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Author Topic: Do you use smart collections in LightRoom?  (Read 7217 times)

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« on: December 02, 2013, 16:11 »
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Hi, I am coming again with one more question regarding how to organize my images with Lightroom.
I want to take benefit of its smart collections or simple collections. Do you use them and how?
First method that might work is use simple collections and just drag them into each collection. For the moment I participate into 4 stock agencies. If the number will increase I want to be prepared. So I have there is a Label property for images. Would there be a chance to set certain categories and automatically be added in smart collections? Or do you use colors and stars?
Please help me get on the right way from the very beginning. 
Best regards,
Adrian.


« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2013, 07:49 »
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Smart Collections and Collections work well in Lightroom (as they do in Aperture, where they're called "Albums").

For what you want to do, one scheme is to have a Simple Collection that you drag your stock images to and call this, say, "Stock Images". I have separate folders for RM and RF images.

You can either colour-code or label your images according to agency but this would limit you to five agencies. To get around this, you can use private keywords (i.e. non-exported keywords) for the name of each agency. You could also do the same, for instance, if an image was exclusive, if you wanted to separate out images that way.

You then need to set up Smart Collections using filters. In this example, you could use the filter <Collection contains "Stock"> AND <Keywords contains "name_of_agency">. After you've dragged your images to your global "Stock" folder, the Smart Collections filter them based on keywords. If you were so inclined, you could also use the non-exported keyword "_stock" and set up a Smart Collection rather than dragging images. (Note I tend to use an underscore for my non-exported keywords in case they can also be genuine keywords).

Having said all that, some might argue that you don't actually need to do any of this. They take the view that if any images are rejected from one agency but accepted at another, don't bother re-submitting. On the other hand, I know that others like to manage everything, setting up spreadsheets recording downloads and earnings across agencies to the last penny, all tied in to their image database. YMMV.

I tend to use Smart Collections to control workflow using labels so I know which are selects, which need further tweaking, which need metadata and which have been published. I'm not too bothered about whether an image made it into SS but not DT. But I am bothered about whether I've keyworded and captioned or not. Again, YMMV.

« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2013, 14:07 »
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I am sorry, did I understood well? You say that there are non exporting keywords. How? That would mean that in the moment I upload to SS(for ex) they will not take into consideration keywords that starts with '_'? Is this what you said?
A functionality like this would be great especially because then I could have smart collections, easily.

« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2013, 15:04 »
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Wow. In the meaning time I searched and found out that you can really have non exporting keywords. I found out how to create such as keywords.
Now I did as followed:
created a collection - Entire Collection Stock - which I set it as target collection.
Then I press B on all photos that I have uploaded for at least one stock agency, so it means is a stock photo. After that I created 2 smart collections(for the moment) ShutterStock Accepted and ShutterStock Rejected. For both I set as criteria: source->collection is from collection above, and keyword _shutterstock. Then for first I added extra filter condition: keyword _accepted, respectively 'rejected' for second smart collection. Will repeat for all agencies.
In this way I can now which are rejected/accepted for all agencies and I might have all kind of results.
What do you say about my approach? :)

« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2013, 15:56 »
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uhm... well I found out that this wasn't working as I expected. I wasn't testing case when one image has been approved to SS and rejected to DS. In that case it would have been _accepted, _shutterstock, _rejected, _dreamstime. So filter would not be effective.
Then I tried to do hierarchical keywords. Like in image.
Now I face another issue: I can not apply filter for a smart collection in order to take only a hierarchical keyword.
Could anybody help me on this?
I tried like this: keword contains: _dreamstime < _accepted but this returns also those that have _shutterstock < _accepted.
:-?

« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2013, 21:31 »
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I do pretty much what Imagenomad describes. I use 'non-exporting' keywords to define special collections.

--> Alexa, here's how to make a keyword non-exporting in Lightroom:
1. Right click on any keyword in your Keyword List in the right panel, select one of the options: (a) Edit Keyword Tag, or (b) Create Keyword Tag, or (c) Create Keyword Tag inside "...". This brings up the Edit Keyword Tag dialog box.
2. In the dialog box, type in your new keyword if necessary.
3. In the options below, UNCHECK the box that says 'Include on Export'.
4. Select Save.
5. Lightroom adds the keywords to the files when you export them unless you told it not to by deselecting the option.

