The Art of Deleting Images in Lightroom

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We are all about improving workflow here. Why waste time when it’s so valuable? If you’re a professional photographer, wasting time is like wasting money.

The Art of Deleting Images in Lightroom

If you’re not a pro, well, you probably don’t like wasting time either! To help you further streamline your workflow, one helpful thing you can do is simplify how you delete images in Lightroom. 

Deleting images might not be the first thing you think of when you’re wondering how to improve your workflow. However, if you’ve ever had big batches of images to delete in various folders, you’ll understand the value of simplifying how we delete images! These tips can be used in both Classic and Cloud versions of Lightroom.

Press X in Collections

You can work while marking images for deletion. Simply press the letter “X” on an image and continue with your other work. You’ll notice that once you press the “X,” a small black flag icon appears on the left side of the thumbnail. It will also be dimmed.

The Art of Deleting Images in Lightroom

Once you’re done working and have marked images for deletion, follow these steps:

The Art of Deleting Images in Lightroom

Under the Photo menu at the bottom of the menu, select “Delete Rejected Photos.” This then collects the images you previously marked for deletion (with the black flag icon) and shows them to you as a step just before full deletion.

The Art of Deleting Images in Lightroom

A dialog box appears asking if you want to remove the images from your Collection. Note that if you click “Remove,” it only removes them from the Collection you’re in. The originals will still be found in Lightroom.

The Art of Deleting Images in Lightroom

If you want to completely delete the images from Lightroom, instead of pressing “Delete Rejected Photos,” go to the Library menu under Filter by Flag.

Select “Rejected Photos Only.”

Then press Command-A (Windows: Ctrl-A) to delete them from the Collection and Lightroom, moving them into the trash.

If you want to select them all, press:

Shift-Option-Command-Delete (on Mac), or

Shift-Alt-Ctrl-Delete (on Windows).

Work In Folders Instead of Collections

Suppose you’re in folders rather than in Collections. In that case, you’ll see a different kind of dialog box when you select “Delete Rejected Photos.”  

The Art of Deleting Images in Lightroom

The dialog box in folders will offer you two options: 

If you want to delete the image/s from your computer (putting them in the trash).

If you want to remove them ONLY from the Lightroom, leaving them on your computer, but no longer accessible within Lightroom).

Select the option you prefer.

Deleting in Lightroom “Cloud”

The deletion process in the Cloud is similar to deleting those stored on your computer in Lightroom Classic, except you’ll be deleting photos from the Cloud, not your computer. Just as working in Classic, you will need to mark images you want to delete with an “X.” You’ll immediately notice that the thumbnail becomes dimmed, but there will not be a black flag icon. 

The Art of Deleting Images in Lightroom

To delete images, follow these steps:

To delete an image from the Album (the equivalent of Collections in Lightroom Classic), click on the marked dimmed image and hit the Delete key.

Then it will ask if you want to remove that image from the Album. If you want to see the marked images, go to the Filter icon up top (a funnel icon). Filter to find the marked images for deletion.

To move images to Lightroom’s Delete album, press: Shift-Option-Command-Delete (on Mac) or Shift-Alt-Ctrl-Delete (on Windows). (Images will retrievable for 60 days, after which time they’re deleted permanently.) 

Hopefully, you’ll find that these tips can help you streamline deletions in your workflow. Every minute and every step saved helps. Let us know if you have other tips.

The Art of Deleting Images in Lightroom

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