Laura Shoe's Lightroom Site - Tutorials, Tips, Training and News

Empowering photographers since 2006

Laura Shoe's Lightroom Blog

///Lightroom Secret Revealed: How to See Two Images Side by Side As You Develop One or Both

Lightroom Secret Revealed: How to See Two Images Side by Side As You Develop One or Both

When you are trying to match the appearance of two photos in Lightroom, it sure would be nice to be able to see them side by side as you work on one or both.  In my last post, I talked about Compare View — but it is in the Library module, not the Develop module.   You can see before and after side by side quite easily in Develop, but how can you see two different pictures next to each other?

Here’s the secret:

  • Select your two photos, using the filmstrip.  (Click on the first, Ctl/Cmd-click on the second).
  • Open up a second Lightroom window, by clicking on the [2] symbol circled in green below:

Lightroom secondary screen button


  • This secondary screen is meant for a second monitor, but it will suit our purpose with one monitor.  It is limited in functionality, but it has Compare View!   Click on Compare where circled in green below, and size your secondary window to cover up all but your right-hand Develop panel:
Using Lightroom Compare View to Develop Images Side by Side


  • Notice that there is a white frame around my left-hand image.  This is the active image — if I start enhancing, it will be this one that is affected.  To affect the right-hand one, click on it to make it active.
  • Switch back and forth between the images as needed.
  • To work on both at the same time, turn on Auto Sync.  It’s the little switch to the left of the Sync Button (circled in red above).  Don’t forget to turn it off when you’re done.
  • Notice also that this Compare View window has the same zoom functionality that I talked about in my last post.  Use it to zoom in on one or both of the photos.
Want to see more than two?  Use Survey instead of Compare.  Of course the more photos you have selected, the slower it will be, as Lightroom needs to refresh each after every Develop move.


In case you didn’t read it a few months ago, here’s another Lightroom secret revealed: how to put one spot removal fix on top of another.

2017-07-09T12:14:06+00:00October 23rd, 2011|20 Comments


  1. Mike Nelson Pedde October 25, 2011 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Julieanne Kost also shows how this technique can be used for comparing/aligning images to make diptychs and triptychs, here:

    Part 1 is here:


    For links to nearly 200 websites withLightroom tips, videos and tutorials (including this one!) try

  2. Chris October 27, 2011 at 7:48 am - Reply

    Thanks so much for your wisdom and generocity!


    • Laura Shoe October 28, 2011 at 8:37 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Chris!

  3. Lightroom Thursday! » Heninger Fotographik October 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    […] Laura has a couple of nice quick tips: Viewing and zooming on two photos side by side, How to see images side by side when developing. […]

  4. […] Lightroom Secret Revealed: How to See Two Images Side by Side As You Develop One or Both […]

  5. Julie Cortens October 31, 2011 at 4:48 am - Reply

    Laura THANK YOU!
    Loved this tip! Wish I had known this a few weddings ago. 🙂

    • Laura Shoe October 31, 2011 at 10:52 am - Reply

      You’re welcome, Julie! Thank you for the note.

  6. Ray November 19, 2011 at 6:21 am - Reply

    Another serendipitous finding… Really instructive and helpful. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  7. CALVIN MERCER December 23, 2011 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    I just started using Lightroom 3 and I learned somethings that are possible to do, I need to learn much more. You have been a BIG help.

    • Laura Shoe January 1, 2012 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Calvin!

  8. Mel April 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Pretty cool. I keep forgetting about that second window. Now I can start matching images better.

  9. Doug Anderson November 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much … a great tip that I will use … keep them coming.

  10. Slobodan Blagojevic November 7, 2012 at 10:18 am - Reply

    Thanks Laura, nice to learn new things every now and then.

  11. David March 18, 2013 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura, Great Day 1 on creativeLIVE today, learning some cool new shtuff…I tried some of the print package info you mentioned and got stumped, I’m sure you may know the answer cause I can’t seem to figure this one out. I tried the 5×7 & 2.5×3.5 preset and decided to ‘print to file’ as a jpeg to check the dimensions in Photoshop…but when I opened the file in PS5 the picture and paper dimensions were much larger. The 5×7 was approx 6×9 and wallets were approx 3×4…The paper size selected was 8.5×11 to accommodate the pic sizes but when opende in PS it was 10.5×13.5 . The same thing happened with all of the other sizes I tried.
    I was hoping to save some time and send the packages to a lab to print but the sizes were not accurate and not what customers ordered. Anyone else experienced this.

    • Laura Shoe March 18, 2013 at 8:48 pm - Reply

      Hi David, if the size in PS isn’t the same as the page size in Lightroom, you most likely don’t have the resolution in PS set to what you had it in Lightroom. Go to Image..Image Size to change it.

  12. Greg December 13, 2013 at 7:37 am - Reply


    I’m not sure what version of LR you’re using, but you don’t have to go to the second window to use compare. It is a choice under the View menu. Forget about the second window, just select your two images, then choose Compare from the View menu, or hit C.

    • Laura Shoe December 13, 2013 at 9:51 am - Reply

      Hi Greg,

      Thank you for your comment. Yes, you can see two photos side-by-side in Compare view in the Library module — however, other than the limited controls of Quick Develop, you cannot Develop them this way. This blog tip is about how to develop one or both while they are next to each other.

  13. Bruno Prado February 17, 2016 at 5:37 am - Reply

    Thanks Laura still util in 2016 =)

  14. Sergiu Nicola April 26, 2018 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    Many thanks!

    • Laura Shoe May 3, 2018 at 10:34 am - Reply

      You’re welcome, Sergiu!

Leave A Comment

Sign Up Today!
  • FREE Limited Time Only: Learn How to Clean Up Your Lightroom Mess in my 80 minute video!
  • Receive my Lightroom newsletter with news and tutorials
  • Receive PDFs of my favorite Lightroom shortcuts

Your trusted source for all things Lightroom!
I will not share your email. Unsubscribe anytime.