Erasing an Adjustment


Today’s Question: During a recent presentation on Lightroom Classic you frequently deleted an effect after painting with the Adjustment Brush, but I don’t know how you did it. Can you tell me how you deleted it?

Tim’s Quick Answer: There are two options for deleting an effect with the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom Classic. First, you can delete an entire targeted adjustment area by selecting the applicable edit pin and pressing the Delete key on the keyboard. Second, you can erase part of a targeted adjustment by switching to the Erase brush for the Adjustment Brush and painting into the area where you don’t want the effect applied.

More Detail: The Adjustment Brush in the Develop module of Lightroom Classic enables you to paint adjustments into specific areas of a photo. You can adjust the settings for the brush, such as size and feathering, and then paint within the image to apply the adjustment effect you set with the various sliders and controls. After painting you can refine the adjustment settings, but also refine the area being affected.

If you decide you’re not happy with a targeted adjustment you’ve applied with the Adjustment Brush, you can delete the entire adjustment area. Start by clicking the edit pin (the gray circle icon) on the image, representing the area you no longer want to apply an adjustment to. Then, with the edit pin selected, you can press the Delete key on the keyboard to completely remove that specific targeted adjustment area.

If you simply need to remove certain areas of the image from the targeted adjustment so those portions of the image will no longer be affected by the adjustment, you can instead use the Erase brush for the Adjustment Brush.

When working with the Adjustment Brush tool, at the bottom of the set of controls for the Adjustment Brush on the right panel, you’ll find links for “A”, “B”, and “Erase”. The “A” and “B” options simply provide you with quick access to two different brush settings. For example, you might have a large feathered brush configured for the “A” brush, and a small minimally feathered configuration for the “B” brush. Painting with either the “A” or “B” brush will cause the current adjustment settings to be applied in any areas of the image where you paint.

If you switch to the Erase brush you can erase the adjustment from specific areas of the photo by painting in those areas. In other words, you’re able to add to the area that is being affected by a targeted adjustment by painting with the “A” or “B” brushes, and you can subtract from the area being affected by painting with the Erase brush.

Must Import to Manage Folders


Today’s Question: I have a folder in Lightroom Classic and I can see in the Library module. However, one of the folders under the main folder does not appear in the Library module. When I click the import button, I see the folder listed in both the from and to columns. Why does it not show up in my folder when I am just looking for it in the library?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In order to be able to browse folders (or photos within those folders) in Lightroom Classic, you need to import the applicable photos into your catalog. In this case, however, it would probably be easiest to use the Synchronize Folder command.

More Detail: In this particular example the photos from the parent folder had been imported, but the photos in the subfolder either weren’t imported in the first place or the photos (and folders) were removed from the catalog at some point.

You could certainly use the Import command to import the photos within the subfolder, being sure to use the “Add” option at the top-center of the Import dialog rather than the default of “Copy”. This “Add” option enables you to import photos while keeping them in their current location.

However, I think the Synchronize Folder command is more streamlined for this purpose. Start by right-clicking on the parent folder in question. From the popup menu that appears, choose the “Synchronize Folder” command. The dialog that appears will provide an indication of how many new photos have been found in the folder and subfolders within the folder.

Note that if there were any photos that currently have a “missing” status in the folders, there is an option to remove those photos. I recommend turning off the “Remove missing photos from catalog” checkbox, at least initially. Then track down those missing photos if possible and reconnect them.

But in this case the issue is photos that are not currently represented in the Lightroom Classic catalog. So, make sure the “Import new photos” checkbox is turned on, and click the Synchronize button to finalize the change. The subfolder in question will be added under the parent folder, and the photos in that subfolder will then appear in your Lightroom Classic catalog.

Cascading Search Filters


Today’s Question: [As a follow-up to yesterday’s question about filtering based on multiple keywords in Lightroom Classic], How about using Metadata -> Keyword in multiple columns from left to right to do a cascade filter of the words in common?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you could absolutely use cascading Keyword filter columns in the Metadata section of the Library Filter bar in Lightroom Classic in order to filter photos that include all (rather than some) keywords.

