How to Create and Manage Catalogs and Collections in Lightroom

How to Create and Manage Catalogs and Collections in Lightroom

This article is a part of our series Photo Editing in Lightroom 101. Throughout the series we’ll cover the details of Lightroom’s library and develop modules and how you can use Lightroom to improve your own photos. As new articles are published they will be added to this page. If you don’t want to miss future articles in the series, please subscribe to our RSS feed or our email newsletter.

In the previous article we talked about catalogs and collections and how they can be used to organize your photos in Lightroom. Now that we’ve covered the basics of how catalogs and collections work, in this article we’ll explain the process of creating and using them.

Creating a Catalog

When you start Lightroom for the first time it will ask you where you want to store the catalog. By default this will be in the “Pictures” folder on your hard drive. If you’ve decided that you want to use a single catalog you won’t ever need to create another one. However, if you’ve decided to use multiple catalogs you can create a new one any time by going to File > New Catalog. It will again ask you where you want to store it, and you’ll choose the location.

Creating a Collection

To create a collection, click on the “+” symbol next to collections and then click on “create collection”.

How to Create and Manage Catalogs and Collections in Lightroom

From here you will give your collection a name. Keep in mind that if you are storing your photos in one catalog you will probably wind up with A LOT of collections, so naming them carefully is key. As I mentioned previously, I prefer to stick to the same naming pattern that I use for the folders on my hard drive. By default the box for “include selected photos” will be checked, which means that if you select all of the photos you want in the collection before creating the collection, leave this box checked and you won’t need to move any photos into the collection after it is created.

How to Create and Manage Catalogs and Collections in Lightroom

However, if you do need to move photos into the collection later, you will simply click on the photo and drag it into the collection. Make sure you are clicking on the photo thumbnail itself, not the highlighted area around the thumbnail.

How to Create and Manage Catalogs and Collections in Lightroom

If you want to move multiple files into a collection, click on the first image to select in, then hold shift and click on the last image that you want. That will select the two images plus everything between them (if the photos you want to select are not all in a row, hold control/command and click each one). Then click on one of the highlighted thumbnails and drag it to the collection. It will drag all of the selected images along with it.

In the next article we’ll cover the process of importing photos so you can get to work in Lightroom.

If you don’t want to miss the other articles in this Photo Editing in Lightroom 101 series, please subscribe to our RSS feed or our email newsletter. As new articles are published they will be added to the series page, which will serve as an index for the entire series.