It's not often that we write a comparison article on two products that not only work together but are also sold together as part of a package deal. There are real differences between the two great Adobe photography apps, Photoshop and Lightroom. Since there's a good chance you'll subscribe to both, we're less concerned with telling you which one to buy than with telling you which to use and for what purposes.
What do Photoshop and Lightroom do And how are they different?
So how are Photoshop and Lightroom different? In a nutshell, Lightroom is a program for managing, tuning, and managing non-destructive photo workflows, while Photoshop isan image manipulation program based on layers at the pixel level. It can take years to learn Photoshop , While getting good at Lightroom is pretty straightforward. Which choice is best for you really depends on what you plan to do with it.
To further complicate the choice, Adobe now offers two versions of Lightroom: the standard version used by professional photographers is now called Lightroom Classic , while plain Lightroom applies to the more user-friendly version and synchronized in the software cloud. Since Lightroom Classic is the go-to professional photo workflow program, we chose this version against Photoshop, which is also clearly a tool.l professional level.
The start screen Photoshop shows how it's designed to create and work on one image at a time.
We can pit Lightroom (unconventional) against Adobe's consumer photo editing package, Photoshop Elements , at a later date. Elements offers healthy help with both Photoshop-style editing and Lightroom-style workflow and organization tools combined with plenty of guidance, but it targets level users squarely.less technical and less professional.
With this brief history, let's talk about prices. Lightroom and Photoshop are only available by subion; you can install them on 64-bit computers with a minimum of 8 GB of RAM running macOS 10.14 Mojave and later or Windows 10 version 1903 and later. The Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan costs $ 9.99 per month (with a one-year commitment) and gives you both versions of Lightroom, Photoshop, and 20GB of online storage. This is not really enough storage for a large collection of High Resolution SLR Images . To get 1TB of cloud storage with this plan, you'll pay $ 19.99 per month. The Lightroom plan only gives you the new version of Lightroom, plus 1TB of storage.If you're not at all interested in Lightroom, you can get Photoshop alone for $ 20.99 per month with 100GB of storage. Frankly, I don't know why anyone would choose the latter option.
Lightroom is all about working with a collection of photos imported from your camera.
Finally, if you have the entire Creative Cloud subion plan including Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro , etc. you will pay $ 52.99 per month. Photography and Lightroom plans are only available with a one-year commitment. You can get Photoshop standalone or the followingcompletes you for a single month, but you'll pay $ 31.49 and $ 79.49, respectively. You can only use a subion on two computers at the same time. Photoshop Elements comes for a one-time price of $ 99.99, though it's sometimes heavily discounted.
Of course, Adobe is not the only maker of photo software. You should also consult our data tour of photo applications , which includes more economical products like Corel PaintBrush Pro and PhotoDirector from CyberLink, as well as more expensive professional targeting software like Capture One and DxO PhotoLab. Adobe products definitely have more name recognition, and certainly represent the state of the art, but it doesn't hurt to study your options.
Photo Import and organization
If you are photographer, rather than designer, and importing and organizing your work is your goal, you don't need to go any further in this article: Choose Lightroom, because it's designed to handle the workflow . What is the workflow? It includes all the steps from transferring image files from your camera's memory card to adjusting their lighting, color, sharpness and cropping until outputting the final images for online or for printing.
When you import photos into Lightroom, you can apply tags and even effects simultaneously.
Photoshop is not designed to handle importing and managing your photo collection. You can use its auxiliary Bridge app for this purpose, but having a single app makes it more of a streamlined process.
Using raw image files
Photoshop and Lightroom can open raw camera files. These are files with extensions like CR2 (for Canon cameras) and NEF (for Nikon) and ARW (for Sony). They are bulkier than JPGs because they hold more data from your camera's sensor, allowing more powerful lighting and color adjustment after the fact. For example, if you shoot in JPG, your camera interprets the data from the sensor and gives its best estimate of what the image should look like.
