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Lightroom - v - Photoshop

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16 Jan 2013 - 8:26 PM

Hi all,
I have been working with RAW files for 2/3 years now and have Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6 to process my images.
As you can imagine, starting as a complete beginner, I have foud it a long learning process that I have only scratched the surface of.

I have mainly worked in the develope mode of LR for most of my processing such as exposure, white balance, sharpening, noise, contrast etc. I have found LR easier to get onto the basics than PS.
All my learning has been through many books and videos from all sorts of sources. Not to mention the many questions I have had answered on this site.

I have just downloaded the 123di program and have spent the last 24 hours studying parts of it.
I have had a look at the LR and the PS content and although most of the advanced stuff is way over my head, I found the lessons very good.

I am not saying that I fully understand and use every function in Lightroom but I have found most of it fairly straight forward. Because of this I tended to ingnore PS except for manipulations.
Now that I am looking deeper into the working of PS, I am finding that package ten times more complicated than LR. There seems to be a vast amount that is not in LR.

My question is (as last) for those of you who have both LR and PS, which program would you use the most. Do you find that the controls/adjustments that are in LR are all you need to process a standard image (no manipulation) or do you still use parts of PS to adjust standard images?

The reason I am asking this is to clarify in my own mind, where I should concentrate my learning at the present stage of my photography development.


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16 Jan 2013 - 8:26 PM

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16 Jan 2013 - 9:19 PM

I can use both, but chose Lightroom for photo processing. Lightroom is a specialized instrument - and therefore does what needs to be done in more straightforward and time-efficient way. I certainly could get the same effect in the Photoshop, but only imagining going through all the sequence for every photo gives me shivers Wink Yes, automation can be used to the measure, but again, having a lot of custom-made presets in Lightroom makes editing a breeze. Just click "Auto", choose a preset to apply if the result is not satisfactory, then do a couple of minor tweaks afterwards. Done! And to make the things even better the whole set of image parameters can be copied and then applied to any other image in a couple of mouse movements. I may be out of date on PS skills already, but to my knowledge Photoshop does not allow that.

Last Modified By MichaelMelb_AU at 16 Jan 2013 - 9:20 PM
16 Jan 2013 - 9:25 PM

Yes, I think we are of the same mind, except that with me, its probably lack of knowledge that keeps me out of PS.

16 Jan 2013 - 9:37 PM

They're intended for different purposes.
As you say, PS seems ten times more complicated than Lightroom and costs about ten times as much but it's also capable of doing ten times as much.
Lightroom, I have 3.6, V4 is said to be more powerful, is my first choice for initial editing and converting of raw files and many people are happy to use it for all of their editing.
Personally, though, having used PS since CS2, I'm now on CS6, I still use it to finish my shots.
I don't bother saving presets in Lightroom as whenever I've done so and used one, I've never been happy with the result and have had to modify it further, which somehow negates the purpose of keeping the preset, although I'm probably in the minority.
You don't need to replicate the sequence you're using in PS, you can write an action that will work for you in the way that a LR preset does, not that I've got many of those either!

Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
mikehit  56681 forum posts United Kingdom11 Constructive Critique Points
16 Jan 2013 - 9:37 PM

If it is any help, I use PSE instead of PS but I find myself only using PSE when I want to do image manipulation such as deleting unwanted objects or blend/combine photos. This means I now use PSE in only about 10% of my photos.
The image adjustments I find really simple in LR - added to which you can print directly from LR.

One nice feature I have come to really appreciate in LR is where you can click on a specific colour in the image, then use the sliders to alter saturation/hue/etc of that particular colour wherever it appears in the image.

Last Modified By mikehit at 16 Jan 2013 - 9:38 PM
16 Jan 2013 - 9:46 PM

Thanks all, that helps me know that I am working on a proper workflow as my head is reaching boiling point latelyGrin

JJGEE  96339 forum posts England18 Constructive Critique Points
16 Jan 2013 - 11:11 PM

Lightroom is not currently suitable for cloning / healing ( removing things ) as it currently only has circular spot corrections so a trip into PS would be best.
Sensor dust spot removal is really good in LR though.

