Lightroom Tips

Tip – Previously Viewed Folders and Collections

Moving around in your folders and collections is pretty easy when you’re in the Library mode. You’ve got those two panels on the left hand side that you can get at right away. But when you’re in the Develop module how do you get to another folder or collection easily. I hear a lot of complaints on this one but there is a way (well kinda). In the small black bar above your filmstrip you’ll see the path to your photos. Right next to it is a small down facing arrow (see below).
If you click on that arrow, Lightroom will pop up with a list of your recently viewed folders and collections (all the more reason to use collections more). Just select the folder from the list and it’ll show you those photos but keep you in the module that you’re in. It’s a big time saver and may keep you from having to bounce back and forth between Develop and Library a bunch of times.

That’s it for this week. Have a wonderful weekend.



  1. gary little 22 January, 2010 at 17:12 Reply

    Great webinar yesterday. Thanks. My problem is this: my images folders now exceed 950GB, yes 950GB. I have only one catalog and processing time is getting exceedingly long. The folder structure is (root folder) Lightroom folders, and then underneath the folders are by year and month. It is getting difficult to create backups for the images. I want to split them up into 3 or more catalogues with the images being part of the folder group with the .lrcat file.
    What do you advise is the best way to do that.

  2. Arthur 21 January, 2010 at 03:57 Reply

    Hey Matt,

    hoping you can help me here. When I export images sometimes I choose to export to a custom size (640*480) for web viewing. The problem is that the images that were shot using a vertical orientation are exported as 360*480 instead of 480*640. Is there a way to export a ‘mixed’ group of photos to a custom size yet retain the original aspect ratio?



  3. Jason 19 March, 2009 at 13:21 Reply

    @Tim & @Rich:

    I tried what ya’ll had said, but was still not getting it. It took me a few minutes to realize that I could (and had to) click on the crop symbol in order to do a “free drag,” but now I’ve got it! Problem solved.

    Thanks again.

  4. mike bright 17 March, 2009 at 16:00 Reply

    Hey Matt,
    I hope you can help me
    I have just switched from XP to mac with a 24″imac i use lightroom2 to work on my photos and store all photos on a external HD .

    But will this work alongside iphoto 09 .You can import pics from the external HD without copying them so no need to have 2 copies of the same photos but will iphoto see any changes to any picture altered using lightroom after the first startup .

    Perhaps you can do a nice demo of how to run lightroom with iphoto 09 that would great. ( well you got to ask)

    keep up the good work

  5. Arnon Moscona 16 March, 2009 at 15:17 Reply

    This is a cool tip. Thank you!
    What would help even more is to be able to tag folders with keywords. That it tag the folder itself, rather than the photos inside it. This would enable features like this to be more self explanatory. Example: iPhoto events…

  6. Davidg 16 March, 2009 at 12:25 Reply

    Can someone explain to me why I can’t get my copyright (name,etc) to show up on my exports when the correct box is selected in the export popup and I have the info in the correct meta data location? It works on one of my computers but not on the other. Thanks for any help on this.

  7. Rich 16 March, 2009 at 11:59 Reply

    Jason – You don’t need to change anything to get a vertical crop from a horizontal photo. Leave the drag points alone and just put the crop cursor inside the photo and drag. You’ll notice that if you drag it more sideways than down, the crop area will be horizontal, but if you move the cursor more down than sideways, it will shift to vertical. Once you have that crop rectangle in place, you can use the drag points the same way you are used to.


  8. Jay B 14 March, 2009 at 16:53 Reply

    Osvaldo – Go to the Library Module then under the Photo menu choose “Auto Advance” I believe that’s what you are looking for in terms of advancing. You can also manually hold down the “Shift” key while choosing your flag and it will also advance.

  9. Osvaldo 14 March, 2009 at 14:48 Reply

    Hello Matt,
    On my desktop computer, whenever I am done “developing” a photograph, I rate the image a certain star rating for different purposes, and it automatically moves on to the next image, but on my laptop (64-bit) I cant find this setting anywhere. Is there such a feature on the 32-bit version than on the 64-bit? Thanks.

  10. jay B 14 March, 2009 at 14:13 Reply

    Andrew – you would also need to store 2 more files on that external drive. The “Catalog Previews.lrdata and “Catalog.lrcat” files and I believe it will work. Also keep in mind that you do have an option to store your presets with the catalog. It’s not that way by default but it might make sense otherwise you will need to copy your presets over to the other computer.

    Casey – you can select the folders you want to export and choose “export the catalog” under the file menu and you will have the option to include previews and the negative files. Then if you already have a family catalog set up choose import from catalog. It will copy over all work and setting you have done. keep in mind that when you do an export from catalog, it doesn’t delete them from the original catalog. So after you’re comfortable that you imported and everything is there you would need to go back to your wedding catalog and delete the files/folder that you no longer want in that catalog.

    Matt – on the topic of skin tone – some folks process photos in photoshop and aim to get their RGB numbers to a certain point and they know they will get a reliable print and the skin tone will look perfect. I understand that for a typical caucasian skin tone is would be around RGB numbers around 220, 190, 165. Can I divide those number by 256 and use 86%, 75% and 65%, since Lightroom uses percentage for the 16 bit processing (Technically I added one since the scale is from 0-256 and then divided by 256). If that’s true, could I then use the white balance loupe to check the levels? You thoughts. Thanks. Love all the stuff you guys do. Cheers.

  11. al 13 March, 2009 at 23:39 Reply

    matt,heres one probably only a few have experienced.i shoot with a pentax k10d.this camera allows you to record in .dng files.however whenever i import pics to lightroom 2.3 they look fine at first but then all darken by a similiar amount and sometimes colorcast.i spoke to adobe and they said that pentax .dng file has a tag in it that doesnt play nice with lightroom.aint that something,here i thought i was speaking adobe language using native .dng files.fortunately the supported pentax raw pef file seems to work.

  12. Casey Figlewicz 13 March, 2009 at 19:11 Reply

    Matt, your the man. Love you blog! I have a question…What is the best way to move photos from one Lightroom Catalog to another without loosing you settings?
    Example: I shoot a wedding and get some shots of my family, but I don’t want those pictures in my wedding catalog, I wan them in my family one. Is there an easy fix for this? Please help!

    Casey Figlewicz

  13. Andrew 13 March, 2009 at 14:45 Reply

    Just when I think I know everything…..

    I have a question. You may have had an article on this before but I need to know the best way to work on a catalog on 2 seperate computers. Could I just store the catalog and all of the RAW files on an external hard drive and swap between 2 computers?

  14. Tim 13 March, 2009 at 14:03 Reply

    @ Jason — Change the drop down beside the crop icon from “original” to “custom” and then when you click and drag a selection, you can keep the aspect ratio – but can change if it’s 4×6 or 6×4 orientation.

    @ Matt — Love the tips! keep them coming!

  15. Jason 13 March, 2009 at 13:56 Reply

    Hey Matt,

    Here’s a question for you: Sometimes I want to make a vertical crop from a horizontal image. When I use the crop tool in LR, regardless whether I set the short side or long side first, LR only draws the box in the shape of the original orientation. I’ve tried rotating the image with the corner draggers or using a 90 degree rotation, all to no effect. Can you point me in the right direction? Surely I’m missing a toggle switch or something?


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