Choosing images using Survey view in Lightroom - Digital Photography School

Choosing images using Survey view in Lightroom

Survey view in Lightroom-starter.jpg

Lightroom’s Survey view is a tool that makes choosing one image from a group of images a simpler process. In this post I’ll show you how to use Survey View and some tricks for working with it.

Step 1

To see it at work, in the Library module, select a series of images on the filmstrip by clicking on one and Shift + Click on the last. Alternatively hold the Control key (Command on the Mac) as you click on each image that you want to make a choice from.

Survey view in Lightroom-step1.jpg

Step 2

To enter Survey View, choose View > Survey, click the Survey button on the toolbar or press the letter N.

Survey view in Lightroom-2.jpg

Once in Survey view, you will see only the images that you had selected. You can add more images by Control + Clicking (Command + Clicking) on them to select them in the Filmstrip.

Step 3

In Survey View, you can rate your images with a star rating, flag them and label them or simply use the view to narrow down your choices to a single image.

Survey view in Lightroom-3.jpg

To rate an image, click the star value beneath the image – this appears when your mouse hovers the image.

You can pick an image by selecting it and press P to flag it, U to unpick or remove the flag setting from it and X to reject it.

Click the label indicator under the far right of the image to select a label to apply to the image.

Step 4

Press Shift + Tab to hide all the panels to maximize the viewing area. When an image is selected notice the X in its bottom right corner. Click that and the image will be removed from Survey View. Note that it is only removed from this view not from Lightroom and not from your disk – Survey View is simply a method you use to pick the best image from a sequence and has no other purpose.

Survey view in Lightroom-4.jpg

Start removing those images you do not want by clicking their X buttons or Control + Click (Command + Click on the Mac) to remove them.

Step 5

Provided you are working with a Folder of images or a Collection (but not a Smart Collection, All Photographs or Previous Import), you can reorder images in Survey View. To do this, drag and drop an image into the position you want it to appear in the group.

Survey view in Lightroom-5.jpg

Files in a Smart Collection, All Photographs and Previous Imports can be selected and viewed in Survey View but you cannot reorder your images if they are selected from any of these collections..

Step 6

At any time you can exit Survey View by clicking G for Grid or E for Loupe.

The advantage of using Survey Mode is that you can quickly identify the image that you want from a series of images eliminating all the other images from the view as you do so.

Survey view in Lightroom-6.jpg

You can open Survey View in a separate window if desired. Press F11 to open the new window and select Survey as what should display in this window.

Using this secondary display window you can move Survey View to a second screen if you’re using two monitors or position Survey View in one area of your screen and work on one of the images in, for example, the Develop module at the same time.

Step 7

When you have only the image or images you want to use remaining selected, press E or G to exit Survey View. These images will remain selected so you can now do something with them such as adding them to a collection, export them or take them to Photoshop for editing.

Survey view in Lightroom-7.jpg

Read more from our Post Production category.

Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at Projectwoman.com.

  • http://franjapan.blogspot.com Andreas

    Oh! Torchwood!

  • http://www.nickpotter.net Nick P

    Yep – I use this little feature quite often and its very useful when as you say you’ve got a load of similar shots and need to work out which is best.

    Surprised I haven’t seen anyone really mentioning it before now!

  • http://2zars.blogspot.com/ Woody

    Thanks! I’ve been using Lightroom for about 18 months and missed this feature – very handy!

  • mg

    with how easy it is to develop and tweak images in lightroom, i’d prefer to give the clients all of the edited versions (sometimes multiple edits) instead of picking them myself. basically… if the client isn’t blinking or there isn’t something majorly wrong with the picture, i’ll edit it with one of my presets, tweak it to suit the picture and move on to the next one. average time per picture? about 10 seconds if i know what preset i’m using for it.

    it saves a load of time from doing it in photoshop, and gives me a selling point of value against other professional photographers in my area.

    from there the client have a much larger selection to use for prints, i actually save a massive amount of time from the normal photoshop process of selecting out images (and potentially alienating my clients by not choosing what they’d choose and saving my clients grief from having to choose one good image over another if they can see them beforehand)

    so in particular, this feature you’re talking about may work for some but it actually, in my opinion, counteracts what lightroom is all about.

  • http://www.completelyphotos.com winclk

    just started using Lightroom 3 beta a few days ago. this is a feature that i will take a look at.

  • http://www.projectwoman.com/phototips Helen Bradley

    @andreas – totally – I am a huge Torchwood and Dr Who fan and the Wales Millennium Centre on Cardiff Bay is every bit as stunning in real life as scenes from the shows suggest it will be.

    Helen

  • http://geno.ms Lyn

    Creu gwir fel gwydr o ffwrnais awen…

    Funny to see a Californian do a tutorial with pics of something I regularly walk past…. and for it to be so well known!

  • http://www.wolfnowl.com Mike

    Well written! BTW, if you really want to maximize your screen real estate in addition to Shift-Tab to hide the panels you can press ‘F’ twice to go to full screen and remove the menus at the top, and press ‘T’ to remove the toolbar from the bottom. Pressing ‘F’ again will restore Lightroom to it’s normal window or maximized mode, and pressing T again will restore the toolbar. When viewing a single image (E key), I usually go to fullscreen, remove the toolbar and press ‘L’ twice for ‘Lights Out’, leaving only a black background.

    Mike.

    P.S. In Windows 7 if you click on a window and press Windows+ left arrow it will resize the window to cover the left half of the screen. Pressing Windows + right arrow will move a window to the right half of the screen. In this way you can have your main Lightroom window on the left, and the secondary window on the right (or vice versa).

