How To Find & Delete Duplicates In Lightroom

Let’s unpack it together in this photography tutorial.

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Here’s how to find & delete duplicates in Lighroom

Quickly & easily locate and delete duplicate photos in your Lightroom Catalogues using this free plugin

Find how to locate and delete duplicate photos inside of Lightroom and Lightroom Catalogues in this quick and easy tutorial. Whether you’ve accidentally imported the same photos twice, or simply have duplicate images in multiple places on your computer, finding and deleting duplicate photos in Lightroom is actually pretty simple. In this video tutorial you’ll learn how to use a free Lightroom Duplicate Finder Plugin to quickly and easily find & remove duplicate raw, jpg, tiff, and dng files from your computer using Lightroom’s library module.

[powerkit_collapsible title=”VIDEO TRANSCRIPT”]
hey guys Ryan here at signature edits
inside of this video I’m going to show
you how to find and delete duplicate
photos inside of a Lightroom catalog are
you ready let’s do it
alright so finding and deleting
Lightroom at duplicate photos why is
this necessary well maybe you’ve been in
this position before where like me you
import photos and you edit them for a
wedding let’s say and you do a few
photos of your session off of the SD
card and you just edit them really
quickly and then later on you import the
rest of your photos and you start
editing them but unfortunately you wind
up importing some photos a second time
well how do you identify where those
photos are and actually figure out which
ones are the originals which ones are
the edited photos so you don’t lose the
earlier edits that you do that’s kind of
the reason that you’d want to do this
now inside of Lightroom by default there
is not really a great solution for
finding and deleting duplicate files but
there is a free plugin that you can add
to Lightroom that I’m going to show you
that will add this functionality make it
super easy to see all the different
variations of that file on your system
and inside your catalog and really make
it way easier to clean up and delete
duplicate files inside of Lightroom are
you ready okay so first off we’re going
to head I’ll put this link in the
description below but to Lightroom
plugins calm and we’re going to click on
duplicate finder and we’re going to
download the version for whatever
computer you need so I’m going to
download it on Mac here once it has
finished downloading I’m going to open
up that zip file perfect and we have
here our find dupes to Lightroom plugin
ok and there’s also a PDF that will walk
you through kind of how to set it up how
to use it if you want more documentation
but I’m going to go in to a Lightroom
here we’re going to go down from file to
plugin extras or plugin manager rather
and we’re just going to add this plugin
we’re going to hit add we’re going to
navigate to where I downloaded that
plug-in right over here click Add plugin
and then you can set it up inside of
here so I’m not going to bother with
registering this or doing anything like
that I’m just going to use it and show
you how it works so we’re going to hit
done here and I’m going to quit
Lightroom and a restart it just to make
sure that it has properly initiated that
plugin now it looks like already we’ve
got it sure
up here we’ve got this fine duplicates
plug-in a little walk through we’re
going to reopen Lightroom here and we
will find and delete our duplicates so
okay so we go into our library we’re
going to hit library up here go down
where it says plugin extras and select
find duplicates to when we do that we
can select from a variety of different
filters which this plugin will then use
to determine which photos are duplicates
and which are not so for example if we
check all of these it’s going to look
for any duplicates in time in lens in
ISO rating camera serial and if it meets
all of these criteria they match across
multiple photos with all of these
different things well then it assumes
okay those two photos are a duplicate so
we’re going to just leave it as is I
just uncheck date / time because when I
actually imported these photos the
second time I had changed the capture
time so that would throw things off
we’re just going to hit OK here and you
can see that it’s going through it’s
found 26 matches in 11 sets okay perfect
we’re going to hit OK here and you can
ignore that pop-up window you can see
that now we have a smart collection over
here on the left of our library if I
expand collections maybe the smart
collection called duplicate photos and
if we expand that we can actually sort
from all duplicates those photos with
the least editing those with the most so
we can determine okay we have duplicate
photos I’ve spent a lot of time editing
certain ones okay well those are going
to be the ones with the most this and
then likewise the ones with the least
edits and we can go by import date by
megapixels by all sorts of things and
the reason that all of these things are
helpful is for example if I go back to
my main grid here okay and I were to
press the J key on my keyboard will
toggle on some extra information about
the files and the reason that this is
helpful is sometimes you might have
multiple copies of a photo but one is a
JPEG one is a raw one is a large file
one is a smaller file so the resolution
might be different the file type might
be different whether it’s a dmg a raw
file a JPEG and so this way when we
actually go into our duplicate section
and we select our all duplicates we can
actually see when we have our duplicates
in front of us if they’re the same so
you’ll notice that on this one the
resolution is slightly different on this
photo we have 54
782 by 36 48 on this one it’s 53 83 by
35 89 now because they’re both raw files
I know that that’s just because this one
has actually been cropped in and so
