Yesterday, I began to investigate the abilities of LrC to create photo collages. Within the Print module, I successfully created a collage of old family photos, but now wish to edit it to add some more photos from my 'Scans of old family pictures' folder, which contains 146 images.
The existing filmstrip below this collage is based on a Smart Collection called 'Old family photos' that contains 29 images from the above-mentioned folder. I created that collection yesterday but don't remember how or why it was just limited to those 29 images.
My problem is that I can't see how to edit this Print module Smart Collection. Right-clicking on it doesn't offer me the Edit option or any other obvious way to add more images. Is there a way round this?
A smart collection is generated based on some criterion or criteria, and the images that are in that collection meet that criteria. It could be a keyword, a date, a combination of names, or whatever. In any case images cannot just be added to that smart collection randomly. Whatever the criteria is for that smart collection, images will have to "match" the other images before they will be added.
I understand the concept, but the lack of an edit option for this Print module Smart Collection means that it's criteria are not viewable.
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When you have designed a Custom Page (Collage), there are two things you can do-
1) Create a User Template. It saves your custom layout of photo cells as a template that you can use any time in the future, by selecting any photos (eg. a standard Collection), open the Print module, select the template, add the photos.
2) Create a "Saved Print Collection". This saves the current Template design with the photos you have used in a special 'Print Collection' (Not a Smart Collection). This preserves your collage 'print', including the used photos, for recall and print once again in the future.
You can simply Drag & Drop other photos into this special 'Print Collection' (From a Smart Collection if needs be) if you want to replace the previous photos with the newly added.
(Note: A Custom page will only be ONE page, unless you add more cells that do not fit on Page#1.)
Smart Collections play no part in this, other than you might gather your photos for the collages by setting the criteria to search for. (Keyword, Person Keyword, etc)
Thanks for the tip about dragging and dropping additional images onto the collection name in the Collections list. That works fine. I had been looking for a way to add images directly to the filmstrip, which isn't possible.
I'm struggling to understand the correct terminology in this area. According to https://helpx.adobe.com/uk/lightroom-classic/help/photo-collections.html, there are only 3 types of collection (Regular, Smart, and Quick). No mention is made of a 'Print Collection'.
I previously called my 'Old family photos' collection a Smart Collection. However, the lack of an edit facility means that it isn't very smart, so why does LR display it within my Smart Collections list, albeit with a different icon?
Within that help article, there is a section for "output collections" including for Print: linking to separate pages, where those are explained:
Well spotted! Thanks for that.
However, the 'Save print settings as a print collection' link states that 'Lightroom Classic adds the print collection to the Collections panel and gives it a page layout icon'. My print collection has a printer icon, not a page layout icon.
1) Standard Collections: You create the Collection [+] and select the photos YOU want to add into that collection by any of several methods. (A 'folder' icon)
2) Smart Collections: You define the criteria you want LrC to search for and the Collection automatically finds photos matching the criteria. (You cannot 'manually' add photos to a Smart Collection).
Then there are the 'Special Types' of Collections: These, at first glance, appear like Standard Collections in Grid View, but they connect the photos in the Collection directly to one of the other modules. These Special Collections (when you 'Create' one) record (Save) everything you do, or design, in the module. ***And you should always 're-open' a Book, Print, Slideshow, by [double-clicking] on the Special Collection! Special Collections use specific icons to designate their purpose.
3) Book Collection
4) Print Collection
5) Slideshow Collection
And 6) Collection Sets that can only contain other Collections. (the 'Shoebox' icon)
(no Standard Collections shown in this screen-clip!)
Oh- Forgot the Web Collection! 7)
Thanks, Rob. That has done a lot to demystify this rather confusing topic 🙂
Another thing that has been frustrating me when creating a collage is that the only way I can find to crop the borders of an image in a cell is to crop the develop settings for that image. What I really want is to just apply a crop for the collage without affecting the develop settings for the source image. Have I missed something here?
To crop an image for print purposes smaller than its full Develop crop extent, you have a couple of options.
The first is to check the Zoom to Fill option for the cell within a Single image / contact sheet page layout. This then applies instead of the standard Zoom to Fit. So the photo self-enlarges within its cell until no white space is left, self-cropping the overflow 'on the fly'. Thus you can experiment with the cell's aspect ratio independently of your main crop's aspect ratio.
This with the caveat of course, that no cell can show any more of the image than the current Develop crop does - it can only show the same, or less.
Also: if you use a Custom Package layout style instead of Single/Contact, you can un-check "Lock to Photo Aspect Ratio" and then the cell's shape becomes variable independent of this image's crop shape. LrC again carries out Zoom to Fill behaviour in this case.
You can drag the self-cropped image side to side, or else up and down, whichever is relevant - if you want to tweak the final composition as it will be printed. In the case of Custom Package, you need to hold down Ctrl key to do this.
I'm using a custom template and Lock to Photo Aspect Ratio is already turned off. The side handles do indeed allow cropping of the sides, but adjusting the top or bottom handle always causes zooming of the image.
Correct, Zoom to Fill behaviour means it crops one dimension maximum. Otherwise it would not be filling. So your Develop crop is relevant, but not fully governing so far as aspect ratio.
