Video – Target Collection Coolness

OK, if you’re into using Collections then I’ve got a really cool tip for you this week. They’re called target collections and they work in Lightroom 2 and Lightroom 3. It’s a different (and more convenient) way to add photos to a collection that you’ve already created. In fact, it actually makes a keyboard shortcut available to you for adding photos into a selected collection instead of making you drag and drop.

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Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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20 Comments

  1. Matt, I love this site, as it has really helped me in the past, but this has to be one of the best tips you’ve had so far. This will save me so much time. Thanks, and keep up the great work!

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  2. That’s nice, but no matter how many times I read about it or see videos on it, I still think dated folders are a more logical form of organization. I guess its just the way my mind works, I’d rather have them automatically date organized and keyworded than come up with an organizational structure for hundreds of collections.

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  3. Hi

    I’ve got to agree with Justin on this one, I see the benefits of collections and use them a little but for organization dated folders with the location name (20100617 Dorset) is my way. I have an undeveloped folder that stores the dated folders and once developed & keyworded I move the folder to Developed folder and each is broken down into year and sub folder for each month.

    I guess like Justin says it’s the way my mind works!

    Dave

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    • No sweat guys. It’s different for everyone which is why LR is cool – you can do it anyway you want. For me, honestly, a date makes absolutely zero sense. For the life of me, I can never remember when I shot something. But I can always remember what, where, or who I photographed.
      :)

      Matt K

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      • I use a mix of date and title if there is one, so

        – 2010
        – – 06
        – – – 26 National Zoo (DC)

        That’s how I started doing it, based on my life BL (before Lightroom!) so kept it that way, though time to time I do think about checking out collections to see if they’d be better.

        Thanks for all the tips, Matt :-)

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  4. See you at the HDR precon!

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  5. Excellent tip Matt! It really add value to the collections in Lightroom (a feature that I confess I don’t use so much as I should). Love your site, BTW.
    Best Regards,
    Mario

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  6. I also use the folder system (dated folders) a lot because I want to access the photos from outside Lightroom too.
    But I think collections a very handy when you want to group together on a specific topic which photos are spread across multiple folders. For example all pictures of my son in one collection and my cats in another. *Meow sound here*
    And if I have understood his collections also a requirement in the Print and Web modules.

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  7. Of all the great tips you’ve given us on this site, this one (IMO) is King of the Hill. Thanx once again, Matt — UDAMAN!! o=)

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  8. I feel compelled to comment on your statement that Quick Collections are not useful. I use them all the time! Whenever I want to do something to a number of photos from different folders or collections (e.g. export for printing), I assemble them all in a quick collection. Perform my desired actions, and them clear the collection.

    Also, judging from the comments above, some people seem to think that you can either use dated folders *or* collections. I use both in a dated form. I have folders that I import into by date, and then I add all my images to a collection that is dated and named.

    This serves 2 purposes: 1. it allows me to separate multiple shoots from the same day without having to reconfigure my import settings to rename the folder on each import (yeah, no big deal but I’m really lazy :-) and 2. I only work on photos from the collection side. This way when I delete something, it is only removed from the collection and if I mess up and can retrieve it.

    When I’m all done editing, I have a smart collection that lists all images that are not in any other collection (the ones I deleted) and I select them all, show in folder, hit “x” and then “ctl-backspace” to delete them all from the disk.

    So just like Lightroom has the concept of the original and the edits that you do on the file, I use folders as the “original” organization and collections as the modified organization. If I mess up with a collection, I can always recover from the folders. But if you mess up on a folder, you may not be able to recover it. Also, removing items from lightroom in a folder leaves files on your disk that LR doesn’t know about.

    OK, that was way longer than I intended.

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  9. Hey Matt

    Great tip – never used that before but a great way to kill an intermediate step that I’ve done in the past. Would typically a) assign the photo(s) to the Quick Collection, and then b) once done transfer them to a permanent collection.

    On another note I have a request. Could you post a larger version of the image 6th from the right in the filmstrip? It appears to be someone sitting against a vivid turquoise wall and looks absolutely stunning. I think Jay Maisel would be proud. ;-)

    –Jay

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  10. I think this is useful even for those of us who file by date. Dates work for me because I’m almost always shooting in the same few nearby locations. But I’m thinking of a collection of my favorite shots, to make it easy to find the best ones. I could benefit from a one-stop place to look when there’s a sale on printing or canvas, or if I ever get around to uploading a slideshow.

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  11. Hey Matt,

    Now this I like.
    Until now I’ve never and I mean made use of the Spray Can however that will now be changing.

    Very cool and very quick; thanks for sharing.

    All the best to you and yours,
    Glyn :)

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  12. Thanks for the excellent tip again Matt, I have to agree with you regarding the naming of Collections, it is much easier to look up some images based on their name or place vs the date. hell I have a hard enough time remembering what I did yesterday let alone what I did a year ago.

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  13. Great tip, Matt. I actually use Quick Collections a lot, but only as a temp collection before moving them to their permanent homes. Now that I know you can change the target collection, I’ll just be doing that.

    I have a question that’s been bugging me lately, and I’m hoping you can help out: Is there any way to export a collection, not as a catalog but as a collection?

    I made a copy of my entire photo library on an external hard drive and I bring it with me to my dayjob, where I spend my downtime sorting photos into various collections. My hope was to eventually copy the collections to my main computer, but the only export option is catalog. And while I can import from a catalog, since I already have the photos on my main computer, all I really want is the collection hierarchy.

    Is there any way to port this? Even if I have to go dig up a file manually and later edit the links?

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  14. I think I may have found a LR bug. It was in both LR2 and LR3. Can someone help me figure it out?

    For any given shoot I create a master set. Within it are four collections. One regular colleciton with all of the pictures from the shoot. One smart collection called Facebook. It pulls in all pics colored green. One smart collection called website. It pulls in all pics w/5 stars. and one called “Picks” It is supposed to pull in all flagged “pick.”

    Here’s the problem.

    No matter how I set up the “Picks” smart collection it will only pull in the picks from the actual folder. NOT from the “Everything” collection. So I have to work in the folder to pick and sort my shots. Seems counter intuitive.

    Am I missing something?

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  15. Thanks – a GREAT time saver!

    This website is SO useful!

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  16. Great tip! Like Smart Collections but maybe easier and more versatile. Thanks!

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  17. Very cool video, thank you for sharing the great tips! :) I am a beginner to both photography and retouching, and was wondering: If the pictures are shot in RAW format, does iPhoto affect that? Meaning, does iPhoto convert the images to something other than RAW? Sorry, I know that may be a silly question… Thanks again, I appreciate it!

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  18. I use the ‘target collection’ as a selecting process.
    One thing I can’t figure out…
    It seems as though there is no way to organize how the photos go into the ‘Target Collection’. I’ll add them in an order that I would like them to stay in, but LR seems to put them where it want’s, even if I go into the ‘Target Collection’ and sort it as ‘User Order’. I end up having 200 photos with the shoots intertwined, making it hard to see the different shoots grouped together. Nothing seems to work.
    Is there a preference setting somewhere for this?
    Thanks, Michael

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