The Lightroom Loupe Info Overlay feature provides valuable information about your photos. Used intelligently it can help you find your photos, and can even help you improve your photography skills. I’ll explain what it is, how to enable and disable it, how to configure it, and some reasons why the Loupe Info Overlay is such a valuable feature.
What is the Loupe Info Overlay?
Loupe Info Overlay is a small text overlay which appears in the top left corner of your images in the Develop module inside Lightroom, and when you are viewing images in Loupe view in the Library module. The Loupe Info Overlay confuses many first time Lightroom users when they turn it on, often accidentally, and then struggle to turn it off again.
Turning the Overlay Off and On
To view the Loupe Info Overlay you must be viewing an image in the Develop module, or in the Library module in Loupe (or single image) view. To display the Loupe Info Overlay, tap the I (i) key on your keyboard. Tap the i key repeatedly (but slowly so you can see what you are doing) to rotate through the three options for the Loupe Info Overlay.
They are: (1) Loupe Info Overlay off; (2) Loupe Info 1; and (3) Loupe Info 2. You will see that there are two different overlays which can be separately configured to show a range of information about your images.
You can also display the Loupe Info Overlay using the Lightroom menus: choose View > Loupe Info and then select Info 1 or Info 2 to display one of the two overlay options. If Show Info Overlay is selected then selecting it again will hide the Loupe Info Overlay.
Each Info Overlay is comprised of three lines of information, and you can select only one piece of information from a list of options for each line. The defaults for the Loupe Info Overlays are:
Loupe Info Overlay 1:
- File Name and Copy Name
- Capture Date/ Time
- Crop Dimensions
Loupe Info Overlay 2:
- File Name and Copy Name
- Exposure and ISO
- Lens Setting
These items can be changed if you select View > View Options, and in the Library Module click the Loupe View tab. Select the Show Info Overlay checkbox and then choose the Info Overlay to show from the dropdown list – it’s a good idea to show the one you are going to change so you can see what it looks like and if the information you are seeing is what you want to see.
To change the information that appears in any of the three lines of the Info Overlay click the appropriate dropdown list – there are three for Loupe Info 1 and three for Loupe Info 2, all in the order they appear on your screen.
From any of the lists you can select None to turn that line off so nothing displays there, or choose from any of the options on the list. These include a range of file name options, Common Attributes (whether the image is flagged, rated, has a label, or is a virtual copy), the crop dimensions and megapixels.
Also in the list are various items which are extracted from the image metadata such as Copyright, Title, Creator, and Common Photo Settings which include Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO, the Lens, and the Focal Length. These are also available as individual options so, if you don’t want to see all that detail, you can choose to see Exposure Time, ISO, F-stop, Exposure Bias, Exposure Program, Metering Mode, or Camera + Lens Settings.
Of the options available, Common Photo Settings is a good one to use if you want to see a lot of information about each shot.
How the Loupe Info Overlay can make you a better photographer
If you plan to use the information from the Loupe Info Overlay to improve your photography, then consider setting the options for one of the Loupe Info Overlays to include Common Photo Settings, Exposure Program and, for example, Metering Mode. This will give you valuable insight into your camera settings at the time you took each shot.
I use the Info Overlay to help photographers who are having issues with their photos. If you set the Loupe Info Overlay to show the camera settings you can determine why, for example, an image is out of focus, too light, or too dark. An out of focus shot may be caused by a shutter speed that is too slow, so that the subject or camera has moved while the shot is being captured. Being able to see the shutter speed will help you determine if it is the reason your photos aren’t sharp.
If you are shooting in manual mode and the shots are too dark (underexposed) it may be that you’re using too fast a shutter speed, too small an aperture, or a combination of both. An overly light (overexposed) image can be caused by too large an aperture, too slow a shutter speed, or both. Displaying aperture, shutter speed and ISO may help you troubleshoot your exposure issues.
Overexposed and underexposed images can also be caused by an incorrect exposure compensation setting. It’s not uncommon for a beginner photographer to set an exposure compensation value without realizing the impact of what they have done. If you set the Loupe Info Overlay to display Exposure Bias you can see if exposure compensation is the cause of incorrect exposure.
The Loupe Info Overlay is a useful tool which can display a wealth of information, some of which can help you troubleshoot problems you are having with your photos.
Now it’s over to you: do you use the Lightroom Info Overlay and, if so, what information do you set it to display and why?