Using Lightroom’s Lights Out Mode to Remove Distractions

When looking at your photos sometimes its nice to remove all of the distractions of the Lightroom interface so you can concentrate just on the photo itself. This is especially useful when you are culling photos, examining your finished masterpiece or just showing an image to a client. Luckily for us, Lightroom makes it very easy to hide the interface, leaving just the photo on the screen. Adobe calls this ‘Lights Out’ mode.

In order to activate lights out mode simply hit the ‘L’ key on your keyboard. This will dim the lights. Press ‘L’ again to turn the lights off completely. Finally, press the ‘L’ key for a third time to return to the normal view. You can see the different levels of Lights Out in the screenshot and video below.


When Lights Out mode is activated Lightroom still functions as normal. Keyboard shortcuts still work (so you can star, pick and move between images as normal. Mouse functions are also normal, so you can click the image to zoom in and pan around as normal.

Some useful keyboard shortcuts to use in the Library module can be found below:

Keyboard Shortcuts for Lights Out Mode
Keyboard Shortcut Action
L Cycle between Lights Out Modes
Left Arrow, Right Arrow Move to previous, next photo
1,2,3,4,5 Rate the photo 1-5 stars
P Set the photo as a ‘Pick’
X Set the photo as a ‘Reject’
U Remove ‘Pick’ or ‘Reject’ flags
Z Zoom in or out

Changing The Background Colour

For most uses the default black background will work best. However, if you are often trying to judge how your photos would look as a print, you may want to change the background colour to white. To do this simply open Lightroom preferences by clicking Lightroom -> Preferences on a Mac or File -> Preferences on a PC and click on the ‘Interface’ tab. You can change the background under the Lights Out -> Screen Colour option.

Check out the 40 second video below to see it in action:

A Quick Note

Clicking the mouse on the ‘blacked out’ section of the screen will still activate whatever part of this interface is under the black out. So if you randomly click where the keyword section is you can accidentally add it to the current photo. You can avoid this by making sure you only click on the active image area.

Square Pixel Photography

Melbourne, Australia