More Detail: In yesterday’s Ask Tim Grey eNewsletter I explained how you can use the Text section of the Library Filter bar in Lightroom Classic to search for photos containing specific keywords. More to the point, I covered how you can use the “Contains All” option for a keyword search, so that only photos containing all (not just some) of the keywords will be included in the search results.

In addition, as suggested in today’s question, you could use the Metadata section of the Library Filter bar. When you choose the Metadata tab on the Library Filter bar, the default columns are Date, Camera, Lens, and (Color) Label. You can, however, change these columns or even add more columns.

So, you could start with the left-most column, and click the heading so you can select “Keyword” from the popup. Select the first keyword you want to require for your search from the list, and then change the next column heading to “Keyword” as well. In this way you can gradually narrow the search results.

When you select a keyword in the first column, the second column set to “Keyword” will only show keywords that have been added to metadata for photos that also contain the keyword from the first column. You could continue using multiple columns as needed to narrow the search results to only those images containing all of the keywords you have selected from the columns.

One of the advantages of this approach is that you don’t have to type the keywords manually, so there’s no risk of typing the keyword wrong when searching. Of course, the potential drawback of this approach is that you may need to scroll quite a ways down the list of keywords for the first column in order to get to the keyword you want to filter by initially.

Search for Multiple Keywords


Today’s Question: In Lightroom Classic can you search for two keywords at the same time. For example, can I do a search on “birding” and “New Mexico” so only the images come up that have both those keywords?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can search for images that contain both keywords by using the “Contain All” option with the Text search option on the Library Filter bar.

More Detail: The Library Filter bar in Lightroom Classic provides a variety of ways you can search for specific images. One of the things that makes these filtering options so helpful is that you can search in multiple folders or collections, and even search across your entire catalog of photos.

When searching for images based on keywords, I recommend using the Text option for the Library Filter bar. If you don’t see the Library Filter bar at the top of the grid view display, first choose View > Show Filter Bar from the menu (or press the backslash key on the keyboard while in the Library module).

Choose Text from the set of four options for the search criteria, and then set the first popup to Keywords. This enables you to search the Keywords field specifically, rather than other searchable metadata fields. From the second popup choose “Contain All”, so that only photos that include all keywords you enter will be included in the search results.

Note that you could also search using other options for dealing with multiple keywords. For example, the “Contain” option will include any image that includes any of the keywords you enter. So, in this case using “Contain” would include images that have “birding” as a keyword but not “New Mexico”, as well as those that include “New Mexico” but not “birding”.

With the second popup set to “Contain All”, you can enter multiple keywords in the search field, and only photos that contain all of the keywords you’ve entered will be included in the search results.

Streamlined Printing


Today’s Question: I am an avid user of Photoshop and do a fair amount of printing. I do not use Lightroom. Recently I have seen some printing workflows using Lightroom Classic and it appears there are more features and abilities to make printing more consistent and perhaps easier using Lightroom. Can I use Lightroom Classic just for printing without getting involved with the catalog system, which is why I shun using Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You could certainly import photos into Lightroom Classic for the sole purpose of producing prints, taking advantage of the streamlined layout and printing workflow features in Lightroom Classic. In this case I would recommend using working copies of your original images for this purpose, just to avoid confusion in your normal workflow outside Lightroom Classic.

More Detail: Lightroom Classic does make it relatively easy to create page layouts when printing your photos. This can make it much easier to produce a print with the intended layout, whether you’re printing a single image or want to have multiple images (or multiple copies of the same image) on the page. In particular, creating print layouts in Lightroom Classic is considerably easier than using Photoshop.

The key is to make sure you don’t create confusion in your workflow. Therefore, my recommendation in this case would be to create copies of your photos for the purpose of printing from Lightroom Classic. You could keep these in a separate folder structure, so they are clearly separate from your primary image files. Note, by the way, that if you’ll save any of the images intended for printing in the Photoshop PSD file format, you’ll need to enable the “Maximize Compatibility” option in Photoshop. You can also simply save these derivative images as TIFF files.

