Editing with Compare View

by Michael Clark

Editing my images, especially sports images, has always been a time consuming task with my prior workflows. When I photograph rock climbers, mountain bikers or kayakers for example I am always shooting at high framing rates - at 5 frames per second (fps) with a Nikon D2x or perhaps even at 8 fps depending on the sport. I shoot at high fps because when the action gets going, blasting away at 5 or 8 fps helps me get those in between moments that I can't see or react to quick enough. The problem is I then end up with 300 images of a climber on one route. With film it was easy to see which image was the AAA select, but with digital it has become harder.

Thankfully, Adobe added a comparison mode to Lightroom for Version 1.0. The compare mode in the Library Module allows one to compare two images side by side and zoom both, either together or separately, to 100% loupe view as in the images below.


To enter Compare Mode, select the first image you'd like to compare and the image you'd like to compare it to - then click on the Compare Mode icon in the tool bar (which looks like the before and after mode in Develop) and voila, the images show up next to each other in separate windows as above. I like to have the left, right and top panels clicked off while I am in Compare Mode so that I can concentrate on the images and have them as big as possible. Like I wrote in an earlier post, it's all about the images.

One image, the left one, is the select and the right image is the candidate. By using the icons in the tool bar and the keyboard shortcuts one can swap the select out and keep moving through a group of similars very quickly. And while I don't use stacking that often, it really makes sense when used in conjunction with the Compare Mode. You can also zoom into both images simultaneously or individually by clicking the lock off or on which greatly aids in seeing which is the sharper image. The Compare Mode may seem a little complex at first but once you get used to it, you'll marvel at how you ever got on without it.


While it may seem like a small feature, for me the Compare Mode is a huge time saver and it allows me to narrow the selects down to the absolute best images which means less images to develop and hence, less time in front of the computer. And it works so well that I'd say the time it takes me to edit a group of images has been cut to 30% of what it used to take.

I only wish that Lightroom would compare five images simultaneously in the Compare Mode at 100% loupe view, then I could find the real gems even faster - maybe in Version 2.0 we'll have this option.

That's it for this Monday. I look forward to hearing your comments...

Adios, Michael Clark


2007-04-11 11:04:53
Yes!! That's exactly it. No need to re-spark the Aperture v. Lightroom comparisons, but I wrote this comment when you said (paraphrasing) although you liked Aperture's implementation better, you didn't see a need for stacking and comparing in your workflow. To which I wrote:

"I'm not sure if you are thinking of stacks properly. I think the power of stacks is in comparing similar images so you can rate them, but you say you rate them before you stack, and sequester them by rating instead of stacks? I don't use stacks for organizing per se. In fact, I may get rid of them after I rate my images. This might explain it better:



If you learn to stack and compare, culling through a 1,000 images in aperture just doesn't seem daunting. It is fairly simple to learn, too."

Anyway, I'm glad you are enjoying the feature. I find it to be a huge timesaver also.