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Smart Collections & other things I can't get used to - suggestions? #1
Sarah Mawdsley's picture
by Sarah Mawdsley
April 26, 2015 - 10:42am

I have not really jumped ship completely.  I’m going to use Aperture until the bitter end, but in the meanwhile I thought I’d start to learn Lightroom, so when the inevitable happens, the learning curve won’t be too steep.

Of course, there are some things LR does a bit better than Aperture that’s clear.  However, some of the things I’m finding frustrating and I don’t know if this is a lack of experience, or just the way LR works.  I will be eager to do Joseph’s tutorials, but in the meantime, any suggestions welcome.

Smart Collections

  • Seem to have limited filter selections and the names don’t necessarily match the names in the metadata?
    • eg I wanted a smart collection by camera.  The two options are camera and camera serial number
    • using camera contains FUJI gave me a 0 result
    • using camera contains X-E2 brought the right result
      • This seems illogical to me as X-ES is camera model even though the filter header is simply camera
      • Are there customisable options available?  


  • In Aperture when making adjustments you can go edit/delete the individual adjustments, but I haven’t found a way to do the same in LR.  Seems you have to clear the whole history and start from scratch.  That seems illogical and so I assume I must be missing something.  I assume you have to take a snapshot of each adjustment ?  Any suggestions? 

Off to do a couple of online tutorials.  It’s clearly just a learning curve thing, I cannot believe that a tool as popular as LR wouldn’t have a simple way to edit adjustments.  
Thanks in advance

Jim Burgess's picture
by Jim Burgess
April 26, 2015 - 3:00pm


re: Smart Collections

True, the capabilities of smart collections aren’t nearly as thorough as Aperture’s, and the limited criteria are a constant gripe of LR users.

The names in the metadata panel on the right match the standards, e.g., in the EXIF spec “Model” is the tag name for the camera and the value appears as “Nikon D4S”. Maybe the LR programmers figured “Model” wasn’t descriptive enough so they changed it to “Camera” in the smart collections and metadata filters (just a guess on my part).

All is not lost, though. You can use the Metadata filters to see what tag names are used along with their resulting values. In case you haven’t found it yet…in library mode, select the photos you are interested in, then make sure the filter bar is on (View menu or \ key). Click on “Metadata”. In a column header click on the column title to drop down the list of available tags. The values for the selected tag will be displayed in the column.

A lot of LR plug-ins do offer capabilities to get around LR’s shortcomings. One of them that is frequently recommended for better filtering is “Any Filter” by John Ellis:

But do note that plug-ins do not always work as smoothly as their authors would like. This is due to many limitations in the LR SDK for plug-ins.

Can you give an example of “customisable options”?

re: Adjustments

I’m a bit confused by your question. But it sounds like you are trying to use the History panel to edit/delete adjustments, which is not its purpose. 

In the Develop module, any of the adjustments displayed in the panels on the right can be changed or reset to their default values (the “off” position) at any time. To edit an adjustment, obviously just move the slider. To reset an adjustment the easiest way is to double-click the adjustment’s name. E.g., to turn off Exposure simply double-click the word Exposure. To reset all adjustments in a panel segment, double-click the segment’s name, e.g., double-click Tone to reset all 6 sliders. For some panels there is also a slider switch in the header. You can turn that set of adjustments on or off by using the switch. To reset a photo back to its original state, use the Reset button at the bottom.

If I’m missing your point please provide some specific examples of what you can’t do.

Hope this helps.

Sarah Mawdsley's picture
by Sarah Mawdsley
April 26, 2015 - 3:21pm


Thanks so much!  Yes, I was getting confused and figured out the adjustments, albeit, I find it a bit “fiddly” compared to what I’m used to. 

Thanks a lot for the link to the plug in - I’ll most certainly check it out.

In Aperture you are able to add custom metadata settings and then use those settings for filtering and for Smart Collections.  

Really thanks a lot!  I


Jim Burgess's picture
by Jim Burgess
April 26, 2015 - 3:45pm

It’s been a while since I’ve used LR as my primary software and things may have changed, but no, custom metadata fields are not a feature. There were some attempts, but they were really “geeky” and not useful to most users. This may have changed…I haven’t looked into it. Most users ended up using keywords to achieve what they wanted from custom metadata.

IMO, the LR developers have mostly neglected the DAM aspects of LR. What you see now isn’t a lot different than version 1. Here’s an example: there’s a set of metadata called “IPTC Extension” exposed in LR. You can assign values to the fields. But you CAN’T search for anything in those fields within LR! Lame.

Just curious… what’s “fiddly” about the adjustments?


Florian Cortese's picture
by Florian Cortese
April 26, 2015 - 5:14pm

Sarah,  I have been using Lr for about 4 months, so I am by no means an expert.  In the Library module at the very top is the Library Filter bar.  If you select the Metadata tab you have 4 customizable sections, one of which includes cameras.  If you are in a collection, or a folder or if you click on your parent folder of all photos you can drill down a lot easier to see photos taken by single criteria or a set of specific criteria.  That might also help you set up your specific needs for creating a specific smart album.  This link has been mentioned in one of the comments in the TIPS article on Lr CC, I believe. There are two tutorials on Smart Albums and using filters to find photos by Julianne Kost. Here’s the link:  Hope this helps.


Florian Cortese

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