Lightroom: Selecting photos is confusing

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  • Updated 7 years ago
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When you select photos and apply edits, sometimes the edits apply to all photos sometimes only to the "most" selected photo. To make things worse, unless I'm really concentrating, I can't really tell which photos are selected and which is the "most selected". Deselecting photos is also not obvious.

My question: is this a superior interface that I just haven't gotten the hang of, or is there a usability problem that needs to be addressed?
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Photographe

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  • confused

Posted 7 years ago

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Geoff Walker, Champion

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You will get the hang of it!!
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Not sure if you've seen this video but it may demystify image selections in Lightroom:

Mastering The Mysterious Multi-Select In Lightroom

It's certainly something that does take a bit of getting use to.
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TK

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Good pointer, Jeffrey. IIRC that video pushed me over the hill. I wouldn't want selections to work any other way. Thanks to Mark Sirota, I now even know about the keyboard shortcut for resetting a selection that leaves the most selected image the (single) selected one. This is very handy in the Develop module (e.g., with the filmstrip closed) for when you decide that you have "Auto-Synced" enough and future adjustments should be done to one image only, or when you don't need an "ad-hoc working set" of images anymore but want to move on to further images rather than cycling through the selected ones.
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jw stephenson

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Selecting multiple images in the filmstrip while in Library mode does not mean they are selected for purposes of inserting metadata across the images. You must select them in the Grid mode. This is a feature I am told but even after 3 years and thousands of photos I still get burned on this one sometimes, thinking I have applied data to multiple images only to find out it only inserted into the first one. This is a feature I wish I could turn off.

Jeff
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Mark Sirota

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To clarify what Jeff wrote there, it doesn't matter where you *select*. What matters is what view you're in when you make the change. You must be in grid view on the primary monitor and "Show Metadata for Target Photo Only" must be unchecked in the Metadata menu, or AutoSync must be enabled.
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Rob Cole

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I would also prefer the simplest handling: Multiple selection means multiple influence (regardless of mode). Then use the advanced group handling features (a separate 'Idea') to support the ability to readily switch which photos are selected for editing. If 'AutoSync' had relative capability, *and* this handling change were made, I'd vote for eliminating the auto-sync button/mode altogether. Select what you want influenced, deselect what you don't...

Note: the 'most selected photo' selection business would still be necessary, its just that it would only govern things like manual sync and copy/paste, instead of scope of influence when editing metadata/developing.

I still get burned regularly by this too, after 3 years of experience using almost daily.

I may have already mentioned - this gets further complicated when you use a variety of plugins for editing both develop settings and metadata, since each plugin may have its own idea about whether to affect most selected vs. all selected (plugins can't distinquish grid mode from loupe mode, nor detect auto-sync mode). Having a scheme whereby all plugins behaved same as Lightroom, and Lightroom always behaved same regardless of mode would dramatically simplify use, IMO.
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Photographe

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I've been using LR since version 2.0....
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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The general rule - edits will apply only to the most-selected photo unless you're in Grid view, in which case they'll apply to all selected photos.

The exception - AutoSync turned on in Library or Develop module will apply to all selected photos regardless of view.

And one of my favourite tips - click in the grey cell surround and you'll select only that photo and deselect all others.

You might also find this feature request worth voting on: http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
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TK

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"And one of my favourite tips - click in the grey cell surround and you'll select only that photo and deselect all others.": I wish there were a keyboard shortcut for this (handy in the Develop module, for instance). Ctrl-D is close but I'd like the "most selected" image to become the "single, selected" image. Is that worth a feature request?
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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For sure, TK
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Mark Sirota

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TK, Shift-Command-D (Mac) or Shift-Control-D (Windows) does exactly what you're asking for.
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TK

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Mark, thanks heaps!!! I checked the keyboard shortcut documentation again and indeed found it this time. Previously, I just failed to interpret the description to mean what I was looking for.

Thanks again!
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Photographe

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Thanks Victoria. Grid View is only available in Library Mode, so that means edits generally don't apply to all selected photos in Develop Mode, correct? I just voted on the other feaure request.
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Correct Photographe. Just check that you don't have AutoSync turned on - bottom of the right panel, the Sync button toggles to AutoSync, which would make Develop changes apply to all selected photos.
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Rob Cole

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"My question: is this a superior interface that I just haven't gotten the hang of, or is there a usability problem that needs to be addressed?"

I would have preferred a simpler targeting scheme: whatever you do targets whatever you've got selected.

- Easy to remember, easy to explain...

This would also eliminate the need for an auto-sync button, since auto-sync would be implied simply by having multiple photos selected.

But the single biggest reason I'd prefer the simpler targeting scheme is that plugins work differently than Lightroom proper, and I use a lot of plugins, so I have to remember whether I'm using Lightroom native targeting scheme or plugin targeting scheme...

- Plugins dont know whether you are in grid mode or not, so unlike Lightroom proper, plugins tend to target all selected photos even in loupe view or develop modes.

PS - In case you haven't noticed, Lightroom proper uses "plugin targeting scheme" for the export function.
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TK

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"This would also eliminate the need for an auto-sync button, since auto-sync would be implied simply by having multiple photos selected.": I don't fully agree because the current "most selected" scheme allows me to create an ad-hoc working set of images. For instance, I can select a set of images, view them in survey mode, develop one of them, view them in survey mode again, and/or cycle through the set in the Develop module until I have addressed all images in the set.

I personally think it just takes some "getting used to" but then the "complicated image selection" is a feature rather than an unnecessary complication.
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Rob Cole

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"I don't fully agree because the current "most selected" scheme allows me to create an ad-hoc working set of images."

I hear ya. But I think that could be remedied if Lr allowed you to "select" a set of images for things like survey mode that are distinct from the "selection" for editing.
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Photographe

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Thank for the clarification; I think this is probably the fifth time I've "learned" this and it doesn't sink in because I never make use of it. It's too cute by a half.
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Rob Cole

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Yeah, I'm 3 years in and still goof.

As TK pointed out, there would be some details to work out if the simpler scheme were used - to recap: those selected for edit targeting are edited, those not selected for edit targeting are not - regardless of module or mode or edit type...

In my opinion, the details can be better worked out in other ways, in order to keep the targeting as simple as possible.

For example: use the new group handling 'Idea' to define an ad-hoc group of photos for the purpose of compare mode or survey mode - the photos now in the aforementioned group may more may not be subsequently selected for editing...
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TK

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Rob, can't you have your "simpler scheme" by just leaving "Auto-Sync" on all the time?
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Rob Cole

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In a word: No. For a variety of reasons, for example:

- Auto-sync applies only to develop settings, not metadata, but not to develop settings when in library module (library module follows a different set of rules for both metadata and develop settings).

- Also, auto-sync sets things absolutely (discards any pre-existing settings that may have been defined), which is 95% of the time *not* what I would want.

- plugins follow yet another set of rules.

- context menus: also different.

- keyboard, e.g. delete key: differs depending on module and mode.

- There is no way to alternate between targeting a single photo and targeting the previous edit group without manually re-selecting.

Summary:
=======
There are some key differences between leaving auto-sync on all the time and implementing a unified & simplified targeting scheme which would include all edits regardless of type or initiation mechanism. Also, there are some key 'Ideas' that would go well with the unified scheme:

- relative develop adjustments.
- improved group handling for rapid selection of ad-hoc edit-groups and other groups of related photos.

PS - The unified/simplified targeting scheme would also go very well with the integration of library and develop modules, so if one poked in a keyword, it would target the same photos as a develop adjustment or a plugin-based tweak.