Tip – Deleting the easy way

Bonjour! Today’s my last day in Paris but I wanted to leave you with a quick tip for the weekend that I use myself all the time. By the way, thanks to anyone who sent me a message about where to shoot in Paris. I got some great ideas and even met up with a local NAPP member which was awesome (more on that next week). Anyway, the tip…

Last night I was going through my photos and whenever I come across one to delete (which happens a lot for me ;-) ) I always press the X key to flag it as a reject. Then, almost as if it’s second nature, I go to the Photo menu and choose Delete Rejected Photos. But I realized the other week at one of my seminars that quite a few people hadn’t seen that one so that’s your tip. Flag your photos as rejects first. That keeps you from having to answer the “Are you sure you want to delete” question multiple times. Then, when you’re done, just go to Photo > Delete Rejected Photos and remove them all at once. I delete from the hard drive too, not just the catalog. If they’re rejects that means I want them gone forever.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Author: Matt K

Matt is a full time Education Director for the NAPP and Kelby Training. He's a best-selling author of various books on Photoshop and Photography co-hosts the live weekly photography talk show "The Grid" and is co-host of "Photoshop User TV". In his spare time he practices as a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys spending time with his family in Tampa, FL.

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37 Comments

  1. Actually you don’t need to apply a filter at all. All you have to do is when you are looing in your library after hitting ‘X’ for your rejects and you’re ready to delete them, just hit ctrl+backspace and it applies the filter itself and asks you to confirm. Hit delete from disk and all done, just like that!!

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    • Michael I cant believe I didn’t know this tip already but thank you for posting it because its awesome !

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  2. exactly, as Mike wrote.

    I do use a filter, though. Not to see the rejects, but rather to not see them! As soon as I hit ‘x’ they disappear from the grid view, and then, periodically I hit CTRL-backspace. Love that.

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  3. I use X for rejecting files but I sometimes keep some of them for a while (until the editing is all finished after which I zap them) in case I need to use anything from that part of the shoot. I drag them into a “rejected” folder (you could use a collection but I use a folder). I’ve noticed that if I select them all and delete it takes ages to do so. If I select them all and *remove* them that is a faster action. It works out much faster to open the folder in explorer and delete the contents and remove the files from Lightroom than it is to delete the files directly from Lightroom in one go. (This is on PC.)

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  4. On a PC you can right mouse click on the photo and choose “delete photo” – you still have to choose between delete from disk or catalog, but it’s very quick.

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  5. On a PC you can right mouse click on the photo(s) and choose “delete photo” – you still have to choose between delete from disk or catalog, but it’s very quick.

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  6. Thank you for that tip! I was really going about it the long way.

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  7. Just remember that you can’t actually delete photos from collections. You have to go to a folder where the photo is stored or go up to the top level “library” folder before LR will let you actually delete a photo. Also, if you have your photos stacked, it does not delete the one photo in the stack marked for rejection until you expand the stack.

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  8. RE: using the X key for rejects. I’ve been using the X key as my “reject tool” forever. Once I’ve edited and X’d the ones I don’t want, I hit the G key to get into Grid mode then at the top of that panel select attributes, click on the X flag to show ONLY the rejects. Then Control A selects them all and I hit the Delete key on the keyboard and ‘Remove from Disc’ as the final selection. I’ve found it to be the fastest way to edit. there’s no need to select keepers by hitting the P key as anything not X’d IS as keeper. If I have some that I want marked for additonal use I just hit the B key and put them in a quick collection until I’m done editing.
    I hope some find this useful and faster than what they’re presently doing and keep in mind, ‘There are 101 ways to do everything Adobe!’

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  9. Matt, I’m terribly envious of your being in Paris. My wife and I had the good fortune to be there last summer (along with Nice, Cannes, Monaco and Eze) and it was amazing. As to your point of where to shoot, I would suggest… everywhere! Hard to miss. I have hundreds of images that I still need to work through and put into a book. I hope you are more diligent than me in getting that done.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip and safe travels.

    –Jay

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    • PS. I have used this deleting technique right from the original launch of Lightroom and it’s a staple in my workflow to this day. X the stinkers out of the gate and toss ‘em as a batch before doing anything else. Although lately for bigger imports I’ve actually been experimenting with this at the import dialogue, removing the check for the photos that suck so they’re not even brought into the Library in the first place. This offers a couple of advantages:

      1. No rendering time to zoom in as you are viewing the JPEG previews (just keep in mind you’ll get better sharpness off the RAW). Even more noticeable when you’re working on a slower machine.

      2. Faster import time as fewer photos coming in, particularly if you’re also backing up simultaneously.

      3. No gaps in the sequence numbers (one less step if you routinely batch rename after deleting). Which also means that the imported filenames jive with the backup files.

      Downside is that you might inadvertently toast an image that could have been recovered in RAW, or may be sharper than you think. Just keep that in mind with images that are on the margin. Also, if you’ve made it through most of your unchecking in the import dialogue and things crash (or you’ve started the import and it crashes midway) all your time has been wasted your picks/neglects won’t be remembered and you’ll have to do ‘er all over again.

