This should be an easy task, as LR4 allows you to select "Collection" as part of the "Edit Smart Collection".

So let's say:

1) I have "CollectionA" already set up

2) I want to set up "CollectionB" that lets me see photos from within "CollectionA" that are rated "4"

In "Edit Smart Collections" I'd assumed I'd be able to do the following:

FILTER 1: select "Catalogue" / "contains" "CollectionA"

FILTER 2: select "Rating" / is / "4"

Unfortunately whatever I try it doesn't work!

  • What do you mean by it doesn't work. Won't let you select those filter options, or it does allow you, but the results are incorrect?
    – MikeW
    Oct 21, 2013 at 20:08
  • Mike - it doesn't do any actual filtering if you enter any whole/partial name of a Smart Collection in the Collection filetering box (within the 'Edit Smart Collection' box)
    – Steve
    Oct 22, 2013 at 7:37
  • I just tried this and found that the collection name for filter one can't be a smart collection. It has to be a regular collection. (LR4 on Mac) Nov 7, 2013 at 14:32

3 Answers 3


You can't have a smart collection that references another smart collection and I suspect that this is to prevent a kind of infinite loop in the rules and causing performance/stability issues.

So smart collections only search for normal collections when matching your rules.


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Works for me. I would suggest the following steps. First make sure that Match all is set. Then delete both your rules, now add in the Collection // Contains or Starts with // Base Collection rule.

Now verify that your new smart collection has all the photos from your Base collection. If it does not you probably typed the name wrong (they really should have a pull down).

Now go back and edit the smart collection and add the rating filter. Be sure and set one or two photos to 4 and check.

  • Thanks Patrick, however, that only appears to work with Collections, not Smart Collections.
    – Steve
    Oct 22, 2013 at 7:36

Create a new smart collection that contains the filters from the original smart collection, and also includes the further filters you want to apply for the 'sub' collection. When naming the smart collection, give it the same name followed by something like 'sub', then it should be sorted properly.

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