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How To Organize Photos in Lightroom Using Smart Collections

My Lightroom Catalogue was such a mess few days ago.. And my backups weren't really up to date and after reading some horror stories on loosing your images I wanted to make this my priority number uno. It's not a sexy task, but definitely something I had to do.

The Collections and Folders were unorganized and was literally scattered all over the place. So I decided to go on and manage my photos and build up a system because I really want to backup my photos regularly, and don't want to include unnecessary photos in those backups.

I know there are lot of different ways to do organizing. I believe this works for people who are not organized or have always just imported their photos anywhere where is space left in their hard drives. Here is couple of tricks I found easy and working well for my purposes. 

1. Create a Collection Set

First thing to do is create a set where you will be having all the images from one year. Click on the small + sign in the Collections Panel and choose Collection Set. Name this what ever year you are going to create. For example I named it 2009. 

Add Year by Creating a Collection Set

Add Year by Creating a Collection Set

2. Create Smart Collection for a Year

Click on the right mouse button inside the Collection Set you just created and click Create a Smart Collection. Name it All and click on the Inside a Collection Set and choose the set you just created. Check Capture Date from the Rules Panel and check "is in the range" and provide the dates you want the images to be, for example 2009-01-01 to 2009-12-31 and click Create.

Create First Smart Collection with ruling.

Create First Smart Collection with ruling.

3. Create Smart Collection for a Month & File Type

This time use the same criteria but change the time line to 2009-01-01 to 2009-01-31. And after this lets add another rule File Type is Raw or JPG. (Which ever you prefer to shoot). This is not necessary, but I really enjoy just see the RAW files without all the other TIF files etc. 

Now when you have your first month set, go ahead and create all the rest months of the year, only changing the month dates.

Adding the month Smart Collection

Adding the month Smart Collection

4. Create Smart Collections for Other File Types

Now this is where I really had an aha moment. I have always been annoyed how many JPG copies I had all over the place so I just simply created a JPG Smart Collection by using The whole year Dates as previously in the Year part of this tutorial. I also did this part for TIF files to see how many duplicates I would have for the same photos. This is how you will be able to delete all the unnecessary duplicates. Just select the unnecessary duplicates and hit X and go to All Photographs and use CTRL (CMD) + Backspace and Delete from Disk. Of course be careful not deleting the files you don't want to.

Here is an example on adding JPG -files from the year into one Smart Collection

Here is an example on adding JPG -files from the year into one Smart Collection

5. Copy Collection Settings

So you have now created a one year Collection system. Create another Collection Set and name it "2010". Select the Smart Collections you just created for the another year and hit ALT (Option) + and drag the Smart Collections to 2010 and voila you have almost setup another year.. Now just double click on those copied Smart Collections and edit the dates to match the year you chose to create. Do this step to all the years you want to create and you are done with the Collections.

Drag the Created Collections to new Collection Set by holding down the CTRL (CMD) - key

6. Create Folder System From The Collections

After creating a Collections you can easily use them to create folders. Just click on the first Collection you want to create a folder and use shortcut CTRL (CMD) + A to select all photos inside that Smart Collection. Now go to your hard disk drive you are going to build the folders and select with your mouse right button and Create Folder. Name it for example 01, set it to Include selected Photos and now your files are being transferred to this location, no matter on where the images were before.

Adding the Folders from Smart Collections.

Adding the Folders from Smart Collections.

If you don't want to do all these steps, you can easily just apply this how you want to organize your photos. And of course you can go even further with the management by adding Collections for events, trips etc. 

Now after I have this system up, I can easily backup the whole Folder System to another Hard Drive. 

Mikko Lagerstedt - Lost

And for anyone who wanted to see some photo here is one from 2012, I ran into while going through the photos. It's supposed to get colder in the next few days so I'm just waiting for views like these! 

UPDATE: Thanks to Matt for pointing out a shortcut not working.

How To Process Fog & Mist Pictures in Lightroom

Hey everyone and Happy New Year! 

I thought I would give you insight on how I go through processing images taken in foggy situations. Here is a shot I took in Porvoo, Finland on one summer morning, just before the sunrise. 