you’re going to see that that’s the
reason for the difference it’s just one
has been cropped in from the other let’s
say that one was actually a JPEG file or
one was a smaller JPEG one was a larger
JPEG well obviously we want to keep the
best file we can for the future so we
would want to delete the smaller file
right okay so basically I’m going to go
back to my collection settings here
we’ll hit grid G on my keyboard to go to
the grid view and I can go through and
determine which of these photos I want
to keep just one at a time or I can
select based on the ones that have the
least editing I could select all of
those I could then delete them from the
library and that would be that so that
is how you sort duplicates inside of
Lightroom so once we know which photos
we want to delete well it’s really going
to be as simple as tagging them in such
a way that we can sort them outside of
the smart collection because if I try to
delete them inside of here it’s not
going to let me Lightroom doesn’t let
you delete photos directly from a smart
collection so what we need to do is tag
these photos let’s say they’re the ones
I want to delete we can do that in at
multiple different ways we can simply
assign them a number say anything we set
the rating to two and then we go back to
our all photographs and sort to rating
equals two so we’ll go here and we’ll
set the rating to be exactly equal to
and then we have those photos in front
of us another way to do that is we could
also assign them a color so using the
six seven eight nine keys on your
keyboard we can assign them a color
assuming that we haven’t done that
already with other photos in our
collection or we can even add a keyword
so we could maybe assign a label to all
of these and call them delete and then
later on we can actually apply this to
all of these photos and then sort by
that metadata and delete those photos
out of there so that’s how you do that
now one thing that you might be
wondering is okay let’s say that I have
multiple copies of different sessions on
my hard drives and I just want to clear
it out I don’t want to have multiple
copies of every single image three or
four copies I just want one copy of this
image in one place on my hard drive how
do I do that well you can’t do something
like that simply by going to your
catalog and making a brand new catalog
or using the same one whichever you
prefer we would go and we would just
import photos from wherever we suspect
there might be duplicates so go to your
import dialog and navigate
where those photos are and instead of
hitting don’t import suspected
duplicates we’d make sure that this box
is unchecked because we actually want to
import all of the photos including the
duplicates so then we can sort and
delete the duplicates we no longer need
so you would uncheck that import all of
those photos and go through the process
as before now that is exactly how you
find and delete duplicates inside of
Lightroom whether those photos are in
multiple folders or in just one folder
in one session you just need to make
sure to import those photos into your
catalog run this duplicate finder plugin
inside of Lightroom it’s free easy to
use and then you can delete your photos
one final word of caution just make sure
when you’re actually doing this that you
backup your session and you never delete
something that you don’t have access to
later on
unless you’re entirely sure that you
have in fact just a duplicate on your
hand so for example if I were to delete
the wrong RAW files and lose a bunch of
edits attached to those files and have
to re-edit all of the photos that would
be a mess
so what I personally would recommend is
making a copy of the entire folder
putting it on a backup hard drive before
you delete the duplicates and then you
have those photos no matter what
likewise if you’re just deleting photos
out of the Lightroom session it’s not as
grave a risk obviously you’re not going
to delete the actual files themselves
you’re just removing duplicates from the
session well let me just navigate out of
here for a second go back to our grid
view and all photographs let’s say that
I was just deleting a few files here out
of the catalog instead of the actual
deleting from disk well what I would
encourage you to do is first make a
backup a separate copy of this Lightroom
catalog to do that just go to finder and
we’re going to navigate to wherever our
Lightroom catalog is I have it right
here I’m just going to right click
duplicate we’re just going to rename
this Shawn and Claire back up okay and
then I can set the date and today is the
26th right and then that way if I wind
up making a mistake here I delete a
bunch of photos that I wish I hadn’t I
just messed up you can always fall back
on your backups that’s one essential
thing especially if you’re doing
professional work you have timelines and
deadlines and you don’t want to lose
files make sure you always have
redundant backups that you really don’t
think you need because sometimes you are
going to need them hard drives fail
people make mistakes okay you get the
point so I hope this tutorial was
helpful for you in figuring out how to
find and delete
duplicate photos inside of Lightroom if
it was please give me a thumbs up if it
was extra helpful make sure to subscribe
for more great content tutorials and
free resources and please leave me a
comment below do you have a different
technique a better way of finding
duplicates I’m always looking for better
suggestions I will see you in the next
video peace

That’s all there is to it!

Download the free duplicate finder for Lightroom, run a quick search and track down all the duplicate raw, jpg, tiff & dng files on your computer and inside your catalog. Then simply delete and clean things up.

Give yourself a pat on the back for being so organized.

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