A common question for new photographers is “What program should I use to edit my photos”, and the decision may seem humungous. There is a plethora of choice, with several free options, such as Picasa and GIMP. However, Photoshop and Lightroom are the most used and trusted photo editing programs.
Adobe, a creative software company, has two major image editing programs: Photoshop and Lightroom. Although both softwares have seen many changes over the years, they’re still widely used and provide various processing and editing features.
If you’re sizing them up, there are obvious differences between these two software packages. Lightroom is well-known for its non-destructive editing features and advanced batch processing. It’s worth noting this is useful mainly for photographers and image editors.
On the other hand, Photoshop favours layers-based editing, which is useful for image editors, graphic designers, animators, illustrators, and many other creative types.
But which should you choose? And which is better? Luckily, we’ll be discussing that below.
In the world of image editing, Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard. Not only is it used by both passionate professionals and amateurs alike, but it gives artists, digital designers, product photographers, and other professionals complete creative control.
Photoshop also allows you to transform images pixel by pixel using powerful image editing software. You can retouch photos or merge illustration and photography to create contemporary art.
It’s well known that Lightroom was designed with photographers in mind. It offers a combination of light editing tools and organizational capabilities. Photographs can manage their workflows, retouch images, and create easy-to-use catalogues of images for specific projects.
One interesting feature is the ability to rate photos on Lightroom to make it easy for others to find them and give stars to their photos.
At the core of the debate, both programs can edit images. However, the way they approach and perform this task is different. If you’re looking for software to edit, tweak, or enhance your photos, either choice will suit you. Both options can handle multiple file types, including JPEG and PNG. TIFF is also a particular favourite among many photographers.
Photoshop and Lightroom use the Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) processing engine to work with RAW files. When working with these files, you can expect the same controls and editing options, such as adjusting saturation and working with curve or correcting lens distortions.
Both programs offer a wide range of editing and manipulation tools that allow you to make basic edits such as cropping or adjusting exposure. You can also use brushes, tone curves, and graduated filters to alter your images.
Additionally, each program has a number of built-in effects that allow you to apply black and white, sepia, and other artistic styles instantly. It’s undeniable that both programs can be used to edit images in powerful and countless ways.
Now for the meat of the article. The most crucial difference between Photoshop and Lightroom is their intended purpose. Lightroom is a photo editing program that allows you to edit your photos quickly and efficiently, while also making it easy to edit any image file. Photoshop can be used for incredible image manipulation and edits. However, large PSD files may require a more powerful computer.
Lightroom differs from photoshop in that it doesn’t actually edit photos or move images around on your computer. The changes you make are instead saved in a separate file called Catalog.
Catalog servers as a recipe book of sorts, with instructions on processing each photo. Lightroom records all the changes you make to a photo, for example, a radial or adjustment filter. However, the original image remains unaffected, and this non-destructive editing technique is quite different from Photoshops approach.
Photoshop works by editing JPG, PNG, or RAW files in Photoshop, unless you save a copy of the Photoshop PSD file, which is often several dozen megabytes. Ouch.
The PSD file is a list of all changes to the photo. To share an image, it must be saved in a file format like JPG, PNG or other similar types. If you want to make non-destructive edits in Photoshop, you’ll need three files: the original camera RAW file, the PSD, and the final copy, which the PSD sharable as a format.
It’s safe to say that Lightrooms technique is much more streamlined, with fewer steps and a more integrated application.
This is another difference between the two softwares. Lightrooms end-to-end workflow solution is what sets it apart from its bigger brother. Namely, it was specifically designed to meet the needs of professional and amateur photographers.
It handles everything, from import to editing and sharing to printing. Lightroom supports keywords and virtual folders, which can be used to organize and share your image. You can also use it to create slideshows or photo books. Lightroom is the perfect sidekick and handles everything for the professional photographer.
On the other hand, Photoshop doesn’t allow you to transfer files and won’t organize images. It also can’t create slideshows or photo books. Photoshop is the only program that can offer as much editing power a skilled photographer or image editor needs, but it’s important to recognize what it lacks compared to others.
To make up for this difference, Adobe Bridge can be used to manage workflow-based tasks such as importing photos or organizing digital media on your computer. This Lightroom-esque workflow experience works well with Photoshop but remains less efficient.
Lightroom can be described as an all-terrain toolset akin to your photo workshop. It’s agile, fast, and can complete a wide range of tasks.
Adobe recognized that Photoshop wasn’t for everyone. This was especially true for photographers returning from events with numerous images that needed quick editing. Lightroom was created to provide this type of essential editing.
Photoshop offers a wide range of tools, including brushed and filters that can be used to make all kinds of imaginative edits to your images. It also allows you to create layers that can be edited independently.
Unfortunately, Lightroom is more linear and has fewer editing tools, no layers, and much less flexibility. While both Photoshop and Lightroom have a history panel that allows you to go back in time and review your edits, Photoshops layers give you infinitely greater control over your images.
Lightroom’s latest version includes basic tools for retouching images and removing blemishes. Photoshop offers even more options, and you can make someone look slimmer, whiten their teeth and even remove small objects.
While Lightroom can accomplish this, Photoshops retouching tools make it much more manageable. Although it may take some time to find the right Photoshop tools and learn how to use them properly, you’ll be rewarded with a more efficient means to enhance your photos.
Photoshop and Lightroom both have incredible features, but they differ in their photography and image editing approaches.
If you’re in need of a recap, Lightroom is better than Photoshop for professional photographers. It has more functionality and is better equipped to handle image-related tasks.
If you’re a beginner, Lightroom is absolutely the best photo editing software for you. However, Photoshop can be added for that extra boost if you need advanced photo manipulation techniques and can handle a learning curve.