12 Replies Latest reply on Feb 1, 2015 10:48 AM by FWG99

    Problems sorting LR collections

    FWG99 Level 1

      This is a slightly long story but necessary to explain the help I need and why! I have some 18000 photos which have been collected over several years and which in some cases have come from different cameras (metadata capture dates and file numbers in different formats) and from slides which have been digitized but now think they were taken (captured) on the date they were digitized. After a lot of effort I have grouped the photos into chronological LR  collections and have rated them so that I now have about 1500 photos "of interest" contained in these collections. The leading characters of the collection names are  in the format "year/month" (eg 1998/03) followed by a short text description. These now reside in about 50 different LR collections. The number of photos in each collection varies between 1 and 43.

      What I want to do is condense these 50 collections into a single master collection but keep them in the same chronological order Once I have done this I can use LR to apply an "indexing" number to all 1500 photos. I can then export the photos to a catalog and use the index for future sorting as I further refine the photos before printing. I will not need to worry about differing file names and inaccurate capture dates.

      I found a tutorial showing how to condense groups of catalogs into a master catalog but there seems no similar option to group collections which I find hard to believe. I have the latest LR5.7.1 version.

        • 1. Re: Problems sorting LR collections
          Modesto Vega Level 1

          Assuming you are using Lr 5.7.1, have you tried using collection sets? You could create a collection set for 1998 and have inside it all your 1998 related folders in the right order.

          • 2. Re: Problems sorting LR collections
            FWG99 Level 1

            I have had a try at using a collection set and while within the master collection set it keeps the individual collections in the right order when I look at the actual photos in the master collection they are all mixed up and seem to have lost the sequence they have if I look at the individual collections. I can't see why that should be happening.

            • 3. Re: Problems sorting LR collections
              Modesto Vega Level 1

              Let's say you have a collection structure like

               

              Root

              ----1998

              -------1998/03

              -------1998/04

              -----1999

              -------1999/03

               

              Are you saying that they display in the correct order when you are in 1998 and incorrectly when you are in Root? Do you have any other collections between the 199x collection sets and root that might contain the same photographs?

               

              Also what version of Lr are you using and what operating system?

              • 4. Re: Problems sorting LR collections
                FWG99 Level 1

                Hi Thanks for your input to my problem. I am using LR5.7.1 which is the latest issue.

                The collection structure is as an example similar to what you suggested but only two levels (I am trying to stay simple until I have sorted out the problem!)

                 

                -Master collection

                     -1965/03 containing individual photos with various file names.

                     -1965/07 containing individual photos with various file names

                     -1966/01 containing individual photos with various file names

                 

                If I look in any of the sub collections (1965/03 for example) the photos are in the correct order as I have manually sorted them. They seem perfectly stable and do not try to rearrange themselves.

                If I look at the Master collection the same photos are present but in no particular order. Even when the capture dates are the same and the file names sequential they are still being mixed up when viewed via the Master collection!

                • 5. Re: Problems sorting LR collections
                  FWG99 Level 1

                  I forgot my operating system is windows 7 pro

                  • 6. Re: Problems sorting LR collections
                    Modesto Vega Level 1

                    FWG99 wrote:

                     

                    Hi Thanks for your input to my problem. I am using LR5.7.1 which is the latest issue.

                    The collection structure is as an example similar to what you suggested but only two levels (I am trying to stay simple until I have sorted out the problem!)

                     

                    -Master collection

                         -1965/03 containing individual photos with various file names.

                         -1965/07 containing individual photos with various file names

                         -1966/01 containing individual photos with various file names

                     

                    If I look in any of the sub collections (1965/03 for example) the photos are in the correct order as I have manually sorted them. They seem perfectly stable and do not try to rearrange themselves.

                    If I look at the Master collection the same photos are present but in no particular order. Even when the capture dates are the same and the file names sequential they are still being mixed up when viewed via the Master collection!

                    They should appear by capture data. The only thing I can think of is that the capture date for your files is the same and Lr shuffles them into a more or less random order. If you go the Library module check the Capture Time and Capture Date of your files. Please keep in mind that you are probably dealing with scanned prints, negatives and/or transparencies and the scanning software might have made a decision about what values to put on these fields.

                    • 7. Re: Problems sorting LR collections
                      FWG99 Level 1

                      I think you are right in that it is the scan files and those from other cameras which is tricking LR to sort in a different order. It looks as if I will need to let it do its own sort and then look for those pics out of order and manually edit the capture dates. Only 1500 pics to check!!!

