The Collections Panel inside the Library Module has been around for some time now and is extremely useful for organizing your images beyond any folder structure you may employ. The beauty of Collections is the ability to have images assigned to multiple Collections at the same time, allowing you to organize images for different purposes even though some images may be identical, without duplicating the actual files on your hard drive.
What you may not know though is that Collections are not only available in the other Modules but the Slideshow, Print, and Web Modules can have their own “Special Collections”. These can be a terrific time saver if you find yourself performing the same or very similar tasks over and over again as part of your workflow. To create one of these collections you must be in the relevant module.
Building a Collection
Lets start with the Slideshow Collections: (although the procedure is pretty much identical for the Print and Web Modules)
Begin by selecting some images (or not) and switch to the Slideshow Module. From the Collections Panel click the “+” icon and select “Create Selection Set…”. You don’t have to create a set but since we are going to be creating multiple special collections it makes sense to keep them organized.
Next, select the same “+” icon and choose “Create Slideshow…” Name the Slideshow collection and be sure to place it in the Set you just created. Create as many Slideshow collections as you want.
From the Library Module you can now see some new collections which have an icon that looks like a 35mm slide. Adding images to the collections is the same as with any other collection. Drag and drop from the grid.
When you double click the collection name you will go directly to the Slideshow module and the settings that were used last FOR THAT COLLECTION will be presented. Thats an important thing to understand because if you select a different template from the browser then that template will be remembered next time. The cool thing is that each collection can remember a different template. Simply select the collection then select a template. Then leave it alone.
Another thing that is remembered is your choice to “Use: All Filmstrip Photos or Selected Photos or Flagged Photos“.
You don’t have to use the Templates. You can simply set the show up any way you want using all of the options available in the right side panels. However, if you accidentally click on a Template, you will not be able to quickly get all the settings back for the collections. I recommend using templates and for sake of your sanity and ease of use, name them the same as your collections.
Templates vs Collections
Of course, you may be asking, “why don’t I just use templates?”. A valid question and certainly you could get by with that quite easily, but where the Collections rule is the ability to switch images out easily while in the Library Module or continually add images over time. Lets say you create a collection in January and want to add images each month for a slideshow. By the time June comes around, if you didn’t have a collection going then you’d waste time finding the same images each month. A regular collection could work but then you’d have to switch to the Slideshow Module and remember to select the right template each time. Not rocket science but rather tedious at best.
Adding and removing images from the collection while in the Library Module keeps you focussed on organization until you actually need to go to another module.
This is far more useful in my opinion when it comes to the Print Module. You can setup various template/Collection combinations and from the Library Module you can sort which images you want to send to the printer very quickly. Switching between Templates merely changes the way the images are printed whereas switching between Collections changes which images are printed and how they are printed.
Using these collections makes it so much easier to switch out entire sets of images or simply append to them from time to time as you may do with your web uploads.
Creating the Web Collections is the same as creating the other collections. Be sure you are in the Web Module. Web Galleries and Templates don’t remember the Upload settings, which is a good thing so you will have to select the appropriate settings there each time you upload. Fortunately they can be saved as presets.
Play around with some Special Collections and see if they work for you. If they do, let us know how you are using them.