Two common tools used by photographers for post-production are Photoshop and Lightroom. Photoshop is a very powerful photo editing tool with so many features and has been around a lot longer, and because of this, it is considered the go-to software for professional editing. However, Lightroom, although more recent compared to Photoshop, quickly gained popularity, both among professionals and amateurs.
When I first started my photography career, a huge question that I had was whether I should be using Lightroom or Photoshop. Which is better? Long story short, I use both. But getting to this point took quite a few years, and a lot of experimentation and learning.
Starting out in photography, I had so much to learn, from how to use my DSLR to composition techniques. The last thing I wanted was to add another thing to the list of stuff I need to learn. For that reason alone, I chose to stick with Lightroom. It was cheap. It was easy to learn and use. And it made my post-production process much faster.
However, I quickly realized the limitations of Lightroom. Although it is very powerful for basic photo editing, it was not as useful for photo manipulation. i.e. removing unwanted objects. This is what lead me to first explore the world of Photoshop. I wanted to be able to remove objects from my photos while still keeping it looking natural and not over-processed. Lightroom has an amazing cloning/healing tool that does just as well as a job as photoshop, but I found that it was easier for me to clone/heal in Photoshop. This may just be a personal preference, but it was what worked for me. The second aspect that lead me to stay in photoshop was layers. Having the ability to layer edits allowed me to take more risks, be more creative, and experiment much much more than I would have in Lightroom. It definitely took a lot of learning but it was worth the time and effort. Photoshop became my favourite tool for editing, but it took FOREVER! I’d be spending the same amount of time editing 3 photos in Photoshop as I would have editing 30 in Lightroom. So I created my own workflow, where I did all basic edits in Lightroom, and only did further editing in photoshop if I needed to do something that I couldn’t do in Lightroom, or simply wanted some more control in editing for any specific pictures. I use the best of both worlds (cue Hannah Montana theme song :D).
(Left: original. Right:final)
“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” – Ansel Adams
I’d love to hear about your experiences and opinions, and what you prefer for photo editing. Also feel free to comment below with any questions you may have on Lightroom and/or Photoshop. 🙂