    P.S. II(the sequel) If you go here: http://bit.ly/4XuaXE you’ll find links to over 120 websites with Lightroom tips, tutorials and videos (including Digital Photography School, of course).

  • http://photo-bytes.com Henk

    That’s a nice one! I completely forgot about this one. Thanks for refreshing my memory :-)

  • http://leftshoephotography.com/ Charlie – Memphis Photographer

    Great technique! I use it extensively in almost all my post work, yet I’m surprised for by the number of people who still haven’t discovered this feature. Very well written post about a very useful LR tool.

  • http://www.ThatPhotoPlace.co.uk Derek Barrett

    I’ve used this extensively in LR but I’ve noticed in LR3 than adding stars, flags etc. it does it to all the open images. The only way round this, I’ve found, is to select the options you want, then press X on the ones to keep and then unselect the options on those you don’t want. I.e Exactly the opposite to what I want. Or have I missed the point somewhere?

  • http://owensdaniels.com Dan

    Great info, I can really use this in my workflow when i have several images that are the same and I want to pick the best to process, thanks DPS

  • Jessy

    It would be nice if once you’ve found the winner(s) in the set, you could hit a button and rest could be deleted out of the set.

  • http://Www.capturemymoments.com Ryan

    Great tips! Is there a way to see the filenames in survey on the second monitor?

Some older comments

  • Ryan

    December 23, 2010 05:08 pm

    Great tips! Is there a way to see the filenames in survey on the second monitor?

  • Jessy

    August 11, 2010 06:59 pm

    It would be nice if once you've found the winner(s) in the set, you could hit a button and rest could be deleted out of the set.

  • Dan

    July 6, 2010 01:32 pm

    Great info, I can really use this in my workflow when i have several images that are the same and I want to pick the best to process, thanks DPS

  • Derek Barrett

    July 6, 2010 06:59 am

    I've used this extensively in LR but I've noticed in LR3 than adding stars, flags etc. it does it to all the open images. The only way round this, I've found, is to select the options you want, then press X on the ones to keep and then unselect the options on those you don't want. I.e Exactly the opposite to what I want. Or have I missed the point somewhere?

  • Charlie - Memphis Photographer

    June 2, 2010 07:56 am

    Great technique! I use it extensively in almost all my post work, yet I'm surprised for by the number of people who still haven't discovered this feature. Very well written post about a very useful LR tool.

  • Henk

    May 13, 2010 04:22 am

    That's a nice one! I completely forgot about this one. Thanks for refreshing my memory :-)

  • Mike

    May 12, 2010 10:45 am

    Well written! BTW, if you really want to maximize your screen real estate in addition to Shift-Tab to hide the panels you can press 'F' twice to go to full screen and remove the menus at the top, and press 'T' to remove the toolbar from the bottom. Pressing 'F' again will restore Lightroom to it's normal window or maximized mode, and pressing T again will restore the toolbar. When viewing a single image (E key), I usually go to fullscreen, remove the toolbar and press 'L' twice for 'Lights Out', leaving only a black background.

    Mike.

    P.S. In Windows 7 if you click on a window and press Windows+ left arrow it will resize the window to cover the left half of the screen. Pressing Windows + right arrow will move a window to the right half of the screen. In this way you can have your main Lightroom window on the left, and the secondary window on the right (or vice versa).

    P.S. II(the sequel) If you go here: http://bit.ly/4XuaXE you'll find links to over 120 websites with Lightroom tips, tutorials and videos (including Digital Photography School, of course).

  • Lyn

    May 11, 2010 07:45 am

    Creu gwir fel gwydr o ffwrnais awen...

    Funny to see a Californian do a tutorial with pics of something I regularly walk past.... and for it to be so well known!

  • Helen Bradley

    May 11, 2010 05:04 am

    @andreas - totally - I am a huge Torchwood and Dr Who fan and the Wales Millennium Centre on Cardiff Bay is every bit as stunning in real life as scenes from the shows suggest it will be.

    Helen

  • winclk

    May 11, 2010 04:27 am

    just started using Lightroom 3 beta a few days ago. this is a feature that i will take a look at.

  • mg

    May 11, 2010 04:18 am

    with how easy it is to develop and tweak images in lightroom, i'd prefer to give the clients all of the edited versions (sometimes multiple edits) instead of picking them myself. basically... if the client isn't blinking or there isn't something majorly wrong with the picture, i'll edit it with one of my presets, tweak it to suit the picture and move on to the next one. average time per picture? about 10 seconds if i know what preset i'm using for it.

    it saves a load of time from doing it in photoshop, and gives me a selling point of value against other professional photographers in my area.

    from there the client have a much larger selection to use for prints, i actually save a massive amount of time from the normal photoshop process of selecting out images (and potentially alienating my clients by not choosing what they'd choose and saving my clients grief from having to choose one good image over another if they can see them beforehand)

    so in particular, this feature you're talking about may work for some but it actually, in my opinion, counteracts what lightroom is all about.

  • Woody

    May 11, 2010 01:03 am

    Thanks! I've been using Lightroom for about 18 months and missed this feature - very handy!

  • Nick P

    May 11, 2010 12:51 am

    Yep - I use this little feature quite often and its very useful when as you say you've got a load of similar shots and need to work out which is best.

    Surprised I haven't seen anyone really mentioning it before now!

  • Andreas

    May 11, 2010 12:51 am

    Oh! Torchwood!

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