After creating the copies of the images you want to print, you could then import them into Lightroom Classic with the “Add” option, so they will be included in the Lightroom Classic catalog but remain in the folder location where you have already saved them. You could then use the Print module to create prints for the imported images.

Note that when it comes to sharpening for print, I actually prefer Photoshop over Lightroom Classic. While Lightroom Classic includes excellent algorithms for sharpening, it doesn’t provide a preview for that sharpening. You may therefore want to consider using Photoshop to resize and sharpen the photos for the final print, if you prefer this control. Of course, you could also test out the sharpening in Lightroom Classic with some test prints, to get a sense of how comfortable you are with that approach.

Locking Filter Settings


Today’s Question: Is there any way you know of to have Lightroom Classic retain the metadata filters established so that they are not reset if I import photos or otherwise switch to a different folder or collection?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can lock the filter settings to prevent the settings from resetting when switching to a different folder or collection by clicking the lock icon toward the top-right of the Library Filter bar.

More Detail: You can use the various settings on the Library Filter bar to filter which images are currently visible, which effectively provides a search feature. By default, the filter settings revert to “None” when you navigate to a different folder or collection, meaning no filter is applied and all photos in that folder or collection will be displayed.

However, you can lock the filter criteria so you can navigate among different folders and collections while retaining the filter settings. I use this frequently when looking for a photo to use in a project, for example. I set a filter based on star ratings, and lock that filter by clicking the lock icon at the top-right of the Library Filter bar. Therefore, as I navigate among different folders or collections, I’m only seeing those images that meet the filter criteria.

You can obviously turn off the lock as well by clicking on the icon again, but my approach is to leave the Library Filter settings locked always. When I want to see all photos in a given location, I click the “None” option on the Library Filter bar, so no filter criteria are set. I can then re-establish filter settings any time I want to filter my images.

Note that the lock icon for the Library Filter bar is relatively small, and it isn’t especially easy to see the difference between the locked and unlocked state. When unlocked there is a slight gap between the shackle and the body of the lock.

Hiding Location Info


Today’s Question: Can the GPS info be suppressed when exporting from Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, you can turn on the “Remove Location Info” checkbox in the Metadata section of the Export dialog to prevent GPS coordinates and other location data from being included in the metadata for exported photos. Note that you could also select “Copyright Only” or “Copyright & Contact Info Only” from the Include popup, which would also result in the location metadata being excluded upon export.

More Detail: In my recent webinar presentation on keeping track of the locations where photos were captured (available on my YouTube channel at I shared a variety of ways you can add GPS location information to the metadata for your photos. That information can be helpful in a variety of ways, but you don’t necessarily want to include location details in photos you will share with others. For example, if you photographed a client at their home, you would likely not want to include location information for those images when exporting copies of the photos.

When exporting a photo that includes location information in Lightroom Classic, it is indeed possible to exclude the location metadata from the exported image. If you want to otherwise include all (or most) of the metadata in the exported images, you can choose “All Metadata” from the “Include” popup in the Metadata section of the Export dialog. You could also choose “All Except Camera Raw Info” if you want to exclude the adjustment settings from the Develop module, or “All Except Camera & Camera Raw Info” to exclude Develop settings and camera details.

With the above options for including much of (or all of) the metadata for the image being exported, you can turn on the “Remove Location Info” checkbox in order to prevent the GPS coordinates and other location information from being included in the metadata for the exported image.

In addition, you could exclude location information along with most of the other metadata by choosing either the “Copyright Only” or “Copyright & Contact Info Only” option from the Include popup in the Export dialog.

Converting Keywords into Hierarchies


Today’s Question: How do you add a hierarchy to keywords you already have as standalone keywords in Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can create a keyword hierarchy from existing standalone keywords in Lightroom Classic by dragging the “child” keyword onto the “parent” keyword for the intended hierarchy on the Keyword List section of the right panel in the Library module.

More Detail: While hierarchical keywords can add a degree of complexity to keywording in Lightroom Classic, they can also help streamline aspects of your workflow. Hierarchies of keywords enable you to define a relationship among keywords such as to define Europe as a parent keyword of Italy and Rome as a child keyword of Italy. This will create a keyword hierarchy of “Europe > Italy > Rome”, and when you add Rome as a keyword, Europe and Italy become related “containing” keywords.

