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Photoshop? Lightroom? Or Both?

Sometimes words can only tell half the story. Photos are an essential tool in any blogger’s toolbelt, but shouldn’t just end when the shutter is clicked.

Post processing is an essential part of making your photos stand out – even basic adjustments can make a big difference. Popular processing programs are Lightroom and Photoshop, and even though they are developed by the folks at Adobe, there are big differences in both of the programs. So the question then is: which product do you use and when?

The answer simply lies in what one is trying to achieve.

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Adobe Lightroom

It’s not all about the editing. There are a multitude of functions that Adobe Lightroom achieves and can be a “total” package. For most it is the starting point of a workflow and for others Lightroom may be the only program used.

Lightroom acts as a management database

It allows you to upload, organize, sort, tag, and categorize photographs. It keeps all the photos arranged into “catalogs” which essentially is a cache of information that you can easily access in the future.  You can add titles, descriptions, keywords, captions, and even copyright information. And you are not limited to doing it one photograph at a time, you have the capability to batch process this information across all your photographs in a catalog.

Photo editing

Armed with the same RAW image processor as Photoshop, Lightroom is a high quality image processing option.  You have the capability to adjust many of the same features as in Camera RAW. Basic functions (contrast, white balance, clarity etc.), tone curves, lens corrections, and camera calibration are all incorporated and the interface is very easy and intuitive.

Lightroom makes it easy to crop photographs and make adjustments to certain areas by either using a brush tool or gradient. The newest version of Lightroom has a radial filter which allows you to make adjustments with an elliptical mask, making it useful for creating vignettes in certain areas.

Exporting

Adobe Lightroom is capable of batch processing photos for export. It is possible to adjust size and quality of output, file names, adding a watermark, and even select where the photo should open next if further processing is necessary.

 

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Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop is an editor which is pixel based. Each pixel has the chance to be altered, changed and manipulated. It really comes down to your artistic side and what you are trying to achieve.

Masks and layers

Masks and layers are created to give the artist complete control of the image. Each layer you create acts as an adjustment and you can adjust your images and control “how much” of an adjustment each layer receives.

Remove unwanted objects

Using Photoshop gives the creator finer controls over areas that are in need of manipulation. Subjects or objects can be added, manipulated or completely removed.

Creativity and design

Many photographers use Photoshop not only for photo editing, but for design purposes. Websites, logos, posters and a multitude of other options are the benefit of using the software. Photoshop allows you to add text, shapes, create grids. The possibilities are endless.

 

Overall

When deciding what you need for your workflow it really comes down to what you are trying to achieve. If you are solely looking to enhance your photos then Adobe Lightroom might be all you need. If you want to take it that extra step, possibly with photo manipulation, incorporating design or whatever you can’t do in Lightroom, then Photoshop is your answer.

And now with Adobe offering their cloud solution to have both products for $9.99 per month, now is a great time to test both.

 

Pete Heck is one half of HeckticTravels.com – the half that makes the site pretty with all the photos.

 

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One Response to Photoshop? Lightroom? Or Both?

  1. Jonathan May 12, 2014 at 1:44 am #

    To me Lightroom is like that cute, zippy little economy car that I used 90% of the time and was able to accomplish 90% of what I needed to do. Photoshop is the 4 Wheel Drive that you use to move furniture and get across creeks. You don’t want to take it out everyday but when you need it, you need.

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