Lightroom Trick – Tagging Photos to Scrap

I could write a million different posts about the ways that Lightroom finally won me over – it was a slow courtship but the more I learn, the more I wind up loving.

This is one that streamlines my scrapbooking workflow, though, so as I was importing photos today I took a screenshot to share it here. I used to keep a separate folder on my hard drive of “photos to scrapbook”. These were photos that had a story I wanted to preserve OR photos that were just cute – which can be few and far between sometimes with the boy. Although in his defense, he has really started to accept my fairly constant barrage of shutter clicks. I think one day he just lost the will to fight it and adopted an “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” philosophy towards the whole thing. There are even some days when I can simply say “Nicholas, I don’t have any recent pictures of you” and he will WILLINGLY COME TO ME and even … brace yourself … give me suggestions!

Also, I debated whether I should even share this because it may be too shocking for the Internet. But last week? He even put on a different, nicer shirt for his photos. After you pick your jaw up off the floor you can continue reading.

Back to my tip! I’ve stopped using the “photos to scrapbook” folders and I now manage this entire thing through Lightroom Collections because it’s SO quick and doesn’t require me to move any photos around on my disk.

On the left pane in the library, down in “Collections” I created a new collection (by clicking on the “+” sign on the right side of the header) and I named it “Photos to Scrap”. Then I right-clicked on the new collection and chose “Set as Target Collection” (see image below, it’s clickable for the full size screenshot)

CollectionScreenshot1

After these two steps are complete, all I have to do is hit the “B” key when highlighting any photo in my catalog and it will add it to my target collection – which in this case is always my “Photos to Scrap” collection. Since I import all my photos off of my memory card through Lightroom anyway, I set these “scrappable” photos aside right after import by taking a quick spin through the new photos and hitting “B” on the ones I may want to put on a page. I don’t post-process them at this time – mainly because I still do the bulk of my post-processing in Photoshop – but it’s an extremely quick process (literally the press of a key) to collect all these photos in one spot so that I don’t have to spend precious time sifting through photos every time I sit down to make a layout.

Creating several collections isn’t quite as slick. You can only use the “B” key on one collection at a time, so you’d have to switch your target collection to direct photos to a different one. The easiest way to add photos to additional collections, though, is to simply drag them over. You’ll see the photo count climb up to confirm that your photo was added.

After you’ve used a photo in your collection, you can right click on it and select “remove from target collection” so that your collection always contains only photos that are waiting to make it to the page. (This doesn’t remove it from your disk – don’t worry. It’s still there under your regular folder hierarchy, just removed from the “Photos to Scrap” collection.)

It’s just one of the ways that Lightroom improves my efficiency. I hope to share some more as time permits because I found Lightroom quite … annoying when I first installed it.  (No offense, Adobe!) It took me a while to figure out how to really customize it to my needs, but now it saves me a TON of time.

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4 comments


  • Great tip! Thanks so much for sharing. Lightroom is a confusing, yet wonderful program. I’ve only dipped my toe in, but it seems fascinating.

    September 4, 2009
  • Chris A.

    Great tip! I just love Lightroom and this is another wonderful way to use it!

    September 4, 2009
  • Thanks for the tip. I have just started using tags/keywords and such in Lightroom and that is a great tip!

    September 5, 2009
  • [...] productivity tips plus one more for [...]

    March 20, 2010

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