“None” Option for Smart Collections


Today’s Question: I’ve been creating smart collections in Lightroom Classic based on your lesson on the subject from your video course. When defining the criteria for a smart collection you can choose “any”, “all”, or “none” from the Match popup. But I can’t think of any reason why I would every need the “none” option. Can you explain how this might be used?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I think it is easiest to think of the “None” option for matching rules with a smart collection in Lightroom Classic as providing a way to get results for the opposite of criteria you may have defined using the “All” option.

More Detail: Smart collections in Lightroom Classic can be thought of as saved search results, in that you define specific criteria based on metadata and the smart collection is automatically populated with the images that match the criteria you defined.

In my experience when photographers are creating smart collections most of the time, they need to use the “All” option from the Match popup, so that only images that match all the metadata criteria you’ve defined will be included in the smart collection. For example, you might create a smart collection for photos that both have a star rating above a certain level and that include a particular keyword, so that the smart collection will contain the best photos of a given subject, for example.

In some cases, you may also want to use the “Any” option. For example, if you use both a star rating and a pick flag to identify favorite photos under different circumstances, you could create a smart collection that includes criteria for both having a pick flag and having a star rating above a certain level, but then use the “Any” option for the Match popup so that photos will be included whether they have a star rating or a pick flag, without having to have both of those attributes. One of the potential challenges of using the “Any” option, however, is that the smart collection might then contain a particularly large number of photos.

Sometimes, however, you may just find it easier to create a smart collection based on the “None” option when the way you’re thinking about the images is to think of the criteria they don’t meet. For example, I add a keyword of “InstagramShare” to images I share to my Instagram feed, and I use star ratings to identify favorite photos. So, of course, my favorite photos would not have a rating of zero stars. So I could create a smart collection where the criteria include the Keyword field including “InstagramShare” and the star rating being zero stars, but then use the “None” option from the “Match” popup so that the smart collection would include photos with a star rating but that haven’t yet been shared to Instagram.

Note that I will be covering the creating of smart collections in Lightroom Classic both in presentation and my detailed notes (included with a VIP Pass) for my class on “Managing Folders and Collections” as part of the Lightroom Virtual Summit that starts next week. You can sign up for a free pass or get details about the benefits of a VIP Pass (including recordings of all sessions and class notes from all instructors) by following this link: