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Creating a Zooomr SmartSet

Posted by briandh on September 2, 2006

I wrote briefly in an earlier Blog about using the Zooomr SmartSet feature. Whilst checking my blog stats I noticed that people were looking for help on using this feature and that there wasn’t much around.

At first this surprised me as, to me, the SmartSet feature is very intuitive. However, I am a software engineer with an interest in photography whereas many Zooomr users may be photographers with little or no interest or talent in computers.

So, here is the low down on how to use SmartSets


A SmartSet is just a method of grouping photographs together that have some characteristic in common. SmartSets have three parts:

  1. A set of Category based criteria for searching through the photos to select them.
  2. A Title – just a short piece of text that will appear on the front page of you “Your Photos” page.
  3. A Description – a longer pice of text used to describe the set when you view the whole set.

You will be presented with choices for each of the above when you create you SmartSet – in the order given above.

Build a SmartSet

YourPhotosYourPhotos Hosted on Zooomr

When you navigate to your “Your Photos” page you will see on the right hand side of the page a link titled “>> Build a SmartSet”. Clicking on this link will bring up the “Smartset / Build” page.

SmartSetsBuildSmartSetsBuild Hosted on Zooomr

This is the page that you use to enter your choices for you want in your new SmartSet. It is also the same page you use when you want to change your SmartSet.

The first thing you will notice is that there are no pictures, nowhere to type a title and nowhere for the description. Just a little “Add” button and a cryptic message saying “To begin, please select a category from the ADD menu”.

Doing as the message suggests drops down the Add Category menu.

AddMenuAddMenu Hosted on Zooomr

What are Categories?

These are used to put together the criteria that will be used to pick the pictures that are in the SmartSet.

One of the first things that may surprise you is that you do not simply pick the photos you want in your SmartSet. Instead you tell Zooomr how to pick them for you. You do this using the Category criteria.

Without any Category criteria you would simply have a SmartSet containing every public picture stored on Zooomr. Which introduces the next thing that may surprise you – SmartSets are not limited to your own photos.

So, Categories are ways of choosing, or filtering, photos. Currently there are seven methods of choosing photos:

  1. Tags – this is the most useful one as it allows you to select photo based on any of the tags you, or others have assigned to the photos.
  2. Views – allows you to choose based on how many times a photo has been viewed
  3. GeoTags – allows you to pick photo based on where they have been GeoTagged – located in the world.
  4. Owner – this allows you to pick who’s photos you want in the SmartSet.
  5. PeopleTags – filter by who is in the photo
  6. DateTaken – use this to filter by when the photo was taken
  7. DateUploaded – filter by when the photo was put on Zooomr

Each of the above have further selections you can make, as well as having to supply the necessary criteria values. You can use as many of these as you like but:

  • You can currently only have one of each Category
  • The photos are picked based on matching all of the criteria you choose

However, the “further selections” mentioned above allow you to do some clever things to overcome this.

OK, enough talk – lets actually build a SmartSet.

I want my photos

First, I think that the “Owner” Category should be the first one on the list as this is the first choice I always make – is this SmartSet going to be picked based on a specific Zooomr user, or anyone. Usually my SmartSets are based on my Photos, so I would pick “Owner” from the “Category” menu.You will notice that, as well as the “Owner”field, we can now enter a Title – I’ll leave that alone for now.

OwnerOwner Hosted on Zooomr

I have a choice here, and most of the Categories offer much the same choice, do I want the SmartSet to:

  • Match all of – only photos which have owner matching what you type in will be picked
  • Match any of – photos which match any of the names you type in will be picked
  • Match none of – photos by everyone other than the names you type in are picked

I want only my pictures so will leave it at the default “Match all of” and type in my name. Wait – what is my name? This might seem a silly question but it took me a couple of attempts to get it right. This is the name that appears at the end of the address you give to everyone for viewing you photos – mine is “” so I want “brianandlorna”.

Since I currently have over 500 photos on Zooomr, this would be a very large set of photos. In fact, it wouldn’t – it would only be 100 photos. Why? SmartSets are currently limited to 100 photos. This annoys me a little as some of my sets of photos are actually larger than 100 photos meaning I have to split them up somehow.

Tags are your friends

I want to limit the set further and the most useful way of doing that is using Tags.

You really should be giving all of your photos as many meaningful Tags as you can think of. You can use any words you like for Tags and it makes SmartSets much more powerful if you use them generously.

Also, with a little forethought you can give all of the photos in a group you know you are going to want in a SmartSet the same Tag thus making creating the SmartSet very simple.

So, I hit the “Add” button again and pick “Tags”.

I know I have used the Tag “Manipulations” for a particular set of photos I have digitally altered in some way. So I enter that into the Tags text field. I also leave the choice of “Match all of” as I don’t want any other tags.

TagsTags Hosted on Zooomr

Title and Description

My SmartSet is about ready to go, the only thing left to do is to give it a title and description so people know what it is all about.

ReadyToGoReadyToGo Hosted on Zooomr

You will notice that as soon as you start to type in the Title, the Description field and Save button appear. They will also disappear if you delete your title. This is a little distracting but means you cannot save a SmartSet without a title. You can leave the description blank if you like.


On hitting the Save button, Zooomr nips off and builds your SmartSet. If you have got everything right then you will get a SmartSet with the pictures you asked for. But, if not, you might get nothing at all or a set of images you were not expecting.

Here is what my finished SmartSet looks like:

FinishedSmartSetFinishedSmartSet Hosted on Zooomr

If you need to you can go back in using the “Edit” link under the description and adjust the settings, maybe add some extra Categories, or put in some more Tags to get a smaller, more precise set, or less tags for a larger set, or change it to “Match any of” to widen the search.

