#CreativeFriday – Using Lightroom’s Survey mode to create a tetraptych and re-ordering system

Recently I was working with Lightroom and wanted to create a tetraptych (which is 4 images together) to show a series of images of a church that i visited in Norway. I wanted to find the best way to arrange them before i started the Photoshop work and blend them together. The Lightroom survey mode is a great tool and  used for comparing images together by all photographers, and i feel is the best approach for this task, however,  I want to play around with the order without having to come in and out of the view. This is possible inside Lightroom’s survey mode, and it allows you to drag images around whilst in this view.

Here’s how. Move Lightroom into the Library Module (if it is not already selected) and pick multiple images in the film strip. Then to re-order the images, grab one of the images and move it around the view. The other images will move around to accommodate this image. This is great, as it allows me to not only experiment with my  tetraptych, but also allows me to compare images together in a way that makes sense.

You can see in the following screen shot, that I have selected 5 pictures, but only 4 are needed to be part of  my tetraptych, so now i need to select the one’s that i like, but also work together as a set. Initially i am going to start with 4 that grab my attention and use the Adobe Behance platform to collaborate with others to get feed back.

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When in Lightroom’s Library module in grid mode, you can select multiple images to compare (Red). In this case click on the first image, then hold the shift key, click on the last image and selected the range. You can also used the CMD (Mac) or the CTRL (Pc) key to individually select them (the images may not be in a natural sequence). Then move Lightroom into Survey mode to check the images work (Yellow). I would like to use the whole screen estate as well, so i need to remove the panels, pressing SHIFT and ALT keys together will allow me to do this.


Pressing the ‘L’ will move Lightroom into Lights out mode. This is now what is displayed.

This view in Lightroom really allows me to see which images work well together. It also allows me to try different combinations, by dragging images and placing them in different locations (click on an image and drag it into a different location on your computer).

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 13.37.42


Once the images have been moved they look very different

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Now let us move them into Photoshop for the assembly.

As this series of images will be for the web, just export them to a folder on the desktop (Red), then set the quality to maximum JPG (Yellow), and the long edge to be 1500 at 360 PPI (Blue).


Now open them all in Photoshop CC and assemble to a Black background for editing.

By just opening all of the files inside Photoshop, you can create the final comp using the following techniques

1. Extend the canvas of one on the pictures (this will be an ideal base as it has the same bit depth and height as the rest.

2 Use the crop tool to extend the height of the canvas to support the black edges which will be 3 pixels of black around the edges of the whole comp and the images in the comp. (To make it easier to see where the black edges are, choose the move tool (V) and right click on the canvas and select a lighter colour than black).

3. Set a black background for the comp. Create a new Solid layer (Menu Tool bar / Layer, New Fill Layer / Solid Colour), choose Black or another colour, then move this to the bottom layer of the layer stack (so it is behind the other layers).

4. Turn on the rulers (Menu Tool bar / View / Rulers) and enable guides (Menu Tool bar / View / Show / Guides). I am chosen to use pixel for the rulers (this will help me select 3 pixels), right click on the ruler and choose pixels. Then pull out some guides from the ruler portion of the canvas. I have used 10 vertical and 4 horizontal.

5. Position the vertical guides at the edges of each photograph, starting from the left, choose a 3pixel gap (using the ruler and guides), then move the first picture in place (it will snap), then follow this technique for the rest of the images (as well as the last edge). Continue to do this for the top and bottom edges as well.

Now you should have something like the following. The guides are sticky, so saving the document will these enabled will enable you to add different pictures or re-order pictures, and use this as a template.

6. Save the file as a .PSD, you may also want to save as a template for other work as well.


Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 13.57.21

Now let us get feedback on this image from the Behance community using the Behance Work in Progress feature, effectively i am going to use either Behance to get critique on my work (this could be from your peers or the wider community).

At the bottom of the image screen, there is a share on Behance icon (Red). Click this icon and you will be presented with the “Share on Behance Screen”.


The Behance Share panel will automatically prepare the file for editing and convert for a web display. You can see that i have already filled in the title, description and SEO (Search Engine Tags) for this image, as well as a conversation piece.

You can control the audience at the bottom of the panel.  Public will be everyone on the Behance network, then Feedback Circle will be a private viewing of peers and colleagues. This is a great way to really make your work shine, by asking other people how it can be improved. This type of workflow is new, but is where I see the future of Photography and Digital Art work.

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Press Continue to move to the next step.

Crop the cover of your work and Publish the work when ready (there is also a chance to promote you work on Twitter as well, in the next step, which is not covered here).

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 14.18.36

You can then see the final Work in Progress image on Behance. You can see below the actual Work in Progress that was issued before this post was written. At the bottom of the page, you can see there is a change to add revisions to this work and show progress of the image, based on critique received.

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If the sequence is not quite right, then you can go back and re-select in Lightroom and survey mode, then slot the image exports back into the Photoshop file, ready to create a new revision in WIP, or create a final project piece.

The feedback from talking with people on this particular image, was that the blured image doesn’t work very well and having something that links the church to more of a religious significance may make the sequence have more relevance and impact.

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 14.31.00

You can see my current thoughts on the Behance Work in Progress and if you have any thoughts, please type your comment, it would be great to hear them.


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