Smart Collections

posted: March 20, 2015
 
     
     
 
 
     
 

Assigning keywords to photos is the key to powerful Smart Collections in Lightroom.

As I stated earlier, my keywords are designed to assist me when I want to locate my photos. If I can find them quickly so can properly designed Smart Collections. When you design a Smart Collection, you are essentially documenting the steps you would go through to manually find these photos. Once defined, the computer does this for you automatically. Pretty cool huh!

Consider this scenario:

The photos on my Galleries web page are organized into Animals, Landscapes, People and Plants. The Animal category is broken down into Wildlife and St. Louis Zoo. The Landscape category is broken down into thirteen different locations. The People category is broken down into Bluegrass Festival, Music on Main, Targhee Fest and Other People.

Wouldn't it be nice if Lightroom could automatically group photos into those categories? It can! 

 
     
 
 
     
 

Let’s take a look at my Keyword List panel and how I have created Smart Collections to group my photos for my web site:

 
     
     
     
 

You will notice groupings for “Animals”, “People” and “Plants”… three out of the four photo categories on my web site.

  • Under “Animals”, I have a grouping for “Wildlife” and “Zoo”… subcategories of the “Animal” category on my web site.

  • Under “People”, I have Keywords for “Bluegrass Festival”, “Music on Main” and “Targhee Fest”… subcategories of the “People” category on my web site.
  • Under “Plants”, I have a grouping for “Flowers” and “Other”… subcategories of the “Plants” category on my web site.

 
 

Here is a look at a section of my Collections panel, listing the Smart Collections I have created to gather the photos that I want to display on my web site:

 
     
     
 

As you can see, these Smart Collections contain all of the photos I have on my web site.

Note:

  • If I want to add another photo to my web site, all I have to do is assign a 5-star rating to that photo. The Smart Collection design will automatically include that photo in the proper category.
  • If I want to remove a photo from my web site, all I have to do is reduce the 5-star rating on that photo. The Smart Collection design will automatically remove that photo from the proper category.

 
 

So let’s see how these keywords can be leveraged into useful Smart Collections that can automatically gather those photos that fall into those subcategories.

 
     
 
 
     
 

ANIMALS

"Wildlife” subcategory of “Animals”

 
     
     
     
 
  1. the photo must have had a 5-star rating assigned to it

  2. photo must have had the “Animals” keyword assigned to it (or any keyword underneath “Animals”). See red arrow above

  3. exclude those photos in the “Animals” that have the “Zoo” keyword assigned to it (or any keyword underneath “Zoo”). See red arrow above

  4. exclude those photos that have the “People” keyword assigned to it (or any keyword underneath “People”) as I want those photos to appear in the “People” section of my web site

  5. exclude those photos that have the “Plants” keyword assigned to it (or any keyword underneath “Plants”) as I want those photos to appear in the “Plants” section of my web site

“Zoo” subcategory of “Animals”:

 
     
     
 

You can see that the design of this Smart Collection is very similar to the one for “Wildlife” with the only difference being in the third criterion. In this case, I want to include only those “Animals” that are contained within the “Zoo” subcategory.

 
     
 
 
     
 

LANDSCAPES

“Bridger-Teton NF” subcategory of “Landscapes – National Forests”:

 
     
     
 

In the case of “Landscapes”, some of my criterion comes from the “LOCATION” portion of my keyword structure. See red arrow.

As you can see, I still want to exclude “Animals”, “People” and “Plants” from my “Landscape” photos as I want those photos to appear in their own category.

The other Landscape Smart Collections are the same except for the cell with the red arrow:

  • Targhee NF -> Targhee_NF

  • Grand Teton NP - > Grand_Teton

  • Great Smoky Mountains NP - > Great_Smoky_Mountains

  • Yellowstone NP -> Yellowstone

 
     
 

“Other” subcategory of “Landscapes”:

 
     
     
 

In the case of “Landscapes”, some of my criterion comes from the “LOCATION” portion of my keyword structure. You can see that for this subcategory I exclude all of the other subcategories. See red arrows.

As you can see, I still want to exclude “Animals”, “People” and “Plants” from my “Landscape” photos as I want those photos to appear in their own category.

 
     
 
 
     
 

PEOPLE

“Bluegrass Festival” subcategory of “People”:

 
     
     
 

As you can see, I still want to exclude “Animals” and “Plants” from my “People” photos as I want those photos to appear in their own category.

The other People Smart Collections are the same except for the cell with the red arrow:

  • Music on Main -> music_on_main

  • Targhee Fest -> Targhee_fest

 
     
   “Other” subcategory of “People”:  
     
     
     
 

You can see that for this subcategory I exclude all of the other subcategories. See red arrows.

As you can see, I still want to exclude “Animals” and “Plants” from my “People” photos as I want those photos to appear in their own category.

 
     
 
 
     
 

This completes the description of the various Smart Collections I have designed to automatically assemble the photos I want to put onto my web site. They required a fair amount of work to design and test but now that they are complete they just work!

The last two steps in my workflow description will describe the method I use to get the various categories of photos from Lightroom into my web page design program (Microsoft Expression Web) and then onto the Web.