How to edit and manage files in lightroom- The Ultimate Guide


Chiiz presents to you all you need to know about how we can organize files in Lightroom. We wish you happy reading!!


Keeping things in the order shall be a daily practice, whether in life or your surrounding. Managing items makes the task easier to find later on. Same, you shall do while using Lightroom software. It’s easy to edit images in Lightroom & so is to organize the files. You can create a folder, rename it, add a sub-folder in the easy peasy way.

The best part is whatever changes you make through this software is automatically applied to the folder. There’s no need to manage the actual folder & this helps Lightroom keep track of your folders. 


Lightrooms Folder Panel allows you to edit & manage folders within the catalog. Under the folder, head click the ‘+’ (plus) button. You can see the option add folder, sub-folder & root folder display.


When you import photos, they are automatically added to the folder panel in which they are located. Once you had clicked on add folder

  • Navigate the desired location,
  • Select the folder/s,
  • Press ‘Ok.’

You can even create a new folder & rename it by clicking the right button.


Subfolder means creating a folder inside a folder. Suppose you have photos of the wedding function, then adding a subfolder is the best way. ‘Mr. X weds Mr. Y’ would be your main folder & inside that folder of various rituals will be your subfolder.


The parent folder is useful to organize images efficiently. Lightroom allows us to add/remove the parent folder.


As we saw in the above example, our parent folder was ‘Mr. X weds Mr. Y’. 

To add a new parent folder

  • Select the folder,
  • Press right-click,
  • Choose the ‘add parent folder’ option.


This option will remove all photos from the root folder, but it won’t be erased from your file. If you decide to remove a parent folder, it will upgrade its sub-folder as a new parent folder.

To hide parent folder

  • Select the parent folder,
  • Press right-click,
  • Choose the ‘hide this parent’ option.


The ‘Find Missing Folder’ function helps Lightroom to find a distinct folder. How to know that a particular folder is missing? You could observe a question (?) sign next to its icon. To fix that folder

  • Right-click on the question mark folder
  • Select the Find Missing Folder option
  • Navigate the new location

Once you are done with this process Lightroom will start updating images in that folder too.



Lightroom gives an option to the user how to display the folder

BY FOLDER NAME – This option will only show the name of a folder—for example, Birthday Party.

BY PATH VOLUME – This choice will show the location of the folder. For example, Images/Shoot/Birthday Party.

BY FOLDER & PATH – Under this option, both Name & Path will display the folder name. For instance, Birthday Party – Images/Shoot/Birthday Party.


If you have any file worth remembering you can add a star badge beside that. There is no restriction on the no. of the favorite folder you set. To mark folder/s as important:-

  • Select a ‘folder’ from the folder panel
  • Right Click on the folder
  • Choose the ‘Mark Favorite’ option   

To remove the star badge right click on the same folder & choose ‘Unmark Favorite’.


Lightroom allows you only to move the folder, you can’t create a copy of any folder. Just drag the folder and drop it to your desired location.


The collection is a group of images to access photos in one place. You can insert a single picture in an assload of collections. The collection doesn’t replace original images; it just sorts according to your use. So if you delete an original collection file is still safe. As the collection is a copy of the original photos, it will consume some extra storage. 

A collection set is a group of various collections. Rather than showing images, it displays different collections generated by you & default collections of Lightroom. To form a set folder must include a sub-folder. The sets created in the collection panel are viewed in the same series as folders. 



  • Select a ‘folder’ from the folder panel
  • Right Click on the folder
  • Choose the ‘Create Collection’ option
  • Type desired name for a collection
  • Choose the ‘Include Selected Photos’ option
  • Lastly, select ‘Create’


To create a collection from multiple folders,

  • Select ‘two or more folders’ from Folder Panel
  • Press ‘Right-Click’
  • Choose the ‘Create Collection from Selected Folders’ option
  • Rename collection

After completing this process, all the images from the selected folder will be displayed in the collection. 

To add more photos, you can drag it into the collection. If you want to remove any picture from the collection, choose the image & press the delete button.


  • Select collection 
  • Press ‘Right-Click’ on a collection
  • Choose the ‘Export this Collection as Catalog’ option
  • Enter name, location & other details
  • Select ‘Save’



  • Select a ‘folder’ from the folder panel which includes sub-folder
  • Right Click on the folder
  • Choose the ‘Create Collection Set’ option
  • If you want a set to be part of the existing one choose the ‘Existing Set’ option
  • If you want to create a new set type desired name for a set
  • Select ‘Create’


To create a set from various folders,

  • Select ‘two or more folders’ from Folder Panel
  • Press ‘Right-Click’
  • Choose the ‘Create Collection Sets from Selected Folders’ option

You can also drag a collection to add it to the set directly. You can view the collection set beside each of the selected folders & it is also displayed in the Collection Panel.


If you no longer want a collection or set then;

  • Select ‘Collection’ or ‘Collection Set’
  • Press the‘ Minus (-)’ button


  • Press ‘Right-Click’ on collection or set
  • Choose the ‘Delete’ option


If you want a particular collection as a catalog you export it by following the below steps –

  • Select ‘Collection’
  • Press ‘Right-Click’ on the collection
  • Choose the ‘Export this Collection as a Catalog’ option
  • Enter Name & other required details 
  • Select the ‘Save’ option


Lightroom provides a varied collection viz ;


This collection will show only those images you chose, which means you need to add a photo by yourself. You can drag pictures to re-order. Under this, you can also create a target collection by the below steps:-

  • Right-click on the regular collection folder
  • Choose the ‘Set as Target Collection’ option

If you wish to add more images to the target collection – Press alphabet ‘B’. If you want to remove an image from this folder, press alphabet B again. You are allowed to keep only one collection as the target collection. 

