What’s the difference between Lightroom & Photoshop?
Short answer: Lightroom is for photo editing and organizing your photographs. Photoshop is for image manipulation and a whole lot more!
Adobe Photoshop is a graphics editing program developed and published by Adobe Systems. It is the current market leader for commercial bitmap and image manipulation software, and is the flagship product of Adobe Systems. It has been described as “an industry standard for graphics professionals“. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a digital darkroom for photographers. It is a simpler program that enables photographers to enhance and organize their photographs. The learning curve isn’t as steep as learning Photoshop. So why did Abode create Adobe Photoshop Lightroom? Simply put, Adobe created this for photographers!
Lightroom makes it easy to organize and edit your photographs. If you purchased Lightroom just for this feature alone, you got your money’s worth. Gone are the shoe box days of storing your precious memories.What’s even better, you are able to store your photographs into collections. With a few clicks of the mouse, you are able to show your best photographs without having to sift through all of them. Most of the powerful “photo editing” features of Photoshop are included in Lightroom. You are able to make changes to an entire image (global change) or by using adjustment brushes you can narrow it down to a select change (local change). You can even create slide shows, web galleries and print from within Lightroom!
Photoshop is the industry standard for graphics professionals. It has even more powerful tools for “image manipulation” than Lightroom. But it does come at a cost. It’s a very complicated program to learn on your own. Mastering the program takes years and even then you will barely scratch the surface. Professional graphic artist have no choice but to learn Photoshop. Professional photographer should invest in classes and training.
One Key Difference (described by Alan Hess)
One key difference between Photoshop and Lightroom is that photoshop edits the image on the pixel level and Lightroom doesn’t. You don’t actually change the image in Lightroom, you just add a instructions on how the image should be adjusted when it is either opened in Photoshop or exported from lightroom. The changes don’t actually happen until the image is exported out of Lightroom. This makes all the changes editable and non destructive, where as in Photoshop, if you tweak a pixel, then save the file and come back to it later it can;t be undone in a non destructive way.
Here is a sample using Lightroom with Photoshop. The only difference, Photoshop enabled me to remove a person from the image! Can you find him?
If you make your living as a professional graphic artist, you need the complete Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium edition. The Design Premium package comes with Adobe InDesign, Photoshop Extended, Illustrator, Flash Professional, Dreamweaver, Fireworks and Acrobat Pro with additional tools and services. Most, if not all companies, already have a site licenses for these products. If you are starting out on your own, the initial investment has a retail price of about $1799.00. It may seem like a lot, but starting your own business is never cheap.
If you make your living as a professional photographer, start out with Lightroom and grow into Photoshop. You’ll know when you are ready to incorporate Photoshop into your work flow. Lightroom retails for about $299.00 US and$99.00 US upgrade.
Amateur Photographers should start out with Lightroom. If you are not doing any image manipulation (example: look at a Harry Potter movie poster) then you will probably never need Photoshop.
Student Edition products are available for purchase by higher education students only. A higher education student is defined as a full- or part-time student enrolled at an accredited public or private university or college (including community, junior, or vocational college) that grants degrees requiring not less than the equivalent of two years of full-time study. Student Edition retail price is about $399.00 for the Adobe Creative Suite Design Premium edition.
If you are a kid or you don’t make money from your photography, check out Photoshop.com. Photoshop.com is a complete solution for managing, editing, storing, and sharing your photos online, with tutorials, inspiration, and more.
Classes and Training
Photoshop has grown so much over the years and has developed into an overwhelming program for beginners. I remember working with version 2.0. I must have called Adobe Tech Support three times a day. Finally one patient technician told me that their support system is for when the program didn’t work and not for learning how to do something. I asked how I was supposed to learn this stuff. He turned me on to KW Media. KW stood for… Kelby and Workman. I wish I knew the name of that technician. I’d bring flowers to the insane asylum I probably sent him to. The moral of this story is save an Adobe technician and seek training!
The best online resource for learning Abode products is Kelby Training. Scott Kelby is a best selling author and his team has an amazing way to disseminate information. If you prefer a live seminar, they offer one day classes too. These seminars are lecture based. An instructor takes you through lessons as a group and you follow along with the class book that is yours to keep.
There are also many private and semi private classes available all over. Exposure Photographic Art Studio; that’s us, teaches hands on classes for Photography, Photoshop, Lightroom and WordPress. Our main target audience is beginners, novice and intermediate level students. If you want to take your photography or Photoshop / Lightroom skills to a new level, attend a Photoshop World Conference!
If you have time and money, train with some of the best photographers and photo editors of our era. Never in the history of photography has so many Masters of Photography taught to the general public. Take advantage of their knowledge, skills and willingness to share. Most of these classes are nestled in majestic environments. Attending some of these week long classes will have you walking away with beautiful photographs and a major understanding of photography!
My Wish List of 12 Photography Classes and Workshops
- Kevin Ames
- John Paul Caponigro
- Jack Davis
- Jim DiVitale
- Laurie Excell
- Mike Kubeisy
- Jay Maisel
- Joe McNally
- Moose Peterson
- Jack Reznicki
- Vincent Versace
- David Ziser