Lightroom Facial Recognition is a new feature in LR 6 & LR CC that can automatically detect, recognize and tag or keyword specific faces in your images.

This technology is based off the Facial Recognition built into the Photoshop Elements Organizer. The lack of facial recognition in Lightroom had been a major reason that many Elements users wouldn’t upgrade to Lightroom, even though Lightroom is easier and more efficient.

Diving into Facial Recognition in Lightroom is relatively intuitive. If you click on the Face button in the Library Grid, you’ll likely be able to figure out how it works.

I’ve created both a video and a written tutorial for you, however, to show you the basics plus some tips & tricks that you might not figure out on your own.

For those of you who don’t like videos, scroll down.

The first time you use Facial Recognition in Lightroom, you’ll receive the folowing message. As tempting as it might be to tag every face in your entire catalog, I’d warn against this unless you have fewer than maybe 5,000 or 10,000 photos. This process is time-consuming and can slow down Lightroom’s performance even though it runs in the background.

lightroom facial recognition setup

My strategy is to tag faces in specific folders or as I import. To tag faces in a specific folder, navigate to that folder in Lightroom’s Library module. Again, be aware of how many images are in this folder. A folder holding thousands of images will probably take a long time to process. Click on the People icon at the bottom of the Library Grid (shortcut: O).

lightroom facial recognition view

Next, Lightroom will process through all of the photos in the given folder.You’ll see a message that says “Looking for people” during this process. When I recorded the video above, I was on my slower computer. It sorted through more than 600 photos in about 20 minutes. The screen shots in this video came from a faster computer. It sorted through over 400 photos in 10 minutes.

After detecting faces in your images, Lightroom’s workspace will have two sections: one for Named People and another for Unnamed People.

Now, just because LR has identified a group of similar faces in a stack doesn’t mean that you will only have 1 stack for that person. You can see that the stack on the bottom row, left & right corners, is the same guy in a screenshot above.

lightroom facial recognition unnamed people

In the Unnamed Section, you might notice “stacks” of photos with numbers in the top left corner. These are groups of photos with faces that Lightroom has identified as being the same. In this folder, you can see that there are 25 photos of my husband on the top left. I can click on the number 25 to expand that stack if I want to confirm that all 25 faces are actually his. I can click on the number again to collapse that stack.

lightroom facial recognition collapse stack

If you’ve tagged faces before, you might find those people in the Unnamed section with suggested tags. You can accept these tags or modify them if Lightroom is wrong.

To begin the process, I click on the question mark under my husband’s photo and type his name. That will create a keyword and add this stack of photos to the Named People section at the top. Or, if you’ve already created a keyword, just start typing the name and Lightroom will give you a list to choose from. This list contains all ofyour People Keywords that begin with the same letters.

As you identify people, Lightroom will begin to recognize their faces. So, in this screenshot, you can see that LR has found another photo of Mike. Hovering over it, I can click the check mark to confirm that LR got it right. If it’s not him, I’ll click the “No” icon on the left side of his name to reject the current keyword. I can then type the correct one.lightroom facial recognition accept

Lightroom Facial Recognition Time Savers

If there are multiple stacks that Lightroom has correctly identified, you can select them all by holding down the command/control key on your keyboard as you click. Once they are all selected, click the checkmark on one stack to accept the identification of all stacks.

Also, because there is a stack of Mike’s photos in the Named People section at the top, I can simply click and drag other stacks to the Named stack in order to tag those stacks with his name.

lightroom facial recognition shortcut

Lightroom Facial Recognition Keywords

When you look at your Keywords panel on the right side of Lightroom’s Library module, you can filter to just the People keywords. See the triangle to the right of the Filter Keyword text input box? If it’s not pointing down, click on it. You can then click on People to see only your People keywords.

lightroom facial recognition filter

lightroom facial recognition all occurrences

Hovering over a name in the People list will reveal an arrow on the right side of the panel. Click on it to see every photo you’ve ever tagged with that name.

Or, double click on the name in the Keyword List to edit the keyword. Turning of the “Include on Export” option will make sure that names don’t get exported. Use this feature if you want to control privacy on social media. Just make sure to keep the Person boxed checked – it’s the one that sorts the keyword into the People list and that LR associates appearance information with.

lightroom facial recognition edit tag

So, those are the highlights to Lightroom Facial Recognition. Remember that if you are using an older version of Lightroom, you won’t have Facial Recognition. Upgrade to Lightroom 6 here.