If you are editing a raw image file, you can edit specific brightness ranges such asas shadows or highlights using data from the original capture from the sensor that was not used in the initial JPG render. In this way, you can, for example, extract the color of a bird that only appeared as a black silhouette in the initial JPG version. If you had tried this on the JPG, the information would have been removed, so there is no way to show that this blackbird is actually a bluebird. This is an extreme example, but editing with raw files also allows you to bring out more convincingly, for example, a shadowed face while leaving the background well exposed alone.
Photoshop opens separate Adobe Camera Raw when you open raw file files, while Lightroom simply displays them.
If you want to create a single take HDR effect to optimize the lighting over the dynamic range of a photo, you will get much better results if you start from a raw file. Using raw files also lets you change the white balance (warmth or coolness of the colors) after the fact; Lightroom offers an automatic white balance button that can sometimes correct a color-shifted photo.
In Photoshop, you can't just open a raw camera image directly: when you start to open a raw image file, the separate Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) application opens in top of Photoshop's main window with your image loaded. This gives you a kind of pre-preview.editor, with adjustments for lighting, color and sharpness. You then open the result of any manipulation in ACR in Photoshop for further editing.
Lightroom, on the other hand, allows you to import raw files and start working on them without the need for an intermediate utility. Both Lightroom and ACR offer Adobe-exclusive Raw Profiles, which determine how the original sensor data is converted into an editable image. For example, you can just use a profile based on your camera or choose Adobe Color, Vivid, Landscape, Portrait, or Monochrome. Each tilts the result towards appropriate levels of color and sharpness.
Non-destructive or destructive editing
A key difference between a photo workflow An app like Lightroom and an app like Lightroom direct image editing like Photoshop est that the workflow software keeps all your originals and places all edit edits into a database that contains all of your edits for each photo. In the language of Lightroom, this database is called a Catalog. Any edits you make to the photo are saved to the catalog and associated with that image, which means the original remains intact and accessible at all times.
When you edit an image in Photoshop, you end up with a new image at the end, and you won't be able to revert to the original unless you save a copy. You can work around this Photoshop behavior with things like adjustment layers, snapshots, and sidecar files for raw files, but Lightroom automatically implements nondestructive workflows.
Image adjustment vs image editing
There is adistinction between image adjustment and editing. The first is to apply changes to the lighting, color, and sharpness of an entire image without adding material that is not coming from your camera. Editing is really about manipulating an image, modifying particular areas, and adding content such as text, shapes or other images on top of the original. Lightroom's strong point is tweaking, while Photoshop is modifying.
Lightroom's adjustments are great for things like brightening up an underexposed image or bringing out colors in a dull image. You can also use them to increase (or decrease) sharpness and even correct an image depending on the lens you are using. Lightroom includes some local adjustment tools: you can use a brush, shape, or gradient to modify selected areas in an image. Cropping can also be thought of as an edit rather than an adjustment, and Lightroom has excellent cropping capabilities.
Photoshop lets you get creative with masks and gradients.
As for the real creative retouching, that is Photoshop's domain. For example, if you want to cut someone out of a photo or place them in another image with a different background, you need Photoshop, with its Select and Hide tools. If you just want to light ten or increase the color in a shaded or dull area of a photo, Lightroom can do that.Both can do basic things like smooth out blemishes or correct red-eye resulting from flash.
Some of Photoshop's most dazzling tools are called Content Aware, and you can't find them in Lightroom. For example, if you have a photo scene that contains people or objects that you want to remove, Photoshop's content-aware fill tool might replace the unwanted object with the background material that you want to remove. it generates by analyzing the rest of the image.
Photoshop is essentially a superset of Lightroom, as it (and its ACR utility) can make all the adjustments Lightroom can. In addition to these, it adds the aforementioned selection tools, as well as a host of other options including filters, liquefaction, shapes, text, 3D, and new neural filters. These allow you to change the appearance of faces or apply an effect that canmake a photo look like a van Gogh. For all these rich creative tools, you have to turn to Photoshop.