You can define a hierarchical structure for new keywords by adding the top-level keyword, and then right-clicking on that keyword and choosing the option to “Create Keyword Tag Inside” that keyword. This can be repeated for as many levels of the hierarchy as you need.

If you have existing standalone keywords you’d prefer to have in a hierarchy, you can drag and drop those keywords on the Keyword List. So, for example, you could drag the “Rome” keyword onto the “Italy” keyword, and then drag the “Italy” keyword onto the “Europe” keyword.

If you want to remove a keyword from a hierarchy, you can drag the keyword from the hierarchy to any line between other standalone keywords. Just before releasing the mouse button, make sure that you see a blue line between the other keywords, indicating you’ll be dropping the keyword at a top-level position, so it is no longer part of a hierarchy.

I demonstrated the creation of hierarchical keywords in Lightroom Classic in my recent webinar presentation on keeping track of where you captured your photos, which you can view on my YouTube channel here:

Applying Suggested Location Names


Today’s Question: With regard to the suggested locations you pointed out in the metadata for images with embedded GPS coordinates in Lightroom Classic, how do you accept the suggestions to make them permanent?

Tim’s Quick Answer: You can apply the location name suggestions automatically generated by Lightroom Classic by clicking on the label for the applicable field (Sublocation, City, State/Province, and Country/Region) and then clicking on the suggested name on the popup that appears.

More Detail: In order to get suggestions of location names in Lightroom Classic, two things are required. First, you need to have GPS coordinates in the metadata for photos, such as by using a camera with a built-in GPS receiver, synchronizing photos with a track log, or manually adding photos to the map. Second, you need to enable the “Look up” checkbox option under the Address Lookup heading on the Metadata tab of the Catalog Settings dialog.

When these two conditions are met, if you haven’t added text to the Sublocation, City, State/Province, or Country/Region fields, Lightroom Classic can show suggestions based on the GPS coordinates for the photo and taken from the Google Maps database. The details that were determined for those fields will then appear as a darker shade of gray and with the text in italics.

Those suggested location names aren’t technically added to the metadata for the photos, but there is a second checkbox under the Address Lookup heading in Catalog Settings that enables you to have those suggested names included upon export for images where the fields in question are otherwise empty.

If you want to apply the suggested location to the fields, you can click on the label for the field (Sublocation, City, State/Province, or Country/Region), and then click the suggested name text on the popup that appears. The value will then be applied to the metadata field, so the text will appear brighter and no longer in italics.

For more tips on keeping track of the locations where you captured your photos using Lightroom Classic, you can view a recording of my recent presentation on the subject as part of the GreyLearning Webinar Series on my YouTube channel here:

Not Backing Up Previews


Today’s Question: I was using FreeFileSync this morning to backup my photo drive to some external drives. I realized that the Previews.lrdata file was huge at over 200MB. So, I added that file to the Ignore list and saved much time for the backup. So, the question: Can you see any reason to continue to back them up given that they’re transient anyway?

Tim’s Quick Answer: There’s no real reason to backup the previews file included alongside your Lightroom Classic catalog, since those previews could always be re-generated at a later date should you need to recover from a catalog backup.

More Detail: The previews generated by Lightroom Classic represent a cache, meaning they improve performance but can be considered non-critical in terms of backing up because the previews can be recreated at any time.

Of course, if you needed to recover from a backup of your Lightroom Classic catalog, and you have a large number of photos in your catalog, rebuilding the previews after recovering from a backup could require a significant amount of time. For example, I needed to rebuild previews for a catalog of about 250,000 images, and it took more than a day for the previews to build.

One could also argue that it is worth backing up the previews as a last resort option for recovering lower resolution copies of your photos should your primary photo storage be lost. But I recommend simply making sure that you have a reliable backup workflow to safeguard your original photos, so you don’t ever need to rely on the Lightroom Classic previews for this purpose.

Obviously, many photographers may prefer to simply backup everything rather than customizing their backup. But you can most certainly exclude the preview files for Lightroom Classic from your backup without any serious concerns.