As a photographer, there are two Adobe choices for post-processing your photos, Lightroom and Photoshop. What is the difference and do you need both? Let’s look at the two more in-depth and help you decide which to be using.
The first thing you need to understand is that Lightroom is a much simpler program in nature. You can do simple tweaks, simple retouching, etc… but if you want to expand past that you’ll need Photoshop. Lightroom really isn’t an image editor whereas Photoshop is. LR allows for retouching photos and nothing more advanced than that.
If you are never going to do anything more than changing highlights, shadows, and other basic edits then without a doubt Lightroom should be used by you. LR is also easier to learn and more straightforward compared to PS. Great if you are just getting started in Photography.
You should also note that Lightroom is geared specifically towards Photographers & photography whereas Photoshop is more for graphic designers and digital artists. Because of this, Lightroom has neat features specifically for photographers such as the ability to organize and load up your photos directly from inside Lightroom. The library module is very handy and Photoshop doesn’t have that built in.
Photoshop, on the other hand, IS an image editor. It has the full capability to do anything that Lightroom can do plus way more advanced things such as replacing a sky or removing people from a photo. You can also add layers and masks which is very beneficial to editing photos. Saying this, you may think that Photoshop would be the obvious choice, but that is simply not so.
As mentioned above, if you are the type of person who just needs to make simple edits then LR is better. Although Photoshop can do everything Lightroom can plus more, Photoshop has a big learning curve and is too complicated for basic editing.
If you have Photoshop and are familiar with it already then I would say to just continue using it over LR. You can probably quickly make edits anyway and having those extra features at your fingertips if you need is pretty nice.
So to summarize in pros & cons…
- Easy to learn
- Specifically made for Photographers & photography
- Simple & straightforward to use
- Can only do basic photo retouching
- Capable of doing anything you can imagine
- Has layers, masks, and many more useful features
- Takes a long time to learn & master
- Not as quick for just basic photo retouching
- Made for graphic designers & digital artists
Now that you understand the differences you can make a solid choice on which one to use. As of today, in April 2018, Adobe offers the photography CC subscription for just $10USD/month which includes both Lightroom and Photoshop. This means you don’t need to pick one or the other anyway. But hopefully, this will guide to which one to use when you sit down and load up your photos.