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  • Lightroom or Photoshop?

    Posted on 7th March 2023 by Greta Powell

    Lightroom or Photoshop?

    What is Lightroom and what is Photoshop – which one is best?


    Obviously both are image editing software and probably in most peoples minds lumped together as one and the same but that’s not really the case. When choosing between one or the other it’s probably best to ask the question “what do I want to do with image images so which editing software would work well for me”. 


    The short answer to this would be if you are solely working with a large amount of photographs which you need to edit and want to keep track of then Lightroom would probably be fine. But if you are looking to enhance photograph’s and design social media ad’s, use images with text for print production or design beautiful graphic art then Photoshop may be the best choice.


    That’s the short to the point answer – however……………


    When to use Adobe Lightroom?

    Lightroom does tend to include generically similar tools to Photoshop meaning colour correction, exposure, cloning etc are all available but not as many as PS. But unlike Photoshop Adobe Lightroom contains a Catalog feature. This is an incredibly powerful feature that gives photographers who regularly work with huge amounts of photo’s a way to import, manage, search and work quickly and easily with their photographs. It is probably one of Lightrooms main strengths.


    The photos are gathered into a large super friendly photo catalogue built right into the software. Whenever an image is edited in any way Lightrooms Catalog tracks then logs the changes in the photo database whilst leaving the original photo intact. This is known as a none-destructive workflow which starts from the moment the image is imported into the software. So for example there’s no need to do ‘Save As’ because Lightroom tracks the changes for you. Which means you can go back and re-edit the original photo whenever you want and once edited you exported the photo for print or digital. And using the Catalog takes up very little space on the hard drive.


    If, as most photographers do you shoot in RAW then Lightroom should be your first port of call for photo editing but to be fair both Lightroom and Photoshop Camera RAW Processing have the ability to work with these files. Which means you will see similar tools and options when working with curves, saturation and lens corrections.


    When to use Photoshop?

    Photoshop does much of what Lightroom does but without Catalog’s and even contains its own RAW filter plugin. People often use Lightroom and Photoshop together for example when they need to add text, special effects and put together layouts for digital or print.


    Photoshop also contains layers which are popular with creative designers as well as photographers. These let you add other images /effects to a photo and adjust the transparency of parts of an image letting you create compositions and add objects to your work. They work in a stack and can be moved up and down the stack as and when required to add special effects and various transparencies, colour and light.


    It’s also worth bearing in mind that Photoshop all has a text tool which Lightroom doesn’t giving you the opportunity to create text labels (vital for Social Media) and text blocks in the software

    Photoshop is great for creating social media content and any Lightroom photo can be bought into Photoshop to be added to collages and design.


    And finally Photoshop also has excellent video tools which work well for short marketing videos and social media clips. You can even take advantage of its frame by frame editing capabilities to design your own animated GIFS and effects.


    Read more about Photoshop & Social Media Design https://www.gretapowell.com/?s=photoshop


    Photoshop or Lightroom?
    is it a case of either /or?

    Not really, it’s probably more a question of asking yourself what you need from image editing software. Do you just want to add and organise photo’s, in which case Lightroom should more than satisfy the criteria or do you want to work with Photoshop to create more complex artwork for digital or print.


    Advantages of using Lightroom

    Adobe Lightroom or Adobe PhotoshopLightroom is easy to learn due to a much simpler workspace and less tools


    Easier to use on touchscreens


    Direct RAW Editor


    Photos taken in RAW can be uploaded directly to Lightroom whereas Photoshop has a slightly more complex path to this with the Adobe Camera RAW


    Catalog (Image Database) – Lightrooms superb image database which lets you sort, find and organise your images. You can apply various metadata to your collections including ratings, labels and keywords to streamline your image organisation even more.


    Lightroom has a straightforward looking interface divided into different tabs with the relevant tools open on the side. The Develop tab in Lightroom contains the tools needed by photographers including Exposure, Contrast, Warmth, Tint, Saturation and Warmth.



    Lightroom follows a none-destructive flow by creating a new photo each time the original is edited so the only way to lose your original photo is to delete it. Lightroom keeps a track of all these photo and edits and lets you go back at any point.


    But most people end up using both, they do some processing in Lightroom and take advantage of the Catalog then jump over to Photoshop to complete the work.


    ! Did you know you can press Control /Command E to jump over to Photoshop


    Advantages of using Photoshop

    Photoshop moves well beyond the capabilities of Lightroom and is used by photographers, designers, illustrators and content creators in general.


    Photoshop even lets you edit video and create animated GIF’s directly in the softare.


    As already mentioned it lets you composite easily – positioning multiple images then applying individual effects to each one.


    Because of its Pixel level editing each miniscule part of a photo can be controlled, this plus the fact it contains wide ranging tools needed for expert in-depth restoration and repair is another of the reasons that re-touchers and restorers love it.


    And, of course layers which are key to everything in the software.


    Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop

    Both are Adobe products and available to purchase by subscription only on the Adobe website. The product prices and offers change a lot so for the most up to date deals pop along to the Adobe Software Options


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