Organizing Collections into Sets


Today’s Question: Can you have subfolders in a collection in Lightroom Classic? I use collections for my history of various projects. I used to be able to have a “parent” folder, and then subfolders. But now I can’t and I don’t know why.

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can’t exactly have “subfolders” for a collection in Lightroom Classic, but you can organize collections into collection sets. In addition, you can “stack” collection sets into multiple levels, which provides a feature similar to the use of subfolders in the context of folders.

More Detail: Collection sets in Lightroom classic are somewhat similar to folders that enable you to group related collections together. What many photographers don’t realize is that you can nest collection sets within other collection sets, providing the ability to create a hierarchical organizational structure for your collections.

Let’s assume, for example, that you’re using collections to organize a variety of projects related to your photos. You might have collections for calendars you have produced, for books that have featured your photographs, and other projects.

You can create a collection set by clicking on the plus button to the right of the Collections heading on the left panel in the Library module and then choosing “Create Collection Set” from the popup menu. Enter a meaningful name for the collection set, such as “Calendars” in the example above, and click the Create button.

You can then drag collections into the collection set. In this case any collections that represented calendar projects could be dragged into the “Calendars” collection set.

You could also create a collection set to contain the collection sets from various projects. So, you could create a new collection set called “Projects” and then drag the Calendars collection set into the Projects collection set. This would create a hierarchical structure where a collection representing a specific calendar is inside the Calendars collection set, which in turn is located within the Projects collection set.

This ability to stack collection sets makes it easy to streamline the organization of collections if you tend to use a relatively large number of collections to organize your photos for various purposes.