Creating Smart Collections in Lightroom – and WHY

I do most of my initial edits in lightroom (basic exposure adjustment, white balance) and then any image I present to clients gets further polishing in Photoshop. That means that every file that I present will be a PSD file. I found myself getting confused about the numbers of images in a given collection because there would be the raw file AND the PSD (duplicates) and wanted a way to see JUST what PSDs I had for a given client. This gives me an idea of how many I have ready to present, i.e how far along I am in the editing process towards reaching my normal 25-30 images per client.

Here’s a quick tutorial on how to create a smart collection in Lightroom which will automatically pull JUST the PSD files from a given folder or collection (or any number of things depending on what rules you add to it!)

I think I filmed this one at about 2am and I start coughing at the end and had to make an abrupt exit… not my best video, but I think it gets the job done!

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Jessica says:

Hi Ariana! I absolutely love visiting your blog and always seem to learn something new. You are so talented, and I second Tracey, so generous with your time & knowledge!

I wanted to ask a question if you don’t mind. Photography is not my profession, but it has become a very serious hobby over the past several years, and I find myself shooting more and more portraits for friends and family (as well as following my 7-month-old around with my camera 24/7). The most time consuming thing for me is editing and smoothing skin (something you are FANTASTIC at). You mentioned in this video that you take every image into PS to run Portraiture. I have been debating on whether to spend the money on it, as $200 is a lot when I won’t ever actually see a monetary return on the investment… and I struggle with not spending that money on another lens or piece of equipment.

So my question is, do you find that it’s worth the investment? Is it purely a time-saver, or do you find that the quality of skin smoothing you get with it is superior to what you could do without it? And if this wasn’t your profession and you were just a hobbyist, would you still find it just as valuable?

I value your opinion very much and would love to get your thoughts!

Thanks so much!

Staci says:

Hi, Ariana. Thanks for this tutorial. Our dilemma sounds very similar. I do my basic edits in LR, then I’ll click “edit in PS” when I need to do some creative editing. I save in PS, and it saves the file back to LR with the “T” appended to the original file name. So, then I find myself, trying to see how many images I’ve done so far, and counting the “T”s to figure out. Not the most efficient or sexy method, I know. Then, I started coding all the PS edited images, with the green color “rating” which makes them quicker to find. At the end, I’d just do “B” shortcut to add all the greens to a quick collection, and export, yada, yada, yada.
But your method will save me some steps and TIME.!!! I can’t wait to try it! Thanks a bunch.!

Monika says:

Thanks for this great tutorial. This is amazing that you can sort by pdf file. It makes everything so much easier.

Tracey says:

Oh my goodness, I love you so much!!! Thank you for being so generous with your time and knowledge. Love from a huge fan in Australia :)

Karen H says:

I also love your tutorials! Lightroom does so much that I don’t even know about. Thanks for showing this,I will definitely try it!

ariana says:

Aw, thanks Gayle..nice to see two comments in one day from my Girl’s Getaway friends!

GayleV says:

Have loved checking out your tutorials the last few days! They are awesome, Ariana!

ariana says:

Aw, thanks Miz Booshay, that means a lot coming from such a wonderful teacher! :)

Miz Booshay says:

Fantastic! You are so natural. Seriously good at this!