How To Use Filters On Lightroom

By | 12/09/2022

The Filter Bar within Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is one of the most useful features in the software. It is a quick and piece of cake way to observe photographs, filter them out by specific criteria, and properly sort them for piece of cake file management and system. In this article, nosotros will accept a closer await at the filter bar in Lightroom and encounter how y’all tin can take reward of it for dissimilar purposes.

Lightroom Filter Bar

Earlier nosotros get into the details, let’s do a quick overview of the filter bar and how you can access information technology.

Table of Contents

What is the Filter Bar?

One of the most powerful features of Lightroom, is its ability to speedily notice photos. Since Lightroom automatically extracts and saves image metadata during the paradigm import process, including prototype EXIF data (such equally capture time / date, lens focal length, exposure data, etc) into a database known equally “Lightroom itemize“, all the imported information becomes searchable. Thanks to a very efficient database, Lightroom is able to search through this data very quickly, allowing ane to detect exactly what they are looking for through several clicks.

Every bit the name suggests, the Filter Bar controls Lightroom’south built-in ability to filter through imported paradigm metadata, specific text, as well as other parameters and attributes. There are four tabs available to click equally filters:

  • Text
    – allows searching for specific text in image filename, keywords, title, etc.
  • Attribute
    – allows filtering images by flags, edits, rating, colour and media type.
  • Metadata
    – allows applying one or more levels of customizable filters using image metadata
  • None
    – disables all filters

We will go through these 1 at a time further downwards below.

Past default, Lightroom will look for images in the binder location that you are currently browsing, and not the whole itemize. If you don’t employ the “Folders” tab / sub-module in Lightroom, or you click on the root folder that contains all your images, Lightroom will and so utilize its unabridged database to search / filter through data.

How to Access the Filter Bar

The Filter Bar tin only be accessed through the Library Module. It tin be toggled by hitting the “\” key on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can use the “View” menu to show or hibernate it, by clicking the second option from the superlative “Bear witness Filter Bar”. The Filter Bar itself appears at the top of the Image Grid and is only available in Grid View. Hitting on the “\” fundamental in Loupe View will automatically switch y’all to Grid View and then prove the Filter Bar.

Filter Tabs Explained

Once you toggle the Filter Bar on, you lot will notice there are three ways to filter your images – past elementary text, an attribute or paradigm metadata. For more than in-depth search, it is possible to combine ii separate filters together, such as Attribute and Metadata (keep in mind that just 2 filters can be turned on at a time). Permit’s go through the three tabs one-by-i.

Filter Based on Text

If you lot do not know where to start searching and filtering your images, the Text-based search is probably going to exist the first filter you volition explore. It is a very simple tool that allows you to search through specific text in your images.

Library Filter - Text

The problem with this filter, is that at that place must be some kind of text already present in your itemize for it to find annihilation useful. If you import your images without renaming them and the files are something like “DSC_0001.NEF”, you didn’t tag your images with specific keywords, titles or captions, or if your images exercise not contain any metadata / EXIF (flick scans, etc), and so this tool is as proficient as useless, because the data is only non at that place. However, if you lot properly rename your images on import and you accept your images properly tagged, and image metadata is nowadays, the text filter tin really be quite powerful for chop-chop locating images.

If you select “Whatever Searchable Field” from the “Search Target” driblet-down (default setting), type anything y’all like in the search field and Lightroom volition search through all kinds of fields, including prototype file name, title, caption, searchable metadata / EXIF.

For example, if y’all enter “50”, Lightroom volition try to locate whatever image that is related to that number. Information technology will display all images that incorporate number “50” in their file names, whatever images that have any keyword that contains that number, also equally whatsoever related metadata and EXIF data. For example, if an image was captured with a 50mm or a 500mm lens, it will display those images too, just like images captured at shutter speeds like 1/l, 1/500, or ISO 50, 450, 500, etc. Fifty-fifty if your camera’s series number contains that effigy, it will prove all those images. Basically, any friction match of that number in any of the fields will trigger the filter. Therefore, doing a broad term search like that is not going to exist peculiarly helpful. Still, if you tackle a very specific search term, this tool can be very useful.

Continue in mind that you can exist very specific about the field y’all are trying to search, and you can also apply different sub-filters, such equally “Contains” or “Starts with”. Some other way to make this filter more useful, is to combine it with the “Attribute” or “Metadata” tabs.

Personally, I rarely ever rely on this tool – I notice the other two filters to be much more useful.

