What is Lightroom Face Recognition?

Like a top-secret CIA database or a sci-fi movie, facial recognition has become a normal feature in today's photo editing software. In this walkthrough, we've outlined how you can use Adobe Lightroom face recognition to organize photo collections and tag faces so you can search for them later.

Indexing Your Collection
1. First, launch Lightroom and click the "Library" tab to open the Library Module. This is where all of your photos are collected and organized. The main view displays all imported photos, but you're looking for faces, so click on the cartoon face icon in the toolbar to switch to People View (or press the O key).

2. Now, Lightroom will ask you to choose between two options:

  • Start Finding Faces in Entire Catalog: Lightroom will automatically analyze every photo in your collections, looking for faces and then indexing them in a database. This option can take a long time, depending on the size of your archive. 
  • Only Find Faces As-Needed: Lightroom face recognition only occurs with photos that you manually select. If you're in a rush or have a few photos that need indexing, use this option. 

3. Now, you can keep working in Lightroom while the software analyzes your photos in the background. To index faces, the program looks for patterns and then collects faces into "stacks", which you can browse through to see if there are any mistakes. 

Disabling Auto-Indexing
At any point in the indexing process, you can go to "Edit" > "Catalog Settings" ("Lightroom" > "Catalog Settings" on Mac) to bring up a window with various index options. Choose the Metadata tab, and then disable the "Automatically Detect All Faces in Photos" setting to stop Lightroom's facial analysis. 

Tagging Photo Stacks
Once your photos have been analyzed and grouped into stacks, click on the "Unnamed People" section of the People View. You should see a variety of different faces from your collections. 

Below any face, you can click and type in the person's name. Then, Lightroom will link any similar photos to that name, and move the photos to the "Named People" section. Lightroom saves the names as people keywords, so you can search for their photos at any point by just typing in their name. 

Tagging Individual Photos
To tag a particular image, click on the stack and press S to expand it. Then click on the image that you'd like to index. You can drag the image to the "Named People" section, drag a people keyword onto the image to tag it, or type the person's name in manually. 

In Loupe View, you can also click the Faces tool (the icon looks like a blank face in a box) and draw a box over a person's face in the image. Lightroom may suggest a name from its current database, and if it's correct, you can click the checkmark to save it to "Named People". If not, click the no icon and enter the name manually. 

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