Gear: Nikon D800, Nikon 16-35 mm f/4.0 VR, Sirui Tripod R-4203L + Sirui Ball Head K-40X

Exif: ISO 100, 26 mm, f/4.0, 0,4 sec. 

Fog Bridge - Before - ISO 100, 26 mm, f/4.0 & 0,4 sec

1. Lens Correction

First thing I do is correct the possible distortion of the lens and chromatic aberration. I also tend to try the Lightroom 5 Upright option for this type of images. The Auto setting worked great for this image so I checked it. For this image the Basic adjustments were enough, so I left the Manual settings intact. 

Fog Bridge - Apply the Lens Correction and Upright

Fog Bridge - Apply the Lens Correction and Upright

2. Cropping & Straightening

I always do the cropping before I do anything else to the image. I find it the most distracting thing to leave it at the very end. I use shortcuts to make my process go smoother, for Crop Tool hit R. For this particular image I wanted to crop from the left and from top. After I have decided on a crop I check to line up the lines of the bridge to make the image straight. Hit Enter to apply the crop.

3. Basic Adjustments

After I'm satisfied with the crop and lens correction, I go through the Basic Adjustments, step by step. Firstly I add some contrast. I also pull down the Highlights and Whites. I add some more bunch to the Blacks. I go through the Presence sliders and add some Vibrance and Clarity. 

Editing the Basic Adjustments in Lightroom. This always depends on your image. But for fog photos I find these settings to work well. I also have a collection of my settings through out my photography journey in  my presets collections .

Editing the Basic Adjustments in Lightroom. This always depends on your image. But for fog photos I find these settings to work well. I also have a collection of my settings through out my photography journey in my presets collections.

4. Gradual Sliders

I tend to add a Gradual filter either to the sky or to the foreground. Hit M to choose Gradual Filter. In this particular example, I darken the sky with the Gradual Filter. I used settings: Exposure -0,58, Contrast -10, Highlights -26 and Clarity -31. I do this to give balance to the lights in the image. I added another Gradual Filter to the left foreground to slightly pull the lights down from the pathway. 

Gradual Filters are quick and easy way to balance the light in your photos. 

Gradual Filters are quick and easy way to balance the light in your photos. 

5. Color Editing

For color editing in Lightroom I use firstly the White Balance Sliders to apply a slightly cool all around vibe to the image. I use Split Toning to give the image the final color treatments. In this case I added these Split Tones: Highlights: Hue 31, Saturation 15 - Shadows: Hue 231, Saturation 11. 

My favorite way to edit colors in Lightroom are with the White Balance Slider and through Split Toning. My split toning pack is available in my  Presets Collections .

My favorite way to edit colors in Lightroom are with the White Balance Slider and through Split Toning. My split toning pack is available in my Presets Collections.

6. Remove Distractions

The Spot Removal (Shortcut Q) tool is fantastic way to get rid of the distractions in your image. For this particular image I deleted some of the distracting lights and elements from the bridge to give it slightly smoother look. I tend to use the Spot Removal tool for small details just by clicking on a spot and finding a similar spot in the frame to heal it. 

Hit Q for Spot Removal tool. It's easy way to get rid of the distracting elements.

Hit Q for Spot Removal tool. It's easy way to get rid of the distracting elements.

7. Vignetting

Finally when I'm satisfied with the overall result, I add slight Post Crop Vignetting from the Effects panel. For this image my settings were: Highlight Priority, Amount -15, Midpoint 20, Roundness -5, Feather 60. 

For final adjustment I tend to add some Vignetting through the Effects Dialogue. 

For final adjustment I tend to add some Vignetting through the Effects Dialogue. 

The Final Image

Fog Bridge - Tutorial - The Final Image

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial. :) Let me know what kind of tutorials would you like to see in the future. 
Make sure to check my Fine Art Lightroom Presets for more Before & After photos!

Shipwreck

A long exposure of a shipwreck.  I would be glad to get feedback what kind of tutorials would you like to see from me. Comment below if you have suggestions! 

ISO 100, 869 sec., f/10, 35 mm. Hoya ND 400 and B&W 10 stop neutral density filters. 

Nikon D800 and Nikkor 16-35 mm f/4 VR

 

Shipwreck