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Lightroom: Before and After views of your photo

Have you ever wondered how you can see the impact of all those adjustments you made in Lightroom? Wonder no more. This is a quick and simple Lightroom tip on what are the different ways to compare your before and after views of your photos in Lightroom.

The keyboard shortcut

It’s one of those keyboard shortcuts that’s should become second nature to you. At any point in your Develop process simply hit the backslash key ("\") to toggle between the before and after views of the photo! This is extremely useful and quick specially if you prefer to see your photo large on the screen. Press the backslash key once and to see the Before with no changes (except the cropping) and press it again and to see the After photo with all your adjustments and presets applied.

The Before/After buttons

In the Develop Module, Lightroom offers a Before/After set of buttons located at the lower left of your photo. 

Those a very useful if you want to see your before and after next to each other.

If you cannot located those buttons, make sure you had enabled the “View Modes” option in the Toolbar. Click on the small triangle to the right of the toolbar in the Develop module. By doing so, you will be able to see two additional icons, the left one is the Loupe view button and the right one is the Before/After button.

The guys at Adobe have worked on 4 different styles of the Before/After view. To toggle between them just click on the triangle next to the before-after button:

  1. The Before/After Left/Right view places the two images side by side. I use it many times specially when I want to capture the screen to support a blog post of mine. This view is useful in Portraits.
  2. The Before/After Top/Bottom view places both images on top of each other and is very useful in evaluating your landscape photos or panoramas.
  3. The Before/After Top/Bottom Split view basically cuts the photo horizontally in half; the upper half shows you the before and the lower half shows you the after.
  4. The Before/After Left/Right Split view, like 3 above, but places the mid-line vertically. Left is your before and right is your after.

The Before/After Left/Right view

The Before/After Top/Bottom view

The Before/After Top/Bottom Split view

The Before/After Left/Right Split view

The Before/After Left/Right Split view

There is really no right or wrong usage of the above view options. It is really the content of the photo and your composition outcome that dictates what option to use.

Next time you are developing your photos, try all possibilities to become acquainted with the different views to your advantage. I rarely use the before/after buttons options as I prefer the backslash swiftness and because I like to see all my adjustments in large view. How about you?