Do I Need Lightroom or Photoshop for my Photograph Editing?

Why Use Lightroom and Photoshop to Improve Your Editing and Workflow? Here’s Why!

We spend so much time on our intuitive creative eye to capture our best photographic moments. In order to be the best photographs we can be, we need to take seriously our post production workflow with whatever applications we use. At this point in my career I am loving my Lightroom and Photoshop combination.

Photography editing used to be very difficult. Ask me, I know! I remember buying and downloading Photoshop 1 and each following app to help push pixels around. Do you remember that? The process was slow, your tools were limited, and the interface was truly old school! Now, powerful photo editing capabilities are available at the tip of our fingers from our phone to our desktops and laptops. Editing is useful and very much needed to help adjust the tone and color correct, as well as crop and straighten photos. 

Lightroom and Photoshop are both Adobe programs that allow you to manipulate a photo and improve it. In this blog post, I will share a little about each program and why they are great to use and I will talk a little bit about metadata and why it is important!

Why Is Adobe Lightroom Important for Photographers?

There are a few reasons why Lightroom is important for photographers. To begin, it is important to know the primary purpose of Lightroom. The program is a photo processor and image organizer that allows a photographer to view, organize and retouch a large number of digital images…sometimes all at once in batch processing!

One very good thing about Lightroom is that it is very easy to use. You don’t have to learn a whole lot of tips and tricks to use it properly. Here are a few of the things you can do with your photos in Lightroom:

·      Import your photos into Lightroom: This process is basic. Just tell Lightroom where it can find your photos and allow it to import them. You can do this with individual photo files or with a large batch of photos.

·      Make basic adjustments: Use Lightroom to touch up the color and tone of your photo. You can also crop or straighten your photo and correct perspectives and lens distortions. If you’ve ever edited photos at a Kodak kiosk inside of a drug store, you’ll find that many of the capabilities are the same.

·      Isolate and edit certain areas of your photo: You can use a brush tool to go over areas that need specific color adjustments, need to look sharper or blurrier, and more.

·      Group your photos with keywords: Keywords are photographer-added tags that describe the contents of a photo. After you group your photo, you can export your file. When the keyword you’ve added to your photo is searched on any application that supports XMP metadata, it will come up as a search hit. So i’ll tell you a little bit about metadata later. Lightroom keywords are very important! Not only can they help you find photos you’ve saved, it is a great tool for organizing your images in based on theme, location, and any other metric that you deem important to the subject! These are just a few of the many things Lightroom has to offer photographers.

Why Is Photoshop Important for Photographers?

Photoshop is an extremely powerful application that can handle pretty much any kind of editing you need to do. This program does take a bit longer to learn, but you will be able to do so much more, as far as editing goes, with it. I usually make the statement: Lightroom is for heaving lifting editing, and Photoshop is for your razor sharp fine tuning. Here are a few of the program’s capabilities:

·      Basic photo editing: Much like Lightroom, you can use Photoshop to touch up the colors and tones in your images. You can also crop and straighten your images as well.

·      Beyond basic photo editing: This is where Lightroom and Photoshop diverge. In Photoshop, you can alter images by changing the colors within the image, modifying its size and scale, cut out the background of an image using layers and so much more. The capabilities that Photoshop offers are usually harnessed by graphic designers to make stunning works of art. I enjoy being about to select certain images and differentiate them based on an instrument, color of clothes, and being able to separate food, portraits, and panoramic views at a festival!

·      Save in several different formats: You can save photos you edit in Photoshop in different file formats that will work best for your project. Some websites only accept JPEG or PNG images, while some people may want an EPS or TIF file. PSD files aren’t great for uploading outside of Adobe-friendly programs, but the great thing about them is that they open up in the program and you could continue editing where you left off instead of starting from scratch with an original image. As you can see, Photoshop has a lot to offer any photographer. Now, how to choose?

Why Not Choose Both Lightroom and Photoshop?

