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Lightroom can sort photos based on the people in the photographs. Facial recognition is used to identify that it’s a face and then who that face is. This tutorial shows how to use the auto and manual features. As we group the faces and name them, Lightroom gets smarter.

How to use Face Recognition in Lightroom 6 Tutorial

Face Tagging.

Lightroom now has the ability to sort photos based on the people in the photographs. Facial recognition is used to identify that its a face and then who that face is. As we group the faces and name them, Lightroom gets smarter.


When you first go the faces view (O key) Lightroom will ask you if you want to turn on auto face detection, which will run the process in the background while you are working,  or if you want to, you can manually do it on demand. These options can always be changed by selecting or deselecting Face Detection in the Identity Plate.

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When you begin, go to face view by pressing “o” on the keyboard or clicking the image of the face

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Lightroom will go through your catalog looking for faces.

When it has found them, it will load them up into stacks under “Unnamed People”.  You will initially find that there are several stacks of the same people.  You will also get some “false positives” these are images that aren’t in fact people. Press the delete key to remove them from faces view, they won’t be deleted, just removed from this view.

You will now start to identify the faces. Click on the ? and type in the name. Press Shift+Enter to apply. As you start to add more names, you will see auto suggest to help you.

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As you start to identify the faces, they will be moved into a Named People Section. You can speed up the process by dragging stacks from the unnamed into the names and they will be added to the stacks.

Tip: Ctrl+Click and drag several stacks at a time to save time.

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You will see that as you start to work, Lightroom will start to guess who the people are. The more you work, the smarter it gets.

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When you roll over a suggestion, you can click one of the 2 options to accept or reject the suggestion. When you accept the suggestion, the image will be added to the Named faces stack.

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Once you have finished tagging all the images, you will need to check the stacks to make sure that it’s correct. You can double click on the stack or press S to open it. You can also long press the S key to open the stack, when you release the key, it will collapse the stack again.

Here is an example of the images inside a stack. If you scroll down to the bottom of the stack, you will see “similar” faces where Lightroom suggests other photos that might contain the Confirmed person.

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At the bottom of the faces view is a dropdown list of different ways to sort the suggested faces. This can really help speed up the process.

Just bear in mind that you are going to have to put aside a little time to set all this up as it’s not all automatic, although Lightroom will do most of the heavy lifting for you.

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Manually tagging faces

You can also do manual tagging, or draw a face region in loupe view.

Click on the faces tool at the bottom of the loupe

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Now Click and drag over the face to define a region. Lightroom will offer a suggestion of who it thinks the face is.

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Click on the tab and click the checkmark or the no symbol and type in the correct name.

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Once you have added all the tags, the overlays can be shown or hidden on the individual images by toggling the faces button. The images below show the on and the off state.

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When the face tagging is turned on, you will see a box and a named label over the images as you work.

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Click the icon next to the name to hide the overlay from all the photos until you enable it again.

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Colin Smith

Colin Smith

Colin Smith is founder of the #1 PhotoshopCAFE online community which has received over 30 million visitors. Colin has Authored/Coauthored 18 books. He has won numerous awards including 3 Guru awards. He’s been nominated for the Photoshop Hall of Fame twice. Colin is a regular columnist for Photoshop User Magazine. He’s been featured in almost every major imaging magazine, and is in high demand as a speaker at major industry events including Flash Forward and WPPI . He consults such companies as ABC Disney, Apple and Adobe

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Colin Smith

About Colin Smith

Colin Smith is founder of the #1 PhotoshopCAFE online community which has received over 30 million visitors. Colin has Authored/Coauthored 18 books. He has won numerous awards including 3 Guru awards. He’s been nominated for the Photoshop Hall of Fame twice. Colin is a regular columnist for Photoshop User Magazine. He’s been featured in almost every major imaging magazine, and is in high demand as a speaker at major industry events including Flash Forward and WPPI . He consults such companies as ABC Disney, Apple and Adobe

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