Last updated on November 16th, 2019
I’ll cut to the chase. No, you don’t need Lightroom or Photoshop for photography and great images. Lightroom and Photoshop are the best photo editing software. Even more, most people new to photography don’t know the difference between Lightroom vs Photoshop and how they work with images. I’ll explain that in a bit, but first let me tell you that I’m pro Lightroom and Photoshop and love both software. I have over 5 years of experience with both of them.
Why You Don’t Need Lightroom or Photoshop for PhotographySo, let me elaborate where my opinion is coming from. Photography is the practice of capturing images on to film and paper (now digital) and this is done with a camera. Modern cameras and even mobile cameras have high-quality image sensors and lenses to photograph sharp images with vivid colors: the camera does most of the work for capturing high-quality images (in addition to the photographer). This is why Lightroom and Photoshop are not required for photography, not to mention the costs associated with the software. Photography is already an expensive hobby.
What About Enhancing or Editing images?Well, I’m sure you’ve seen some of your friends’ mobile images on their Instagram profile and you were like “wow.” And you know them well enough that they don’t use desktop image-editing software. The fact is Instagram and several other mobile apps have built-in image editing software that is making Photoshop and Lightroom obsolete for amateur photographers. Anybody with a camera is a photographer; a great photographer is another story. By the way, Photoshop and Lightroom have their own mobile app versions, but don’t have the same power as the desktop versions.
Photoshop and Lightroom Mobile AppsPhotoshop Express Photoshop Mix Photoshop Fix Lightroom Making amazing images isn’t just about great edits; it’s also about composition, location, subjects and telling a visual story. Photoshop and Lightroom are extensions to the art of photography.
Photoshop vs Lightroom Desktop VersionsNow let’s dig a little deeper into the world of digital photography and image editors. Are Photoshop and Lightroom the Same? Allow me to clear up this common question: Photoshop and Lightroom are not the same. They have a few tools in common but are different for the most part. Are Photoshop and Lightroom Easy to Learn? Lightroom is easy to learn right from the download unless it’s your first time turning on a computer. Photoshop will take some time to learn through online video tutorials.
What Is the Difference Between Photoshop vs Lightroom?When I started, I didn’t know the difference between Photoshop vs Lightroom just like anyone else new to photography and Adobe software. They were confusing to me and I fully didn’t understand their image-editing capabilities. I had to learn just like you. I’ll highlight the important features and characteristics between Photoshop and Lightroom in relation to image editing mostly (because that’s their main purpose). This will give you a better understanding and help you make an informative decision, if any.
Photoshop Basics and Image Editing
What is Photoshop?Adobe Photoshop is primarily a raster image-editing software. It comes with a variety of tools and uses the power of layers to make multiple adjustments to photographs in a stacked order. A raster (as opposed to a vector) image is a bitmap image composed of pixels used for photos and printing. Most digital images you see are raster images like a JPEG file. Photoshop can do more than just image editing; the software is used to add text to images, draw art, and even has video editing capabilities. However, most Adobe customers use Premiere Pro or Apple’s Final Cut Pro X for video editing. Photoshop is used for:
- basic to advanced image editing
- text images
- graphic design (Adobe Illustrator is better)
Lightroom Basics and Image Editing
What is Lightroom?Lightroom, officially known as Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, is used to organize photos through its library module. In addition, Lightroom has a develop module which has effective image-editing functions similar to Photoshop. One of Lightroom’s most useful features is the ability to batch process multiple photos (multi-process) at the same time. Let’s say you have 100 images that you want to convert into black and white, and also what to increase contrast, you can easily do this with Lightroom. Other important modules for professional photographers in Lightroom are the book and print modules to make albums and prints of photographs. A favourite of mine is Lightroom’s map module. If you have a camera with a built-in GPS, then you can save your images with GPS coordinates and later view exactly where you photographed your images in the map module. This is handy when you are doing travel photography in remote places and want to know exactly where an image was photographed when signs are lacking. Lightroom is used for:
- photo management
- basic to intermediate editing
- photo albums
- Utilize Camera RAW technology for RAW image preview and editing.
- Make basic to intermediate image adjustments.
- Remove unwanted dust spots or objects using healing brush tool.
- Edit JPEG, TIFF, PSD and PNG files.
- Photoshop uses layers, Lightroom doesn’t.
- Lightroom manages photos well, Photoshop can’t.
- Photoshop is great at adding text to images, Lightroom is horrible.
- Photoshop can make precise adjustments, Lightroom can’t.
Advantages and DisadvantagesLike anything in life, there are pros and cons to PS and LR unless it’s visiting the Galapagos Islands: there are only pros there. Photoshop Pros
- robust image-editing software
- layers give versatile editing options
- better retouching options than Lightroom
- hard to learn without online tutorials
- requires high-performance computer for certain filters (e.g., motion blur)
- best photo management software
- easy to learn
- great image editor for beginners
- batch process multiple images
- doesn’t have layers
- poor at making text-based images
- retouching options are limited