I don't use Collections. Tell me why I should!

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#1
Hi!

I'm new here but I have used Lightroom since 2011. I'm primarily a wedding photographer so MOST of my imports are large. I also do engagement sessions, occasional volunteer work, and a few times a year I get photos of my kids and pets. My camera is very much my job so I'm not big on hobby photography. Meaning, when I'm not working, I try not to have a camera in my hand.

I've been very happy with the organization of my images. I'm inherently not an organized person but I've always felt really good about my workflow and image organization. Upon import, my images go into folders named by date yyyy-mm-dd. The software engineer in me loves this. I would simply add my couples names to the end so I quickly knew what wedding that folder held (example: 2017-10-21-Eric&Sarah). Inside of that folder, I added subfolder (Getting Ready, Ceremony, Formals, Reception). And moved image files to the appropriate folder. Note: This is also how I export and deliver my clients galleries so it just makes sense to keep that structure all around. When culling, I start in one subfolder and use X to mark rejected images (turn on the Flag Filters so those are no longer visible). Then I edit within the subfolder.

Is there a way that Collections could be of any added benefit for me? The internet makes me think it's a must to edit in collections but I'm not sure why I would want to add the extra step of additional filing. Filters and Folders show me exactly what I want to see right now.
 

Hal P Anderson

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#2
If you're happy, stick with what you're doing.
 

JohanElzenga

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#4
Collections are like virtual folders, with the advantage that an image can be in as many collections as you want, while it can only be in one real folder. However, for a wedding photographer it makes a lot of sense to simply use a folder per couple, like you do.
 

johnbeardy

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Imagine keeping a portfolio of your best images from a number of weddings. Why not group them in a collection? Maybe you have a second portfolio of ceremonies held at a certain location - again, maintain a collection of those pictures. And so on. Think of collections as a way to gather and group images for any purpose whatsoever.

They also sync with LrMobile, so your portfolios might be available on your tablet or phone. You can also edit and review shoots when you're on the move.
 

DS256

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As in most things, it comes down to what you need. For example, I take pictures while scuba diving. I have collections set up based on tags for FISH, CORAL, CREATURES and SPONGES. As I develop images, I identify what's in the picture, I tag them and they automatically get added to the appropriate collections, sometime more than one.

I select a collection to create an updated Web page (see Cayman Fish) based on each collection.
 
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JohanElzenga

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#9
I've never used them.
For most photographers, collections and smart collections are extremely useful. The reason is that an image can only be in a single folder. Take my situation: I'm a wildlife photographer (among other subjects) with a very large number of images from Africa. You might think it would be a good idea to store these images by animal, so all lion pictures in a folder called 'Lions', all elephant pictures in a folder called 'Elephants', etcetera. That is a bad idea however, and you'll soon find out when you need to store that image of two elephants, five zebras, one giraffe and a couple of impalas, all in one shot. Where do you store this picture? In the 'Elephants' folder, the 'Zebras' folder, the 'Giraffes' folder or the 'Antelopes' (or 'Impalas') folder? Or do you create four copies?

In this case it makes much more sense to store these images in dated folder, or folders by location (countries in Africa). Then you add keywords for all animals and then you create smart collections per animal. That picture of four animal species will then automatically show in four different smart collections: Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras and Antelopes.

Wedding photographers are the exception to this rule however. They do a shoot of a wedding, and so it's perfectly fine to store the images in a folder for that shoot. They'll never get this 'multiple subjects' problem described above, because a shoot is a shoot. You can't have an image that was shot twice. The only reason for using collections as well might be what John mentioned: if they want to make a portfolio of the best images of different weddings, then it makes sense to create a collection for that portfolio. And if they want to show several different couples shot at the same location, they could make a (smart) collection for that location.
 

Ferguson

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#10
There are two types of collections, one is "published collections" which are a necessary component of using publishing plugins. I've got hundreds of these, and they are a vital part of how I use lightroom.

The other, non-published, I use primarily for short term efforts. If I'm collecting a list of photos for some purpose, I can use the quick collection very quickly, but I can also use and save a collection for a period of time, e.g. maybe for someone to review, without moving photos around or changing metadata. Say I'm collecting the best action shot for each player on a team for some usage -- I just put them into a collection, where I can swap others in an out as I change my mind.

I believe firmly that once I ingest files into a folder they should sit there in that folder, so collections are how I rearrange things.

Linwood
 

PhilBurton

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#11
I believe firmly that once I ingest files into a folder they should sit there in that folder, so collections are how I rearrange things.