                       

                      Thanks for your help

                      • 8. Re: Problems sorting LR collections
                        johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

                        To build on Modesto's comments: While collections allow you to provide a custom (manual) sort order, collection sets do not.  You can see that by clicking on the Sort: dropdown in the toolbar at the bottom of Library grid mode when you have a collection set selected in the Collections panel:

                        Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 9.38.52 AM.png

                        So when you select a collect set, it will be ordered by Capture Time or some other criteria, but not by manual orders you imposed on each of its collections.

                         

                        Rather than making a collection set, you could make another collection called "Master" and then add all of the pics in each of your other collections to Master in turn.  Master will retain the order of the pics in which you added them.  To make that go fast, right-click Master in the Collections panel and do Set As Target Collection.  Then in chronological order, select each source collection in the collections panel.  Do Edit > Select All to select all the pics in the collection, then right-click the pics and do Add To Target Collection ("B" is the keyboard shortcut).

                         

                        Of course, if you update one of the individual collections, you'll have to manually update Master, which probably isn't what you want.

                         

                        Stepping back, you're trying to use collections for something for which they're not designed.  You want to set and maintain the chronological ordering of pics, and digital-asset-management tools like Lightroom provide a number of tools to let you use the "capture date" metadata field to do precisely that.  You set the capture date of each pic, and then the tools will let you sort, slice, and dice by date very easily.

                         

                        Digital cameras make this nearly painless, since they automatically set the capture date of pics.  But the rub you've encountered is that you've got a large number of scans, and scanner software doesn't set the capture date for you (how could it? -- it doesn't know what the date should be).   So you need to set the capture date of your pics.   Unfortunately, LR was explicitly designed primarily for manipulating pics from digital cameras, and while many of us use LR to also manage scans, LR itself doesn't make it that easy, starting with its clunky Edit Capture Date command.

                         

                        When I scan a group of slides, they're typically grouped by time (e.g. in numeric order, or from the same year, or whatever).  I import the scans into LR, and then use a temporary collection to put them in proper chronological order, using the date and slide number printed on the slide.   Typically, I know the year and month but not the day or time of a group, so I'd like to set all the pics in the group to have capture dates, say, of 1961/2/1 12:00:01, 1961/2/1 12:00:02, 1961/2/1 12:00:03, etc.  The clunky LR Edit Capture Command would make that exceedingly painful, but luckily, there are a couple of plugins, such as ExifMeta and Capture Time To Exif, that make it very easy.

                         

                        While this is a little more work than dragging each photo manually into a collection, as you've been doing, it's really not that much more work, and you're left with your pics assigned capture dates that any software tool can use to display and organize.  

                         

                        You've already got your collections organized by year and month, so using ExifMeta to assign capture dates to your scans shouldn't be that hard.

                        • 9. Re: Problems sorting LR collections
                          Modesto Vega Level 1

                          John R. Ellis wrote:

                           

                          To build on Modesto's comments: While collections allow you to provide a custom (manual) sort order, collection sets do not.

                          Your post above is very informative.

                           

                          I find very odd the way collection sets order not just photos but any other collections within the set. If I create a collection set with a couple of collection sets, a couple of smart collections and a standard collection, it appears to be impossible to get the container collection set to show any contained collections in the following order: start with a smart collection, then show the 2 collection sets, and then show the collection.

                           

                          Lr always shows any collections within a collection set in this order: collection sets, smart collections and standard collections. There isn't seem to be away to interpose  them, the usual trick of using names with numbers starting at 1 or 0 does not do anything.

                           

                          But this is not the OPs problem.

                          • 10. Re: Problems sorting LR collections
                            johnrellis Most Valuable Participant
                            it appears to be impossible to get the container collection set to show any contained collections in the following order

                            In general, LR uses a fixed, built-in ordering for all sources in the left-hand sources column.  Others have complained about not being able to re-order folders, for example.

                            • 11. Re: Problems sorting LR collections
                              Modesto Vega Level 1

                              Pity, I would great to be able to have a more flexible sorting for collections contained within collections.

                              • 12. Re: Problems sorting LR collections
                                FWG99 Level 1

                                Thanks very much for your detailed reply. At least I was not being quite such a muppet as I thought. I will give the Exifmeta a try when I have some time but your explanation was a great help.