Siri? Ask Lightroom!

Piet Van den Eynde

 

Lightroom’s Filter Panel lets you filter by text, attribute and, most importantly, just about any type of metadata you can imagine.

You’ve probably at least heard about Siri, Apple’s voice-controlled assistant that answers even your wildest questions. Fewer people know that you can also ask Lightroom pretty much anything, as long as it’s related to your photography.

Lightroom’s version of Siri is the Filter Bar, and it’s found in the Library > Enable Filters menu. Because it can take up some valuable screen real estate, you can hide (or unhide) it from view, even when it’s active by choosing View > Show Filter Bar. So the Filter Bar can be active and invisible at the same time, something to bear in mind when all of a sudden, you think your Catalog has lost half of its images.

Lightroom’s Filter Bar

You can filter by Text, by Attribute (e.g., flag status or rating) but this post addresses the four Metadata columns. Click the Metadata button to display the columns (if they aren’t already showing).

Before you start to filter, define the “population” you want to filter across: is it just one folder, one collection, a Smart Collection, or your entire Catalog (“All Photographs” in the Catalog Panel)? Always choose the source first, and then start filtering, because Lightroom’s filters are source-specific (or they can be set up to be source-specific). So setting up your filter first and then changing the source might trigger a previously set filter for that source. You’ll reap the most benefits from the Filter Bar if you’re working with a single catalog, which is what I recommend.

What lens do I shoot most with? What is my favourite aperture? Do I really need that f/2.8 lens or will the f/4 that’s half the weight (and half the price) suffice? Do I really need that second camera or is it just collecting dust? All these answers and more can be found in the Metadata section of the Filter Bar.

By default, you get four columns, but you can add or remove columns by clicking on (1). Clicking on a column name itself (2) lets you change that column’s criteria to something different.

The columns work as a funnel, from left to right. Below each filter column are the values Lightroom found in your Catalog (e.g., if you filter by Camera, you’ll get a list of all the cameras you’ve made pictures with, in the source you’ve specified). You can then click on one or more values (Cmd/Ctrl-click to select non-adjacent values) and the values in the column to the right will only pertain to the selected items in the previous column.

Use Lightroom to Reduce your G.A.S.

You’ve probably heard of Gear Acquisition Syndrome. As an unexpected bonus, I’ve found that the Lightroom Filter Bar is an effective cure for that. For example, in 2015, I sold one of my Nikon bodies after noticing that I had only made 100 pictures with it in 2014.

Thanks to the filter panel, I sold one of my camera bodies in 2015, after realizing that I only used it for 100 images the year before!

If I want to buy a new lens, I always check the Filter Bar first to see which lens I use most infrequently, and then I sell that one off before buying a new one (at least, that’s the plan!).

Obviously, you can combine the Metadata part of the Filter Bar with the Attribute section. For example, if you use star ratings to identify your best images, you might opt to first filter by your five-star photographs and then check your lens usage. After all, you wouldn’t want to sell a lens that you don’t use all that often, but that gives you images you love!

Back in the day when I was still using Nikon DSLRs (I’ve since switched to Fujifilm), I often used the excellent—but bulky and heavy—24-70mm f/2.8 in my travels, figuring that it’s a very convenient zoom. But a careful look at the Filter Bar showed me that I used that lens about half of the time in the 24 to 35 mm range (and mostly at 24mm, indicating I might have used a wider angle if I had one) and about 20% at 70mm. The other values were scattered across the remaining range.

So, in light of that, I no longer took that heavy 24-70mm with me; I exchanged it for a 16-35mm and an 85mm f/1.8. This combo covered 70% of my shooting needs and—even better—I was able to go wider than 24mm (as the statistics suggested), and for my portraits, I could now use the 85mm at f/1.8 instead of the 70mm at f/2.8. If I really wanted to, I could throw a 50mm f/1.8 in the bag to cover the in-between range, but I rarely did and I rarely missed it. The result was an improvement in my images, while the total weight (and price) of the gear used remained unchanged. In fact, the second combo was slightly cheaper. And it’s true that I had to change lenses every once in a while, but isn’t that what an interchangeable lens is for in the first place?

Check out Lightroom’s Filter Bar. You might learn a thing or two about your shooting habits. (And to remove the filters, choose Library > Enable filters again.)

 

Piet Van den Eynde (pronounced “Pete”) is a Belgian freelance photographer, author and trainer specializing in Adobe Lightroom. When he's not teaching or writing, he travels the world on his bicycle photographing the people he meets along the way. Piet is a regular columnist for the Craft & Vision magazine, PHOTOGRAPH. Find him online at morethanwords.be.

If you want to learn more interesting tips and techniques like this, Piet's 400-page Lightroom 6/CC Unmasked eBook has got you covered!

