Photoshop Versus Lightroom – The Pros and Cons

Photoshop VS Lightroom

Most new photographers, as well as seasoned veterans have had to make the decision between using Photoshop and Lightroom. Although both are Adobe products and Lightroom is, in fact, titled Photoshop Lightroom, these two programs are each geared toward people with specific and different needs.

To put it very simply, Lightroom can be considered a stripped down version of Photoshop that would take the place of the photographer’s assistant in processing his or her work.

The more robust Photoshop, however, is a multi-purpose program that can suit the needs of anyone from photog to graphic artist and even video editor.

Photoshop VS Lightroom

Let’s take a look at some of Lightroom’s functionality:

Localized corrections: edit specific parts of an image

New Chroma noise reduction

Sharpening tool



Publish services

Custom package for print

Luminance noise reduction

Tethered shooting for selected Nikon and Canon cameras

Basic video file support

Point curve Highlight and shadow recovery to bring out detail in dark shadows and bright highlights

As you can see, Lightroom is in no way an under powered editing tool. What you will notice, if you are familiar with Photoshop, is a conspicuous absence of any mention of layers or layer control.

This is because Lightroom simply does not do them. Anything beyond the basic image manipulation that you get from Photoshop’s RAW file importer, which is exactly out of Lightroom’s wheelhouse.
One thing that it exceeds at, however, is image and file organization.

Whenever you import a new file into the program, you are also importing the Meta data that your camera saves with it. This includes date, time, location, aperture, iris setting, and many others. While the importance of this can’t be understated, Lightroom also helps to keep all of your files neat and tidy so you can find what you need, when you need it.

Another draw for the serious photographer is the fact that Lightroom uses lossless editing. In short, what this means is that you can edit your images in any way you want without affecting the original in any way.

Unless you export your expertly crafted image into a new file, you will always be able to go back through your changes and undo things that you don’t like after you sleep on it.

No photographer is immune to the bad editing decisions that he or she makes at one or two in the morning after hours staring at the same square inch of space, trying to get to convey the right set of emotions while not looking out of place compared with the overall shot.

While this is possible in Photoshop, and should in fact be practiced by anyone who uses it, protecting your image takes a few steps and can easily be overlooked when you have a giant pile of wedding photos that need to be printed yesterday.

Having that safety net automatically implemented in Lightroom can be a real lifesaver for the person who knows what it’s like to disappoint a bride on her big day.



Photoshop VS Lightroom – Skill Challenges

Where Lightroom is fast and user friendly, Photoshop is much more powerful but requires a level of skill that must be learned. There isn’t a whole lot that you can’t do in Photoshop, which makes it an important program for a wide range of users and professionals.

It is so ubiquitous within so many industries that it is required learning for students from all corners of the multimedia and visual arts fields.

As such, navigating all of the functions of Photoshop can be a daunting task unless you have had formal training. There are multiple ways to do everything within it, and it will probably take some time before you find your own preferred methods.

The magic of layers is what put Photoshop on the map, and that is where it really defines itself as the go to program for most people.

When you use layers, you can take elements from as many different sources as you wish and combine them all together into one magnificent shot. For instance, if you have a subject who is perfectly lit with a less than stellar background in one shot and another shot where the background is perfect, but the subject is lacking; then layers can fix that quickly and easily.

There are very few problems that can’t at least be helped in part by layer adjustments and Photoshop has that market cornered.

When exploring Photoshop VS Lightroom, another serious draw the Photoshop is that it is the program that most others aspire to be. If you can put the time and effort into learning and becoming proficient at it, then chances are that you will be able to jump on to any other photo editing suite around and be able to hold your own. The layouts and templates have been copied by lesser programs for years and that can only work to your favor.

So which program is right for you? Well, honestly, both of them. In order to be efficient and capable of overcoming any challenge, it is highly recommended that you get both programs. Use Lightroom for your simple editing and processing

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