Recently I’ve seen a number of Lightroom users asking how they could find all images shot at a certain time of the year.

Now, if you have your head screwed on you would have included seasons in your keywords. For instance, an image of snow might include “winter” in the keywords (unless you live at the North or South Poles) while a picture of cherry blossom might include the keyword “spring”. I’m not too keen on the idea of including the month as a keyword, though a case might be made for doing so.

But let’s say you’ve not used such keywords, but still want Lightroom to find all the pictures you’ve shot in the winter months. The best answer has been that you need to create a smart collection along the lines of “Capture Date” / “Is in the range” / “December 1st 2010 to January 31st 2011”, for example. That’s OK for one year, and then for a second year you’d add a line with similar criteria and just type over the years. By the time you get to three years it’s getting a bit boring, and then you decide to change winter to include February…. And if you also want a smart collection of photographs shot during the spring months, it’s all becoming a bit too much effort. Life is short. The particularly annoying thing is that the data is available in Lightroom’s catalogue, but it’s too difficult to access.

So version 1.29 of my Search Replace Transfer plug-in adds a custom field called “Month” and writes to it with the existing Parse + audit menu command. You just select your pictures, run the Parse + audit menu from Library > Plug-in Extras. The plug-in then runs through the pictures and updates its custom fields which can you can then query in the Filter Panel or through Smart Collections.

And a little note – the Parse + audit command is in the free part of the plug-in so it isn’t limited to 10 items per time.

Get the plug-in from Photographer’s Toolbox.