One of the first features that I played with in Lightroom was the “Lights Out” feature. Press the L key once and the interface around the photograph you are looking at fades out. Press again and the interface fades completely to black. Press again and the interface comes back. For a while, I used it now and then at its intermediate setting to look at photographs without so much clutter. Advancing back and forth through images was easy enough as the film strip was just viewable, but otherwise the interface was just a bit too dark to use for me to use this mode to perform image adjustments in. So I didn’t use it much at all after the initial wow factor wore off.
But then, the other day as I dug around through Lightroom’s preferences, I found you can adjust the settings for the “Dim Level” of the Lights out mode. The default setting is 80%.
However, you can adjust the Dim Lights Out setting to 50, 70, 80, or 90% dark. After a bit of experimentation, I found that I liked the 50% setting.
The 50% setting lets me view the interface on my screen and perform all of the image adjustments that I want to without fumbling around. Yet, the interface is darkened enough to really pop the image I’m working with from its surroundings. Here’s what it looks like:
As you can see by comparing it with the default Dim level shown in the first screen shot above, you can actually see the controls. On my display, the level is just enough to see what I’m doing when I go to work with the Tone Curve or Exposure sliders. Now that I’ve found this preference adjustment, I see myself using this quite a bit.