You can also delete an entire Category criteria using the little “stopsign” button at the right of the Category fields.

Further things to try

I have only touched on the abilities of SmartSets so here are some pointers for things to try out – just play around, your not going to break anything:

  • Leave out the “Owner” category to see other peoples photos
  • Use the “Match any of” options to get larger sets of photos
  • Use the “GeoTags” option to look at pictures from around the world
  • Use the “Views” field to create a list of your most (or least) popular photos.

Keep an eye on the SmartSet feature, I know the guys at Zooomr are keen to extend it and allow you to do more clever things [please, please let us filter by photos that have Portals].

20 Responses to “Creating a Zooomr SmartSet”

  1. Larry said

    Hi, it seems that paid and free accounts work differently. I have a free account and cannot access my photos through my “username” url as you say, but thrugh my numeric id, i.e, I cannot access through, but through

    Neither can I use my usename to filter photos to add to my smartset. The workaround would be to use a unique tag that nobody has used.

  2. briandh said


    Actually, I think that your only problem is that you haven’t yet set your account up properly from “Your Account”. In there you get the chance to set the bit that is used at the end of the web address. Until you set this it is set to a default alpha-numeric code. You can only set this once and it can be different from your “name” – so pick a good one.


  3. Larry said

    Hi Brian, I realized what you say after I got myself a pro account, which they’re giving for free. Thanks anyway. It’s a pitty, though, that one cannot have more that 100 pictures in any given smartset. I hope they lift this limit at some point.

  4. briandh said

    Larry, I couldn’t agree more and would add:

    – choosing thumbnail and big picture
    – sorting the smartset
    – when you look at a picture in a smartset the thumbnails at the top should be the others in the smartset – so you can move through the smartset without having to keep going back and forward.

    But they seem to be a keen bunch so will no doubt answer all our wishes in due course 😉

  5. Sai said

    Hi, I’ve just delved into Zoomr lately. I’m always late with these things he he. Anyway, thanks a lot for your tutorial! I’ve done my sets and off for more! Zoomr rocks! Thanks again! ^_^

  6. briandh said

    Your welcome. But you didn’t leave a link to your Zooomr account so we can all enjoy your work.

  7. […] Album Sets, almost everybody’s troubled with them, I have to admit I was too initially. They weren’t the ones I got used to where I just make an album, then a sub set and pluck out tons of photos I’ve got in my drive and upload it in. You might want to look at this brief yet simple tutorial to get things done: Zoomr Smartsets. […]

  8. […] I don’t know why I didn’t get it the last time or why didn’t I googled the stuff. Anyway, there’s a good tutorial on creating a Zooomr SmartSet over at the Me Blog. […]

  9. Steelsun said

    Thanks for the tutorial. It helped a great deal.
    I wish Zooomr had a faq that explained this.

  10. briandh said

    You are most welcome.

  11. Gareth said

    Not sure if this is a problem at my end but nothing happens bar error on page message when clicking on ADD button. Have tried turning off security softwaqre but this makes no difference. ANy ideas. Thankx

  12. briandh said


    I am going to make an educated guess here and say your using Internet Explorer.
    It’s fine from Fixefox, but I just tried it using IE and I get “Error on page” too.

    I’ve found that Zoooomr works best with the Firefox browser, but it usually isn’t this bad. They had the site down a week or so ago to try and make the latest version available, maybe something got messed up in the process.

  13. Gareth said

    That makes sense had been wondering about switching over to Firefox.
    Aprreciate your help

  14. Gareth said

    Have installed Firefox and now Smartsets and MapTags both appear to work properly.

    Thanks again

  15. Jeff said

    Thanks for the nice tutorial. You have a nice site. I encourage you to keep at it, though I know how that games can be really distracting!

    It took me half-a-dozen attempts before I got the smart set feature working. Hopefully, the interface will get better with the upcoming Mark III release.

    My problem was that I had never changed my default numeric ID in the URL to characters. I always was getting the photos of others even when I entered the numeric ID in the owner field. But after changing it, then the smart set finally worked. Yeah!


  16. Meghan said

    You seem to understand all things which are zooomr, I have a random question for you.
    When you upload photos you have the option of making them viewable by family and friends or public. How do you designate people to be either family or friend so that they can specific pictures?

  17. briandh said


    I had to go and check this as I have all my photos open to everyone, so this may not be the easiest way to do it but it is ONE way:

    1. Firstly to be in your “Friend” list or your “Family” lists the other person also has to be a Zooomr user.
    2. Then you go to their page and from there select “Profile & Tags” (under their name).
    3. On the right hand side you’ll see “Social Circle” and under that the link “Would you like to add XXX as a contact?” – click that link.
    4. A little window will slide open with an option for “Friend” and another for “Family” – click one and then select “OK”.

    To remove someone go back to their page and the “Would you like to add…” question becomes “Would you like to remove…”

  18. Tilak said

    I just looked at Gareth’s sets and it looks to me like he has 0 photos in all his sets. I have this same problem. Whenever I try and click save for the set, I get back: “Sorry, It seems that this SmartSet could not be generated or that it doesn’t include any matching items.”

    Anyone have any ideas as to what I’m doing wrong?


  19. briandh said

    The SmartSet feature seem to have been busted since the upgrade to Version 3.
    At least it has for me. Several other key features seem missing too – such as your profile and the time-line.

    I haven’t really been using Zooomr much for a while now – I’ve been doing other things. I’ll need to go back and have a play.

  20. Idetrorce said

    very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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