One of Photoshop's major innovations and differentiators is its support for layers. These can be likened to the laying of a glass plate with one effect or an image on another, for an overlay. Serious Photoshop practitioners are skilled at using dozens of layers to create an end result image. Photographers can also use adjustment layers to apply lighting and color adjustments that can be toggled on and off separately from any other adjustment. You can turn layers on or off at will.
Lightroom hides layers from you, one of the main reasons the program exists - photographers who just want to process their photos (as in the past,they were using a darkroom) don't want the added complexity of thinking about and managing layers.
Text, shapes, drawing and 3D
Photoshop's text options are deep, with things like the stroking, glow, and even editing glyphs, which lets you change parts of characters. If text is your main work, you can skip Photoshop in favor of Adobe Illustrator , which works in a more user-friendly vector file format. Vector images can be resized without losing sharpness, which is very important when working with text.
You can use a multitude of drawing and shaping tools in Photoshop, something that 's not possible in Lightroom.
Shapes, as design elements, are well supported in Photoshop and completely absent from Lightroom. Again, if shapes are your thing, Illustrator may be the answer. Drawing and painting are similar - look at Photoshop, or even Photoshop. 'excellent Fresco iPad application .
Photoshop even includes 3D image editing.
Photoshop also includes powerful 3D modeling design capabilities, which can be useful not only for designers but also game developers and technical illustrators. The program offers 3D primitives, texture mapping, and 3D printing support.
Lightroom's text capabilities are relegated to adding a watermark to your photo, and it doesn't include any tools for adding shapes, drawing, or 3D modeling. For photographers this is perfectly acceptable, but im creative and technical aged designers need the extra tools of Photoshop.
If you need to edit photos or images while you are running, Adobe offers apps for Photoshop and Lightroom, the latter being more mature. The company has only started offering Photoshop for iPad only last year, and although it lacks the main features of the desktop program, it integrates well with this one: you can save your work as cloud documents and open them on either platform.
The Lightroom mobile apps allow you to both edit and take photos from devices, giving you additional control over the shot. On the iPhone, the Lightroom app adds the ability to save shots as raw camera files and offers almost all of the adjustments found on the desktop. Android allows users to natively save in raw image format, but the Lightroom app for this platform also offersthe full line of image adjustment tools.
Tethered shooting occurs when your camera, usually connected with a USB cable or wirelessly via Wi- Fi, send photos to your computer software as soon as you take them. This allows you to see the images at full size and start working on, cataloging or sharing them immediately.
Photo of the tethered shot, courtesy of TetherTools .com
Lightroom Classic is your choice for tethered shooting, while PhotoshopI do not have this functionality. Neither does the newer, more user-friendly version of Lightroom. Other software that supports connection sharing include Capture One , CyberLink PhotoDirector and ON1 Photo RAW .
From time to time Adobe adds new cutting edge features only for Photoshop. Examples include the Camera Shake Reduction Tool (which in testing turned out to be less magical than it initially appeared) and the recent Neural Filter tools, which use AI to edit faces and apply transfer artistic style to your images.
Despite this, Lightroom receives a lot of updating love from Adobe. The Enhance Details tool, which was launched last year, processes raw image data for more sharpness. Lightroom also got a nifty texture slider, and more recently new color grading tools and local tint adjustment tools have arrived.
You don't need to choose
The choice between Lightroom and Photoshop is not a decision as to which product you should buy - both come with Adobe's $ 9.99 per person one month photography plan subion, but rather a question you should use. The answer may well be to use both. To get the images off your camera card, organize them, and correct for lighting, cropping, and color, Lightroom is your choice.For in-depth image manipulation, like removing people and objects from a photo, adding shape and text overlays, and applying artistic filters, you'll want to use Photoshop. Choose Lightroom for pure photography and Photoshop for design and creativity.
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