture smart collection at the correct folder on disk (or even have it search for today if there is only one shoot, and change it later). Each of the other smart folders in my default set collection — for editing my selections (0 stars, 1 star, 2 star, rejected etc.) — look inside capture but of course as it is they look inside the entire library and all of the other capture smart collections in all of the other projects.

Yes I can limit capture by 
Choose Source>Collection
but that doesn't help one bit since capture needs to look in a folder, and the other rating smart collections in my set (shoot) have to look inside capture. The top level set only exists for organisational purposes. The only way to do it is change each smart collection in the set manually to look in the specific folder I am importing into for that shoot. And since duplicating a collection set doesn't work properly either: the nested sets/collections don't stay inside the newly duplicated set so I have to manually put it back together, it ends up being a much longer process to set up a project for editing.

Surely limiting a search to one specific collection set is a pretty basic thing to implement. I just saw a demo for a sky replacement system in photoshop, if they can do that then adding search filter is a piece of cake.
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Barton Taylor

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By the way my comment was directed at Rikk Flohr not Dennis Monk if that isn't apparent by the way this forum displays hierarchy of the conversation (it isn't clear by the way).
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Phil Burton

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But NOT to a smart collection.
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Bart Zijlstra

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I agree, it's not very convenient to setup this extra filter rule, especially having to type the collection name.

It would be more user friendly when you make a smart collection within a collection, this automatically limits it to that collection.

I really hope this will soon be added as a new feature in Lightroom, I see a lot of people with a workflow where they make a collection for a shoot, and make sub-collections with the picks, color labels, ratings. This would be a very appreciated feature.
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Saulius Antanavicius

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So how do I apply then smart criteria to all my photos and put that smart collection into the collection set? I think the problem here is the absence of ability to filter location not only by collection and folder, but also by collection set and especially (what is most important to me personaly) - SMART COLLECTION.
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kevin

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I would really like to see the ability to filter based on collection set as a source.

For example i have the following collections structure:
- Private
    - Party (45 flagged photos)
- Shared
    - Party (60 flagged photos)

If I now want to create a smart collection to get all flagged photos from the party collection inside the private collection set, I have no way to distinguish between both party collections.

Being able to choose collection set as a source when adding a rule would solve my problems. Without going into more detail, not being able to do this has made it very clunky/labor-intensive to use workflow Lightroom for me.
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kevin

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom: Option to limit the source of a smart collection to a collection set.

I would really like to see the ability to filter based on collection set as a source when adding a rule to a smart collection.

For example i have the following collections structure:
- Private
- Party (45 flagged photos)
- Shared
- Party (60 flagged photos)

If I now want to create a smart collection to get all flagged photos from the party collection inside the private collection set, I have no way to distinguish between both party collections. In other words, I am not able to have collections with the same name, even though they are distinguishable by their parent collection set .

The ability to select a collection set as a source in combination with nested a nested rule that filters the source based on the collection would solve my problems. Without going into more detail, not being able to do this has made it very clunky/labor-intensive to use workflow Lightroom for me.
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Nick Nieto

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled LIGHTROOM: Smart collection search only inside of main collection set.

I shoot a decent amount of architecture and design projects. For jobs I usually create a collection set called interiors, inside of that is collections for each room... Room View 1, Room View 2, etc.... I would love to if I create a smart collection there was a checkbox or something to search only inside of collection set the smart collection is in. Right now the smart collection searches the entire library.

If I use the smart collection search criteria to search for the source name it's a text based search and all of my collection sets named interiors would be searched... It's a lot of extra work to rename each one to be unique... smart collections and collections sets seem like they are monotonous to create as it is and creating an option to search only in collection sets would be a great time save.
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D

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled LIGHTROOM How do I set a Collection set as a Smart collection' source?.

How do I set a Collection set as a Smart collection' source?
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robgendreau

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This is an increasingly annoying problem for me. The criteria I have to use to work around this limitation get lengthier and lengthier as I have more collections and collection sets. Please fix it.
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colin.canfield

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Not having this feature makes it incredibly hard to create smart collections to use as portfolio/slideshows.

It is possible with keywords but very easy to get wrong.