Learn how to use albums and keep track of photos in Lightroom.
Browse photos by date, store copies of photos locally, and delete photos safely.
A little bit of organization will help you keep track of your photos, and Lightroom makes organizing and managing your photos simple. In this lesson, we'll take a look at some tips about managing your photos in Lightroom. If you'd like to use the sample files to follow along, download them from the Adobe webpage for this tutorial. Click Add Photos, and in the Import Preview window, create an album for just these files, as I've done down here, and then click Add Photos. Lightroom does some of the photo organizing for you over here in the column on the left. Here you can access All Photos that you've added to the Lightroom ecosystem, which includes photos you added from any Lightroom access point - mobile, web, or desktop, or you can choose to see your most Recently Added photos, and that's broken down for you by the last few times that you added photos. Lightroom also automatically keeps track of your photos by their capture date, so you can quickly get to photos that you took in a particular year, or you can go deeper to see photos that you took in a particular month, or even on a particular day. And you also can make as many albums as you want to organize your photos by subjects, by projects, or any topic that makes most sense to you. I'll select the latest album that I made when I imported the sample files for this tutorial. Now what you don't see in Lightroom are storage folders, like those you may be used to seeing if you're used to using Lightroom classic. That's because Lightroom stores the full resolution originals of your photos in the cloud. And it doesn't use a folder system there, because the originals that Lightroom references are all in the cloud, you don't have to worry about managing folders of your photos on your local drives. In fact, you don't even have to keep local copies at all. However, if you do want to keep local copies, you can. To set that up, go up to Adobe Lightroom on a Mac or Edit on Windows and choose Preferences... Click on the Local Storage preference and go down and check “Store a copy of ALL originals locally”. By default, that will store an extra copy of your photos in a package format in the pictures folder on your computer. If you have a lot of photos, it may make more sense to store your extra local copies on a large external drive. To do that, click Change Location over here and specify the drive where you want to keep a local copy of your photos. Lightroom will still upload to the cloud your full resolution originals and any changes you make to them. But you'll have a duplicate copy of the unchanged photos that you started with if you want them. Or if you want an extra local copy of just specific photos, go to the Square Grid icon here, or press G on your keyboard again. Select one or more photos and click the checkmark under any of the selected photos. And here you can click this Store original locally switch to get a local copy of just those selected photos. One more important thing about managing your photos - and that's about deleting photos. Let's say that you have a photo, you decide you really don't want to keep in your Lightroom library for some reason. You could delete it by selecting the photo, and then going up to the Edit menu and choosing Delete Photo..., or right-clicking the photo and choosing Delete Photo... from there. Be sure that you understand that if you do this, you're deleting the original of the photo. And you're deleting it from the cloud and from all your devices too. So, unless you have a local copy of the photo, it will be permanently gone everywhere, which is what this message means. So, unless you're sure the photo is a throwaway, don't delete it unless you have a local copy. So that's a quick look at managing your photos in Lightroom. There are more tools you can use to further organize your photos, including albums which we'll cover in the next lesson in this tutorial, and flags and stars which we'll cover in the next tutorial.
What you learned: Photo management tips
- Photo management is kept to a minimum in Lightroom, which does much of the work for you.
- Lightroom automatically keeps track of your photos by the dates they were captured. In the My Photos panel on the left, click By Date to expand a menu in which you can choose to view photos by the year, month, and day they were captured.
- Lightroom stores your original photos for you in the Cloud. If you want to keep a copy of all your photos locally in addition to in the Cloud, go to Adobe Lightroom > Preferences (MacOS) or Edit > Preferences (Windows) and click Local Storage. Click the checkbox Store a copy of all originals locally.
- If you want to store those copies on a roomy external drive rather than on your computer, click Change Location, navigate to the external drive, and click Choose (MacOS) or Select Folder (Windows). These changes will take place when you restart Lightroom.
- If you want to keep a local copy of specific photos, rather than all your photos, click the Square Grid icon in the toolbar, select one or more photos, click the checkmark under any of the selected photos, and click the Store original locally switch.
- To delete a photo from your photo library, select the photo and choose Edit > Delete Photo. Remember that if you delete a photo, it will be removed from the Cloud and from all your synced devices. So it’s a good idea to make a copy of that photo outside of Lightroom before you delete it from Lightroom.
Create albums for your photos and organize your albums in folders.
