How to use Lights Out Mode in Lightroom

June 8th, 2011 by John Batdorff

I use the “Lights Out Mode” in Lightroom frequently as part of my final editing process, so here’s a quick tutorial on how I do that.

Learn more about John, view his images and check out his blog here.

Hello everyone. John Batdorff here, and today I want to talk about a feature I really enjoy using at the end of my editing process, and that’s the Lights Out feature. When I’m done editing my image and I think I’m where I need to be, I’ll use the Lights Out feature to just view the image without all the distractions of the panels and lightroom.

To activate the Lights Out feature, all you need to do is press the “L” key on your keyboard. When you do that, it will go to dim first. Now, I don’t use this that often, but some people like this feature to review their images and then make changes to their images, because you still can see your developmental panel and all of that. What I have my setting at is 70%, and I’ll show you how to change that in a second. But what I like to do is go to Lights Out, which you hit the “L” key again, and boom, all we have now is the image and I can review the image. This is where I think about what kind of adjustments I want to make, or if it’s done and ready to go.

Just remember, hit “L” again to go back to full view. Some people will freak out, and they’ll be like, “Oh, I can’t get anywhere.” Well, you hit “L” again and that takes you right back to the beginning.

So to change your Lights Out setting, all you need to do it go into Edit, Preferences, and right here where it says “Dim Level,” that’s the dim level that we talked about that first time that you hit the “L” key. The default is at 80. I use 70 because I think you can see the controls a little better, even though I don’t really use it that much. Let’s just take a look at this again, This is dim, this is at 70% dim. Like I said, you still have access to everything. Once again, we hit “L”, that’s Lights Out and then, oh, we’re freaking out. What do we do next? We go back and we hit “L” again and we’re back.

So just remember, you’re cycling through the “L” key, once to dim, once to Lights Out, and then once to come back to lights on.

I hope this was helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email at Take care.



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