Finding Your Best Photo with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom’s View Modes

July 07, 2011 | | Comments 12

Author’s Note: I have completely rewritten and updated this article. Please follow this link to see the updated tutorial.

Photoshop Lightroom Tutorial 52: Library Module View Modes Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop Tutorials Advertisment

Filed Under: (04) Organizing with LightroomAdobe Photoshop Lightroom Tutorials


About the Author: David Marx teaches digital photography workshops and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom training classes. David is an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop Lightroom and in Adobe Photoshop. David has lead workshops and seminars for the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, the American Society of Media Photographers, FirstLight Photography Workshops, and he teaches annually at the world-famous Blackberry Farm Resort. For more information on his Photoshop Lightroom training seminars and digital photography field workshops please visit You can also follow daily updates and see new images from David on Google+.

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  1. Many thanks for helpful content in your write-up Finding Your Best Photo with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

  2. serena says:

    I just would like to compliment with you for such a great website and tutorial! really, I’m starting with Lightroom just in these days and can’t hide that I was a bit “scared” by it… with your tutorials, I’m falling in love with it! Thanks a million

  3. alliejcarr says:

    Hi David, your videos are great – really useful and have got me using LR more. But I have a question with regards the views that gets me into knots. I’m falling at the first hurdle. I do not have the little icons displayed and so I have to use the shortcuts, which is fine, but the visuals really help with orientation, I find. Instead what I am seeing in their place is square with a 1, then a square with a 2, I do have a grid button, then i have two arrow buttons which I don’t need. I would rather have my survey, loupe and compare buttons there. How do I change the display. To be clear, I am referring to on the left, just above the film strip. Thanks! Allie

  4. João says:

    Hi there, and thanks alot for the tutorial, most usefull to me… just have a question – why dont you use better file names? :)

  5. Sam Britt says:

    I love the compare view with multiple photos. I use it more than Survey view for narrowing down images. The trick, I think, is to not use the mouse too much—as Vincent said, clicking around can change the hyper-selected photo to “Candidate” and confuse you. Just leave hyper-selected on “Select” and use the arrow keys to move “Candidate” left and right, and the up arrow to promote candidate to select. When you’re done, press 1 to add a star (which will add to your hyper-selected, which should still be “Select”). If you do it right, you can narrow a sequence down to one image in a single pass, with out even going backwards. E.g., from grid view, select your sequence, then press “C right right up right up right right right 1″. Done.

  6. Zog says:

    Good series of videos. Rather than autohiding the dock on a Mac to access the lower edge of the screen, consider pressing the ‘F’ key twice to Fill the screen with the Lightroom window. It does make access to the drop-down menu more difficult, but it’s worth it IMO.

  7. Vincent says:

    The L/R arrow keys always change the Candidate photo, the idea being that the Select stays put as challengers step up. According to Help – “Press the Up arrow to replace the selected photo with the current selection and replace the candidate selection with the next image.” Or to be more clear, it makes Candidate the Select. I found, however, that the next image is not put in Candidate slot. You have to hit right arrow.

    The x, p and u shortcuts for flagging photos Reject, Pick or Unflag works on the hyper-selected photo, which can be either the Select or Candidate. You do not need to flag anything, buy you might want to.

    Hmmm, talking through this, like therapy, is making me more comfortable with Compare.

  8. Vincent says:

    Good stuff, always learn a bit more.
    Using Survey mode to sift down to 2 photos, you avoided the more complex workflow of Compare view involving 3 or more photos, the XY, X<Y buttons, etc.
    Theoretically there is something powerful there, but I've often been confused. Especially adding in the hyper-selection (the extra-white selected of the two), maybe Pick and Reject, on top of that.
    One has a "shoot-out" between two photos, making the winner the "Select", then go on to the next shootout. But sometimes the Select and Candidate can be reversed from their position in the filmstrip (after hitting XY), disorienting you, or the hyper-selected one is not the Select and you click P and the Candidate gets flagged as Pick.
    I also trip up going through a folder, and there are groups of different subjects, 3-6 shots of each for example. I use Compare for the first group ok, then transitioning and setting up the next group to Compare gets confusing. Same may be true if I want to pick a couple best Selects from a single group, not just a single Select winner.
    I guess I should avoid Compare in a 3+ shot situation.

    • davem says:

      Dear Vincent,

      I too find that the Compare View gets confusing when you try to use it with more than two files. I am constantly frustrated too that you cannot just use the right and left arrow keys to cycle through your selection in that mode like you can in the Loupe View!

      David Marx

  9. An excellent series of short videos – very clearly explained and illustrated. Thank you.