Albums are a way to organize photos inside Lightroom, so you can quickly access or share a particular group of photos. So, let's take a look at how albums work. If the column on the left isn't open, click the My Photos icon here. In my Albums panel, you can see the albums we created at the beginning of each tutorial in this Get Started series for the sample files for that tutorial. So, when an album is selected, like this album of sample files, over in the grid, we see only the photos in that album. As you've already seen, you can make an album in the Import Preview window at the same time that you're adding photos into Lightroom. If I want to make an album from inside Lightroom, I'll move to the plus icon here in the Albums panel, and from here I'll choose Create Album. I'd like to make an album of photos of dogs, so I'll type dogs and I'll click Create. And here's my new dog’s album over in the Albums panel. On the right, you can see how many photos are in that album at the moment. To add a photo to this album, I'll just click on it in the grid and then click, hold and drag it on top of the album, and you can do this with multiple photos at a time. So, I'm going to click on this photo of a dog and come over here and hold the Shift key and click on this photo and that selects all the photos in between, all of which happen to have dogs. And then if I want to add other photos to this selection that aren't next to one another, I'll hold down the Command key on a Mac or the Control key on Windows and I'll click on a couple of other photos. And then I'll click, hold, and drag from any of those photos over on top of my dog's album in the Albums panel. Now if I click that album, we see just the dog photos. Now let's say that I want another album that's just photos of my dog. I'll deselect all the selected photos by clicking in a blank area of the grid, or holding the Command key on a Mac or the Control key on Windows and pressing the D key on my keyboard for deselect. And then I'll click on this photo, and I'll hold the Shift key and click on this photo, and with those three photos selected, I'm going to make another album. And this time, I'll check “Include the 3 selected photos”, because you can select photos before you make an album, or you can drag them into an album after you make the album. And I'll call this album, Sam - the name of my dog, and I'll click Create. And when I click the Sam album, I see just the photos of my dog. Notice that we have some of the same photos in this album and in this album. So, the point is that the same photos can appear in more than one album. I'm going to deselect those three photos by pressing Command D on a Mac or Control D on Windows. Now let's say, there's a photo that you don't want to keep in an album. I'll select that photo and I can either right-click and choose Remove from Album… or go up to the Edit menu and choose Remove from Album... from there. Removing this photo from this album won't delete it from Lightroom. It will still be in the All Photos area in Lightroom, and it will still be in any other albums in which I've included this photo. So, let's go ahead and remove this photo from the dog's album, and when I go to the Sam album, here's the photo that I just deleted from the dog's album. It's still here. You can also delete a whole album. And that doesn't delete its photos from Lightroom. I'll right-click on the Sam album in the Albums panel, and I'll choose Delete Album... And I'll click OK. And if I click back on the dog's album, the photos of Sam are still here. As you make more albums, your list of albums can get pretty long so you can make folders and tuck your albums inside folders. Let's create a folder for all these sample file albums. I'll go to the plus symbol and I'll choose Create Folder. I'll give the folder a name, and I'll click Create. I'll select the first tutorial sample file album and drag it on top of the folder, and that puts it inside. Or you can drag multiple albums together. So, this time, I'll select this tutorial file album and hold the shift key and select this one and drag from any one of them up into the Get Started sample files folder. To make more room in my Albums panel I can click this triangle to collapse that folder. And then if I need any of those albums, I'll just click that triangle again to select whatever album that I need. So, consider using albums to organize your own photos by subjects, by projects, by favorites, and more, and remember that your albums and any changes you make to them automatically sync through the cloud to Lightroom on all your devices.
What you learned: Use Lightroom across computers
- Albums are a simple way to quickly access related photos in Lightroom. You might use albums to group photos by subject, by favorites, by projects, or by workflow tasks such as photos to adjust.
- Albums and changes you make to them sync through the Cloud to all your devices.
- If the Albums panel isn’t showing, click My Photos (the file box icon). To create a new album, click the plus icon at the top right of the Albums panel and choose Create Album. Name the album and click Create. Alternatively, you can make an album from the preview screen while you’re adding photos to Lightroom, as we’ve been doing for the sample files for these Get Started tutorials.
- To add photos to an album, select one or more photos in the Photo grid, the Square grid, or the Filmstrip and drag them onto the album in the Albums panel.
- The same photo can be in multiple albums.
- To remove photos from an album, select the album; then select one or more photos in that album. Choose Edit > Remove photos from Album and click Remove Photo. This does not delete the photos from other albums or from your photo library. If you click All Photos, the photos will still be there.
- To delete an entire album, right-click (or Control+click) the album in the Albums panel, choose Delete Album, and click OK. This does not delete the photos from other albums or from your photo library.
- You can organize your albums into folders to keep your list of albums manageable. To create a folder for albums, click the plus icon at the top right of the Albums panel and choose Create Folder. Name the folder and click Create. To add albums to a folder, select one or more albums in the Albums panel and drag them on top of the folder in the Albums panel. Click the triangle to the left of a folder to collapse and expand the folder.
Access information about a photo in Lightroom.
To view some information about a photo, select the photo in Lightroom's grid, and then go to the bottom right and click the i icon. That opens the Info panel. At the top of the panel are some fields in which you can enter information – Title, Caption, and Copyright. If I click in the Copyright field, that automatically enters a copyright symbol, and then you can type the photographer's name and date. Next, you see the file name and that's something you can't change in Lightroom currently, and down here is the date of capture, and you also have information about where the photo was captured if you took the photo with a GPS enabled device. So, you can see down here that this was taken with an iPhone that was GPS enabled, and we know that because down at the bottom, we have an excerpt from Google Maps that shows exactly where the photo was taken. There's also useful information here about the dimensions of the photo, its size on disk, the file format, and the camera settings that were used to shoot the photo. And finally, if I scroll down to the bottom, you can see the Sync Status of this photo. So, the next time you're looking for information about one of your photos, just click on the i icon to get to the Info panel.
What you learned: Use the Info panel
- With a photo selected, click the Info icon at the bottom of the column on the right to open the Info panel.
- In the Info panel, you can add title, caption, and copyright information to the photo.
- You can view information about the photo, including the file name, capture date, size and format of the photo, and camera settings with which the photo was captured.
- If the camera was GPS enabled, you can see location information and view a map of the location where the photo was captured.
- You also can view the sync status of the photo at the bottom of the Info panel.