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  10. Better yet, use the shortcut: apple + delete (for mac anyways). It’s probably my favorite shortcut! Keep those tips coming!

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  11. Bonjour Mat,

    Profite bien de Paris, le temps est magnifique, c’est un parfait moment pour faire de belles photos!

    Hope to see your pictures soon,

    Tom

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  12. Does ‘Delete Rejected Photos’ apply to the folder you are in or does it delete ALL rejected images across the whole catalog?

    Thanks very much

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    • Pretty sure that it deletes all rejected photos…in my case on a Mac with no Apple key, I use command-del to kill all rejected photos.

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    • Julian, it should only apply to the folder you are in. The folder structure I use is main folders of Year and sub-folders by Date, so if I’m only in the specific date (03-22-11) then it only applies to that folder, if I’m in the year (2010) then it will apply to all sub-folders within that year. Hope that helps.

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  13. Simple and useful tip. I am already subscriber of your blog …. I found your video tutorials also very helpful

    thanks

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  14. Loved your comment on deleting from the disk at your recent Houston workshop – along the lines of how often do you think you’re going to want to look at that blurry, poorly exposed, badly composed image. While I still use star ratings and labels to manage my stock photos, learning to let go and DELETE the rejects has done wonders to speed up my production workflow. Thanks for evangelizing this!

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  15. Seriously, the sickest photo ever!

    Congrats on the shot bro!!

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  16. Hi
    i knew this tip since i play with LR but for the first time i have a problem: i imported a 2-days shooting in 2 folders, made my selection out of the first one and all worked seamlessly but on the second folder the cmd+del shortcut simply activates the filter to show rejected photos and the del key only works on one photo at a time, not all the rejected ones together
    what happened? does anyone know if there is any option i turned on accidentally?

    thanks everyone

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    • just one more thing: in the other folders, the two shortcuts work!!

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  17. This is an amazing shot! :D

    I heard about the picture from the grid… :)

    This is really amazing!

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  18. I figure if they can ignore that whole “Diddling Kids is Wrong,” thing, ignoring a “No Tripod” rule is probably ok too.

    Though, in their defense, there was no sign to notify them either.

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  19. Thanks for the tip! I did not know you could do that. That makes life much easier.

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  20. Hi Matt . Thanks for such a simple tip – I never saw it before.

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  21. Great tip man. Any trick that increases efficiency and let’s me spend less time in front of the computer is a winner in my book. Thanks!

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  22. So, how do I reconcile images that were X’d and removed from a collection, but inadvertently left in the Catalog???

    For example, images were imported and moved to a Quick Collection where they were X’d or P’d. However, when it came time to completely delete the images from the disk (and hence, the Quick Collection and Catalog), and I went to Photo | Delete Rejected Photos, the dialog said “Remove” and working quickly, I accepted.

    However, the images are still on the disk and in the catalog… is there a way to hunt them down without having to go through the entire X and P process over again???

    Jeremy

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  23. I noticed that removing the rejected pictures doesn’t delete them from the disk, is there a way to do that directly?

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  24. woops I was wrong, when I hit CMD+Delete on “All Photographs” it let me delete the rejected ones.
    Thanks!

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  25. My issue is deleting folders. Why doesn’t LR give you option to remove folder from disk?

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  26. Two years later and Lightroom STILL won’t let you just force delete a picture?! Yet everybody is so terribly happy about a workaround for an evil program that won’t let you delete a damn photo without a confirmation dialog box?! My word, you can hardly see the damn ‘x’ marks. And that’s silly. Just silly. I just want to NUKE THE BAD CRAP, in a single DEL key press. Give me an undo, O.K., but not every time either a silly emergency dialog box or some stupid ‘x’ mark think where I must LEAVE IN my bad photos indefinitely as I scan through them.

    WHY DON’T YOU JUST PROTEST TO ADOBE TO FIX THEIR STUPID PROGRAM TO ACT NORMALLY?!

    I know, I know, my own brother teaches Photoshop for a living. He won’t answer either. Seems to be that all you trainers just love these little user interface passive-aggressive rules of the game.

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    • Man, you’ve got some anger toward this one :)
      I don’t know many programs that will let you delete without confirming that you want to delete. It’s not like it’s 5 extra steps, so it’s not something I think will ever change. Now, breathe deep ;-)

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  27. Hey Matt. When I Import I automatically create a copy of the image into a Backup directory using the checkbox option on Import. However when I Delete files (from disk) they are only deleted from the original directory and not the Backup directory.

    I had a clearout over the last few days from one catalogue and deleted (from the catalogue and disk) 4,500 images but these images are all taking up space in the Backup directory. How do I ‘delete from disk’ to also include the Backup directory?

    Any advice appreciated. Thanks

    Roy

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    • Hi Roy. You can’t. Once Lightroom does the Backup, it forgets about it. There’s no way to sync the two so it’s up to you to make sure the original and backup drives are synced.

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      • Thanks Matt. I will change my backup procedure accordingly and just use the checkbox on Import directory as a temp until the weekly full backup is taken. Thanks again for your help and the release of a large amount of disk space! :)

        Roy

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