Comparing Photos and Presets

Comparing Photos and Presets

Learn how to use Exposure’s side-by-side view to compare images. In this video demonstration, this feature is first used to decide which image to edit. And it is then used to compare multiple presets side by side, to find the one that works best.

Photos: Kyle Ford

In this video, we’re going to learn how to use Exposure’s side-by-side view to compare images. We’ll first use this feature to find the image we want to edit. And we’ll also use it to compare multiple presets side by side, to find the one that works best. Being able to do this easily is really helpful when culling and editing.

I’ve culled this photo shoot down to four finalists. When I viewed them as smaller thumbnails or full screen one at a time, I found it tough to decide on a clear favorite. So I’ll use Exposure’s side-by-side view to compare all four, to really study the subtleties of each one.

I’ll select Quad from the compare menu at the top of Exposure’s main window. Quad works best for comparing four images, but Exposure gives you different viewing options that work for different image orientations. If you were working with a wide landscape panorama, you could choose Horizontal or Rows. If you were working with a narrow portrait shot, you could choose Vertical or Columns.

Note that Link Views is turned on. This option enables you to pan and zoom all the images at once. I’ll pan to and zoom in on the subject’s face in all four images, to see which expression I like more.

Now that I’m zoomed in on her face, I can compare each of these four shots. I like this one most because the expression has a natural feel.

If I’d narrowed it down to two shots, I’d choose Vertical to compare the two side-by-side. Seeing them onscreen side-by-side is so much easier than toggling back and forth, or looking at smaller thumbnails.

Side-by-Side view also has some other helpful features.

The Pin option locks one or more images so that they always remain in view. If I were looking through a bunch of images to find similar options, pinning makes that image a reference. I can then navigate through the remaining images to find what I’m looking for.

Pinning an image isn’t the same thing as selecting it. I can select an unpinned image and make edits or apply a preset.

After you set your pinned image, press Alt/Option and the arrow keys to navigate through my images a full set at a time. So in Quad view with a reference image pinned, I’d be moving through images three at a time with each key press. This is a handy way of speeding things up.

If I open the filmstrip panel at the bottom, I can multi-select images to make them appear within the Quad view.

I can drag and drop an image from the filmstrip into any of the quadrants. Doing so automatically pins it since Exposure assumes you want it as a reference image. If I later decide I don’t want to use it as my reference image, I can turn the pin off.

Now that I have an image picked out, I’ll use the side-by-side feature and the audition preset view to find the best preset for it.

I’ll click the Audition button to begin comparing. I now have three blank quadrants where I can drag and drop Exposure’s presets. In Exposure’s Presets panel, I’ll choose a B&W preset and drag and drop it top right. Exposure now shows me a version of my selected image with this preset applied.

Now I’ll choose a low-contrast color preset and drag and drop it lower left. When I find the one I like, I click on it and drag and drop it into the lower left.

For my last preset, I’ll choose a funky lo-fi look, then drag and drop it lower right.

To remove a preset that doesn’t work, I’ll click Discard.

I’ll discard the lo-fi look and the B&W look.

Until I click Apply, this preset hasn’t been applied to my image.

I like the look I’ve gotten, so I’ll click Apply.

You can apply a preset at any point during the preset audition process. Doing so will automatically discard the other presets you’ve auditioned.

Now that I’ve applied a preset, I can do some finishing using the editing controls in the right dock.

So there you have it. Exposure’s side-by-side view gives you a lot of flexibility in both your culling and creative process.