How to Select Multiple Photos in Lightroom

How to Select Multiple Photos in Lightroom Blog Post

If you are a beginner photographer or an experienced professional photographer, it is valuable to know the

Multiple Ways to Select Photos

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In this blog post, we will cover all the ways to select multiple photos in Lightroom and the reasons why this would benefit you.

For context though, let’s briefly discuss the different types of Lightroom and which one will be our focus in this discussion.

*If you want to skip ahead to the part you need, just click on the table of contents and it’ll get you where you want to start reading.

The Different Types of Lightroom

As you may already know, the Adobe products are considered the standard when it comes to content creation in various fields, whether that be videography, photography, audio and graphic design to say the least.

For photography, Adobe Creative Cloud offers a photography plan option that includes Adobe Lightroom (Lr), Adobe Lightroom Classic (LrC), and Adobe Photoshop (Ps).

The monthly subscription price varies for these three options but the software we’ll be focusing on is that of Lightroom Classic.

Lightroom Classic is also known as Lightroom Classic CC and is the version of Lightroom that is desktop application based.

Lightroom (without the “classic”) is also known as Lightroom CC and is a newer version that is cloud-based. The “CC” stands for “creative cloud.”

It allows automatic syncing across desktop, mobile and the web and serves as an automatic cloud-based backup storage.

The different types of Adobe Lightroom

Adobe has a quick comparison of the two versions that is easy to grasp.

Most professional photographers prefer the Lightroom Classic version as this gives them more control over storage location of their files, reliability on preserving their files and the most comprehensive use of the Adobe Lightroom software tools.

Personally, I use the Lightroom Classic software only even though I have access to everything with a subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud suite.

I hate relying on my phone for something I take seriously and at this time, don’t use any features of the Lightroom mobile version that is available. I also prefer something more “tangible” such as an external drive option compared to a cloud-based option for storage or accessing files I need to preserve forever.

For these reasons, the following will be based off the use of Adobe Lightroom Classic or Adobe Lightroom Classic CC.

Basic Layout of Lightroom

First, let’s make sure you have an understanding of the basic layout of Lightroom.

Lightroom layout at a glance

Here is a quick run-down of the layout of Lightroom and terms for each.

*Use the photo below to help get familiar with the terms and their locations. This will be useful for the rest of the blog post as we will be using these terms throughout.

You’ll be able to understand what I mean if you know which part of Lightroom I’m talking about and you won’t find this tedious like reading a foreign language. *Insert smiley emoji here. Haha. And yes, I meant to write that out.

At the very top left corner of the opened software is the icon that serves as the identity plate. It tells you which version of Lightroom we’re working with. In this case, mine (and likely yours) says LrC.

From left to right starting with the left side, we first have the Navigator panel, and underneath are the other panels for working with your photos. The panels underneath the Navigator will change depending on which module you’re working in (example, the Library tab or module).

To the right of the Navigator panel are the different sizes for viewing your selected photo or photo of choice that you’re currently working on.

At the top right are the different tabs labeled Library, Develop, Map, Book, Slideshow, Print, and Web. Immediately to the right of Web is a cloud icon that is your indication for syncing across different devices. This is if you’re using the cloud-based application of Lightroom, which for the focus of this post, we are not.

The different tabs listed starting with the Library tab are different modules for working on your photos. For example, the Library module allows you to do some quick but limited editing on multiple photos at once, and the Develop module allows you to use the full comprehensive arsenal of editing tools to work with.

On the right side are more panels with different settings and options to apply to your photos depending on which module you’re working in.

The image display area is the center of the software that allows you to visualize and work on your images.

Underneath the image display area is the toolbar. You can change the view of how your images are displayed and change other viewing mode features here.

And finally, underneath the toolbar is the filmstrip which shows all your photos in a horizontal layout just as the name indicates.

Adobe has another vantage point to help with these workspace basics as well.

First Things First: Import Photos

To get started, import your photos into Lightroom.

Lightroom Catalogs

When you first select the software to open, it will open into the last catalog you were working in. You can continue working in this catalog or choose another catalog to work in.

When it comes to organizing your files and catalogs on your hard-drive, that is a key discussion to have. Organization is key to optimizing your work flow as a photographer.

For the sake of organization, I typically will create a new folder in my external hard drive, and create a new Lightroom catalog within that folder. I have found this to be the best way to organize my photos.

For example, I have been working on a family photoshoot. The shoot was completed a few weeks ago and to setup for editing later on, I created a folder for their shoot. My method is to store everything related to this shoot including 1) RAW footage, 2) the final exported footage and the 3) catalog itself in this folder.

