Today’s Question: Every now and then I run into an issue in Lightroom Classic where the preview simply shows “No photo selected”. Obviously I can then select an image to work with it, but how do I avoid this issue in the first place?
Tim’s Quick Answer: No photo will be selected if you either set a filter that no photos meet the criteria for, or you use the Select None command, or you click in an empty area of the grid view or filmstrip.
More Detail: Generally speaking, you will always have one or more photos selected in Lightroom Classic. For example, if you navigate to a different folder by default the first photo in that folder will be selected. However, there are several ways to not have any photos selected.
If you see the “No photo selected” message without having intentionally deselected all photos, then it was most likely because you inadvertently clicked in an empty area of the grid view or filmstrip. For example, if the last row of thumbnails in the grid view display doesn’t fill the available space for that row, there will be an empty area without thumbnails. Clicking in that area will cause no photos to be selected. Similarly, if the filmstrip is not fully populated you can click in the empty area to the right of the last thumbnail to deselect all photos.
If you set filter criteria that no photos in the current location match, then all images will be hidden from view based on that filter. That means no photos will be visible on the filmstrip or in the grid view, and so no photo will be selected. In this scenario you can simply turn off the filter or adjust the filter criteria so you can see some or all the photos, at which point a photo will be selected again.
There is also a “Select None” command found on the Edit menu, which you can also access by pressing Ctrl+D on Windows or Command+D on Macintosh. If you use this command intentionally or accidentally, no photos will be selected, and so you would once again see the “No photo selected” message. In the Library module if you switched from the grid view to the loupe view an image would be selected automatically, so you would no longer see the message.
In most cases you would naturally want to have one or more photos selected, so you can actually work with the selected images. However, there are situations where you would want to intentionally deselect all photos. For example, when using the “Export as Catalog” command I recommend selecting no photos, which will cause all photos in the current location to be exported. This helps ensure you don’t accidentally exclude certain photos, such as by having a filter applied.