How to See Before and After in Lightroom

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Want to know how to see before and after in Lightroom? You’re in the right place.

It is quite common for photographers to actively use ‘Before and After’ in Lightroom. Whenever you are editing photographs in Lightroom, it is extremely handy for you to compare the ‘Before’ state of the image, which is how the image looked when you began, with the ‘After’ state of the image, which is how the image looks after all the edits you have made. This is an excellent way to keep track of all the modifications that have taken place, and also understand the checkmarks and sliders in Lightroom better. 

Adobe has made it extremely simple to toggle between the Before and After scenes. They have also given several means of visualizing both horizontal as well as vertical images in just one window. Let us explore this feature in detail in this article.

Related: Lightroom Tips to Improve Your Photos

Quick Before and After in Lightroom With One Click

Before we begin exploring how to see before and after in Lightroom, it is quite essential to point out that this feature can only be found in the ‘Develop’ module. So, if you want to use the Before and After tool, you will have to choose an image that you want to work on, and then enter the Develop module by clicking on ‘D’ on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can also click the Develop link which can be found in the top module area. Moreover, this feature will showcase every single adjustment that is done to the image, including all the sub-modules that exist in the Develop module, apart from the Crop and Straighten tool. It is easy to see why this is so because it is not wise to compare photos that don’t have the same level of straightening or cropping.

It is important to note that you can swap the before state with any of the steps that are found in the History panel. The Before/After tool is supposed to be used as a temporary visual guide. It doesn’t have any permanent effect on the image that you have edited. Moreover, keep in mind that exporting the ‘Before’ state will only result in the final edited state being exported anyway.

Now, whenever you have to use the ‘Before and After’ feature, you don’t have to click a button on the screen, or even try to undo (which a lot of people still do). Just click on the backslash key (\) to toggle between the two states. It’s as simple as that!

Left and Right Before and After in Lightroom

There are a few excellent options if you wish to view the Before/After screens next to each other. The first one being ‘Left/Right’, which showcases the unedited ‘Before’ image on the left-hand side, and the edited ‘After’ image on the right-hand side. You can jump to this particular view by clicking on the ‘Y’ button on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can access it from View > Before/After > Left/Right. If you click the ‘Y’ button again, you will return to the edited image. 

Split Screen Before and After

Another way to understand how to see before and after in Lightroom is by using the Right/Left Before/After tool, but it comes with a limitation

The screen gets split vertically into two. This works well only for vertical images, and is not ideal for horizontal images, making them far too small. Split Screen Before and After exists precisely for this reason. It is a Before/After feature for horizontal images! You can turn this view on by clicking ‘Shift’ + ‘Y’ on your keyboard. Alternatively, you can go to View > Before/After > Split Screen. You will see your image divided into halves, with the left side being Before, and the right side being After.

The benefit of this is that you don’t have to see two individual images. If you want to swap the two views, all you have to click is Ctrl + Alt + Shift  + Up (Cmd + Option + Shift + Up in a Mac). You can also go to Settings > Swap Before and After Settings. 

Final Thoughts

Before and After is an extremely useful feature in Adobe Lightroom that everyone should make use of. It quickens your workflow and makes it super easy to compare your edits. We hope that this comprehensive article helped you understand how to use the tool to its fullest potential.

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