I found it useful to me to be able to quickly identify which keywords don't get exported. I do that by spelling them in ALL CAPITALS so they will stand out in the image's keyword list. Imagenomad uses a leading underscore to accomplish the same thing. The underscore and all caps have no special significance to Lightroom.

Even though the keyword is not exported, Lightroom can search for images that you tagged with it. This gives you the ability to define Special Collections using non-exported keywords. If you are familiar with databases, you can think of a special collection as a database query that you have pre-defined and, when you select the collection, Lightroom simply displays the result of the query.

I use non-exporting keywords for several things including keeping track of workflow (SELECT, KEYWORDED, DEVELOPED, agency and submission status, etc). For example, "Show me the files that have been developed but not keyworded yet" or "Show me the files that are developed and keyworded but haven't been uploaded yet". These kinds of queries are developed on the fly then deleted when I finish with them. When you've done it a few times, you'll soon see how simple it is.

I'm not sure if anyone else has done it, but you can also use non-exporting keywords to keep track of MR & PR release status, model names etc. without putting them in the IPTC data. I have a different way to do it, but this method is much easier. I just haven't converted to it yet.


« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2013, 22:12 »
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Alexa
I started writing the above this afternoon and got interrupted. I see you've partly solved your problem.

When I submit a photo to iStock, I assume it will be accepted so I give it the keyword ISP-ACCEPTED. If they reject it, I delete that keyword and add the keyword ISP-REJECTED instead. I also have similar keywords for other agencies like Depositphoto (DEP-ACCEPTED, ETC.) or PhotoDune (PHD-ACCEPTED, etc). I use 3 character abbreviations for the agencies to avoid duplications. The only way I found to get around the problem you described is to combine the agency name with accepted or rejected into a single keyword. Since the keywords aren't exported they don't need to mean anything to anybody else but you.

When you do it that way, you can easily construct a special collection that shows you all the pictures that were accepted by iStock but rejected by Shutterstock.

Also, you move an image from one special collection to a different one by changing the keywords.

« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2013, 22:18 »
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I basically do what you say but instead of keywords I use specific abbreviated collections to get around the search parameters.

As an example. My main stock collection is called 000 MS Images

I then set up Stock Site Specific Folders/Subfolders with  abbreviated names so I can use those in Smart Collections.

Take SS for example.

You can make a Smart Collection called SS.1 Images.
You would have it match all of the following.
Collection contains all words 000 MS Images
Collection does not contain SS.

For me I use "SS.8 Rejects" for SS rejects and
"SS.9 Online" as SS images online with a bunch of "SS.x" (where x=different numbers) collections for various images along the uploading process.

As you can see the only images that will appear in the "SS.1 Images" collection are selected "000 MS Images" that are not in any of the SS. collections.
I do the above for each agency.

I have also made what I call "duplicate check" smart collections that show images that are in more than one folder at a time so I know if I have any conflicts or if I forgot to remove an image from one of the step folders or if an image is in rejects and online at the same time.

You can keep it simple or more complicated as needed for your requirements.


Finally I also Color Label tag all images in the "000 MS Images" collection a single color so while looking at any folder I can easily tell if an image has already been selected for stock.



uhm... well I found out that this wasn't working as I expected. I wasn't testing case when one image has been approved to SS and rejected to DS. In that case it would have been _accepted, _shutterstock, _rejected, _dreamstime. So filter would not be effective.
Then I tried to do hierarchical keywords. Like in image.
Now I face another issue: I can not apply filter for a smart collection in order to take only a hierarchical keyword.
Could anybody help me on this?
I tried like this: keword contains: _dreamstime < _accepted but this returns also those that have _shutterstock < _accepted.
:-?

« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2013, 23:40 »
0
I just realized I used the term 'special collection' above when I meant 'smart collection'. Sorry about the possible confusion.

Don
I tried the 'staged collections' approach you described back in LR2 but it quickly became too cumbersome for me. I spent far too much time moving files around different collections without actually accomplishing anything useful. It's also prone to the kinds of errors you suggested.

