If you subscribe to Lightroom CC you may have noticed a new version was released in the last week. This is Lightroom CC 2015.8. Please don’t ask me why Lightroom CC is still 2015 and all other adobe CC products are already 2017 – because I don’t know the answer!


However what I can tell you about is what the new update includes and claims to include. The key features (besides obligatory support for new cameras and lenses) are the ability to filter smart collections on snapshot status, reference images in the develop module and of course performance improvements. I’ll let you come to your own conclusion as to whether the new version performs better – Adobe often claim performance improvements, and sometimes they are actually real.

The headline change is, of course, the Reference View so let’s take a look at how this works and some ways in which you can use other than how it is intended.


The idea behind reference view is that you can display another image alongside the one you are working on so that you can match the processing and look of one image to another. This could be two images from the same shoot, but perhaps more useful is when you wish to match an image from one shoot to an image from a different shoot. A real world example of where this would have been helpful to me a year or so back was when a client contacted me asking me to do staff headshots for some new staff and to match them to the headshots I had taken a couple of years earlier.


To use reference view, in the Develop Module you need to click on “R|A” icon on the tool bar at the bottom on the screen (or use the shortcut Shift-R). If the tool bar is not showing press “T” to reveal it. Once the display is split into “Reference” and “Actual” drag the image you wish to use as your reference from the film strip to the Reference window. As you click on different images in the film strip, your reference image will remain unchanged and you can develop the active image to match what you see in the reference image.


If you reference image and actual image are in different folders you will need to ‘lock’ the reference image by clicking the ‘padlock’ icon before going to the library module to change folder. If you don’t do that the image will disappear from the reference panel when you return to the develop module.

There are a couple of other useful ways of using the reference image which are not about comparing different images.


If you set the reference image to be the same as the active image, any changes made to the active image are reflected in the reference image. This means if you wish to work on part of an image at 100% zoom, you can zoom in on the active window and leave the reference image to ‘fit the screen’. This is great to be able to work on details, but still have a view of what effect the detail changes have on the overall image.

Similarly, if you use the visualise spots option when using the spot/healing brush you can have half the screen showing the reveal spots display while the reference image shows the image as ‘normal’.


Of course, if you have a second monitor, you can effectively do these last two options by using Lightroom’s “Secondary Display” options, but this is the first time you are able to do this all on the same monitor.  So great for use when working on a laptop.

I hope you have found this quick overview of the new features helpful,

Until next time, keep MAKING great images.