 

Lightroom & Photoshop Piet Van den Eynde

← Older Post Newer Post →


Comment


  • Well written! More on Lightroom’s filter bar can be found here, for those who are interested:

    http://www.wolfnowl.com/2013/04/using-lightrooms-filter-bar/

    Mike Nelson Pedde on

Leave a comment

  1. IN CONVERSATION: ALESSIO TREROTOLI
  2. Lightroom CC vs. Lightroom Classic: The Death of the Perpetual License
  3. In Conversation: Marcin Sobas
  4. Is Composition Overrated?
  5. The Power of Becoming a Beginner Again
  6. Five Ways to Make Mouth-Watering Food Photographs
  7. Forget Lens Stereotypes
  8. Using Low Dynamic Range to Improve Your Photography
  9. Isolating Your Subject
  10. Choosing Lighting Patterns
  11. Understanding The Stages
  12. Conceptually Speaking: A Word With Claire Rosen
  13. Best Places
  14. Thinking Less Literally
  15. Vision Is Better, Ep. 63
  16. An Iconic Photograph, or a Photographed Icon?
  17. Thinking in Monochrome
  18. Vision Is Better, Ep.62
  19. Vision Is Better, Ep.61
  20. Making the Image: Kathleen Clemons
  21. Night Ranger: A Word With David Kingham
  22. Understanding the Night Sky
  23. Vision Is Better, Ep.60
  24. The Value of Critique
  25. Capturing the Moment
  26. Vision Is Better, Ep.59
  27. Five Key Elements of Food Photography
  28. Using Flash That Doesn't Look Lit
  29. Vision Is Better, Ep.58
  30. Using Flash To Improve Your Photographs
  31. Five Tips for Using Off-Camera Flash
  32. Vision Is Better, Ep.57
  33. Finding Critics
  34. Street Life: A Word With Libby Holmsen
  35. Using the Frame
  36. The Photographer's Tools
  37. Backlight: The Art of Silhouettes
  38. Vision Is Better, Ep.56
  39. Understanding Perspective
  40. Vision Is Better, Ep.55
  41. In Conversation: Sharon Covert
  42. Create Projects + Collaborate
  43. Mirrors or Windows?
  44. 2018 Mentor Series Workshop: Varanasi, India
  45. F/ The Rules
  46. Drawing the Eye With Selective Focus
  47. In Conversation: Willem Wernsen
  48. Exposing for Highlights
  49. Using Fill Light to Create Dramatic Portraits
  50. Cameras Don't Make Photographs
  51. Shooting with Your Final Image in Mind
  52. 10 Ways to Make Better Black and White Photographs
  53. 2018 Maasai Mara Photographic Safari
  54. 2018 Mentor Series Workshop: Lalibela, Ethiopia
  55. Start With the Corners
  56. Creating Painterly Images with Movement and Multiple Exposures
  57. Using the Guided Upright Tool in Lightroom
  58. The Power of Photographing Icons
  59. In Conversation: Susan Burnstine (Part II)
  60. In Conversation: Susan Burnstine (Part I)
  61. Controlling Your Edit with Lightroom's Tone Curve
  62. Making the Image: David duChemin
  63. 3 Ways to Make More Honest Portraits
  64. The Adjective-Driven Approach to Photography
  65. In Conversation: Oded Wagenstein
  66. Making the Zone System Work for You
  67. Ten (More) Ways to Improve Your Craft
  68. Reference View: A New Way to See in the Lightroom Develop Module
  69. In Conversation: Laurent Breillat
  70. The Best 3 Filters for Landscape Photography
  71. Creating Classical Portraits with Simple Lighting
  72. Photographic Processing and Believability
  73. Visual Storytelling: An Introduction
  74. Making the Image: Piet Van den Eynde
  75. In Conversation: Satoki Nagata
  76. Use Repeating Elements for Stronger Images
  77. In Conversation: Kate Densmore
  78. One (More) Reason To Use Adobe's Creative Cloud
  79. Three Ways to Use Backlight
  80. 2017 Rome Mentor Series Workshop
  81. 2017 Venice Mentor Series Workshops
  82. Controlling Foreground to Background Presence
  83. Making the Image: David Adam Edelstein
  84. In Conversation: David Adam Edelstein
  85. Using Contrast for Stronger Images
  86. Three Ways to Make Better Portraits
  87. How to Direct the Eye in Your Photographs
  88. How to Improve Your Street Photography
  89. In Conversation: Piet Van den Eynde
