Lightroom Best Practices - How to ACTUALLY Delete Images in Lightroom Classic CC

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In this , the first in a series of “Lightroom Best Practices” posts, let’s examine the best way to do what many of us neglect, and what I desperately need to do more of - delete images from disk to make more space.

Lightroom makes it VERY difficult to actually delete images from your computer - and by actually delete I mean to literally get rid of the files themselves - to get them both out of your Lightroom catalog and off of your hard disk and into your Waste Basket / Recycle Bin.

Let’s cover several scenarios - let’s say you are in Library Module active, browsing around in a Collection. Don’t like an image? Just hit “delete” right? Nope. That action will merely remove the photograph from the collection that is currently active.

How about right-clicking” on it? Nope. That action only allows “Remove from Collection.”

How about going up into the menus at the top of the screen and see what’s in the “Photo” menu? Nope. There you only get “Remove Photo from Catalog.”

What if I hold in CMD (Mac) or Cntrl (PC) and then browse to the Photo menu at the top? VOILA! In doing this, we get this option:

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“Remove and Trash Photo.” This is what we want!!

But, doing this one photo at a time isn’t very efficient. So, what’s the shortcut?

As I go through Lightroom, organizing and editing photos, I like to use the “X” key to Flag those photos I KNOW I want to delete. Then, periodically, I will go through and gather all of these “rejected” images into one location, and purge them from my hard drive AND catalog in one fell swoop.

To make this easier - create a Smart Collection, whose one rule is that the photos are Flagged with “Rejected.”

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All of the images you flag with “X” will then be collected into this Smart Collection - which you should use as a good excuse to go back through and make sure that you want to say goodbye to forever.

When it comes time to make the purge, simply[y browse to this Smart Collection, then select all (CMD-A) of the images, and then while holding in CMD-SHFT, go up to the Photo menu at the top navigation and choose “Remove and Trash Photos.”