Is there any way to 'sort' or ideally to create a 'smart collection' at the folder level?
Smart collections are something that exists in Lightroom. They do not exist outside of Lightroom, although at any point in time, you could export the contents of the smart collection to any folder you want. The problem is that when the smart collection updates, your folder will not update. You could also use Publish Services for this purpose.
Some folders are weddings, some birthdays, some vacations...and I'd like to be able to sort on these ideally getting a list of folders that qualify, or even just a collection of photos only from folders that qualify.
Do you mean FILTER and not SORT?
That's exactly what FILTER does, it gives you a list of items that have certain characteristics that you specify. In Lightroom, Filtering works on items (PHOTOS and/or VIDEOS and/or VIRTUAL COPIES) and not on FOLDERS.
There is the ability to add tags and comments at the folder level- I believe this is an OS-X feature but it is visible by right-click on any folder name and choosing 'Get Info'.
Lightroom has this capability, but again it works on PHOTOS and not on FOLDERS. You would be wise, in my opinion, to change your thought processes from FOLDERS to PHOTOS in Lightroom, you want to find photos that have the desired characteristics.
guess I could go back and add tags at the photo level or rename my files or folders- but that defeats the purpose.
No, it doesn't defeat the purpose, it is a superior way of doing things than forcing everything into a folder hierarchy. And, if necessary, you can add a tag to every photo in a given folder, or in multiple folders, with a single action.
I think you're misunderstanding my question. I'd like to limit my smart collections to photos within specific folders- folders that meet a certain criteria. I am able to add 'tags' and 'comments' to the properties of a folder. It would be nice to be able to add these 'folder' criteria to my smart collections. The data is already there- I'm just looking for some way to use it in Lightroom.
Lightroom cannot make use of any OS tags and comments on a folder.
And there's no other way to note something at the folder level except within the folder name? Seems silly if that's the case.
It's not silly, Lightroom provides a bazillion tools to help you organize and find your photos, including some that I think are just as good or superior than using OS tools. It's your choice to use those or not.
I'd like to limit my smart collections to photos within specific folders- folders that meet a certain criteria.
You can add criteria that match a folder's name to a smart collection. For example, here's a smart collection that finds all 5-star pics in any folder containing the word "Ellis":
However, I agree with dj_paige that using keywords and capture date is generally an easier, more flexible, and more powerful way of organizing photos in LR than relying on folder naming conventions.
I appreciate the feedback..basically that if the result set I'm looking for consists of photos the keep all the info at the photo-level. The feature I'm looking for is one of the few things Aperture did that helped me. I use my photos in medicine as well with folders that are patient identifiers and the ability to first sort all patients (folders) who met specific (of about 100) criteria was quite helpful. Patients often meet 8-10 of these criteria and the ability to filter my folders so I'm just looking at patients who meet certain criteria has been helpful before ever even delving into photos that meet certain criteria within this subset. Lr clearly recognizes some ability to 'filter' at the file level as you can use the filename as a sort criteria. For me to use a 'smart collection' to accomplish what I need lumps all photos that meet the criteria into one collection, with no way of logically separating them knowing where one patient ends and the next one starts (unless I delve into other photo data). For some of us, although knowing which photos satisfy certain criteria is what it's all about, sometimes knowing which folders contain photos that satisfy certain criteria has some value too. What Lr does is pretty logical- there are just some of us who would benefit from being able to sort based on 'folder-level' criteria...and since Lr already lets you sort on one of these criteria (folder name), and folder-level tags and notes exist anyway, why not give the ability to use these criteria as well? If Lr doesn't want to mix with things at the OS level then giving some tag ability to the folder could accomplish this- as long as there's a way to add these criteria to a sort/filter. On some level, unless you simply lump all your photos into one single huge directory with a nondescript title (photos), then we all use some sort of folder-level 'system' for some basic organization. This ability would just let us use our individual manual folder structure with some efficiency too. Maybe one day. Thanks.
You can provide Adobe feedback via the official Adobe feedback forum: Recently active topics in Photoshop Family about Photoshop Lightroom. They rarely participate here (this is a user-to-user forum), but they do read every post in the feedback forum (though they infrequently reply).