There is a fundamental difference between collections and smart collections that many (most?) people don't understand. You define a collection and give it a name and then you tell LR what files to include in that collection. On the other hand, a smart collection is really a database query (see previous post) - you tell LR what rules to follow to put files in the  smart collection then LR shows you all the files that satisfy the rules you gave. You cannot tell LR directly to include any specific file in a smart collection. This is also why you cannot make a smart collection your target collection (most people probably haven't noticed that).

When I learned more about keywording and constructing smart collections, I was able to develop my current approach. I'm still looking for new ways to improve on it. The way LR handles keywording is really clunky and Adobe needs to rethink the user interface for it. My keyword list has thousands of entries arranged hierarchically and growing quickly. It's difficult to navigate.

I'm not trying to convince anyone to use my method. I'm just describing it as a possibility that may work for you. If you have a system you're happy with, by all means keep using it.

« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2013, 01:45 »
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All right guys, I will try tonight. Hope will have time.
So, as I understand I must define non exporting keywords for each kind of category: SS_accepted, SS_rejected, DT_accepted, DT_rejected and so on. I thought that a hierarchical keyword will work(it would  have been too nice).
Then also the label coloring in Green for images selected to submit is one think I will use it too.
Well I am submitting for almost an year now. For ~ last 2 months I participate to other 2. So I knew I will face this organizing issues. I hope I will manage till the end and then all will be a lot more easier.
I will come up with workflows I choose.

@LesHoward: I am in fact a developer so I know pretty well SQL databases. And indeed the comparing you said: 'smart collection is like an sql query' is very good to understand it better.

Regards.

« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2013, 12:57 »
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I was a programmer for 30 years which is how I was able to reverse engineer the LR logic and develop my approach.

Using the color green is a good approach that will work. I use the keyword SELECT instead because it gives me the ability to create 'instant smart collections' simply by going to the keyword list and clicking on the number to the right of the keyword that shows how many files use that keyword.

« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2013, 15:45 »
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There are many different ways to get the job done in LR, and it honestly is to each their own. What works for one of us may or may not work for someone else. You just need to figure out what works for you. I would guess the most people use a combination of labels, collections, smart collections and keywords.
I'd say the single most important thing to keeping organized is to give every image a unique name. Renaming images is a topic in and of itself though!

« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2013, 17:30 »
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I'd say the single most important thing to keeping organized is to give every image a unique name. Renaming images is a topic in and of itself though!


And part of renaming images is your image file system. Matt Kloskowski ignited a firestorm on his Lightroom Killer Tips blog when he tried to cover it. http://lightroomkillertips.com/?p=4974 Warning: while the discussion is quite civil, your brain will turn to mush trying to make sense of the (123 and still counting) comments. But feel free to join in :)

« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2013, 18:23 »
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I'd say the single most important thing to keeping organized is to give every image a unique name. Renaming images is a topic in and of itself though!


And part of renaming images is your image file system. Matt Kloskowski ignited a firestorm on his Lightroom Killer Tips blog when he tried to cover it. http://lightroomkillertips.com/?p=4974 Warning: while the discussion is quite civil, your brain will turn to mush trying to make sense of the (123 and still counting) comments. But feel free to join in :)


OMG, LOL. I see where that went. Again Lightroom lets you organize how you want to be organized. Personally I'd have a problem organizing by anything other than shoot date. If I need images organized by location or whatever I'd simply give them a keyword and create a smart collection to find that keyword. I also always include my initials in the beginning of the image file so a client knows it came from me if they deal with other photographers. I tried a simple numbering scheme but kept making mistakes and duplicating numbers. By using DLYYMMDD-xxx.NEF if I forget to rename a batch I can go back any time and rename them without messing up my numbering scheme. I also use YYYY/YYMMDD Name of Project/DLYYMMDD-xxx.NEF as the folder organization scheme. This works for me but I'm sure different schemes work for others.

For me one other key thing I do in Lightroom is I ALWAYS output using the COPYNAME. The reason being if I create versions of the same RAW file I need a way to differentiate it from the first version. I use John Beardsworth "Search Replace Transfer" to keep the COPYNAME up to date. I simply append the original filename with the letter "a" into the COPYNAME. This also works with TIFS or PSD files made from the original RAW file that were worked on in Photoshop, so I could have any combination of RAW, Versions, Tif or PSD files of the original RAW file all with a unique name. The Tiffs or PSD files actually get the letters appended to the file name as well.
For clarity's sake if the original RAW is DL131204-100.NEF. I make a version, the file name remains the same but the COPYNAME becomes DL131204-100a. I now make a TIF file from either of the previous images. I save it as DL131204-100b and in Lightroom it is named DL131204.100b.TIF and the COPYNAME is DL131204-100b.

