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Expand Your Universe in Lightroom with Dual Monitors

In this post Brandon Oelling from x=photography+consulting shares how dual monitors can speed up your workflow when using Lightroom.

Nowadays, adding a second monitor to your Lightroom workflow is not only within grasp – it’s darn cheap!

Most monitors 19-20 inches can be purchased for less than $175 which is a huge difference in price from just a year ago.

With two monitors, Lightroom really gets interesting. Here’s how we’re taking advantage of it.

Turning things on

Once your second monitor is connected to your main system, in Lightroom simply select Window >> Secondary Display >> Show …

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If working near the filmstrip is more your thing, there is an icon that also allows you to toggle the secondary display:

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… or you can use keyboard shortcut Cmd+F11 (mac) or F11 (PC) and which makes toggling the secondary display on or off ultra-quick.

{Note: The shortcuts for using the secondary window are the same as the equivalent shortcuts in the Library module, with the Shift key added. Adobe provides a more complete shortcut list on their website.}

Lightroom will then present you with the secondary display window:

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Initially, Lightroom displays this new window in Full Screen mode. This can be toggled on or off in the Window >> Secondary Display menu …

… or via keyboard shortcut Cmd+Shift+F11 (mac) or Shift+F11 (pc).

Do a few things, and do them well

We use the more basic features of the secondary display to inject improvements to our workflow, but they sure do up the productivity factor!

The main benefit of this setup is that the secondary display presents your image(s) regardless of what module you are in, without all the clutter of the module panels and the filmstrip – allowing you to focus on things like 1:1 previews, color, tone, etc. This compliments the main window perfectly where I DO keep all the panels and filmstrip controls visible.

Let’s walk through the main pieces of the secondary display and its features.

View Controls

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  • Grid – places the standard Grid View layout into the secondary windows – essentially an over-glorified filmstrip
  • Loupe – this is the our default view which places a single image in the window
  • Compare – select 2 photos displayed side by side for evaluation
  • Survey – select multiple photos to be displayed side by side for evaluation
  • Slideshow – generate and play a full-screen slide show of the currently selected folder or collection

Loupe View

We use Loupe view for practically 90% of our workfllow. The Grid, Compare, Survey, and Slideshow modes are nice, but what we really want to do is have a large full screen preview as we walk through our final edits to allow for the type of deep image inspection normally completed in the main window, but again without all the clutter.

That being said, let’s look at some of the features the Loupe view provides.

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  • Normal – displays the selected image from the filmstrip or grid
  • Live – displays the most current image located under the pointer from the filmstrip or grid
  • Locked – locks down a selected photo even if you choose a different photo in the primary window

You can also do some basic filtering on the filmstrip via the Loupe View as well. This is good for going after a specifc quick collection of final images or a previous import.

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All of the zoom controls you’d expect are available in Loupe View as well. This is our most widely used feature in the Loupe View.

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Productivity reigns

I’m convinced that with a second monitor you can improve the speed of your Lightroom workflow by 25% or more.

Imagine the constant flipping back and forth between the Library and Develop modules in an attempt to proof your images in survey mode, only to drop back to the Develop module to make adjustments. This vicious cycle can zap precious time from your workflow.

By leveraging a second monitor you can begin to introduce more efficient processes to your workflow, and in turn get back to doing what you do best – shooting!

Brandon Oelling is from x=photography+consulting – image+workflow+technology+business.

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