  90. Starting Your Next Personal Project
  91. Five (More) Creative Exercises to Improve Your Photography
  92. Five Creative Exercises to Improve Your Photography
  93. Three (More) Ways To Discover Your Vision
  94. Four Ways to Discover Your Vision (Part I)
  95. Three Ways to Make Stronger Black & White Images in Lightroom
  96. In Conversation: Cristina Mittermeier
  97. How to Add Mood to Infrared (and other) Photographs
  98. In Conversation: Paul Nicklen
  99. Four Ways to Tell Stronger Stories
  100. In Conversation: John Paul Caponigro
  101. Master the Art of Seeing and Improve Your Photography
  102. Adding Light with the Radial Filter in Lightroom
  103. The Power of Abstraction
  104. In Conversation: Anja Büehrer
  105. Five Ways to Add More Depth to Your Portraits
  106. Four Ways to Make Stronger Travel Photographs
  107. In Conversation: Martin Bailey
  108. Learn to Isolate
  109. Gear Is Good
  110. In Conversation: Dave Brosha
  111. For the Love of Your Photographs
  112. Working with Target Collections in Lightroom
  113. Review: Epson P800
  114. Seeing: Receptive & Observant
  115. Better Questions
  116. Siri? Ask Lightroom!
  117. Wake Up.
  118. In Conversation: David Jackson
  119. Photographic Skills: Patience
  120. In Conversation: David duChemin
  121. 2017 Jodhpur Mentoring Workshop
  122. 2017 Maasai Mara Safari
  123. Rome 2016 Mentoring Workshop
  124. Florence 2016 Mentoring Workshop
  125. Venice 2016 Mentoring Workshop
  126. Vision Is Better, Ep.54
  127. Vision Is Better, Ep.53
  128. Vision Is Better, Ep.52
  129. Vision Is Better, Ep.51
  130. Vision Is Better, Ep.50
  131. Vision Is Better, Ep.49
  132. Vision Is Better, Ep.48
  133. Vision Is Better, Ep.47
  134. Vision Is Better, Ep.46
  135. Vision Is Better, Ep.45
  136. Vision Is Better, Ep.44
  137. Vision Is Better, Ep.43
  138. Vision Is Better, Ep.42
  139. Vision Is Better, Ep.41
  140. Vision Is Better, Ep.40
  141. Vision Is Better, Ep.39
  142. Vision Is Better, Ep.38
  143. Vision Is Better, Ep.37
  144. Vision Is Better, Ep.36
  145. Vision Is Better, Ep.35
  146. Vision Is Better, Ep.34
  147. Vision Is Better, Ep.33
  148. Vision Is Better, Ep.32
  149. Vision Is Better, Ep.31
  150. Vision Is Better, Ep.30
  151. Vision Is Better, Ep.29
  152. Vision Is Better, Ep.28
  153. Vision Is Better, Ep.27
  154. Vision Is Better, Ep.26
  155. Vision Is Better, Ep.25
  156. Vision Is Better, Ep.24
  157. Vision Is Better, Ep.23
  158. Vision is Better, Ep.22
  159. Vision is Better, Ep.21
  160. Vision is Better, Ep.20
  161. Vision is Better, Ep.19
  162. Vision is Better, Ep.18
  163. Vision is Better, Ep.17
  164. Vision is Better, Ep.16
  165. Vision is Better, Ep.15
  166. Vision Is Better, Ep.11
  167. Vision Is Better, Ep.10
  168. Vision Is Better, Ep.09
  169. Vision Is Better, Ep.08
  170. Vision Is Better, Ep.07
  171. Vision Is Better, Ep.06
  172. Vision Is Better, Ep.05
  173. Vision Is Better, Ep.04
  174. Vision Is Better, Ep.03
  175. Vision Is Better, Ep.02
  176. Vision Is Better, Ep.01

Related Articles

Related Resources


Categories
Adam Blasberg Adobe Alessio Trerotoli Alexandre Buisse Andrew S. Gibson Andy Biggs Anja Büehrer Bret Edge Bruce Percy Chris Orwig Claire Rosen Composition Craft & Technique Creative Cloud Creativity Cristina Mittermeier Dave Brosha David Adam Edelstein David duChemin David Kingham Duncan Fawkes Guy Tal Henry Fernando Interview Jason Bradley John Paul Caponigro Kate Densmore Kathleen Clemons Kevin Clark Landscapes Laurent Breillat Libby Holmsen Lightroom & Photoshop Making the Image Marcin Sobas Martin Bailey Michael Frye Nathan Wirth Natural Light Oded Wagenstein Paul Nicklen Piet Van den Eynde Podcast Project Nimbus Rafael Rojas Satoki Nagata Sean McCormack Sharon Covert Sherri Koop Simi Jois Street Photography Susan Burnstine Vision is Better Show visual storytelling Willem Wernsen Workshop Younes Bounhar Zone System