Lightroom vs Photoshop is the most common question that arises among beginning photo editors and photographers. If you’re one of them, look through all advantages and disadvantages these Adobe programs have.
Learn more about why and when to use these photo editing softwares.
Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are widely used in the field of photography or digital art and have much in common. Each of them serves its own purpose and at the same time, they are completely different.
Understanding what makes them alike and what makes them dissimilar can help you make a proper choice of software for your goals.
Over 50 of tools for working with images. Nevertheless, if you are a novice photo editor, try a little and explore all the features of this program. You will understand that you can do everything you like with the photos here.
Photoshop is also the most popular photo editor in the world now. However, is it possible to use only Photoshop and forget about Adobe Photoshop Lightroom?
Of course, Lightroom photo editing functions will allow you to do a basic image editing, but this will be light skin editing.
You can do anything with your pictures in Photoshop. If you want to clean your face, make a hand thinner or a person a little higher, remove stray hair or objects from the background, remove double chin, restore a photo, or you are generally interested in design, you need to use Photoshop.
You need about 120 hours to master Photoshop at the average level, because the more possibilities it has – the more you have to learn. Fortunately, you will not have problems finding educational content thanks to the popularity of Photoshop.
If you consider Photoshop and Lightroom, I recommend Photoshop for professional photo editors, artists or designers who will actively use all the features of the program.
Full photo editing control. If you need to remove unwanted objects from the background, make a detailed skin retouching, or completely redo a photo beyond recognition, you must choose Photoshop. This program will allow you to have complete control over your image, starting with the uploading, and ending with the complete replacement of each pixel of your image.
Easy work with Layers. Photoshop contains a staggering number of filters, brushes and other tools that allow you to perform various changes to your photos. In addition, Photoshop gives you the ability to create layers on which you can do the picture editing. Moreover, each layer can be edited independently.
+100 Tools for everything. I will not describe each Photoshop tool separately since it will take too much time. It is important to know one thing if you need to do something with a picture – Photoshop has all tools you need for this purpose. This is a distinct advantage of Photoshop in Lightroom vs Photoshop competition.
Auto photo editing with Actions. The Photoshop actions are the recorded algorithms that the user performed during image post-production. They can be automatically repeated on any image with one click, and shared with someone else.
The only problem (except for color correction) lays in the fact that the actions cannot always do everything for you. All this is because most of the actions in Photoshop are performed locally, separately for each section, each image, so it is impossible to fully automate the photo editing process.
Destructive photo editing. Photoshop edits files in a different way, not like Lightroom does. When you work with a photo in JPG, PNG, or RAW format in Photoshop, you always must edit the original file, unless you save the copy as a PSD file, which will take several tens of megabytes.
This PSD file contains all the changes made to the photo and is able to distribute it. You need to save it in the final JPG, PNG or another format.
In essence, if you want to do non-destructive editing in Photoshop, you will end up with three files: source RAW file, PSD, and a final copy saved in a format other than PSD.
Not for batch editing. If we talk about convenience, Photoshop is not the best option here, especially when you need to work with a lot of photos. Photoshop is designed to work with individual images.
It will be problematic to open hundreds of photos in Photoshop and edit each one separately. Nevertheless, some batch picture editing functions are present here.
You can find the Batch Editing item in the File Automation menu. At the same time, the functionality of this mode is poor and offers to use only previously saved actions.
Not easy for learning. Photoshop offers a very large number of tools. Moreover, many of them give the opportunity to achieve the same result, but in different ways. It causes difficulties for beginners since it is complicated to determine the image post-processing method having no experience.
In addition, it is very hard to learn the functionality and master the principle of operation of all settings. If we consider Photoshop & Lightroom, the second option is much easier.
Not a RAW file editor. If you are shooting in RAW format, you will have to process the images in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) or Lightroom before opening them in Photoshop.
According to the functionality, it corresponds to the Camera RAW module, but the tools are arranged in a different order. Despite its simplicity, Lightroom is a rather powerful program. The following Camera RAW functions are added here: gradient, point filter, as well as presets (ready settings for instant color correction) and +20 instruments.
If you shoot in RAW format, you can easily import your photos into Lightroom, which is a converter. You no longer need Adobe Camera Raw for this task. In addition, because of Lightroom control capabilities, you can easily put your photos into folders when importing into a catalog.
Lightroom is an ideal option for most color adjustments, including (but not limited to) cropping, white balance, exposure, histogram adjustment, tonal curves, black and white color conversion, stain removal, red-eye correction, etc.
Many users are pleased with the possibility of simultaneous batch editing of a large number of pictures. I recommend using Lightroom to those photographers or photo retouchers who are very interested in working with colors and are not satisfied with Adobe Camera Raw features.