To turn off Target Collection;

  • Select Collection
  • Press ‘Right-Click’
  • Deselect ‘Set as Target’


As the name says, it is a smart collection. You need to set some rules; rest it will do. Suppose you want all four-star images or flower images or both in a particular folder – enter the keyword & it will sort photos accordingly. If any photo doesn’t fulfill the criteria, it will be removed. Likewise, if any new image is imported, which meets your filter, it will be added.

Suppose you want to ‘add criteria’ press the “Plus (+)” button & to ‘remove any criteria’ “minus (-)” button. You can also export a smart collection, share it & import it in further future.

Under this collection, you will find some useful feature

  • Without Keyword – Photos which don’t fit in any of the smart collections will show here. You can know the no. of unclassified images & arrange them accordingly. 
  • Recently Modified – Here you can find images that are altered within a specific duration. By default, it shows the previous two days’ images. You can even modify it manually. 
    • Right-click on collection
    • Choose the ‘Edit Smart Collection’ option
    • Change no. of days
  • Past Month – Basically this a collection of monthly photos. Images you imported in the past month are displayed here. 


This is also known as a temporary collection. If you want to group photos for a particular event/task, opt for quick collection. Once work is accomplished, discard this collection. You can set only one short collection at a time & you can’t use this simultaneously with the target collection. 

To add images:-

  • Go to Library
  • Select ‘Photo’
  • Choose ‘Add to Quick Collection’

If you want to remove the photo from quick collection choose ‘Remove from Quick Collection’

To transform Quick Collection to a Collection:-

  • Select ‘File’
  • Choose ‘Save Quick Collection’
  • Rename the collection
  • Deselect ‘Clear Quick Collection After Saving’ if you want a quick collection too
  • Choose the ‘Save’ option


Despite all the functions mentioned above, it offers some must-know features too.

  • All Photographs: If a collection is not listed in the catalog, use the ‘All Photographs’ option. This collection is created by Lightroom itself, which displays all images imported in the software.
  • Previous Import: It displays all images which were imported recently. It will change as you import new photos in Lightroom.
  • Added by Previous Export: It is a collection of images that is recently exported from the catalog. You can also set a specific location to show these photos.
  • Image Finder – If you are looking for a specific image in the collection, this can help you. To navigate in the Lightroom catalog, right-click on the image & choose Go To Folder in Library’. To see the picture in explorer, select the ‘Show in Explorer’ option.
  • Sort Collection – You can sort the collection by name or type as you prefer by pressing the ‘plus (+)’ button in the collection panel


The color label is a sui generis feature of Lightroom. Knowing the status of a particular collection & images is an effortless task. You can mark them & make a note quickly.  It is beneficial if you use it wisely! 

By default, it provides five sets of color viz Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple. You are free to use any color for any purpose. Under the color label set, if you check the settings, there are three options available to the user viz; Bridge Default, Lightroom Default, Review Status.

Except for the Purple color, there’s a shortcut to use other colors directly. Press no. 6 to 9 on the keyboard for Red, Yellow, Green, Blue, respectively. Make a note it’s not possible to change these colors. You can just create your text label.

To change the color preset:-

  • Select the ‘Metadata’ option from the main menu
  • Click ‘Color Label Set’
  • Under that, choose the ‘Edit’ option
  • A dialog box will open the ‘Edit Color Label Set.’
  • Change color palette 
  • From the Preset box, click on ‘Save Current Settings As New Preset.’
  • Enter a name for the new color set
  • Click on the ‘Change’ button

Under the Preset box, you can explore more features like Restore Default Preset, Delete, Rename, etc. Whatever preset you keep, make sure to follow one pattern; else, it will be a big mess like the color Red for Raw photos or Blue for Edited images, as per your convenience. Color can be applied to folders, collections, as well as pictures.

To apply the color label;

  • Select folder/collection/image
  • Right-click on folder/collection/image
  • Select the ‘Add Color Label’ option
  • Choose preferred color

To remove label select colored folder/collection/image & choose none option.


This is a convenient feature; you can sort based on varied colors. In the search bar, use the filter option & select any color. Suppose you choose Blue color; it will popup all folders & collections marked with blue color labels.


The synced photograph is a handy function of Lightroom. Once you sync the photos, you can view them everywhere, whether you are operating from the web or mobile app. 

To Sync photo:-

  • Select folder
  • Click Synchronize Folder
  • A dialog box will appear, confirm folder.
  • Click Import

To remove photo

  • Select Photos
  • Click on the ‘Remove from all Synced Photographs’ option


I hope you had a great time & understood Lightroom functions much better. If you have more queries, drop a message in the comment box.

If you are new to photography, master it by attending various live online workshops regularly by us on our Events Website. Also, head to our Blog for more such tips and tricks about photography. You can subscribe to our digital magazine through Magzter or Issuu to delve into more organized and well-furnished photography content. And if you think you have learned a lot and you want to give it a check, then, proceed to our Contests content, participate there and win astounding prizes.

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