The options for creating a new Saved Print (print collection) include doing so with brand new virtual copies. So those VCs can be re-cropped as you wish without disturbing the main working image's crop. After your print project is completed you can optionally mark these print-dedicated VCs as Rejects (X key) and then use this marking to help you remove them from the Catalog.
Hmm. That's rather odd behaviour. Neither Photoshop nor Illustrator limits you to horizontal cropping of an image. However, thanks for offering a way to bypass this issue by creating a Print Collection using virtual copies. I will check that out later.
Every time I drag a photo from the filmstrip to an empty area of my collage, a new cell is added to the template. That template no longer bears much resemblance to the one I started with. Is there any way to directly edit this template? Can I export the template for future use with a new Print Collection?
Lightroom Classic puts no limit on how you crop an image.
In the placement of that cropped image onto a page layout, LrC gives you further aspect-ratio clipping of the kind described, if you want that. This would be an extra on-the-fly modifier, not itself a "crop" in the usual sense IMO.
In the printing dialog of Photoshop, there is no such opportunity AFAICT.
Certainly you can also build a page layout inside PS, in lots of clever ways. That's a much more deliberate, editing type task and not so much on-the-fly. Since PS is included in the same plan as LrC, it seems to me that anything page layout related that's not possible to do in LrC can therefore be achieved another way - PS can likely do it well, or if you have it, InDesign too.
Horses for courses, IOW.
I expressed myself badly. LrC does indeed have no limits on how you crop an image. I was only thinking of the cropping limitation for the cell on a page layout. I've been using PS (and CS6 versions of InDesign and Illustrator) for many years, but am still fairly low down the learning curve for LrC. My gut feel is that LrC probably offers the best solution for collages.
I've now checked out your Virtual Copy suggestion and that certainly provides a workable method for making Develop adjustments that are unique to a specific Print Collection. However, out of the two A2 collages I have already created (using a total of 29 images), there was only one case where I wished to use a tighter crop than usual. I've only got two more A2 collages to create for this project and it might just be easier to add more tightly cropped copies to the library for the few that need it.
I have persuaded myself that using a Smart Collection for such collages would be useful, as any new scans I make of old family photos will be added automatically and make it easier for me to update the collages. One apparent disadvantage of using Virtual Copies is that I don't think they can be stored in a Smart Collection.
yes, a printer icon is how that appears for me too
"One apparent disadvantage of using Virtual Copies is that I don't think they can be stored in a Smart Collection. "
Not correct! Virtual Copies that conform to the SC criteria will certainly appear in the SC.
What I meant was that I don't think you can create a Smart Collection that is limited to Virtual Copies.
I have another question.
If I choose to define a caption in the metadata for an image it would be nice for that caption to be displayed when the image is added to a collage, but I'm struggling to find out how to do that. Several search results have suggested that I could do this by using the Photo Info section of the Pages panel, but no such section is visible within my Pages panel. Has this option been removed from LrC or has it been relocated?
A Smart Collection with Virtual Copies?
Perhaps, if you do not rename your VCs they will all default to have "Copy" in the [Copy Name] field. Seems to work for me.
Unfortunately, in a Custom Package the option for Photo Info in the Page panel does not exist (that I can find!).
Being very new to VCs, I hadn't noticed the Copy Name field, though I should have guessed something like that must exist.
Thanks for confirming that I wasn't missing something obvious in the Page panel! In the absence of a Photo Info option for custom templates, I have now found another solution - creating the captions in Illustrator after inserting a copy of one of my collage JPEGs. Only a couple of captions were required in this case, as I chose not to add them to all the photos. I've now made an A2 print from Illustrator and it looks great.
You can freely use a mix of standard images (where the crop or adjustments do not need to be specially changed) and virtual copies (where something does need to be changed), in your collage project. One straightforward method, is a special keyword relating to each print project or collage. Then a Smart Collection can show all the images which have got that keyword, no need to distinguish / no practical implication whether these happen to be virtual copies or not. You remove or add this keyword to images, and that controls their membership in this SC. The keyword's properties can be set to prevent its inclusion, when you otherwise export these photos.
What I am thinking is: a sub-library of just your collage-suitable photos achieved by that keyword. Then a particular collage project involves you selecting individual photos from that sub-library and making a Print Collection showing those. Not as new VCs. As you work on your collage, some images may need different crop or adjustment. You can go into your print collection and make a VC. This VC will automatically gain membership in the Collection if you make it here. So you now see both here, and can remove whichever you don't want by Deleting it from this print collection.
This VC will also have inherited a copy of all keywords including whichever makes it show up in the collage-worthy photos Smart Collection - that keyword can be removed if you want to avoid cluttering that SC with multiple crop variants. And - though this might be limiting, since sometimes your starting image may itself have been a VC - you can exclude VCs from your Smart Collection with an added rule "Copy name... is empty". That rule is more certain than one that looks for the word "copy", since VC copy names can be edited away from their default.
Thanks for that, Richard. I only created my first Smart Collection a few days ago, so your last post gave me a very useful nudge up the learning curve 🙂
Most welcome - I am just chucking stuff out there in the hope it will be useful to someone! These tools are great but need to serve your own needs, not how someone else thinks you should be working. Please extrapolate, IOW.