Refine Photos in Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Did you know that Lightroom has a feature that will take all of your flagged images (the ones that have the pick flag), and demote them to unflagged while also demoting all images that are unflagged to rejected? All you have to do is choose Library > Refine photos. I’m curious to hear if any of you have ever used this feature and what were the circumstances?


Adobe Lightroom Classic

Posted on 02-20-2014


  • By Pieter Huizinga - 6:19 AM on February 20, 2014  

    I never knew that, but in my workflow I see no use for the feature either.
    I never “pick” photos. But I do use the reject flag immediately after a shoot.
    I then rate the remaining photos with stars and put them in smart collections for my site using the color tags.

  • By James - 6:30 AM on February 20, 2014  

    Is that a global reject? or just in the folder that is currently being viewed?

    I do something similar to what Pieter does, as soon as I shoot and download using Lightroom, I go through the photos and reject the ones that I need to delete right away. Then use the flag to select the ones that I will edit/keep.

  • By DIana Philpot, The Woodlands, Texas - 10:48 AM on February 20, 2014  

    @James: It works for the location you’re in at the time, whether it be a collection or a folder, or All Photographs. I tried it in a folder with only a few images to check it out. It’s not reversible with Cntl+Z.

    My workflow is always to reject upon import, then go through more carefully and flag the photos I def. will process. I might use “Refine Photos” after that step, as it would be a fast way to select the “nearly made it” for later deletion.

  • By Richard Battilana - 12:17 PM on February 20, 2014  

    I didn’t know about REFINE. I didn’t know of many things until I’ve been visiting your blog.

    Thanks you!!

  • By Ruedi - 12:12 AM on February 21, 2014  

    Although I do know about the feature I never use it and don’t really see the use of it.
    I go about it the same way as Pieter.

  • By Mark - 11:38 AM on February 21, 2014  

    I didn’t know about the feature. Its use seems predicated on a ‘keep only the best photos’ practice. I tend to keep everything but the truly awful, so this isn’t something that I’d want to use. I could see it in some professional situations, where only the final images are kept.

  • By Noel - 2:04 PM on February 27, 2014  

    @James, in Lr 4 and up, because of global flags then it is a global reject. I still wish that Adobe allowed the pick flag’s behavior to be user-configurable to either local or global.

  • By Yogamreet - 12:57 PM on March 3, 2014  

    I’ve tried this strategy and find this way to be more efficient sometimes than to use “x”-flag. Now I gonna to use this practice with my old storage (about one thousand images): as if I would like to leave in storage not more than a quarter it seems that it would be easier to mark with “p”-flag what I want to keep than to mark with “x”-flag what I prefer to delete.

  • By Keith R. Starkey - 1:36 PM on March 3, 2014  

    Didn’t know about it, but it’s too dangerous of a global move for me to risk.

    • By Keith R. Starkey - 1:46 PM on March 3, 2014  

      Well, okay, mabye not “dangerous” so much, but an extra step: just reject the photos you don’t want and delete them.

    • By Keith R. Starkey - 8:55 PM on March 5, 2014  

      And…I just found myself using it just now! Wow, what a great tip! Live on the edge, that’s what I say!