Using the 1:1 preview in Adobe Lightroom to quickly search for artifacts in a photograph

As an editing and database program Lightroom is perfect for me. I love Photoshop but it’s price makes it out of my reach right now. Lightroom works for me because I don’t do very much compositing and graphic design type work and it has enough tools in the develop module that I can do what I need without much fuss. This is a great, simple tip for using Lightroom’s 1:1 preview to quickly search through your image looking for artifacts, dust or anything else that may need fixing. I use this technique quite often before I start working on an image to make sure everything is in focus, dust free and worth spending the time to edit.

1. In the Library module choose an image.


Here is my image to work on in Lightroom.


2. In the Navigator pane there will be a small white box around the thumbnail of your chosen image.


The image view in the Navigator pane


3. Again in the Navigator pane mouse the cursor to the top where you can see 1:1 and left click on it just once. The white box around the thumbnail image will shift to the upper left corner and this portion of the image will be visible at its as shot size, (here it is 18mp on the Canon 7d).


The image file at 100% with the white box starting in the upper left corner


4. Using the page up and page down keys on your keyboard, Scroll through each portion of the image looking for artifacts, dust, focus or anything out of the ordinary. As you reach the bottom of the image the white box will automatically shift up to the next set of segments, Continue until you reach the bottom right corner of the image.


Scrolling through the image looking for dust/artifacts.


5. At this point you can choose Fit in the Navigator panel and move over to the Develop module to start the editing process.


Hooray! No dust found and back to the Develop module.

Here we have a very simple technique to get a quick overview of the image to see if it is a keeper or if it should be deleted. I hate dust and try to avoid it when ever possible but it is a fact of life in our chosen field of work. This step adds a little bit of time to the workflow but in the end it will save you some  because you know just where to start in the editing process. It also handy because as I have found out on more than a few occasions, Sometimes those pesky dust spots are pretty faint but will still show up in a print. Anything that helps move the process along quickly and efficiently so I can get back out and shoot is a plus in my book.



2 thoughts on “Using the 1:1 preview in Adobe Lightroom to quickly search for artifacts in a photograph

  1. Great tip – you can also temporarily adjust the brightness/contrast so they show up a bit better if necessary. I put this in a the beginning of my processing just so I don’t forget and miss them!

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