So Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 has been out for a while now and I’ve been playing around with some of the new features. One of the less talked about features is Smart Collections and as I’m finding these extremely helpful I thought I’d highlight what I’ve been doing with them.

Smart Collections are just like any other collection, apart from one important fact – they update themselves. This makes them great for creating a collection from all photos in your catalog, based on some tag or metadata assigned to the shots. One example might be to create a collection of all the photos you’ve given a five star rating to. After you’ve set up the Smart Collection, if you import some new shots and give some of those photos a five star rating, you don’t need to manually add them to your five star collection. The Smart Collection will have already added them.

Expanding on this, I’ve started adding a keyword of “Portfolio” to what I consider my best single photo from each major shoot I import. I’ve set up a Smart Collection to only include photos with this keyword, and so I always have a complete portfolio to hand. You could use the star rating for this, however within a shoot I often use star ratings for those photos I want to include in the galleries you see on this site. So I wanted to use something slightly different for portfolio shots.

Using keywords to create your Smart Collections means the sky is your limit. Combining this with other metadata – stars, color, flag – means you can easily and quickly create collections of your best work around specific themes – for example architecture, rivers, portraits, transport.