One of the best ways to enhance your workflow in Lightroom is to use two monitors.
Utilizing two monitors in Lightroom helps you work faster. You can also sort through your images more quickly. You can work with your thumbnails on one screen, and the full-sized image on another.
If you’re a high-volume shooter, such as a wedding photographer, you should seriously consider working with two monitors. You’ll find that it can make your workflow a lot more streamlined and productive.
Your second monitor doesn’t have to be as big or as high quality as your primary one. In fact, you can even connect a laptop to your monitor.
A two monitor set-up is great to have if you shoot tethered or travel with a laptop.
Alternatively, you can have two stand-alone monitors, depending on what kind of operating system you have, or a computer with a built in monitor, like an iMac.
For example, in my own workflow, I use a 27-inch iMac and a separate monitor in a similar size.
How to set up two monitors in Lightroom
To set up a two-monitor display, you first need to connect your second monitor and then get Lightroom to recognize the secondary display.
To do this, go to Window -> Secondary Display -> Show.
Then go to the monitor icons on the left side of the Filmstrip -> click the monitor icon labeled “2” to activate the secondary display.
The default for the secondary display is Loupe View, but you can change it.
The other options are Grid View, Compare View, Survey View, or People View. Click and hold the monitor icon marked “1” to see these options.
People is where Lightroom identifies faces in images, including new ones you add to your library. That way, you don’t have to assign keywords to tag people in your photos manually.
If you click and hold the icon labeled “1,” you’ll see a similar list of options for your primary monitor.
You can zoom and filter photos in Loupe View.
Loupe View on the second monitor allows you to zoom into the photo by clicking on the image. You can also right-click your mouse and change the color of your workspace background.
Note that Loupe View has three different modes: Normal, Live, and Locked.
- In Normal, if you click on a thumbnail in Grid View on monitor 1, you’ll see a large version displayed in Loupe View on monitor 2.
- In Live, the photo displayed in Loupe View changes as you move the cursor over the thumbnails in Grid View.
- With Locked, the last photo viewed in Loupe View stays on the screen until you select one of the other modes.
To access Normal View, click on a thumbnail in Grid View on monitor 1 to see a large version displayed in Loupe View on monitor 2.
While in Live View, the photo displayed in Loupe View changes as you move the cursor over the thumbnails in Grid View.
In Locked View, the last photo viewed in Loupe View stays on the screen until you select one of the other modes.
Compare View in the secondary window offers the same functionality as the Compare View in the primary window.
Survey in the secondary display offers the same functionality as the Survey view in the primary window.
Options for display with two monitors
You can customize your workspace on two monitors in the following ways:
- Use the Develop module on your first monitor and enable Loupe View on the second monitor. This will allow you to zoom in on the second monitor to check finer details such as noise, focus, or for chromatic aberration.
- Set Grid View on the first monitor and Loupe View on the second monitor. You can look at one photo on one screen and thumbnails on the other.
- Use Grid View on the first monitor and Survey or Compare View on the second monitor. This is recommended when you want to quickly cull images.
- Alternately, you can have Grid View on your second monitor and Loupe View on the first monitor.
To hide the top or bottom panels in the secondary display, click the grey arrows, the same way you hide panels in Lightroom’s main window. Click them again to unhide them.
The “Full Screen” option in Lightroom is enabled by default. When you click on it, the window on your second monitor is taken out of full-screen mode, giving you a re-sizeable window that can be moved around the screen.
You can swap the displays around in Normal Screen Mode. In this mode, you can drag and drop the window over to the second display, automatically changing their positions.
You can also display the second window as a floating window by clicking the Second Monitor button in the main window and deselecting Full Screen.
To close the second window, –> click the Second Window button, or click it and deselect Show.
To sum up
One last note: be sure that at least the main monitor where you view your final images is calibrated. You want to make sure that the color in your images is technically correct, especially if your images will be printed.
If you have been doing your Lightroom post-processing on one monitor, you’ll find that getting a second monitor will change your editing life.
Do you use two monitors? What are your thoughts? Share with us in the comments below.