One of my absolute favorite features inside of Lightroom is the Collections panel. Collections allow the user to “collect” photos from different folders all into one place to organize projects or ideas. Putting photos into a collection does not move the image; instead, it references the file and groups them however you like, similar to filtering your images. I started heavily using collections just a few years ago, mostly when writing books, articles and doing several other miscellaneous educational projects started to take over my life. However, since then I have implemented them into my daily routine … I am constantly adding images to collections, sorting through them, and looking in my older collections for inspiration.

Here are a few of the ways that I find Lightroom Collections useful:

Clouds and Textures


When I’m out shooting a landscape, or if I happen to be just somewhere with my camera and I see a good sky or texture, I oftentimes will take a few random photos of that sky (or texture) to use in a future project. Since I don’t always remember in which these random files are located, adding them to a collection is the best way to store them for further use (you can see my small collection of clouds in the example photo above). Every so often I want to replace a sky in a landscape photo, or stylize a photo with a texture, and it’s nice to have them all in one place. By adding them to a collection I will always have them grouped together so that I can access them quickly when I find an image where I want to either add a sky or some texture.

The Quick Collection for Temporary Projects

Tip: To quickly add images to any collection, right-click the collection and select “Set as Target Collection”. By default, the Quick Collection is the Target Collection, but you can change it to whatever you like; once it’s selected as the Target Collection you’ll see a plus icon (+) next to that collection. Then, use the keyboard shortcut B to add (or remove) selected photos to to that collection.

Organizing Work Images

Project Organization