Lightning Fast Lightroom Tips – Survey Mode

August 25, 2010

Lightroom, Photo Tips

Using the Survey Tool to select just one image of my beautiful model Sara.

Don’t forget about the Survey Tool. It is invaluable when selecting from a number of similar images. Highlight all of the images in the batch and hit N. Use the numbers to rank them by stars and hit / to deselect images and knock them out of your Survey window.

Bonus: New in Lightroom 3, you can hit N from anywhere in Lightroom! Spot Removal has been reassigned to the Q key in the develop module.

, ,

This post was written by:

- who has written 20 posts on The Digital Photo Experience.

Jeremy is a photographer who lives in Connecticut. Jeremy is an expert on Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and his goal is to share a piece of our reality in a way that perhaps the viewer had not considered. You can follow Jeremy on twitter at

Contact the author

6 Responses to “Lightning Fast Lightroom Tips – Survey Mode”

  1. Gary Says:

    I have to say that I am a BIG fan of Survey mode. I use it all the time to narrow the choices down to the best photo… Using the Tab key to remove the sidepanels is a great companion tip for Survey mode.

    The downside of Survey mode is that it makes you lust after a bigger monitor!


  2. Jeremy Pollack Says:

    We can always use a bigger monitor. :)

    Good tip on using TAB or SHIFT-TAB to give you more room to view and declutter your view when trying to make critical decisions.


  3. Brad Balfour Says:

    Survey mode is fine if you want to keep some and drop some out of a group of similar ones.

    Shift-Tab to kill all the panels and L twice for lights out mode help too.

    But if you are trying to get the one best and eliminate all the others, then try the Compare mode instead.


  4. Jeremy Pollack Says:

    Compare is great too. Although I think it is also a matter of preference and varies for different people and styles of shooting. No matter how much I try, I just don’t find that Compare works for me as well as Survey mode most of the time. The beauty is that we can use both!


  5. Eric Armstrong Says:

    I used Survey Mode the other day to determine my best photos for an upcoming photography contest. The contest had 8 categories and only allowed 3 entries per category. So using this tool enabled me to pull all my selections for one category together on one screen and begin the process of elimination until I had my 3 best entries. I did this for all 8 categories and it went rather quickly. One good thing about this tool is that as you eliminate photos from the group, it reshuffles and re-sizes the remaining selections providing a fresh perspective from which to remove the next one. In the end, I was left with a large view of each of my 3 entries, just to help me be sure I made the right choices.


  6. Jeremy Pollack Says:

    Eric, glad to hear it. Survey mode is wonderful for that sort of usage!


Leave a Reply