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Comparing Before-and-After Views in Lightroom

TipSquirrel.com is delighted to welcome back Ashu Mittal:


I am back with a post on one of the things that is an integral part of my workflow inside Lightroom and is a real life-saver if done the right away – Comparing Images.

Have you ever ended up making a lot of adjustments to your photo and then getting lost somewhere along the way as to whether you are on the right track or not? Panic no more, here’s a post on what are the different ways you can compare the before-and-after views of your images in Lightroom and figure out if the changes you made to your original image are indeed making sense.

In the Lightroom Develop module, once you have made some adjustments or even applied one of the available presets, here is how you can go about comparing the end-result with your original image –

1)Start by making sure you have the “View Modes” option enabled in the Toolbar. You can do so by clicking on the small triangle to the extreme right of the toolbar in the Develop module ( shown below):

Comparing Before-and-After Views in Lightroom_Page_1_Image_0001


2)Voilà! You will now see the two additional icons, the left one is the Loupe view button and the right one is yes – our magic Before-and-After button ( shown below):

Comparing Before-and-After Views in Lightroom_Page_2_Image_0001

3)Now, this very powerful before-and-after option is available in four different flavours that are really helpful depending on the picture you are processing. These four view options are accessible by clicking on the little triangle next to the before-after button. Here are the different views with examples:

a)First one is the good-old Before/After Left/Right view. As you can see below, it places the two images side by side. I use it very often when I am done processing my image and want to give a final review as to how far (and hopefully better) I have come from the original image:

Comparing Before-and-After Views in Lightroom_Page_2_Image_0002 

b)Second, there is the Before/After Top/Bottom view. I personally use this most often for the final evaluation of landscape photos (especially panoramas) that are easier to compare in a top/bottom kind of alignment:

 Comparing Before-and-After Views in Lightroom_Page_3_Image_0001

c)Next, there are the two split views that are again very nifty. I particularly like using these for interim comparisons while I am processing my images so that I know that I am headed in the right direction. To make use of Split comparison views check either the Before/After Left/Right Split option or Before/After Top/Bottom Split option. Here is an example of the Before/After Top/Bottom Split:

Comparing Before-and-After Views in Lightroom_Page_4_Image_0001

d)And lastly here is an example of Before/After Left/Right Split view:

Comparing Before-and-After Views in Lightroom_Page_4_Image_0002

Have you noticed how it is the image that really decides whether top/bottom or left/right split comparison would be logical? Had I reversed the split options in the above two images, the comparison view would actually be of little or no use at all!

Finally, here’s a little bonus trick: At any point of time while processing your images in Develop module, you can simply hit the backslash key (\) to toggle between the before and after views of the image!

That’s it! Hope you enjoyed the post!

Thanks Ashu!

You can find Ashu on Twitter and Flickr

3 Comments on Comparing Before-and-After Views in Lightroom

  1. Thanks, I didn’t know that handy shortkey yet!

  2. All I get is my selected picture compared with another picture (the next picture in the series)…what am I doing wrong?

  3. maureen // 30/01/2018 at 4:39 am //

    Hi! Thankyou for your publication .

    I use to use this button a lot and somehow one day while accidently laying a book on my keyboard this option dissapeared and i cant get it back. Can’t seem to find it!

    Do you know how I can get this option back?


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