LightroomDiva.com-Comparing photos in Lightroom
What is behind door number 1, door number 2 or door number 3?
A photographer recently told me he preferred Photoshop Elements to Lightroom because he could easily see the before and after views of his editing. Hmmm, he obviously does not know Lightroom!
Not only can you easily see the before and after edits for comparing, with Lightroom, you can compare multiple variations of those edits and you can also compare multiple similar images shot of the same subject.
Lightroom is simply the best for onscreen comparisons.
Comparing Multiple Images
Although “Happy Snappers” - those point and shoot people - generally take one shot of their subject, photographers generally record multiple images of each scene or subject. With Lightroom’s Library module “survey” mode you can compare multiple images at once.
Then as you make selections, you can close the images you do not want and keep comparing until you find the one you prefer.
In the Develop Module, press the YY compare button in the tool bar. Continue to edit and the changes appear in the “candidate” window.
Lightroom’s Virtual Copies
If you want to compare different types of edits, like a black and white version, a sepia toned version, and an enhanced color version of one photograph, Lightroom offers a unique viewing option - Virtual Copies. You simply make as many virtual copies of one image as you need, change each one for a different style, and you can compare these on screen in the Survey mode of the Library module.
Can you do that in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements? Yes, sort of....
In Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, you could “Save As” multiple times, and make changes to each individually saved file and then look at them at the same time by changing your View to multiple windows tiled on screen. However - and here is the big difference - you have just created multiple files. And each file is at least the size of the original photo file, taking up more space on your hard drive and taxing your computer processor to display those all at the same time.
Lightroom’s Virtual copies do not exist as actual photos or duplicates of photos. They do not take up more space on the hard drive. Virtual copies are just metadata in the catalog that stores the different sets of adjustments. In other words, they live up to their name...virtual copies!
You can apply different adjustment settings to virtual copies of the original (master) photos and thus have multiple versions of your edits.
Start by creating one virtual copy of a photo and then apply adjustment settings to it. Add another version of the master photo by creating another virtual copy and apply the new settings to it.
Lightroom lets You be the Master of your photographs!
You can create as many virtual copies of a master photo as you want. You can even make one of the virtual copies a master, making the previous master a virtual copy.
When you create virtual copies, they can be stacked with the master photo, and “Copy 1” “Copy 2” and so on is added to the Copy Name field in the Metadata panel.
In the Grid view or the Filmstrip, the master photo displays the number of images in the upper-left corner of the thumbnail. The virtual copies show page-turn icons on the left side of their thumbnails.
Create one or more Virtual Copies
In the Grid view in the Library Module, click Photo > Create Virtual Copy, or right-click (PC) or Control-click (Mac) a photo or multiple photos and select Create Virtual Copy (Copies) from the context menu.
In any other module, click Photo > Create Virtual Copy, or right-click (PC) or Control-click (Mac) the photo or multiple photos in the Filmstrip and choose Create Virtual Copy (Copies) from the context menu.
Edit the virtual copies in the Develop module as you would any other photo.
If you want to establish one of your virtual copies with the edits as the new Master copy, go to the Library module, click that virtual copy in the Grid view of the Filmstrip and click Photo in the top menu and select Set Copy As Master.
To delete one or more virtual copies
In the Library module, expand the virtual cop stack by clicking it and pressing S or clicking Photo > Stacking > Expand All Stacks. Then in either the Grid view or the Filmstrip, right-click (PC) or Control-click (Mac) the virtual copy to be removed and select Delete Photo form the context menu.
NOTE: You must view the stacks in their folders to expand and collapse them. You cannot change stacks if you are looking in a Collection.
And if you want to keep a virtual copy you have edited, you can. Virtual copies become actual photos once exported as a copy of the master photo or when you edit as a copy in an external editor such as Photoshop.
Lightroom is definitely the best place to compare multiple images and different versions of one image. And with Virtual copies, you can see and work with multiple versions of your images without adding more overhead or taking up space on your hard drive. With Lightroom, you do not have to close one window to open another photo.
So no more guessing what is behind Door #1 or Door #2 or Door #3.
It's all virtual!
Keywords: Lightroom, compare, compare photos, how to compare, virtual copies, virtual copy
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