How to Flag Photos in Lightroom

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Considering that Lightroom is an image organization application, it provides you with the simplest solution for separating your best images from the ones you plan to delete. Knowing how to flag photos in Lightroom helps you organize your photos and keep your workflow seamless.

How to Flag Photos in Lightroom

Even with the best lighting, tripod, and camera, you might capture some over-exposed or under-exposed pictures. Sometimes you might not even get the right composition for your photos, especially when shooting moving subjects.

An image of Adobe Lightroom

It’s therefore advisable to shoot many photos of the same composition and then do away with the low-quality images later. Lightroom allows you to flag the images, delete low-quality images and organize your catalog.

Usually, this will help to keep your library clean and your hard drive free from clutter. Whether you want to delete the unwanted images, move them or just export the best ones, you can use the following steps to flag images in Lightroom.

Import the Photos to Lightroom

Before you start the flagging procedure, you first need to import the images you will be working on to Lightroom. Hook up the camera to your computer or insert a memory card in your card reader, and then open the Lightroom import dialog box to start the Lightroom import feature.

Choose your import source, which can be a hard drive, memory card, or camera. After indicating the location of your images, specify to Lightroom how you want to add the images to your Lightroom catalog. You can use the copy, add, copy as DNG or move options.

Choose the images you want to import and their destination, then click on Import. Unlike the copy and move options, the add option does not require you to choose the destination as it keeps the photos in their current location and lets Lightroom know their location so you can edit them.

Choose the Flag Type

Lightroom comes with two flag types, one for indicating the unwanted images you want to delete and the other for indicating the images you want to pick. The following distinction between the two flags will help you decide which flag to use for your sorting.

Picked Flags

Picked flags are designated by a white flag near your image in the filmstrip or your library module. This flag helps to indicate the images you want to keep or export, and you can use it to mark your favorite images that stand out among the rest within the Lightroom collection.

Reject Flags

Reject flags are indicated by a black color or a grayed-out flag. They indicate unwanted images within the Lightroom application that you will probably delete later. Poor framing, duplicate photos, or blurry images are the ones you might want to add a reject flag.

Flag the Photos

Flags are set in the Library Module. Flagging photos immediately after importing them allows you to easily highlight the blurry images as rejects and the eye-appealing ones as picks. Regardless of the Lightroom version, you can use the following methods to flag the photos.

Flag Icon

The latest and advanced versions of Lightroom make flagging photos through the flag icon easier and faster using the following step-by-step procedure.

  1. Open the Lightroom Library Module to view the photos you will be working on.
  2. Move the cursor around any of your photos. A small flag icon will appear on your images’ top left-hand side corner.
  3. Click on the flag icon to set your photo as a Pick Flag. However, if you want to add a reject flag, you will need to right-click on the flag, and from the pop-up menu, choose the Reject flag.
An image of laptop with a Lightroom

Keyboard Shortcuts

Flagging photos using the keyboard shortcuts is the easiest way to speed up the flagging process, as it allows you to mark images as rejects or picks through keyboard presses. While in the Library module, navigate through the access Loupe View on your toolbar to view the photos independently.

You can use your keyboard’s right and left arrow keys to flick through all the images. If you find an image you want to keep, press on P to flag it as picked for later editing.

In case you find a photo you don’t want to keep, press X on your keyboard to flag it as rejected. However, if you want to unflag an image, click on the photo and then press U on your keyboard.

The Library Module View Mode

The Library Module is a module in Lightroom that allows you to view, organize, manage or even rate images in your catalog. In order to flag photos through the library module, open Lightroom to scan through all your image collections.

Right-click on any image that you want to flag, and a popup menu will appear. From the menu, choose Set Flag and then select Flagged to add a pick flag to the photo. If you want to add a reject flag to an image, right-click on the photo, choose Set Flag, and then choose Rejected.

Menu Bar

You can start by highlighting the photo you want to flag, and from the menu bar at the top of your Lightroom screen, go to photo, then Set Flag. From the cascading menu that appears, choose the flagging option of your choice.

How to Flag a Collection of Photos in Lightroom

The procedure of flagging every photo independently in your image collection can be tiresome and time-consuming, especially when flagging a large collection of photos. Fortunately, Lightroom allows you to flag multiple images simultaneously, speeding up your workflow.

  1. In your Library module, hold down the Command key if you are using Mac or the Ctrl key if you are using a Windows PC, and then select multiple images.
  2. Alternatively, if the images you are working on are in a sequence, click on the first image, then hold down the Shift key and click on the last image in the sequence to make a selection.
  3. After highlighting your multiple images, right-click on the selection if you are using a Windows PC or Command + click if you are using a mac.
  4. Navigate to Set Flag, choose Rejected to add a reject flag to the group of photos or Set Flag, then choose Flagged to pick the entire collection of images.
  5. Alternatively, after making the selection, you can use the above keyboard shortcut keys of P to add a pick flag and X to add a reject flag.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Unflag a Photo in Lightroom?

It is possible to unflag a photo in Lightroom by pressing the U key on your keyboard. If you want to unflag multiple images, you only need to right-click if you are using a Windows PC to select the images, or Command + click if you are using a mac, navigate to Set Flag, and then choose Unflagged.

Can I Export Only the Flagged Images?

You can export flagged images by setting the filter option in your library to Flagged to ensure only flagged photos pop up. After displaying the flagged photos only, hit the keyboard shortcut keys Ctrl +A if you are using a Windows PC or Command + A if using a mac to highlight all flagged photos, and then navigate to File and choose Export.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to flag photos in Lightroom will help you select the photos you consider to be high-quality and worth to be kept, the ones to export, and the ones you plan to discard. Simply import the photos to Lightroom, select the images and add a Pick or Reject flag.