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How to Create Smart Collections in Lightroom 3

By Pye Jirsa on May 17th 2011

(The Lightroom video tutorial in this post is just under the introductory text below. The working files for this article can be downloaded below.)

Unlike Quick Collections or regular Collections where you need to add images to the collections manually, Smart Collections are dynamic collections that are based upon image attributes or metadata.

This means that if you create a Smart Collection for 3 star images, then it will always show all images that have 3 stars regardless of any changes that are being made. All updates to the images that are in Smart Collections are made dynamically in real time.

This makes smart collections a very powerful type of “quick access tool” to see images that have certain attributes or metadata.

In this video we are going to show you how to create Smart Collections and edit the collection rules, as well as show you how Smart Collections update automatically whenever changes are made.


Exercise File Download Links:

Note: These images have been provided to the SLR Lounge users courtesy of Lin and Jirsa Photography and Undfind for educational purposes only.

Full RAW Exercise Files (552MB) – For faster connections. The full RAW files will allow you to follow the tutorials while achieving the exact same results as shown.
JPEG Exercise Files (129MB) – For slower connections. The JPEG files will allow you to follow the tutorials, although the results may vary due to not having the image details of the full RAW file.
Lightroom Catalog – Contains all of the changes, edits made within this article.

Related Product Offers Recommended by SLR Lounge

1) Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 – As of April 25, 2011 – Among the larger reputable dealers, the lowest price we found for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 is $264.77 (Free Shipping) through Amazon. Click any of these links to take you to the offer.

Click here to purchase Adobe Lightroom 3 from

2) Student and Teacher Editions of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 – For teachers and students, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 is available for $89 through the Adobe Educational Purchasing Site.

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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Nice tutorial.

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