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Learn How to Use Lightroom CC’s New Reference View

WIndowsOnEarth.orgIn this free video tutorial, learn how to use Lightroom’s new Reference view for Creative Cloud subscribers. Reference view allows you to display a reference photo on the left as you edit another photo on the right. It’s useful anytime you want to match the appearance of photos (white balance, contrast, color, etc). Consider using it when when you want to unify groups of photos you plan to display together in a slideshow, portfolio, etc, or when you’ve  come across a photo on the web that has a cool effect that you want to try to replicate!

Lightroom CC Reference View

Lightroom CC Reference View (Photos courtesy of

This video is from my Lightroom CC/6 and 5: The Fundamentals & Beyond video series, for beginners and experienced users. If you enjoy this video, I guarantee that you’ll love the series!

(For best quality, after you hit Play, click on the sprocket wheel in the bottom right, then Quality, 720/HD.)

A Reference view button / icon
01:51  Assigning a reference photo from the filmstrip
02:07  Assigning a reference photo from the Library module
03:00  Displaying RGB color values for an area of the reference and active photos
04:30  Reference Photo padlock: preserving the reference photo when leaving the Develop module
05:03  Closing Reference view
05:20  Displaying the reference photo above the active photo



2017-07-09T16:28:56-07:00 December 8th, 2016|10 Comments


  1. Ronald Stein December 10, 2016 at 11:45 am - Reply

    Great idea- I wouldn’t use this often, but nice to know it is available!!

  2. TC Conner December 11, 2016 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Couldn’t you just copy and paste the develop settings of your reference photo onto the photo that you’re working on? (If the ref photo is already one of the photos that you’ve developed that is.) Is there another huge benefit that I’m not understanding?


    • Laura Shoe December 13, 2016 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      TC, that works well if all the photos were shot together under the same lighting conditions, but not when you’re assembling a portfolio of photos from different shoots, or when you just like the look you achieved with a photo you shot a while back and want to replicate it with a new photo.

      • TC Conner December 14, 2016 at 6:50 am - Reply

        If “you like the look you achieved with a photo you shot a while back” and you developed the photo in Lr, I’d just copy and past those development settings. I see your point about “different shoots,” and I can certainly see the benefit of using Reference View for that. 🙂

        • Laura Shoe December 14, 2016 at 1:52 pm - Reply

          To achieve a consistent look, TC, depending on what that is, they still could need different amounts of contrast, white balance settings, etc. I agree that copying and pasting settings could be a good starting point.

          • TC December 15, 2016 at 4:24 am

            Perhaps you could let us know how often you use it in a future update Ms. Laura.

  3. Roy Bennett December 13, 2016 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Thanks Laura for another great video and clear tutorial about this new feature in Lightroom.

    • Laura Shoe December 13, 2016 at 6:04 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome, Roy – and thank you for your note!

  4. Suzanne Gagne December 13, 2016 at 4:49 pm - Reply

    Thank you Laura I enjoyed the video and look forward to using yet another new technique.

    • Laura Shoe December 13, 2016 at 6:04 pm - Reply

      I’m happy to hear it, Suzanne – thank you for your note!

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