How to select multiple photos in Lightroom Classic (2024)

You’d think that there’d be a quick answer to how to select multiple photos in Lightroom, because it seems like a simple question. Well, there is a simple answer and I’ll give that to you in a moment.

However, you have several ways to select multiple photos in Lightroom Classic depending on what photos you want to select, what you’re doing and which module you’re using.

But first, here’s the quick answer…

How to quick select multiple photos in Lightroom

Lightroom has three ways to quickly select a bunch of photos using either:

  • Keyboard shortcut
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • Drop-down menu to select all photos or to select a group of photos

1. Keyboard shortcut to select all photos in Lightroom

The fastest way to select all photos in a Lightroom folder or collection is to use the shortcut keys Ctrl+A on a windows computer of Cmd+A on a Mac.

To deselect click Ctrl+D or Cmd+D.

Several photos selected in Lightroom library module

Several photos selected at once in Lightroom library module grid view

2. Mouse and keyboard to select several photos at once

The next fastest option for selecting multiple photos is with your mouse and keyboard. You need to be in Grid view in the Library module or use the Filmstrip in the other modules.

To select sequential photos hold down the shift key and click on the first photo in the series you want to select. Then click on the last photo in the series. All the photos from the first image to the last image will be selected.

You could also do this with just the keyboard by holding down the shift key and using the left or right arrow keys to move to the next photo or previous photo. Each photo you move to will then be added to the selection. In the grid view you could use the up or down arrow keys (while holding the shift key) to select rows of photos at a time.

To select specific multiple photos hold down the Ctrl key or Cmd key (Control key on a windows computer or Command key on a Mac) and then click the specific photos that you want to select.

Dropdown menu to select all photos in Lightroom

Dropdown menu to select all photos in Lightroom library module

3. Menu option to mass select all photos

If you prefer, you could also use the dropdown menu to mass select images in Lightroom.

In all Lightroom modules you can select all images in either a folder or a collection by clicking on Edit in the menu and then Select All.

You can then deselect any images you don’t want included by holding down Ctrl or Cmd and clicking on the images you want to deselect.

Dropdown menu to select flagged photos in lightroom

Dropdown menu to select multiple photos in Lightroom slideshow module

4. Menu options to select a group of photos

Click Edit in the menu at the top then select an option from the drop down menu:

  • Invert Selection
  • Select Flagged Photos

This invert selection option is a bit long winded, but you might find a time that it’s useful.

First, select the few images you don’t want included (either shift click or Cmd click). Then click Edit in the menu at the top and select Invert Selection from the drop down menu. All the photos in the folder or collection will be selected, except for the ones that you’d initially selected.

The Lightroom Book module doesn’t have the option to “Select Flagged Photos”, but does have the option to “Invert Filmstrip Selection”.

Extra menu options – Library module

Click Edit in the menu at the top then select an option from the drop down menu:

  • Select By Flag – select flagged photos in a folder or collection
  • Select By Rating – select star rated photos in a folder or collection
  • Select By Color Label – select color labelled photos in a folder or collection

Several photos selected in Lightroom web gallery

Group of photos selected in Lightroom Web module

How to select multiple photos in Lightroom using the toolbar

If, like me, you’re not a big menu user for photo editing, you might find the Lightroom toolbar option a good one for adding several photos at once.

The toolbar option is available in only:

  • Slideshow module
  • Print module
  • Web module

The main point of the toolbar option is to add selected images to a slideshow, print collage or web gallery, rather than to just select them.

Lightroom toolbar menu to select all filmstrip photo

Toolbar option for slideshow, print and web modules

The toolbar is below the active photo at the bottom of the screen, above the filmstrip of thumbnail images.

Look in the Lightroom toolbar for the text “Use:”. Next to this is a dropdown menu of three options. They are:

  • All Filmstrip Photos
  • Selected Photos (images would already need to be selected)
  • Flagged Photos

The only one I’d find useful for selecting photos is “Flagged Photos”. It’s easier to just go Ctrl A or Cmd A to select all the filmstrip photos than to click on “All Filmstrip Photos”. And of course for the Selected Photos option… well, they’re already selected.

How to select multiple photos in Lightroom Map module – extra option

You’ll see red tabs with number on to indicate how many photos were captured in that location. When you mouse over the tab it turns orange.

To select all the photos in that location click on the tab. The tab will turn yellow and all the photos in that location will be selected in the filmstrip.

You can then deselect photos in the filmstrip as per usual.

Consecutive photos selected in Lightroom library grid

The selected photos are the thumbnail images with the light gray surround in the grid view and filmstrip

How to see which images are selected

In both the grid view and the filmstrip when you click on a single image to work on, the thumbnail surround of the active image becomes a lighter gray than the other thumbnails.

It’s the same with a group of photos – all the selected thumbnails have a lighter gray surround than unselected images.

