Learn the basics of Photoshop and Lightroom, find out what is best for beginners and the difference in Photoshop vs. Lightroom.
For anybody starting out as a professional photographer, the Adobe editing suite of tools may seem like an exciting and daunting prospect. The difficult reputation tools like Photoshop have for beginners can make it difficult when deciding which software to use to find the perfect editing process for professional images. There are differences and I want to teach you what the differences in Photoshop vs. Lightroom are.
Is Lightroom better than Photoshop?
While Lightroom and Photoshop are both used to edit photos, each piece of software has strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right one for the right task can save photographers countless hours of editing and ensure that users create top-quality pictures every time.
What is Lightroom?
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom was created in 2006 as an image editing software which provided users with control over the management and organization of images. The software automatically extracts data from images, such as camera make and model, resolution and date and time of capture. This information allows users to organize their images into databases and sort through each group with ease.
Though Lightroom is a strong editor with a range of expert tools, Photoshop is much stronger and has a much wider range of tools available. Regardless, some professional photographers may not need the added help of Photoshop and may be able to do all their work purely with Lightroom. Even though it may not be the best overall for editing, there are a huge range of advantages when using Lightroom.
Is Lightroom Good for Beginners?
1- Presets: Photographers who edit large number of images at a time, like wedding photographers, will greatly benefit from the use of presets. Lightroom presets are programmed edits which can be applied to whole groups of images at a time. This means for any group of images that need the same filters or enhancements, editors can make the changes to every picture at the same time.
2- RAW file processor: Most photographers shoot in RAW format, as the camera is able to capture as much data as possible. When it comes to editing, RAW images lose less quality with each improvement compared with JPG files. To edit RAW images in Photoshop, users need to first process them in Camera RAW but editors can skip this step when using Lightroom.
3- Easy social media uploads: Lightroom is fully optimized to post to social media from within the software, making it much easier for many professional photographers to post collections directly to Facebook or post singular, optimized images to Instagram. For busy photographers working on multiple projects at a time, features like this can really help simplify the whole editing process.
4- Organizational tools: In addition to automatically extracting metadata, Lightroom has a range of organizational features that professional photographers will find useful. Lightroom is able to categorize images into databases and tools like stars, ratings and flags help users identify the best images and images to return to.
5- Non-destructive: When editing an image in Lightroom, the program automatically saves edits to a new file, ensuring original images are never at risk of being lost.
What is Photoshop?
The master of editing software, Photoshop is a household name around the world. The tool is used in almost every creative industry worldwide, including graphic design, photography, animation and video editing. Photoshop works so well for creatives in all media because of its wide range of functions and tools which can manipulate and enhance images in an endless number of ways.
Though it doesn’t have the workflow focus of Lightroom, Photoshop excels at detailed, masterful edits. There’s a reason that Photoshop is one of Adobe’s most well-known programs and anybody looking to start a career in professional photography should probably know at least the basics of
how to use it.
Advantages of Photoshop
1- Layer editing: Photoshop works by editing in layers, allowing users complete control over the look and feel of the image. This also helps protect users from the destructive potential of Photoshop edits as immediately duplicating the original image as a new layer means the original image is at less risk of being lost.
2- Healing tools: Photoshop has multiple healing tools, including the healing spot brush, the healing brush and content aware fill. Each of these tools has different uses and, whether removing entire objects from the background or buffing away skin blemishes, each tool helps produce perfect, professional images.
3- Compositing: Another corrective tool not available in Lightroom, compositing allows users to layer sections of images on top of each other to create otherwise unattainable images. This includes naturally replacing heads or body parts or adding entire items into images.
4- HDR images: High Dynamic Range images are difficult or impossible to capture naturally, as this relates to the amount of contrast present in an image. Photoshop’s merging capabilities mean that users can combine multiple images together to increase the contrast range of an image.
5- Actions: Another automated tool from Adobe, actions are a program of multiple functions which can be carried out on each image with one command. Though not as simplistic as Lightroom presets, this does help save a huge deal of time when editing in Photoshop.
How to get the best out of both Photoshop and Lightroom
Where Lightroom excels at organization, the editing capabilities are lacking compared to Photoshop. There is no ability to edit in layers and the number of tools available is much more limited. On the other hand, Photoshop has more editing power but can be a destructive editor. It’s also only able to
load one image at a time, making mass-scale edits a painstaking process.
Luckily, Adobe offers both tools for the same price as paying for Lightroom on its own. This means that, for any aspiring professional photographer unsure of which tool to use, the best option is both. Using both tools in tandem allows users to access the organizational prowess of Lightroom and the editing strength of Photoshop for the best, most professional-looking images.
This article, Photoshop vs. Lightroom, was written by Holger Pooten from London Institute of Photography. LIoP offer professional photography courses in London for all skill levels.