I'm new in Lightroom and looking for Pick/Reject Workflows strategies. Actually I'm following the Workflow suggested at the lighroomlab.com (Using Pick and Reject Flags in Lightroom) which roughly says:

  • Mark as Pick all the Pictures that deserves to have a second look on it
  • Delete all Pictures not flagged as Pick
  • Go through the pictures again and mark the one not wanted as Rejected
  • Delete the Rejected

What are other good alternatives to this Workflow?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ You may find the answers in photo.stackexchange.com/questions/9708/… relevant as well. \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Dec 27, 2011 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not exactly what you are looking for by I find Lightroom too slow to do filter a large set of images, so I always do this part externally and then use Lightroom to rate the photos. This answer describes it in details. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Dec 28, 2011 at 2:13

3 Answers 3


I usually work by rejecting, in several passes.

First eliminate ones that are out of focus and other technical problems. I keep an eye on the rest to get an idea of what the better shots are, but I don't make any picks yet. I might get rid of 20% in the first pass.

Second pass, having had a quick look at all the images, I eliminate another 20-30% that are obviously not going to make the cut.

Depending on how many images are left, I may do further passes eliminating the worst images, or I may change tack and start picking out the best ones. Sometimes it's pretty obvious, sometimes not. Really depends a lot on how many images I start with and how many I need to "keep".

The workflow you mention asks you to "pick" the ones you want a second look at. That is perfectly valid, and I sometimes do that. But I take a lot of shots usually, and my keeper rate is probably not that high, so for me, eliminating the bad ones first usually works best.


I also use several passes, but slightly different from what MikeW described in his answer.

  • First pass: I reject the photos that are out of focus, have undesired motion blur, wrong exposure, etc., and, at the same time, pick photos which look great. At this state, I don't zoom in to look at details. When shooting in burst, I skip the range of similar photos for the second pass.

  • Second pass: I compare similar photos to pick one and reject every other. If I took three photos in burst of a tree in early morning with no tripod, I'll zoom in and choose one which has less hand shake blur compared to other photos of the series.

  • Third pass: looping quickly through the unflagged photos, I decide whether the photo has some value or is just a waste of disk space, even if it is done correctly technically speaking. If I like the photo, I pick it. If I don't like it, I reject it. If I'm not sure, I pass to the next photo, but return to this one later.

At this state, I must have every photo flagged pick/reject. Then, I remove the rejected photos and unflag the remaining photos.

  • Fourth pass: I loop through the photos, zooming in to see the details. The blurry photos not rejected by mistake during the first pass will be rejected now.

The fourth one must be the last pass, and not be merged with other passes, since zooming in takes much more time. The less photos you zoom in, the fastest will be the process.

On the other hand, you can merge it with Develop workflow (this is what I do most of the times, especially if I'm too excited to adjust the photos I've taken). In this case, either you adjust the photo, or you simply remove it (or reject it, if you're unsure and want to review before removing the rejected photos).


I use pick most of the time and only reject for seriously bad exposure or blur. Sometimes I delete rejects from HDD on the stop (like if the flash didn't work).

  1. I pick and reject on my first pass. I typically cover bands, events and model shoots, so sometimes a lot of sharp keepers, sometimes not. Depends on conditions, lens, and so on. [ If I like one particularly during the picking process, I will mark it 4 stars. If I think it is a slightly out of focus shot of a friend that is worth keeping for uploading (such as I don't have any better ones of him), then I will mark it 3 stars. Or 1 or 2 stars if its really bad. ]

  2. Next pass is to go through all the picked photos (Filter flagged photos only) and give them all a rating (usually 3 or 4), usually until everything has a rating. [Or I might do something subtractive when there are a lot of keepers from a party. filter all flagged that are not marked as 3 or below -> rate them all as 4 stars. Then filter by my custom >=4 stars filter and press 3 to rate any particular photos that I want to "reject" (but can still find again easily later under picked).]

  3. If I am still stuck with too many good shots from a shoot, I might then go through all the 4-stars and mark the best with Add to Quick Collection circle on the thumbnail. I do this if they stand out to me amongst a group of similar shots. I later save the Quick Collection as a custom named collection. [I don't like to mark them as 5 stars, since I reserve that rating for one or two photos from a whole shoot that I would print for my portfolio.]


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