Lightroom and Photoshop are both awesome programs. You can easily use them both in tandem and are available in a VERY affordable subscription package from Adobe using the Creative Cloud. I think it’s only around $11 a month! But if you are looking to choose, here are some things to think about:

·      What editing capabilities do you need? If you’re looking for editing basics like the ability to crop, straighten, and adjust the tone or color of a photo, Lightroom is a great option for you. However, if you want to further manipulate and enhance your photos, Photoshop offers what Lightroom does and then some.

·      What type of photography are you doing? A lot of the answer from the previous question may help you answer this one too. If you’re mainly taking photos for assignments or freelance, and have the need to create proofing galleries, separate categories and more, Lightroom may be the best option for you. If you want to get a little more in depth with the editing process, Photoshop may be best for you. Most people who use Photoshop are creative photographers who use the program to enhance their photos for creative purposes.

·      What do you have time to learn? Everyone is busy these days. If you don’t have a lot of time to learn a program, Lightroom is going to be the easiest to master. If you have some time, Photoshop is better…maybe even both! You get to use tools that you don’t normally find in other editing programs. These tools take time to learn and understand. If you have the time and patience, Photoshop is best for you.

·      Do you need workflow solutions? If you’re looking for an end-to-end workflow solution (which many photographers need), Lightroom is superior to Photoshop. In the program, you can important, edit, organize, share, and even print your photos. Photoshop allows a photographer to edit photos individually, but organizing them just isn’t the same outside of Lightroom. Lightroom uses those keywords I was talking about earlier

What Is Metadata And Why Is It Important For Photographers?

So, what is metadata? Metadata is, get this, a set of data that describes and gives information about other data. In the case of photographers, metadata is data that is used to describe and give information about photos. Lightroom, as previously mentioned, allows a photographer to assign keywords to an image. The keywords are transformed into metadata that effectively tags the photo. The photographer can then search for the keyword and find what they are looking for easily.

Sorting photos with the use of metadata saves photographers a lot of time and can improve their workflow. Here is an example. If you’re a wedding photographer, you can attach a keyword to the photos of each wedding you do. You can choose, let’s say, the couple’s shared last name as the keyword. Now, when a photographer is ready, he can pull up the photo using the keyword search without any problem.

A photographer can also organize pictures they take at a zoo by using a special keyword. This keyword could be the name of the zoo or maybe something special to the photographer. Something the photographer wouldn’t forget. 

The great thing about the metadata produced in Lightroom is that it is compatible with several other pieces of software. Some of the software it works with includes Photoshop, ACDSee Pro 10, Daminion 4.6, DigiKam 5.0, ExifTool 10.46, FotoStation 8, Image Relay 5.0, Portfolio 2.5.3, WPMeta 1.3, and so many more.

It is obvious that both of these Adobe photo editing programs are top notch in their own respects. Lightroom is great for photographers who are working professionally. Many of them barely touch Photoshop because they can do all of their editing, organizing, sharing, and printing in Lightroom. Photoshop, however, is great for the creative photographer and graphic designer. If you’re still unsure which of these programs may be best for you, Adobe makes it easy. The company is currently offering a “photography” package. This is an annual plan that you can pay for monthly. Get this: for only $9.99 a month, you can have access to Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC, giving you the essentials you need to organize, edit, share, and print your photos on your desktop and mobile devices. If you want access to only Photoshop, you’ll have to pay about $20 a month. For more information on these packages, visit Adobe.com.

I hope you learned something valuable about Lightroom and Photoshop here on my blog today! If you want to REALLY get down and learn with me in person, take my JUST SHOOT RAW: Lightroom and Photoshop course in New Orleans! GO HERE!

Recent Posts

Subscribe Now!

Get email updates on new Photography Workshops, Blog Posts, New Orleans Photo Galleries and more from the world of Zack Smith Photography!

Thank you for signing up for my newsletter! I send one out every week, or two and you can always opt out any time!

Beginner Digital