If we compare Lightroom and Photoshop, it is worth noting that for beginners, it will be much easier to understand the settings of Lightroom and to do fast and high-quality photo post-processing after only a few hours.
Convenient photo management. Are you working with a large number of photos (wedding, studio or event shooting)? Do you need to sort your photos, apply some color layout or just crop all your pictures with one click before contacting the professional image retoucher? Are you interested in through picture retouching? Then you need to buy Lightroom.
Non-destructive photo editing. One of the main differences between Photoshop and Lightroom photo editor is that the latter does not actually edit photos or move them to different places on your computer.
All the changes you make are saved in a separate file, which is called a catalog and is a collection of instructions on how each photo should be processed.
When you apply some kind of adjustments, such as a radial filter or a brush, Lightroom keeps a log of all changes in the database while leaving the original file unchanged.
Fast and basic image edit. It is a quick and easy program, which is indispensable when you need to complete a lot of simple tasks in a short time.
About ten years ago, Adobe realized that not everyone needs Photoshop features, especially photographers who need fast image post-processing, but not work separately on each photo for long hours.
The new generation of digital photographers needed basic simplified Photoshop editing tools.
Fast color correction with Presets. Many users are familiar with Photoshop actions, in which you can record a specific order of actions and apply them to other images in one click. Lightroom also has a similar feature, and it is called a Lightroom preset.
These are saved settings of all sliders and changes that can be applied to an image (or several images) in one mouse click.
Has everything you need in 90% of cases. Since it is designed specifically for amateur and professional photographers, it manages all the steps from importing photos from a memory card to editing, distributing, and finally printing them.
Lightroom CC supports keywords and virtual folders to help you find images very quickly. It has the ability to sort your files using markers. In addition, you can use this program to create slide shows and photo books.
Many photographers, even professionals, do not use Photoshop for weeks and months because Lightroom gives them everything they need and saves their precious time.
No deep photo retouching. While simple image retouching is possible in Lightroom, it is impossible to apply complex adjustments due to the lack of the right tools.
However, the program offers a quick photo export to Photoshop. After retouching in an external graphical editor, the modified image will be displayed in Lightroom.
No photo merging. If you need to combine photos, stitch a few shots together, or make any heavy manipulations with combining different parts of photos, for sure, this is a task for Photoshop.
Lightroom works well with global adjustments and stitches panoramas perfectly, but it provides less control over this process than Photoshop does. Therefore, if you have a "Photoshop or Lightroom" dilemma, this is an undeniable argument in favor of the first variant.
Only for photos. Lightroom CC is a program designed specifically for photo editing. At the same time, Photoshop can be used for working with a wide range of graphics, including 3D, and even some video formats.
If we talk about the price, the best choice is Photography Plan in which you get both programs, Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.
You can also get Adobe Photoshop Elements Free as an alternative solution for beginners, without a monthly subscription fee. It has many functions, tools, and filters from Photoshop.
Imagine that Photoshop Elements is an easier combined version of Lightroom and Photoshop. Although you can use Photoshop Elements to arrange, edit, print, and publish your photos, it can also integrate with Lightroom.
If you are just taking pictures of your family, random landscapes, and nature photos, Photoshop Elements is a good choice for you.
Photoshop and Lightroom are two completely different programs. Photoshop is aimed at a leisurely deep work with a single image, while Lightroom is designed for fast picture post-processing and editing of large photo blocks, when most of the work has already been done during the shooting and only basic color correction is required.
If you are photographing everything in RAW, print or publish photos with little or no picture post-production, and the only method of image editing is the correction of skin imperfections, framing and color correction, Lightroom is the best choice.
If you are engaged in professional photo editing and retouching, shoot and process 1-2 shots per day at a slow pace, Photoshop is a good variant for you.
However, if you take a lot of pictures and edit them very carefully, there is a high probability that you will need both tools, Photoshop and Lightroom.
A huge Adobe’s advantage among competitors is its popularity. You can easily find thousands of Presets and Actions online, both for free and paid, which quickly automate your photo editing and make it faster.
If you want to add saturation, beautiful contrast and emphasize the lines of the body, but are afraid to go too far - this free fashion action from FixThePhoto will do everything for you.
This Photoshop action is a must-have filter for making eyes brighter if you’re editing close-up portraits.
Would like to make your dull photo sunnier and warm? This free pastel preset for Lightroom will help you do it faster.
This free portrait preset emphasizes the color of the skin and makes hair brighter, making them more lively. I recommend using it in studio portraits.
Warm vintage photos instantly bring us back to old times. You can give your photos a similar look just in several clicks with the help of this free Lightroom preset.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments. read more