Filter Based on Attribute

The Attribute tab allows you to observe images that have specific filters assigned to them. These include Flags, Edits, Star Rating and Color Labels. On meridian of that, you can likewise filter the content of your catalog based on file type (Primary Photos, Virtual Copies and Video Files).

Library Filter - Attribute

Any number and blazon of filter can exist used together, so yous tin filter down to images that, for example, have a 4-star rating, are Virtual Copies and have a red Color Label by selecting the attributes accordingly.

What is more useful, is that you lot tin use Attribute filters forth with Text search or Metadata search. For case, if you select the blue Color Label from the Attributes section, you volition be presented with all the images in that location that accept blueish colour assigned to them. If yous so enter Canon in the text search field, all the images previously filtered volition be narrowed down to those that practice not merely have the blue Color Label, but were likewise taken with a Canon camera or have the give-and-take “Canon” in whatever other searchable field.

I quite often rely on the Attribute tab, since I star my images and apply differnt color labels, which makes information technology like shooting fish in a barrel to rapidly find specific images I edited, or previously tagged.

Filter based on Metadata

The third filter tab is called “Metadata”, and it is maybe the most useful of the three filters when it comes to its filtering capabilities. I utilize this tool quite a chip when organizing photos, or when I demand to find an prototype captured with a specific camera or lens, or a combination of the ii.

Library Filter - Metadata

What makes this tool extremely useful, is the power to cull betwixt many different fields, such as Date, File Type, Flag, Rating, Exposure, GPS Location and much more than, with the power to apply dissimilar levels of filtering.

For example, if I am looking for all images captured in the month of January, using the Nikon Z6 and 24-70mm f/iv Due south lens at f/ discontinuity, I tin hands do that with this tool. I merely select “Date” from the driblet-downwardly for the first row, then click on “Jan”. For the second row, I select “Camera” and choose “Nikon Z6”. For the third row I enable the “Lens” filter and select “NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S”. Finally, I select “Aperture” for the final field and click on “f / 5.half-dozen”. At this signal, I have a match of 53 images in total, as shown in the screenshot beneath:

Lightroom Specific Filter Metadata

When it comes to different filters, yous can slice and die them in any way you want, and in any order. Equally long every bit at that place are appropriate matches for the criteria you lot select (which is represented by the full number to the right of the value), you lot should be able to go deeper than one level. If you don’t desire to go across i or 2 levels, you can simply pick the “All” value from the tiptop, or you can completely remove those columns from view.

Speaking of which, I honey the ability to add or remove columns in the Metadata filter. By default, I keep four different levels / rows for my Metadata tab, just sometimes I add or remove columns, depending on if want to exist more or less specific. You can do this very hands past clicking the piddling icon to the right of the column, and so selecting “Add Cavalcade”, or “Remove this Cavalcade”.

If you have specific search criteria that y’all utilise all the time, yous tin can even salvage it as a template from the pinnacle right part of the filter bar.

How to Use the Filter Bar to Organize Photos

Equally yous can run into, the filter bar is a very powerful tool, equally it allows you lot to filter through your images and only display those that are relevant to your search. 1 of the best ways to use this tool is when organizing images. If your Lightroom catalog is a mess, start past organizing image folders by things like upshot type. You tin can do that by filtering images by specific dates to identify groups of images, then select the appropriate images and move them to a newly created folder.

Once your files sorted in a unmarried binder, and so utilise the Filter Bar to use additional criteria, such every bit image rating, or edited / not edited status – peradventure you lot desire to organize your rated or edited images separately from the balance. There are many ways to practise this…take a look at my detailed article on organizing images in Lightroom for data on how I personally keep my Lightroom catalog clean. Meg Faehl also wrote an fantabulous commodity on the usefulness of the Metadata tab / panel, which is definitely worth checking out.

Using the Filter Bar to Place Most Popular Lenses

The Filter Bar can also be very useful for identifying your nearly popular lenses in your camera bag. A while ago I wrote a detailed article “What Lens Practice You lot Use the Most?“, where I talked abou the benefits of the metadata library filter to identify lenses I use the nigh. This tool was very handy in cleaning up my closet and selling lenses I no longer utilize, and it was a great fashion to even bank check what particular focal lengths I apparently use more when shooting with my zoom lenses.

Have yous been using the Filter Bar to check what equipment you use the nearly? Have you based your purchase or selling decisions based on it? Please share in the comments section beneath!