Reference View for Optimizing


Today’s Question: Your answer on Monday referred to preserving a version of an image for “reference”, and this reminded me of the existence of the Reference View in the Develop module [in Lightroom Classic]. Can you explain how this view option should be used?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Reference View in Lightroom Classic enables you to view two photos at once while working in the Develop module. The two images are the active image you are currently working on and the reference image that you want to review to make decisions about the adjustments you apply to the active image.

More Detail: Normally when working in the Develop module you are simply seeing the image you’re working on in the image preview area. From time to time, you might also use one of the “before and after” view options to get context for the adjustments you’ve applied to the current image. However, it can also be helpful to use Reference View so you can refer to one image while working on another.

To get started with Reference View in the Develop module click the Reference View button, which is the second button on the toolbar below the image preview area. You can click the button again to switch between having the two images arranged horizontally or vertically.

You can then drag the thumbnail for the image you want to reference from the filmstrip on the bottom panel to the Reference image area, which will be on the left or top of the image preview area depending on which orientation option you’ve selected. You can then click on the thumbnail of the image you want to optimize, with the ability to refer to the Reference image.

If you lock the Reference image with the padlock control on the toolbar below the image preview area, then the Reference image will remain in place even if you switch modules. If this option is unlocked, switching to another module and then back to the Develop module will cause the Reference image to be blank again.