How to Find Duplicate Images in Lightroom

Whether you’re trying to weed out your Lightroom catalog by removing duplicates or just trying to make sure you’re working on the right version of an image, it can be useful to be able to find duplicates. Especially as your Lightroom catalog grows to tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of images.

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Filed Under: Library Module, Plugins

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But finding duplicates in Lightroom isn’t as easy as it could be. That’s because, by itself, Lightroom doesn’t have a built-in function to find or remove duplicate photos. That just isn’t a feature that’s built into Lightroom Classic’s core functionality.

But there are a couple of plugins available that can add that functionality, and it’s those I’m focusing on here. Specifically, they are:

I have a rundown of how each of these works below.

Duplicate Finder Lightroom Plugin

The Duplicate Finder plugin uses EXIF data to determine matches between images.

That’s a useful way around the problem some other methods run into when you get things like “last modified” or even last touched metadata fields in Lightroom’s catalog. The plugin is developed by Jim Keir, who is also well known for his very useful Lightroom to Alamy Bridge plugin.

Duplicate Finder installs in Lightroom the usual way you install plugins using the Plug-in Manager.

Lightroom Plugin Duplicate Finder - screenshot

To use this one, you’ll need a license directly from the developer. A license costs £8.50, and you can buy it here.

Once the plugin is activated with the license and enabled through the Plug-in Manager, you access its functionality by go to Library > Plug-in Extras > Find Duplicates.

Lightroom Plugin Find Duplicates Use screenshot

The settings are all on a single screen. You can scan the entire catalog, within a selection, or try to find a match just for the selected image/s. You can filter by various EXIF metadata fields and file types.

Lightroom Plugin Duplicate Find Settings screenshot

Once you start the scanning, it can take quite a while if you’re scanning the entire catalog and have many images in it.

If it finds any, the plugin doesn’t actually delete anything. What it does is place the suspected duplicates into a new smart collection called Found Duplicates. From there, you can decide how you want to handle them.

The EXIF comparison method isn’t perfect. For one thing, it’s quite slow, so be forewarned if you plan to scan a lot of images. For another, it has a limitation in that it can compare capture time only down to the granularity of seconds. When you have rapid-fire shots taken within the same second, they’ll come up as false positives unless you’re using some other distinguishing criteria in the scan options.

If you come across false positives, you can reset them and remove them from the smart collection by going to the metadata panel, choosing the All Plug-In Metadata view, and deleting the ID number that’s in the Duplicate ID field.

Lightroom Plugin Duplicate Finder False Positive screenshot

You can download and buy the Duplicate Finder plugin directly from the developer’s website as well as find the more detailed instruction manual (PDF).

Teekesselchen Duplicate Finder Plugin for Lightroom Classic

This plugin is developed by Michael Bungenstock.

Like Duplicate Finder, Teekesselchen is based on comparing EXIF metadata.

It offers more granular controls in its settings than Duplicate Finder and, in a feature I find useful, has a nifty way of working around the limitation of differentiating capture times only down to the second (more on that below).

The plugin does come with Windows and Mac installers, although I didn’t have much luck with the Mac installer. But there’s also a Zip file version that’s provided for manual installation; that worked better for me. Since then, the developer has released an updated version, so you might have a smoother experience than I initially did.

Once the plugin is installed and enabled (use Lightroom’s Plug-in Manager to handle that), you access its functionality by going to

Library > Plug-in Extras > Teekesselchen > Find Duplicates
Teekesselchen 1

You’ll then get the plugin’s settings panel. In this instance, I’ve selected a folder and subfolders that has 556 photos in it, and the scan will run on those.

Teekesselchen 2

The Marks and Rules tabs are where you set the parameters of the scan. The Marks tab is where you determine how the results are treated. The Rules tab determines what criteria is used for the matching. One feature I find useful is the ExifTool option; that is a workaround for the limitation of searching only down to a second’s granularity that can result in so many false positives.

Teekesselchen 3

You can find more detailed explanations of these settings in the documentation that the developer has put together.

You can download the plugin directly from the developer’s website, where you can also find a more detailed user guide.

Lightroom Classic Duplicate Images FAQs

Can Lightroom find duplicates?

By itself, Lightroom can’t find duplicate photos. But there are a couple of plugins available that can add that functionality

Can Lightroom make duplicates?

Lightroom doesn’t have a direct way to make duplicates. The logical way to do it is to use the virtual copy feature. That doesn’t make a duplicate in the file system—as in, there’s no actual file attached that’s saved onto your hard drive—but it does create a copy with all the same settings that you can work with in Lightroom itself.

An indirect way to create duplicate images is to export an image using the “original” filetype and then re-importing the new file back into Lightroom.

And, of course, you can create derivative versions that can be stacked with the original. A common place to use this is when using an external editor with round-trip editing.

Can Lightroom remove duplicates?

Lightroom doesn’t have a built-in duplicate photo finder tool, but some plugins can add that functionality. Once those plugins have identified suspected duplicates, it’s just a matter of using the usual Lightroom delete feature to remove the duplicates.

David Coleman

I'm a freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. I've been using Lightroom for years, from back before it was Lightroom (RawShooter). More »