For example, if you have a series of images ( not necessarily the same ) with a dust spot or spots in the same place you can auto correct on one then synchronise the correction over all the other images. One would still check the other images individually but this method does save a lot of time in doing the bulk of the correction.

wnbeat  936 forum posts Scotland
17 Jan 2013 - 8:26 AM

I'm a relative newcomer to LR, and have since studied the many tutorials available on You Tube. Once you grasp the basics its a breeze and I find I can edit nearly everthing to my complete satisfaction. PSE has now become almost redundant on my mac although I do still quite like the Organiser

GlennH  91918 forum posts France1 Constructive Critique Points
17 Jan 2013 - 8:34 AM

Lightroom is a metadata editor and database, whilst Photoshop is a pixel editor. Brendan's post (Jester) pretty much sums up the way a lot of photographers use the two - Lightroom for the vast majority of the donkey work; Photoshop for finishing touches. Lightroom is still pretty poor for cloning, and personally I still find it easier at times to make local adjustments with layers than with the LR brush. But still, Lightroom is now a complete package; it's certainly conceivable that some might not need PS. What you never had you won't miss, and all that.

Helpful Post! This post was flagged as helpful
puertouk  31080 forum posts United Kingdom17 Constructive Critique Points
17 Jan 2013 - 10:26 AM

Lighroom is ideal for doing all the mundane jobs, but when it comes to doing more complicated work on your images, PS is the best in the World. It is an amazing piece of software that can make an average shot look more like a professional one. You never seem to stop learning about it. Every time I look at a magazine or video, something new seems to appear and you think, my god, how clever is that. I donīt think the people at Adobe realise its full potential, as the experts are finding new things to do every day. Lightroom is easy and you can get to grips with it very quickly. The Lynda.com training videos I think are the best in the marketplace and would recommend them for any Adobe software.

ade_mcfade e2 Member 1014842 forum postsade_mcfade vcard England216 Constructive Critique Points
17 Jan 2013 - 10:41 AM

All been said really

All my shots go through lightroom - very few need Photoshop

You can keyword and pre-edit (generic noise, colour temp, sharpness etc.) 1000 shots in 5 minutes in Lightroom. To do that, you'd be running actions in Photoshop (which I used to do loads)

17 Jan 2013 - 11:11 AM

Lightroom is better at dealing with batches of raw files and has better library functons. Photoshop offers much finer control of things like masks and gradients, more sophisticated cloning and content aware patching. It all depends how much time you spend processing and retouching. It's also worth asking yourself if some corrections you do in post pro could have been avoided with better shooting and lighting techniques and concentrate your energy on learning those.

If it was a desert island disc choice it would have to be Photoshop for me (I actually prefer Canon's DPP over Lightroom for raw file conversion in any case)

ade_mcfade e2 Member 1014842 forum postsade_mcfade vcard England216 Constructive Critique Points
17 Jan 2013 - 11:55 AM

Photoshop would always win if you had a binary choice....

.....or would it? Wink

janeez e2 Member 61195 forum postsjaneez vcard United Kingdom8 Constructive Critique Points
17 Jan 2013 - 12:14 PM

If necessary I can do simple batch processing in RAW and finish in CS6. I open all images first in Bridge to make my selections then open in RAW. I find it a very useful starting point. Final finishing, if necessary/converting to Jpeg is in CS6. I tried LR but could not get on with it. Probably because I started many years ago with Elements and gradually moved onto Photoshop.

I don't know whether this is a good or right way to go about my workflow but it is how I developed it and I can work very quickly to achieve the end result. Smile

17 Jan 2013 - 2:35 PM

So my workflow is OK theN.
Load everything into LR first and carry out the basic adjustments such as WB, exposure, contrast, etc. Any cloning etc done in PS.

When and where to do my sharpening and noise reduction?

At present, I sharpen and NR all images in lightroom, even if I have to then do some cloning in PS after LR. (which is better for sharpening / noise? )

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