Linwood
Agree with Linwood here. And to keep things really simple, I have a date-based folder structure. (I use keywords and collections to sort out different types of photos taken on the same day.)

The OP also uses date-based folders and since she has jobs that start and end in one day or several days, her folder organization is a good one for her.

Phil
 

prbimages

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#12
In this case it makes much more sense to store these images in dated folder, or folders by location (countries in Africa). Then you add keywords for all animals and then you create smart collections per animal. That picture of four animal species will then automatically show in four different smart collections: Elephants, Giraffes, Zebras and Antelopes.
It seems to me that this is a good argument for keywording, rather than an argument for using Collections. Once you have your keywords in place, it's a simple matter to filter for any particular subset of your photos, without necessarily using Collections at all.
 

msmack

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#13
I use Collections for various things. ie. Best of Cuba. Having 600 saved images in the Folder, after getting rid of bad ones, I then make a collection for the ones I have worked on and are my best. The collection may have 100 images. I can use the Collection to make a book, a slide show, or a print.
The keyword Cuba has the 600.

I may then make a collection called Cuba Book and from the 100 I had in the collection, I may put 50 in the book.

I belong to a photo club. We have monthly competitions with categories such as Nature, Travel, Monochrome. I have a Collection set called Club with subsets of Nature, Travel, Monochrome. Images that I think I want to show at the Club I put in that collection. Then a Collection called Club Shown. After entering an image I then move to Shown. At the end of the year for our annual competition I go to the Club Shown Folder and all are there.

For me, I use Collections all the time. Can probably use keywords instead buy Keyword list is much bigger. I have 30 Collections and 200 Keywords.

BTW, you can import to a collection instead of a Folder.
 

I-See-Light

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#14
BTW, you can import to a collection instead of a Folder.
Not strictly correct!
You can only import photos to (Copy, Move), or from (Add), a Folder. (the storage location on a hard drive)
But, at the same time as you Import, you can also make a Standard Collection of the same imported images.
Collections are only 'Virtual' lists of photos (not physical locations). Like a grocery shopping list- they do not contain every item in the store.
I see the option to {create a Collection at Import} as rather pointless though as the Collection will exactly 'mirror' the folder contents.
I would rather create my collections by 'adding' photos from folder selections, rather than having to 'remove' photos when refining the contents of a Collection.
Thanks msmack, my use of collections is very similar to yours.
 

Wernfried

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#15
I also think it is very useful to take all pictures from one wedding into a dedicated folder which is linked to the couple.
However, what are you doing if a wedding spans over more than one day?

Anyway, for subfolders (Getting Ready, Ceremony, Formals, Reception) you may consider to organize them differently. Some people prefer keywords, others prefer collections or a combination of it. Both have pros and cons.

Personally I use keywords for the content of the picture (e.g. ceremony, lion, afrika, family, etc.). Collections (and smart collections) I use more for workflow related stuff (e.g. "print on paper", "favorite", "selected by customer", "best animal pictures", "photo book", "calendar 2018"). Typically a keyword is set immediatly after import and it does never change once it was set for a picture. The collection membership of a photo may change over time.

Best Regards
 

thommy

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#16
Reasons I use collections:
  1. Sync with LrMobile to share or view images on tablet, phone, internet
  2. For workflow using a modified version of John Beardys "workflow smart collection"
  3. Quick access to various grouping of images e.g. "Best of flowers 2017" based on star ratings, Instagram collection, selected images for photo books e.g. grand mothers photo book images, etc etc.
  4. All B&W images, the best B&W images based on ratings
  5. Collections of images selected for competition
    Photo competition X 2016
    Photo competition Y 2016
By rightclicking and setting a collection as your "Target Collection" you can quickly add images by just hitting the B key - quick and simple and I use it all the time.

Thommy
 

JohanElzenga

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#17
It seems to me that this is a good argument for keywording, rather than an argument for using Collections. Once you have your keywords in place, it's a simple matter to filter for any particular subset of your photos, without necessarily using Collections at all.
It's an argument for both keywording and using smart collections. Clicking on a smart collection is faster than using filters, and it doesn't waste real estate by activating the filter area. I agree it's less of an argument for using normal collections, but I still use these as well for other things.
 

tspear

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#18
Start small, use keywords, smart collections, and regular collections for your personal stuff.
Add some keywords to your best images you take. Then in a few months, create a few smart collection which reflect the "best" images.
Then any longer running projects, such a couple that wants to go from engagement party to wedding.

Only then will you truly have an understanding of the power and limits collections with the related smart collections.

