Padlock on a country gate

Padlock on a country gate

This seems to have slipped under the radar so far as LR3.2RC goes.  Sticky filters are back!  Yippee!!

When LR2 became LR3, the way filters worked changed.  In LR2 each folder remembered what filter had been applied to it.  It was known as sticky filters.  In LR3 sticky filters were replaced with the idea of global filters and a little padlock.  Set the padlock (top right of LR grid) to unlocked and when you changed folder or collection you automatically saw all images in the collection.  Set the padlock to locked and whatever filter you set remained set when you moved between folders.

The change was made because of the number of  “where’s my photos?” incidents where people had gone back to a folder and had forgotten they had set a filter.

The problem has been that different people work different ways.  Many people liked sticky filters.  In my case I only realised how much I missed them when they weren’t there.  I filter using the pick flags which don’t follow an image when it is assigned to a collection.  This meant that whichever condition I left the filter padlock in – I was constantly having to switch on and switch off my filters.

With LR3.2RC, sticky filters are back.  Here’s how it works.  Set the filter padlock to open and every time you change folder or collection you will see all images in that collection.  Click to close the filter padlock and you can choose how it behaves.  By default the filters behave as LR3 they are global and follow from folder to folder, collection to collection.  BUT if you want each folder and collection to remember it’s filter setting go to “File | Library Filters | Remember Each Source’s Filters Separately” and make sure that option is ticked.

A couple of things to remember.  If you open the padlock at any point, and start visiting different folders and collections those folders and collections will instantly forget any localised filters set for them and you have to reset them even if you close the padlock again.

For those who are wondering why sticky filters is such a big deal, here’s how I use them in my workflow.  Once images have been imported into lightroom I use the pick flags to make a selection of which images I wish to process.  I then set the filter to show only the “picks”.  As I do my editing I assign star ratings to images based on the technical quality of an image. As a stock photographer image sharpness is of particular concern and I use one star rating to indicate that I still want to keep the image (often just for my own benefit) but it isn’t suitable for stock and another to indicate that it is up to a standard to send off to the likes of Alamy.  At this point change my filter to show only those in the second rating category.   With sticky filters those filters remain with each folder and I don’t have to keep applying them as I move to different folders and collections each of which may be at different stages of my workflow.

I hope this insight into sticky filters has been helpful.   If you are in the UK you might like to know I’m running a Lightroom training day at Calumet in Manchester on Saturday 11th September.  More details on my website.