How and Why to Use Reference Mode in Lightroom

This might be my favorite hack in Lightroom! I edit this way EVERY day with EVERY gallery I edit. It quite literally, is my secret weapon.

editing in reference mode is my secret weapon

As a professional editor it is crucial to deliver consistent, cohesive galleries. Editing in Reference Mode allows you to do just that! With reference mode you can use an image as an anchor, while editing a different image side-by-side. As you make adjustments to the image you are working on, your anchor image remains untouched. It’s a brilliant tool!

If you are a visual learner like I am, watch the full video tutorial below.

If you found this helpful, I have many other tutorials on my You Tube Channel where I put out Lightroom Tips, Tricks, Hacks and Shortcuts every week. Be sure and SUBSCRIBE so you’ll never miss them. And please share this with a friend who also loves to edit!

If you have any questions about editing or becoming a professional photo editor DM me on Instagram @alisamccormick And check out these resources to learn more as well.


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  1. […] The Lock Screen, or sometimes referred to as the Second Monitor, is very similar to editing in Reference Mode. If you are unfamiliar with using Reference Mode, watch this tutorial first. […]

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