Tim
 
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#19
Start small, use keywords, smart collections, and regular collections for your personal stuff.
Add some keywords to your best images you take. Then in a few months, create a few smart collection which reflect the "best" images.
Then any longer running projects, such a couple that wants to go from engagement party to wedding.

Only then will you truly have an understanding of the power and limits collections with the related smart collections.

Tim
Thanks Tim!! This is definitely what I'm going to do. I'm trying to keyword on import. I need to do better at that! I think only then will I see a benefit. It just doesn't seem worth it to go back and add them to all. I'll just work on stuff from the start of the year.
 
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#20
It's an argument for both keywording and using smart collections. Clicking on a smart collection is faster than using filters, and it doesn't waste real estate by activating the filter area. I agree it's less of an argument for using normal collections, but I still use these as well for other things.
Johan, I've heard this argument from others that it is quicker to click on a collection vs activating and typing in a filter. But I'm wondering, do you (or do others) ever build up so many collections that it could be time consuming to navigate through them to find the right collection? Like looking through an encyclopedia vs just googling it.
 
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#21
Reasons I use collections:
  1. Sync with LrMobile to share or view images on tablet, phone, internet
  2. For workflow using a modified version of John Beardys "workflow smart collection"
  3. Quick access to various grouping of images e.g. "Best of flowers 2017" based on star ratings, Instagram collection, selected images for photo books e.g. grand mothers photo book images, etc etc.
  4. All B&W images, the best B&W images based on ratings
  5. Collections of images selected for competition
    Photo competition X 2016
    Photo competition Y 2016
By rightclicking and setting a collection as your "Target Collection" you can quickly add images by just hitting the B key - quick and simple and I use it all the time.

Thommy
Thanks Tommy. These are things I currently filter for now using keywords but I see how some may find it useful. Minus John Beardy's Workflow. I've looked this up and just can't make sense of it. It just seems messy and unnecessary to me. Everything can be done with simple filters.. except for a few that I just don't see why it would ever need to be tracked in my workflow. Maybe I just need to download it and try it for myself.
 
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#22
I also think it is very useful to take all pictures from one wedding into a dedicated folder which is linked to the couple.
However, what are you doing if a wedding spans over more than one day?

Anyway, for subfolders (Getting Ready, Ceremony, Formals, Reception) you may consider to organize them differently. Some people prefer keywords, others prefer collections or a combination of it. Both have pros and cons.

Personally I use keywords for the content of the picture (e.g. ceremony, lion, afrika, family, etc.). Collections (and smart collections) I use more for workflow related stuff (e.g. "print on paper", "favorite", "selected by customer", "best animal pictures", "photo book", "calendar 2018"). Typically a keyword is set immediatly after import and it does never change once it was set for a picture. The collection membership of a photo may change over time.

Best Regards
I did have one instance where a wedding was covered in more than one day. I just broke them out as two separate weddings. I really wondered if I should have done that differently, but I haven't had any issues.

I've never thought about using keywords to mark content like the portion of the day. But I see benefit in that. I currently just use them for venue, season, etc. You noted that you have a collection for "Favorite". What is the benefit in this collection when you can simply turn on the flags filter in a set of images to see all that you've flagged as favorites. (I assume you are doing this as a smart collection using the flag)
 
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#23
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#24
There are two types of collections, one is "published collections" which are a necessary component of using publishing plugins. I've got hundreds of these, and they are a vital part of how I use lightroom.

The other, non-published, I use primarily for short term efforts. If I'm collecting a list of photos for some purpose, I can use the quick collection very quickly, but I can also use and save a collection for a period of time, e.g. maybe for someone to review, without moving photos around or changing metadata. Say I'm collecting the best action shot for each player on a team for some usage -- I just put them into a collection, where I can swap others in an out as I change my mind.

I believe firmly that once I ingest files into a folder they should sit there in that folder, so collections are how I rearrange things.

Linwood
I really need to take some time exploring the Publish Services in LR! Thanks.
 
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#25
It seems to me that this is a good argument for keywording, rather than an argument for using Collections. Once you have your keywords in place, it's a simple matter to filter for any particular subset of your photos, without necessarily using Collections at all.
This is exactly my thinking. It sounds like it's totally down to preference on if someone wants to type in a filter or set up a smart collection and simply click that collection. I'm very comfortable in using filters, but so many tell me that collections are a must. Or that I was missing out by not using them. I just needed to see that it's essentially going to be the same process. Navigating to collection vs searching filters.
 
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