Photoshop vs Lightroom

Photoshop vs Lightroom

Photoshop vs Lightroom

Photoshop vs Lightroom – Whenever I post images on our website and the Facebook fan page, we get plenty of requests on post-processing from our readers. One question that keeps coming back all the time is about Lightroom vs Photoshop – many beginners do not know differences between Lightroom and Photoshop and have a hard time choosing which one to get first. In this article, I will show the main differences between these two software packages from Adobe, what they are used for and what you can do in Photoshop that you cannot in Lightroom. Most of this article will also apply for Aperture vs Photoshop discussion, because Aperture and Lightroom share very similar functionality.

What is Photoshop?

Photoshop vs Lightroom-2

Photoshop was originally created as a tool for simple image editing, which since 1990 has grown into a monster software suite with many functions and capabilities to accommodate graphic designers, architects, animators, publishers, photographers and even 3D artists. Think of it as a Cadillac of image editing with an unlimited potential that can grow not only with software updates and upgrades, but also with special plugins known as “filters” from Adobe and third party software companies. Want to stitch multiple photographs into a single panorama? Or create a High Dynamic Range photograph? Or get rid of skin blemishes? Or perhaps make a person look taller, shorter, thinner or fatter? Yup, Photoshop can do all that; and much much more. It would be pointless to try to list what Photoshop can do, because it would probably be a never-ending list. The term “Photoshopped” is now a part of our daily jargon, because we are constantly exposed to altered images that might look realistic while being fake – that’s the power of Photoshop.Photoshop vs Lightroom

What is Lightroom?

Photoshop vs Lightroom

The full name for Lightroom is “Adobe Photoshop Lighroom”, which may sound confusing, because it contains the word “Photoshop”. In a way, it makes sense, because Lightroom can be considered a subset of Photoshop with specific functionality that Photoshop does not and probably will never have. It was created for the main purpose of managing a large number of images, keeping them organized in one place. Photoshop is a very advanced image editing tool, but when you edit hundreds of images, keeping them organized becomes a problem over time. Before I started using Lightroom, my photography workflow solely consisted of Adobe Camera RAW (which allows opening, manipulating and converting RAW files) and Photoshop (which I used to fine-tune images before saving them into my hard drive). It was a complex, cumbersome and inefficient process, even after I semi-automated it through a batch process in Photoshop. The biggest challenge was organizing edited images in my hard drive, sorting and cataloging them. I am not even going to talk about finding images, because it was an impossible task that required reviewing thousands of thumbnails and image metadata in order to find what I was looking for. As my file catalog grew, I realized that I had to find a better way to organize my photographs. And that’s when I discovered Lightroom.

Lightroom is a database-driven image management software that automatically reads image metadata (such as camera make and model, date/time captured, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, white balance and more), known as EXIF and writes information about each photograph in a new database known as “catalog”. As images are imported, Lightroom has built-in functionality to add additional information to each image, allowing you to tag images with specific keywords, flags and star ratings. This makes it very easy to sort through hundreds of images and pick the best ones, edit them selectively or in batches, then export the best images directly into websites like Flickr and Facebook. This type of tagging and indexing is not available in Photoshop, because Photoshop does not keep a database with cataloged images.Photoshop vs Lightroom

In addition to media management capabilities, Lightroom contains a set of tools that allow photographers to manipulate images. In short, think of Photoshop as an image editing tool while Lightroom is an image management tool with some limited image editing capabilities.

Which one is right for you?

Since pricing is no longer an issue, the choice as to which program to use for your photography work comes down to what is most important to you.Photoshop vs Lightroom

When is the right time using  Lightroom ?

You value a smooth clean workflow more than infinite control over the editing of your images. Having said that, Lightroom is no slouch when it comes to processing photos, and you can recreate almost any look using the controls available to you in this software.Photoshop vs Lightroom

The presets provide an endless array of styles, and thousands more are available on the internet. Lightroom’s clean, efficient interface will allow you to process those multiple wedding or portrait shots quickly and consistently, and make managing all of those photos simpler than you could have imagined.

When is the right time using photoshop?

You need more control over your images. Photoshop can do it all, but of course the cost of that is a higher learning curve. Quick presets are not what the program does best; instead, it offers complete image editing with masks, layers, and a multitude of other tools, giving you all of the options you could ever need.Photoshop vs Lightroom

At the end of the day

BOTH titles can be an integral part of the post-processing workflow. Like anything else they both have strengths and weaknesses. Fortunately, with Adobe’s wonderful new Creative Cloud subscription model, you can enjoy both programs, and employ the advantages of each within your workflow, without breaking your bank.Photoshop vs Lightroom

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