Finchley Thompson | This Time Last Year. Smart Collections in Lightroom

This Time Last Year. Smart Collections in Lightroom

June 07, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

One of the things you get notified about nowadays if you use Facebook (which I don't anymore) is what was happening in your life a year ago or 5 years ago. Significant anniversaries to remind you what a great time you were having in the past while you now sit at your desk checking your phone. Or it reminds you how damn old you are getting or how quickly fashion, trends and technology change.

I realised it might be quite nice to have something similar in Lightroom to show me what I was shooting a year ago. A smart collection was the obvious place to do this. My first attempt didn't quite work. I selected the "Capture Date" meta data option and then the "is in the range"  criteria option. And here's where the problem lay. The two date fields are fixed typed values. This meant the collection would only work for one date and wouldn't change as the earth moved around the sun and the seasons and days passed. I really couldn't figure out how to resolve this issue so I reluctantly went ahead knowing I would have to come and change the two date fields each time I wanted to check up on what I was shooting a year ago. I put up with this for a couple of weeks. Until...... Scroll down to see my lightbulb moment and how I now have dynamic "This Time Last Year" smart collections.

This doesn't work!! 

Date RangeDate Range

So my lightbulb moment came with a bit more exploring of the other "Capture Date" selection criteria options. I wondered if I could combine multiple criteria to create a smaller date selection which was still dynamic. As you can see below Lightroom offers the selection criteria options of "is in the last" and "is not in the last" which then allows entering of a number and then a unit of time. Yay! By setting the units of time to "days" and having "is in the last" at 366 and "is not in the last" at 365 the filters would only show images with a capture date exactly a year ago. I then added the Rating as another filter so I would only see my best images. Notice the Match at the top is set to "all" to make sure the first two select criteria are both used together.


Settings for This Day Last Year. I have since changed this to "is in the last" as 368 and "is not in the last" to 364 which gives me a Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow for a year ago.

This Day Last YearThis Day Last Year

Settings to show this week last year. Adding another 52 weeks to each of the numbers would give this week two years ago. From 260 to 261 would give this week 5 years ago, etc

This Week Last YearThis Week Last Year

Settings for This Month Last Year. Adding 12 to each of the numbers would give This Month Two Years Ago etc

This Month Last YearThis Month Last Year

So now I have some dynamic collections in Lightroom which show me what I was doing in previous years. An opportunity to review my progress as a business and as an artist. Something I find useful when I forget how far I've come and a reminder to keep pushing forward.

If you are interested in learning more about Lightroom I now do One-2-One Lightroom tuition. For more details see my Lightroom Tuition Information page


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