How to Cull Your Photos in Lightroom Classic FAST!

There’s nothing worse than wasting time. It’s the only human resource you can’t get more of it. So, when I learned this Lightroom hack to help speed up the image culling process, I was elated. Lightroom has a ton of different ways to organize your photos and with it comes a lot confusion. You sit down and you have to choose between keyword tags, colors flags, star ratings, and select/reject flags. Then you can choose to use collections to organize photos with a combination of using virtual copies. You start mixing and matching and you can get lost in the 3rd circle of organization hell.

The Best Way to Cull

Let me save you some pulled hair and jump right to the best solution. We’re going to use the Select/Reject flags, but we need to set up a couple things to make it go FAST!

First, turn on “CapsLock”. With CapsLock on, Lightroom automatically jumps to the next image when you flag a photo. That saves an extra click for each photo and that adds up over hundreds of images.

Next, take the row of thumbnails at the bottom and make them as tall as possible. This important when you have several images that are very similar and it allows you to easily look ahead to get a feel for what’s coming. If I don’t make the thumbnails big, I’ll often land on the first image from a post and instantly “Pick” it only to realize the second photo was actually my favorite. So I have to go back, Unflag the first and Select the second. If I had those big thumbnails, I could more easily see how many possible images I have to choose from first.

With that all setup we’re ready to roll with a few keyboard shortcuts. If you want to edit a photo, press “P” to Select it. If an image is badly exposed, out of focus or the pose is gross, Reject it with letter “X”. Now if you come across a shot that isn’t the absolute best but isn’t bad enough to Reject, I’ll just leave it unflagged. Even though it’s already unflagged, hit letter “U” to skip to the next photo.

That’s it! Once your selects are flagged, you can turn on the flag filters and it will show you all the photos you’ve selected. All ready to jump in and edit.

I don’t save my really terrible photos. Periodically, I’ll open “All Photographs” and Press “Ctrl-Backspace” to show me all the Rejects. A dialog prompt will give you the choice to delete all of those files from disk. Super easy!

With all the time you’ve saved, take a sec to leave me a comment and subscribe to my Youtube Channel. Take care!

5 3 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments