Learn how to organize your photos in Lightroom.
Learn how to organize your photos in Lightroom.
Work with albums. Flag, label, rate, stack, and search photos. Add keywords. View and edit metadata.

Lightroom offers many ways to organize your photos. You can manage your photos as albums or stacks; or organize them using keywords, metadata, flags, and ratings. Easily find and filter photos in Lightroom desktop. 

Contextual Help

Starting with Lightroom desktop (version 2.3), when you launch the application for the first time, you can view the Help icon highlighted at the upper-right corner. Click the Help icon to access the Contextual Help menu. The first section of this menu provides tutorials to learn the fundamentals of Lightroom and offers step-by-step guided tutorials on how to improve your photo. You can also explore new and more advanced photo editing techniques and get inspired to create exciting edits, all within the application.

Contextual Help menu
Contextual Help menu

Follow a Getting Started tutorial

  1. Click the Help icon at the upper-right corner.

  2. In the pop-up menu that is displayed, the first section provides Getting Started tutorials to add photos, create an album, edit a photo, and more.

    If you have already imported photos and opened a photo in Loupe view, you can view an Edit Your photo tutorial in the first section.

  3. Click Show All Getting Started to view the entire list of tutorials.

  4. Click a tutorial of your choice to follow the procedure of the desired action. Once you've completed a tutorial, you can find a blue tick next to it in the Contextual Help menu.

Follow a guided tutorial for tools and features

  1. Click the Help icon at the upper-right corner.

  2. In the pop-up menu that is displayed, the second section displays tutorials for specific tools and features such as Auto Settings, B&W, Profiles, and more.

  3. Click Show All Tools and Features to view the entire list of tutorials. 

  4. Click a tutorial of your choice and follow the steps within the application to learn about it.

Access advanced editing tutorials

  1. Click the Help icon at the upper-right corner.

  2. In the pop-up menu, the third section displays the set of tutorials to learn various photography editing techniques. Click Show All Tutorials to view the entire list.

  3. Select a tutorial of your choice in the list. You can then follow the tutorial with a sample photo that is provided within Lightroom.


    You cannot export or download the sample photo that is provided with the tutorials.

Search resources using keywords

  1. Click the Help icon at the upper-right corner.

  2. In the Search bar at the top of the pop-up menu, enter a keyword that is relevant to your interest. This can be a tool or feature.

  3. The search results appear as you type in the keyword. In case you are unable to find what you are looking for, try an alternative keyword.

View photos

In the My Photos  panel in the left pane, you can quickly select what photos you want to view in the grid to the right:

  • All Photos
  • Recently Added
  • By Date (arranged chronologically)
  • People
  • Albums

In the Sharing  panel in the left pane, you can view the photos and albums you've published on Adobe Portfolio website or shared as a web gallery.

  • Connections
  • Shared To Web

To specify how you want to display photos in the grid, choose one of the views from the bottom of the photo grid:

  • Photo Grid (): Displays photos as thumbnails with no borders or badges
  • Square Grid (): Displays photos as equal-sized thumbnails along with their flag status, sync status, and rating
  • Detail (): Lets you work with and edit individual photos. Edit controls are active only in this view.

View photos on full screen

To view your album photos on full-screen, do the following:

  1. Switch to Detail () view. You can enter the full-screen mode only from this view.
  2. Press F key to enter the full-screen mode. Alternatively, choose View > Detail - Full Screen from the menu bar.
  3. Lightroom hides all the panels and maximizes your photo to display on the full screen. While in this full-screen view, you can perform any of the following actions:
    1. Cycle through your album photos by pressing Left or Right arrow keys.
    2. Flag a photo as Pick or Rejected by pressing the Z or X keys, respectively.
    3. Rate a photo by pressing the 0-5 number keys. 
  4. To leave the full-screen mode, press F or the Esc key.  

Add your photos to an album

  1. In the left pane, in the Albums area, click Add An Album. Alternatively, click the + icon and then click Create Album.

  2. Enter a name for the new album. Click Create.

  3. Select some photos from the grid and drag them to the album in the left pane.

  4. Add more photos to the album if necessary.


To rename or delete an album, right-click its name in the left pane and then click the appropriate option.

Organize albums into folders

Folders can contain albums or other folders.

  1. In the Albums area in the left pane, click the + icon. Click Create Folder. Lightroom lists the folder in the Albums area.

  2. Drag one or more albums under the folder.

  3. If necessary, create subfolders and add albums to them.

Show which albums a photo belongs to

Introduced in Lightroom CC 1.5 (August 2018 release)

In the Albums section at the bottom of the Info panel, you can check all the albums that your currently selected photo belongs to.

  1. Select a photo in the grid.

  2. Bring up the Info panel by clicking () from the lower-right corner of the window.

    Check which albums a photo belongs to
    Find the albums your selected photo belongs to.
  3. In the Info panel, scroll to the Albums section at the bottom to find a list of albums the selected photo is a part of.     

    • Click the album name to view all photos from that album. 
    • The Albums section will display None if the selected photo is not a member of any album. 
    • If you've stored an album locally, this badge  appears beside that album's name.

Stack photos

  1. In the Photo Grid () or Square Grid () view, or in the Detail () view filmstrip, select multiple photos.

  2. Right-click the selection and choose Group Into Stack. Alternatively, select Stacks > Group Into Stacks from the Edit menu.


To dissolve a photo stack, right-click the stack and then select Ungroup Stack.

Assign keywords to photos

  1. In the Photo Grid () or Square Grid () view, or in the Detail () view filmstrip, select one or more photos.

  2. Select View > Keywords. Alternatively, click the icon in the lower-left corner of the screen.

  3. In the Keywords pane, assign one or more keywords to the photos.

Rate and flag photos

  1. In the Photo Grid () or Square Grid () view, or in the Detail () view filmstrip, select one or more photos.

  2. Right-click the selection and assign a rating/flag to the photo using the Set Rating or Set Flag options.


In the Square Grid and Detail views, you can also rate and flag photos directly in the grid area. In the Square Grid, mouse-over the photo to view the rating and flag options.

Rate and flag photos in the grid area

Search, filter, and sort photos

Find photos using the Search bar. Aside from searching photos by metadata and keywords, Lightroom can find and display photos based on the objects in them, facets associated with the photo, or photos that are not in any album.

Type any of the object name, or a facet name followed by a colon ':' in the Search bar. For example, you can type mountains in the Search bar to quickly search for all photos that have mountains in them, or you can type camera: to display a list of camera models used. The terms used in Search bar are not case-sensitive.

When you begin typing in the Search bar, Lightroom automatically adds a search facet of the album or the folder you are currently viewing. For example, if you are viewing photos from an album named Landscape, a search facet for this album is automatically added in the Search bar as you begin typing your search keyword.

Type 'not in any album' in the Search bar to view all photos that are currently not part of an album.

Starting from Lightroom desktop version 3.0, simply click the search bar to view an array of options based on which you can search photos. These options include ratings, flags, camera settings, metadata such as location or keyword, and file. Click an option to include it in your search and see a list of possible values for the chosen facet.

 Search photos using object names or facets in Lightroom
Search photos based on camera settings, metadata, file, or facets

To search your photos, you can use any of the facets listed below. In the Search bar, type a facet name followed by a colon ':'.

  • keyword:
  • camera:
  • lens:
  • location:
  • rating:
  • flag:
  • flash:
  • orientation:
  • iso:
  • type:
  • f-stop:
  • shutter speed:
  • edited:
  • extension:
  • album:
  • people:
  • focal length:
  • depth map:

Filter photos

Click the  icon next to the Search bar to bring up the filter options:

  • Ratings: Choose a star rating to view photos rated higher than or equal to the specified star rating. For example, you can select three stars to view photos rated three stars or higher.
  • Flags: Choose flagged, rejected, or unflagged option to filter photos based on their flag status. 
  • Show Photos Only: Click to show photos only and exclude videos. 
  • Show Videos Only: Click to show videos only and exclude photos. 
  • Keywords: Choose a keyword from the drop-down list to show photos that are tagged with that keyword.
  • Cameras: Choose a camera model from the drop-down list to filter photos based on the camera that was used to shoot them.
  • Locations: Choose a location from the drop-down list to filter photos based on their location tag.
  • Sync Status: Choose an option from the drop-down list to filter photos based on their sync status - Syncing, Synced and Backed Up, Original Stored Locally, or Synced From Lightroom Classic. To know more about the meaning of these Sync Status, see View photo metadata below. 
  • People: Choose an option from the drop-down list to filter photos based on people in them.

Sort photos

In any view, click the  icon at the lower-left corner of the Lightroom window to bring up the sorting options. 

Choose one of the sorting option from the pop-up menu - Capture Date, Import Date, Modified Date, File Name, or Star Rating.

Clicking Reverse Order switches between ascending and descending order of the selected sorting option.


Starting from Lightroom desktop version 3.0, you can uniquely sort your album photos in the grid view by dragging image thumbnails and dropping them in the desired position in the album. This change is also synced to Lightroom for mobile (iOS and Android) and Lightroom on the web.

Change photo capture time

Lightroom allows you to adjust the date and time of an individual photo or a group of photos. Sometimes you need to change the capture time for your photos after clicking them. For example, you might need to change the capture times if you traveled to a different time zone and didn’t change your camera’s date/time setting before you started photographing. Another scenario could be that you added a scanned photo to Lightroom and want the capture time to show the date on which the image was photographed rather than the date on which it was scanned.

  1. Select one or more photos in the Photo Grid, Square Grid, or Filmstrip in the Detail view.

  2. Bring up the Info panel by clicking the () icon at the lower-right corner of the screen. In the Info panel, click the () icon next to the Captured field displaying the capture date and time.

  3. If you've selected a single photo, the Edit Date & Time dialog that appears displays the current date and time of your photo. Change the date and time to a desired value.  

    Edit Date and Time
    Edit Date & Time dialog | Changing the capture time of a single photo.

    If you've selected a group of photos, the Shift Date Range dialog displays the current date range of your selection. The new date and time that you specify is applied to the photo with the most recent capture date in the group. Other selected photos automatically shift based on this new date.     

    Edit Date and Time
    Shift Date Range dialog | Changing the capture time for a group of photos.


    See known issue: Edit Date & Time dialog does not load

  4. Click the Change button.

View photo metadata

  • Select a photo in the grid and then click the  icon. Lightroom displays the Info panel that lists the metadata for the photo and its Sync Status.
  • Here are the possible Sync Status badges that you may see:
    •  Synced and Backed Up 
      Lightroom may purge original files that haven't been accessed in a while, leaving a smaller smart preview that you can edit.
    •  Synced and Stored Locally
      The original file is backed up to the cloud and and also saved on your computer as part of the album you've stored locally.
    •  Syncing changes up to the cloud
      Lightroom is currently syncing your changes to the cloud.
    •  Synced from Lightroom Classic
      There is no original backed up to the cloud, but a smart preview is available.
    •  Asset has error
      For further information, view the Sync Status area in the Info panel or click this badge icon in the Square Grid view.