Lightroom: Smart Folders

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  • Updated 6 years ago
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This is my #1 need for Lightroom — smart collections within folders. Here is my use case:

I'm out shooting and come home with a bunch of photos of various subjects. I import them into my normal catalogue/folder heirarchy. I review my photos, tag them, reject some, star others in a single pass.

Now I am ready to begin editing. What I want to do is use smart collections to automate creating lists within that folder by keyword and star rating (Nature, People, 1+ stars, etc.). I don't want to do this in the "Collections" area, however, because these are temporary lists used in my workflow and they do not warrant inclusion in the left rail the way a themed project or global smart collection might.

Instead, I'd like to create virtual "Smart Folders" that can be nested within my project folders. This keeps the workflow in one place and allows me to avoid hopping between Folders and Collections.

(I do realize I could just filter my folder and then physically move photos to new folders labeled "Nature," "People," etc. Smart folders are just so much more convenient and flexible.)

Thanks,
Joe
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Joseph Rivera

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Posted 6 years ago

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Lee Jay

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I agree, but the claim is you shouldn't be using folders anyway so you should just put all your images into collections and smart collections. I think a smart collection can be made to show just the contents of a folder and then you can work from there. Personally, I think that's stupid and don't do it and just work from folders, but I'd like what I call "subcollections" - collections (smart or dumb) that are sub to folders and appear in the folders panel in some sort of distinguished way.
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Joseph Rivera

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Yeah. I mean, I can see how collections could be very useful for photographers who do weddings or events — where there is a clear delineation between sets of photos. For me, I just take pictures, so the folder hierarchy I've created makes a lot more sense for organization. I do use collections occasionally, but it is rare.
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Lee Jay

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Funny, it's the other way around for me. I shoot event and use folders (one per event in a hierarchy). If you just shoot pictures, collections are better because an image can be in more than one collection whereas it can only be in one folder.
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Joseph Rivera

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Hahaha. As it is with all pro software, I guess it comes down to giving more options since everybody has their particular way of working. I think I'm just a nut for folders — I like the permanence of the organization.

Collections are great for what you describe, though, and I use them that way occasionally.