Yesterday, a reader asked:
Just wondering…what are the benefits to using Lightroom over, say, Photoshop?
Good question. And an easy one to answer, for someone like me who spends many hours like this, in both those applications:
Adobe Photoshop (CSx or Elements) is good for “deep-editing” one image. If you want to spend an hour on one image, because you are an illustrator, say, or because you are producing Vogue’s next page, then you should probably use Photoshop. Photoshop is for these photo editors.
Adobe Lightroom is different. It is aimed at people who have a lot of images to organize and edit, like, say, photographers. In Lightroom, you:
- Organize images. Full asset management, including ranking, choosing, keywording, storing, rating, organizing, sorting, and comparing your images. (You store the images where you like, by the way: nothing is dictated to you.)
- Do things to multiple images at once (like set the white balance all at once for all images in a shoot).
- Edit quickly and conveniently – more so than in Photoshop. Although the tools are not quite deep, they cover most of what a photographer needs. I go into Photoshop (from within Lightroom which keeps managing everything) for around one in 300 images.
- Never touch the original image – Lightroom does “virtual editing” without touching the original. Ever.
- Get production functions like publishing to web sites.
- Get a wonderful print engine.
Lightroom has an Apple equivalent, Aperture. But like many photographers, I use Lightroom even though I have a Mac.
Lightroom takes a few days to learn. But Photoshop takes many months to learn. Any photographer who does not have Lightroom, ought to download it and try it out for free for 30 days. You’ll never look back.