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To Use Photoshop or Lightroom, That Is the Question

If you only had to use one for the rest of your life, will you choose Photoshop or Lightroom? If you can’t decide yet, this is a great opportunity to learn more about them. Keep reading to find out more about the differences between Photoshop vs Lightroom.

It’s hard to believe that fifty years ago, some people still used black and white photos. They couldn’t even edit the photos they took. Today, it’s rare to find a person who doesn’t know how to manipulate their photos to some degree.

Photo-editing and touch-ups are so common now that we have apps for them on our mobile phones. One of the most popular apps right now is FaceApp, with over 100 million downloads from Google Play. If you want more control and a professional look, a good pick is between Photoshop and Lightroom.

Read more on the two options below.


1. What Is Photoshop and What Is Lightroom?

Before we get to the Adobe Photoshop vs. Adobe Lightroom debate, let’s get some background info on them. Adobe Inc. created both the Lightroom and Photoshop software. Both are the top choices of image editing tools for their quality. 

Yet, there is also a world of difference between them. Photoshop became the industry standard in graphic editing and digital art. It’s the go-to software for many graphic designers, architects, photographers, and publishers.

One reason is that Photoshop has been around longer than Lightroom. Photoshop’s initial release was in 1990 while Lightroom got released in 2007. That is also why people think of Photoshop when they hear the words “photo editing”.

Lightroom is also a photo-editing tool, but its focus is on other tasks. It has a subset of Photoshop’s features, but also extra features that are unique to it. It’s also a photo management tool, which we’ll discuss more later. 

2. What You Can Do With Photoshop

Let’s begin with the more popular of the two, Photoshop. As we mentioned, for many people, Photoshop is already synonymous with photo-editing. Because of its history and development, it’s the best choice for advanced photo editing.

Photoshop is rich with all sorts of photo-editing tools. It also uses layer-based editing, which simplifies combining or editing images. It also allows you to edit an image down to each pixel. 

With it, you can make your skin look smoother for your new profile photo. You can make a subject look taller, younger, or bulkier. You can even add makeup on a person’s portrait post-shoot.

Landscape photographers can stitch images into a single panorama with Photoshop. You can also create fantasy landscapes using stock photography and a little imagination. You can even create 3D effects, animations or GIFs, and photorealistic mockups with it.

As they like to say, that is the power of Photoshop.

3. What You Can Do With Lightroom

Now, let’s look at the potentials of Adobe Lightroom. It doesn’t have advanced tools like Photoshop, but Lightroom has a photo management feature. That means Lightroom is both a photo editing and a photo management program.

Learning how to use and master Lightroom is easier, especially for beginners. Its simpler interface is one reason for it. Another one is its automated options.

As a Lightroom user, you can apply edits across a selection of photos at the same time. The secret to simultaneous photo-editing is using presets. You can check this guide here to learn how to install Lightroom a preset.

Lightroom also has the advantage of non-destructive editing. That means you’ll never lose or replace the original images with the edited ones. It also keeps a record of all changes, making it easy to revert to an earlier edit that you want to go back to.

4. Cons: Photoshop vs Lightroom

A Photoshop vs Lightroom comparison guide isn’t complete without the cons of each one.

While Photoshop is great for beginners, it can get overwhelming. The diversity of tools can confuse a new user. This gives Photoshop a steep learning curve. 

Unlike Lightroom, Photoshop can’t manage photos for you. It can’t read the metadata of images and organize them. This also means sorting and looking for specific photos will be more difficult if you only use Photoshop. 

We mentioned that Lightroom doesn’t have a Save button because it records all edits in a catalog. Photoshop doesn’t have this feature. You’ll have to make it a habit to press Ctrl + S or Cmd + S often to save your work. 

Now, let’s focus on what Lightroom can’t do. Because it has simpler tools, you don’t get full control of the image-editing. It also loses the other functions like creating animated photos. 

We say Lightroom is easier to grasp, but you can also do complex image editing on it. However, diving straight into Lightroom can teach you only a few tricks. If you want to get the best use out of Lightroom, you may need to take some training.

5. When It’s Best to Use Lightroom and Photoshop

Now, you may have the question of is Photoshop or Lightroom the better choice. Or is Lightroom better than Photoshop vice versa? The answer will depend on your goal and your preferences.

For example, your goal is to create magnificent photo manipulations from scratch. Because Photoshop has all the tools you’ll need, it’s the smart pick. If you only need to do minimal editing over a lot of photos, Lightroom is the better choice. 

Understand your goals before you decide on a photo-editing program. You don’t want to misuse one or the other and end up getting frustrated. Better yet, use them together since they complement each other well.

Pick the Photo Editing Software That Suits Your Needs

Photography is one of the most useful hobbies a person can have. It’s a great way to express your reality, connect with others, or display your creativity. However, you can’t always rely on timing and practical effects to capture what you want to show.

We hope that this guide on the two Adobe photo-editing programs helps you. 

That ends our guide on Photoshop vs Lightroom.  For more content on photo-editing programs, check out our other guides.

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