Lightroom import screen with all photos selected

Import screen with all photos selected in Lightroom

How to select multiple photos to import in Lightroom

When you plug in your memory card to import photos to Lightroom all images on the memory card will be automatically selected in grid view. However, you might not want to import all photos.

Or you might want to import a few photos from a folder on your computer to your Lightroom catalog.

Check all button to select all photos to import

5 ways to select multiple images to import:

At the top of the import screen you find the “All photos” check box. Check it to select all photos and check again to deselect all photos.

The most obvious way to select all photos is the Check all button. And next to it is the Uncheck all button, which does exactly that.

Another option for selecting a group of photos, rather than all of them, is to manually check the check boxes. To deselect, just uncheck the boxes.

To select a group of photos next to each other to import:

  • First deselect all photos
  • Click on the first photo in the group
  • Hold down shift and click on the last photo
  • Now that they’re all selected check the checkbox of one of the photos
  • All selected images will be checked and only those will be imported
Lightroom import screen with several photos selected
Lightroom import screen showing not all photos selected

To select specific photos to import together:

  • First deselect all photos
  • Click an image
  • Hold down Ctrl or Cmd and click images you want to import
  • Check the checkbox of one of the group of images
  • All selected images will be checked and only those will be imported

Why select a large number of photos at once?

Learning how to select multiple photos saves tons of time in so many ways, not just as part of the editing process! You’ll also save time when importing, exporting and organizing photos in Lightroom.

Here are 12 times you’ll need to select a group of photos in Lightroom:

1. Import images to Lightroom

Knowing how to select specific photos in the import dialog screen means that you don’t have to import all photos from a memory card or folder on the computer.

2. Export images from Lightroom

In the click of a button you can export all photos from a folder or collection. Or choose a group of photos to export.

Did you know you can mass export several versions of multiple photos to different folders, with different names using the export dialog box?

3. Delete images in Lightroom

Once you’ve star rated, flagged or picked the photos to keep from a photoshoot, you need to delete the photos you’ve culled in Lightroom. So you can select them all at once and delete.

Quick tip – deleting from a collection is a single click process, but when deleting from a folder there’s an additional step to make sure that you do actually want to delete them.

Multiple photos selected in Lightroom print module
Three consecutive images in the film strip selected for a print collage

4. Create a collage print in Lightroom

The best way to select and gather photos into the right order for a print collage is to create a collection with the photos.

This means moving multiple photos from a folder to a collection. Instead of dragging individual photos to your collection, you can now select multiple photos and do it all at once.

5. Create a Slideshow in Lightroom

To create a slideshow you have to select multiple photos at once, otherwise it’s not going to be much of a slideshow.

6. Make a book in Lightroom

The same goes for making a book in Lightroom. You have to select all the photos you want before you can add them to the book.

Several photos selected in Lightroom web gallery

Screenshot example of the Lightroom Classic web module

7. Create a web gallery in Lightroom

And again for web galleries, you need to select several photos at once before to create a gallery.

8. Apply Lightroom presets

While you can apply a preset to individual images, you’ll save a lot of time when you batch edit photos by applying presets to a bunch of photos at once.

You’ll find this option in the Quick Develop Panel of the Library module. Click on the drop down menu next to “Saved Preset” and select the one you want.

9. Batch edit and copy settings in Lightroom

Speaking of batching, the fastest way to speed up your editing process is to copy develop settings across similar images, known as Lightroom batch editing.

10. Sync metadata in Lightroom

Or maybe you want to sync metadata across a series of images in the Library module?

If you’ve already entered metadata, such as keywords, for a photo that’s relevant to a new set of images, rather than repeating work you’ve already done, you can first select the image to copy from, then select all the relevant photos to sync settings to and click the sync button in the metadata dialog box.

11. Add photos to a Lightroom collection

It takes a lot of time to add individual photos to a Lightroom collection. Instead:

  • Select all the photos you want to add to a collection, then right click and select Add to Collection from the drop down menu
  • Or, if you’ve already set up a target collection, click Add to Target Collection
  • Or after selecting all the images, simply click and drag them to the collection

12. Move images to another Lightroom folder

Have you ever imported photos into the wrong folder? Well, now that you know how to select multiple images, you can just select them and drag them to the right folder.

How to deselect photos in Lightroom

The fastest way to deselect all photos is to use the keyboard shortcut:

  • Press Ctrl D on a windows computer
  • Or press Cmd D on a Mac

The next best option is to click on just one of the selected photos in either the filmstrip or in the grid view. This will deselect all the photos, except for the one you clicked, which becomes the active photo.

Shortcuts in how to mass select photos in Lightroom

Shortcut keys speed up workflow and you can learn more about my most used Lightroom shortcut keys here. Meanwhile, the shortcuts mentioned in this Lightroom tutorial are:

  • E – Library module loupe view
  • G – Library module grid view
  • D – Develop module
  • B – add to quick collection (or to target collection, if set)
  • Cmd+A – select all
  • Cmd+D – deselect all

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Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions on how to select multiple photos in Lightroom Classic.

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