Types of collections

Collections are a way to group photos in one place for easy viewing or for performing a variety of tasks. For example, photos in a collection can be assembled into a slide show, contact sheet, or a web photo gallery. Once created, collections are listed in the Collections panel of every module. They can be selected anytime you need them. You can create as many collections as you need.

A regular collection is a group of any photos you choose to put in a group.

Smart collections are collections based on rules that you define. For example, you can create a smart collection of all photos that have a five-star rating and a red color label. Photos that meet the criteria are automatically added to the smart collection.

You can also create temporarily groups photos for certain tasks into the Quick Collection. Unlike regular or smart collections, there can be only one Quick Collection at a time in the catalog.

Here are some things to keep in mind about working with collections:

  • Make sure that you understand the relationship between catalogs and collections: Collections are groups of photos within a catalog.

  • Photos can belong to more than one collection.

  • You cannot stack photos in a collection.

  • You can change the sort order of the photos in a regular collection, but you cannot sort by User Order or drag photos to rearrange them in a smart collection.

  • Removing a photo from a collection doesn’t remove the photo from the catalog or send it to the Recycle Bin (Windows) or Trash (Mac OS).

  • You can create collection sets to organize your collections.

  • You can explicitly save Slideshow, Print, and Web module settings as output collections. See Save slide show settings as a slide show collection, Save print settings as a print collection, and Save web settings as a web collection.

For a video about using collections and keywords to organize your photos, watch Lightroom 2 basics: collections and keywords. The instructions are for Lightroom 2 but also work for Lightroom 3.