I will show you an example of this in the importing process as you continue on.

This catalog is the database for your storing your photos, labeling them, changes you make to them, etc.

Once you have this catalog in place, you can access it at any time to start working on photos.

We’ll have to table a full discussion on that for the moment to keep this focused on the topic at hand, but I’ll plan to cover that in another blog post in the near future. And that reminds me. *Sign up for my newsletter to stay tuned for when new blog posts come out.

Anywho, open the catalog that you want to focus on applying all these techniques in.

Once you have that open in Lightroom, make sure you are in the library module.

Now, once you’re within a catalog, let’s work through applying the different ways to select photos.

Different Ways to Select Photos in Lightroom

Selecting ALL Photos

Let’s say you need to select all your images at one time. To do this is similar for both PC and Mac just slightly different keys.

Click on the first image in the grid view, hold the Command key (Mac) or Control key (PC) and press A at the same time and boom. All your photos from the first to the last picture are selected at once.

In short:

  • Mac OS: Select the first image then press Command + A
  • PC: Select the first image then press Ctrl + A

Selecting a Large Group of Photos

If you want to select a large number of photos that are sequential in order without any gaps, click on the photo at the beginning or really anywhere in this group, then hold Shift key (on both a PC or MAC) and click the last photo in the group of photos.

This will select the first photo and last photo that you clicked on as well as all the photos in between. You will then be able to view just these selected photos in the loupe view by pressing the side arrows to toggle from photo to photo.

*Loupe View

The loupe view allows you to view a single image at a time. You can locate this in the toolbar next to the Grid View. *For a short cut, just press the “E” key on your keyboard and it’ll take you into loupe view.

Selecting Individual Photos

There will be times you will want to select specific photos. The easiest way to do this is to select your first image, then before you select your next image, hold the Command key (Mac) or Control key (PC) and then select your next image.

You can do this for multiple individual images that may not be in sequential order.

Deselecting Photos

To remove photos that you decide you no longer need selected, you can do several things.

If ALL your photos are selected, to deselect, click on one photo. It will remove the selection from all the photos.

The shortcut to do this is to also just click the Command (Mac) or Control (PC) key down and click “D” and all the photos will be deselected.

If you have a group of photos selected, to deselect all the images at once, click on an image that is not in the selected group.

If you have a group of photos selected and you want to remove specific photos, to deselect the individual images, hold the Command (Mac) or Control (PC) key down and select the image you want to deselect. It will remove that specific image from your grouped selection.

For more helpful tips, you can check out Adobe’s site as well. 

Reasons to know various ways to select photos in Lightroom

There are many reasons why you need to know how to select multiple photos in lightroom.


When you are uploading new images, you might want to select specific photos to import into Lightroom.

To do this, you’ll need to click the Import button, which will open the import dialog to allow you to choose what image folder source you’re importing these images from. These will show as a grid view in the image display area, after which you can then use one of the methods above to select which images will be your imported photos.

Additionally, within the import dialog box, at the header and footer (bottom of the screen) areas will be options to select All Photos or just New Photos at once. These are indicated by checkboxes at the top lefthand corner of each image.

Viewing these images when you first begin to import will allow you to save a lot of time by deciding which photos to include or leave out of the catalog.

Batch editing

You’ll also use one of the above methods when batch editing.

Batch editing is a way to apply editing settings to a lot of photos simultaneously. This is a timesaver for any professional photographer.

Wedding photographers, for example, benefit from this method. There are events within the wedding day where groups of photos can be edited with the same settings because of the lighting and environment being the same. For example, the ceremony and reception photos.

The way to do this is by using presets or taking the settings from a photo you like and applying it to a select group of photos.


You will also use these techniques in the export process. 

You simply use one of the methods above to select the desired images and then press keyboard shortcut Ctrl (PC) or keyboard shortcut Command (Mac) E. The export dialog box will open and you can make further specifications on where the images will be stored, the resolution, size, etc before exporting.

Where to select images

There are multiple areas to select photos within Lightroom. As we’ve already mentioned throughout our discussion, the grid view can be a great way to quickly and efficiently select images.

But you can only use the grid view in the Library module though.

Within the Develop module, you can select photos in the filmstrip view itself and follow the above step instructions to export them.

The multiple ways to select photos in Lightroom are all helpful.

To be honest, I use all the methods in every situation I’ve explained above.

*And quick tip: no matter the specific needs you might have, knowing the shortcuts are a basic principle to master as it will make your editing process that much easier and quicker.

My last word of advice is practice makes permanent. Once you’ve used these a few times, it’ll become like second nature and only benefit you and your clients as a result.

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