Lightroom’s Hidden Gems

From keyboard shortcuts to menu items, there is a lot of Lightroom’s hidden gems we miss while organizing and enhancing our images. In this new series, I’ll introduce you to (or remind you of) time saving shortcuts, enhancement techniques, and many of the lesser known, but really cool features in Lightroom.

Premade Smart Collections

Collections are a way to group photos together in one place.  Although each of the images may reside in a different folder location, when you click on the collection, you’ll see them altogether.  Collections are manually created in the Library Module by clicking on the + icon on the upper right of the Collections Panel. Once the collection is created, you simply drag any image onto the collection to add it.  Smart Collections are also a grouping of images.  These collections once created, automatically add and subtract images to them based on the rules that you have decided upon.  For example you could create a collection that shows you only your 5 star images.  This collection searches your entire library and finds only images that have been rated as 5 stars and shows them to you all in one place.  Smart Collection are an excellent way to stay organized.

The hidden gem is that Lightroom ships with several prebuilt Smart Collections. When you navigate to the Collections Panel, you’ll see the folder (called a Collection Set) that houses the pre-made Smart Collections.  For the sake of simplicity, Adobe has named their Collection Set “Smart Collections”.

The collections Panel In Lightroom

By clicking on the arrow to the left of the Collection Set (circled in red below) you’ll reveal the contents of that set.  Here you can see Adobe has shipped Lightroom with 6 separate Smart Collections:  Colored Red, Five Stars, Past Month, Recently Modified, Video Files, and Without Keywords.


Viewing the contents of the Collections Set

Although you may not find all of these Smart Collections useful, they will help you understand how they were built and provide ideas for creations of your own.  To see how a Smart Collection was created,  double click on the folder icon with a cog to the left of the collection (circled in green above). You’ll see the dialog box pictured below.  This is the same box you’ll see when you want to create a Smart Collection from scratch.  Here you’ll notice that the “rules” of this set are to include photos whose Keyword Field = empty.   Take some time here and click around to see the options for creating Smart Collections.  You’ll learn a lot from a little exploration.  Clicking Cancel will close the box without any changes and return you to the collections panel.


Exploring the rules used to create a Smart Collection

Lightroom’s Hidden Gem

The “Without Keywords” Smart Collection is truly hidden gem.  By clicking on this collection you are shown all of the images in your catalog that don’t have keywords!

Viewing a Smart Collection

Just click on that image or grouping of images, and type a few keywords into the Keywording panel.  Voilà!  You have just made your image easier to find.

Adding Keywords to images in Lightroom using a Smart Collection

For more information on Lightroom, view our 33 part, 5 hour training tutorial!



About the Author