Using Smart Collections in Lightroom to Find and Group Black and White Images in Adobe Lightroom Classic

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Waves on the Coast, Dingle, Ireland Waves on the Coast, Dingle, Ireland ©Panoramic Ireland

Adobe's Lightroom, known as Lightroom Classic to distinguish it from the cloud-based Lightroom CC, is one of the best image editing programs to be found. Undoubtedly, Lightroom Classic (Not Lightroom CC) is the best image management software by far with no rival to its combined functionality.

Despite this, there is no easy way to find all black and white images in Lightroom Classic, the closest method is to use Smart Collections.

Collections are one of Lightroom Classic's best ways to organise images, Smart Collections automatically find and add images based on criteria you set.

Here I'm going to create a Smart Collection for images that have been marked as Black and White in Lightroom Classic, so all of the images that I have converted to black and white using the program.

Here's how:

  • In the left hand side panel, scroll down to Collections

  • Click on the + to the right

  • In the context menu choose Create Smart Collection...

 

Create Smart Collection... in Adobe Lightroom Classic
Create Smart Collection... in Adobe Lightroom Classic

 

  • Next, name your Smart Collection

  • Choose whether or not to nest the new Smart Collection inside a Collection Set or not

  • Then choose your options, here I have done the following:

    • Match any of the following rules - I will only have one rule here but you could add several

    • Click on Rating to bring up a sub-menu, here I have gone to Develop > Treatment

    • This creates the rule, then you can choose to make more if so desired

 

Adobe Lightroom Classic - Create Smart Collection, Create Rules
Adobe Lightroom Classic - Create Smart Collection, Create Rules

 

  • Check that your rule is what you want, add another if necessary

  • Click Create

  • That's it, your Smart Collection will now be created and any images in your Lightroom database that match the criteria set will be added to it

 

Here we can see that my black and white images number 694, this is not the true number of such images in my catalog it is only a collection of those that have been converted or marked as a black and white in Adobe Lightroom itself.

 

Adobe Lightroom Classic - Smart Collection - Black and White Images
Adobe Lightroom Classic - Smart Collection - Black and White Images

 

Black and white images from other programs or scans for instance, will not appear in this Smart Collection unless they were marked as Black & White in the Treatment section of the Basic Panel in the right hand side panel.

 

Adobe Lightroom Classic - Basic > Treatment > Black and White Treatment > Black and White"/>
Adobe Lightroom Classic - Basic > Treatment > Black and White

 

So now I can find my black and white images, most of them at least, like this one of crashing waves on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way in Dingle, Ireland.

 

Panoramic Ireland - Black and White - Crashing Waves on the Wild Atlantic Way Coast of Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland
Panoramic Ireland - Black and White - Crashing Waves on the Wild Atlantic Way Coast of Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland

 

There is some software that can find black and white or monochromatic images but not as part of Adobe Lightroom Classic. To keep up to date as you go, it would be best to mark any scanned images or those from other programs with a keyword that you can then attach to the Smart Collection.

To get one-to-one advice on your post-processing workflow, why not take one of my online photography sessions where we can cover any topic from using Lightroom to using filters for long exposure photography. You don't have to be in Ireland, find out more here.

Last modified on Saturday, 14 January 2023 01:02
Darren McLoughlin

International travel photographer and Irishman in search of the best bits of Ireland. Leading photography tours and experiences in Ireland.

Contributor to New York Times / Sunday Times / Irish Times

Cancer survivor.

Ask me about Ireland or about photography in Ireland.

https://darrenmcloughlin.com

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