Exposure Organizing - Using Collections

Collections are a fast and flexible way to organize photos for different purposes without creating duplicate files. This video demonstrates how to build collections by hand, how to use photo metadata and have Exposure search for images, and how to copy and paste a list of filenames to find specific images fast. By the end, you’ll understand the different types of collections and how to integrate them in your workflow.

Photo: Michael Gillman


What are Collections?

Collections are special folders used for grouping images, no matter where they appear on your computer. They provide a fast and flexible way to organize images for different purposes. You can freely add as many images and create as many collections as you want without filling up your hard drive with duplicates.

Creating Collections

Collections are located in the Folders Panel on the left side of Exposure’s main window. Create a new collection by clicking the plus button and selecting New Collection. Then, type a name for the new collection. Next, simply drag and drop images into that collection.

You can create as many collections as needed. Use subcollections for an additional level of organization. An example is a Portfolios collection with sub collections for specific clients. The subcollections only contain images for different styles of work, such as landscapes, portraits, and street photography.

You can move, rename, duplicate, and delete collections. For example drag and drop a subcollection to the Collections header to convert it into a collection.

Smart Collections

Exposure’s smart collections are automatically populated with images based on criteria you specify. These include image metadata such as keywords, ratings, color labels, and flags. To create a smart collection, click the plus icon on the Folders panel and choose New Smart Collection.

Name the smart collection and then choose selection criteria. For example, set the rating criteria for images to at least have four stars. Add more criteria, such as a specific keyword, or even set a path for where Exposure searches for images when building the collection. This is helpful if you have locations you would like to omit, such as a backup drive.

Click Create and the smart collection will be built with all images that meet the criteria. Any new images found that meet the specific criteria will automatically be included as well. The smart collection criteria can be adjusted at any time. Simply right-click on the smart collection and choose Edit.

Smart Collection from File List

Smart collections can be generated using a list of image filenames. When clients write a list of their top image choices from the shoot, you can create a collection of those files very easily. To add a smart collection using file names, click the plus icon and choose New Smart Collection From File List. Simply paste the list of photos in the field to create the collection.

Managing Collections

You can make any collection the quick collection. Just right-click on it and select Quick Collection. The designation enables you to add photos to the quick collection with a shortcut key. Pressing L adds the image to the quick collection. Pressing L again removes it. Pressing Shift+L will open the quick collection.

You can use cloud storage to sync collections across multiple computers and share them with others. Each image stores the list of collections it belongs to in its sidecar file.