Today’s Question: I use collections to synchronize images from Lightroom Classic to Lightroom Mobile for Android and I use Folders to organize images on Lightroom Classic. Do the Folders and Albums in Lightroom Mobile conflict with collections and folders on Lightroom Classic? Or are Lightroom Mobile Folders like Collection Sets in Lightroom Classic?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Collections in Lightroom Classic correspond to albums with the cloud-based ecosystem for Lightroom, which would include the cloud-based version of Lightroom, the Lightroom app for mobile devices, or Lightroom in a web browser (https://lightroom.adobe.com). Folders in Lightroom Classic correspond directly to folders on your hard drive where the photos are stored, whereas the term “folders” in the cloud-based ecosystem of Lightroom relates to collection sets in Lightroom Classic.
More Detail: Folders in Lightroom Classic represent actual folders on your hard drive. The folder structure you see in the Folders list in the Library module in Lightroom Classic will match the folder structure on the hard drive for the photos that are actually being managed by your catalog.
Collections in Lightroom Classic can be thought of as basically the same as Albums in Lightroom Mobile. If you enable synchronization for a collection in Lightroom Classic, that collection appears as an album in Lightroom Mobile. Similarly, if you create an album on Lightroom Mobile and add images to the album, that album will appear as a collection in Lightroom Classic, with synchronization enabled for that collection.
Folders in Lightroom Mobile can be thought of as the same thing as collection sets in Lightroom Classic. However, these items don’t actually synchronize. If you enable synchronization for a collection that is included in a collection set in Lightroom Classic, the collection appears as an album in Lightroom Mobile but doesn’t appear in a folder representing the collection set from Lightroom Classic.
If you create a folder in Lightroom Mobile with an album in that folder and photos in the album, the photos and album will synchronize to a collection in Lightroom Classic, but the folder from Lightroom Mobile won’t appear as a collection set in Lightroom Classic. Rather, albums synchronized from Lightroom Mobile will appear in a “From Lightroom” collection set, without the folder/collection set structure synchronizing.
In other words, for the cloud-based ecosystem for Lightroom that includes the Lightroom CC desktop application, the Lightroom Mobile app, and web browser access to Lightroom (via https://lightroom.adobe.com), folders and albums operate the same. The outlier is Lightroom Classic, which uses different terminology and does not synchronize in exactly the same way as the rest of the Lightroom ecosystem.