Hopefully this is still on subject for the OP.

« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2013, 10:45 »
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...snip...
OMG, LOL. I see where that went.
... bigger snip...

Hopefully this is still on subject for the OP.
I don't want to hijack Alexa's thread. If anyone is interested they can look at Matt K's blog.

« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2013, 04:43 »
0
...snip...
OMG, LOL. I see where that went.
... bigger snip...

Hopefully this is still on subject for the OP.
I don't want to hijack Alexa's thread. If anyone is interested they can look at Matt K's blog.

Actually, I don't think this is a thread hijack - Alexa should have a read of that too.

It's a good discussion that sheds a little light on the philosophy and practices of DAM in general. And since Alexa is just starting out, now's a good time to get a solid system in place that isn't going to require too much tweaking in the future. (Although never be afraid to tweak systems if it's going to make life easier in the long run).

And after Alexa has read it, she should accept that chronological folders is the way to go and rename files using a YYYYMM-xyz-sequence template, not to identify images by date but to guarantee unique names for images.  ;D

For the record, whilst my images are in folders that run chronologically, they're not arranged as YYYY>MM>DD Event. I subscribe to Peter Krogh's "bin" or "bucket" system, limiting the number of files to approximately 1,000 per "bucket". So images in folder _002 were taken after those in _001 but before those in _003. If I want exact dates (or specific events or subjects), I can use metadata Smart Collections.

« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2013, 06:03 »
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I started with digital files in 2006 and soon realized the problems that crop up when you have duplicate names so I use a combination that's been working well for me. I found that using dates was too cumbersome - not sure why - but my hybrid system seems to work really well for me and also helps me keep track of how much I'm shooting.

Since I shoot a lot of travel, my images usually start with a place name abbreviation like NY, NYC, ME followed by a dash and the last two digits of the year, I then use the actual number of the photo from my camera, which I restart from 0001 each year for each camera. I've come close to 10,000 images in a year but haven't gone over 9,999 for any single camera so this works well. Since I have two DSLR's and a high-end P&S, my D700 images would end up with names such as NY-130001 which is shorter than adding the shoot date to each photo but gives me enough of a hint as to the date shot. Images from my D5100 get a 5 added to the beginning so they'd be NY-5130001, and my P7000 pix get a 2 so they'd be NY-2130001. I let the cameras all keep track for me insuring there are no duplicate numbers since each camera has its code number in the beginning.

Re: Processing - I'll add things like SQ (for a square image) BW (for a black and white image) or v2, v3 etc to the end if I decide to process the original RAW file a couple of different ways e.g. NY-130001SQ and I may even change the first part of the name say from NYC-130001 to Brooklyn-130001 or add my initials if clients have different naming requirements, but the file number stays constant so I can always match it up to the original RAW file.

My numbering system also helps me find my premium images - usually shot with my D700 and lets me gauge how each camera compares in different situations. LR can also do that for me via metadata but it keeps the numbers from being duplicated so it works. I'd considered adding a code for each lens but found that way too cumbersome and then discovered LR can search by lens for me anyway.

The important thing is to find what works for you. Good luck!
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 14:40 by wordplanet »

« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2013, 01:21 »
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I described my file system, folder naming, and file naming in MattK's blog so you can read about it there. I designed it to ensure unique (ie. not repeated or recurring) file names. It also allows me to locate specific files outside of LR which is sometimes useful to me. My naming system also allows for non-digital (film) files since I have photos that go back more than 50 years. I started using this system around 1970 and had to tweak it a bit for digital files but it still works.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2013, 01:27 by LesHoward »

« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2013, 05:30 »
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Good advices indeed. As I promised I will post here the way I have chosen to manage my images. But it might take a while. Some improvements may come on the way.
For the moment I prefer not to change image's name, only when I am reviewing them. So, I might see an image that should be rotated, cropped, set BW - in such a case for me to be sure I will not forget I add short description to image's name.
Besides, for the moment I will not overpass the 99999 images in an year :)


 

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