We just finished up our online Lightroom class today, and we had a lot of fun with the group. We really focused on the Library and Develop module, and one topic of discussion was how to compare similar images. The obvious choice might be just reviewing the images in the Library module and increasing the preview size. But a better way to really focus on what image is best is using two modes in Lightroom, the Compare and Survey mode.
Compare mode allows you to select one image you really like, and then toggle through other similar images one at a time, each one being compared to the original shot. First, click on the image you want to be your base comparison image. You can select this right out of the filmstrip or in grid view in the Library module. Now just hit the arrow key to start toggling left or right to compare images to the one you have selected. Pretty cool, side by side comparison, and each image is displayed large to look at the details. The shortcut key to Compare mode is ‘C’. If you see a comparison image you like better, just hit the snap icon at the bottom right of the window (shows XY with reverse arrows on top).
But what do you do if you want to see more than one picture at a time for a comparison? I really like to make virtual copies of my landscape image edits. I will process a picture one way, save it as a virtual copy, then reset the original picture and edit again a different way. Then I save that new version as a virtual copy and continue the process. Take a look at Lago Pehoe above to see what I mean. Once I have all the versions I want to compare, I select them all (Command A) in the filmstrip and hit the Survey Mode icon…note the red circle on image above. If you like to use shortcut keys, it is the ‘N’ key…don’t ask me why! Survey Mode will then display all your selected versions in a large contact sheet format. When you want to eliminate one version, just hit the ‘x’ key in the lower right corner of the image. Narrow down your selection to the image you like the best.
I love using these two modes after a shoot. If I take a portrait, chances are I have 20 or more images that almost look identical. But each time the model slightly changes her expression and gesture. By using either of these two modes, I can narrow it down to the best shot. Give it a try, you will like it!