Photohsop or Lightroom_What's Right for You?

My own workflow often involves both Lightroom and Photoshop, with most of the work being completed in Lightroom

has a suite of programs, many of which are employed by photographers. But with this variety comes the need to choose. Can one program meet all your needs or is it necessary to own several programs? When trying to make your decision cast your net widely and be careful not to make your decision based entirely on advise given by any single individual, particularly if they don’t qualify that advise with sound reasoning. Often an individual will recommend Canon or Nikon, Ford or Holden based on the fact that they own one or the other. And, if they own one, it must be the right choice for you to. For you to contemplate a different model or, heaven forbid, a different brand might suggest they’d made the wrong decision or their camera is no longer as good as it was. Not being prepared to buy a new camera their ego causes them to aggressively recommend the one they currently own as the best camera for you. This is quite primitive cave man behavior, which I frequently witness.

Perhaps you drive a Ford, because your old man did. Or perhaps the fact that he did is the very reason you won’t be seen dead in one. There is, after all, a lot of emotion invested in purchasing a car or expensive camera. It’s all basic psychology.

In the case of software you may use iPhoto for the simple reason that it was part of the bundle of software that came free (though, of course, nothing ever comes for free) with your Mac computer. Perhaps, after mastering iPhoto, you decided to move to a more professional program. You chose Aperture, a very good program. But why did you choose it. Was it because you love your Mac and Apple manufacture Aperture. Brand loyalty cannot be understated.

Maybe you’ve considered purchasing Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (its proper and complete name) for similar reasons. You may already have purchased, or had experience using, Adobe Photoshop Elements or Adobe Photoshop CS3 or CS4. Frankly, the idea of a suite of applications that allow you to move, relatively easily, from one to another always made sense to me. And that, together with my familiarity with Photoshop, was one of the reasons why Adobe Lightroom has become such a crucial part of my workflow.

But there are other reasons as well. I love the application’s modular design. The attractive interface allows you to access any of the 5 modules within Lightroom quickly and with ease. These modules can be described as follows:


The library module allows you to import, store, rate and tag (keyword) your images. This sorting process is critical as these metadata instructions that you’ve attached to your images would allow you to locate a group, or even a single image, from a catalog of several thousand within a matter of seconds. Gone are the days of sorting through shoeboxes of prints and negatives.

The Library module also allows you to group selected images from one or more shoots into Collections (e.g. Christmas 2009, China 2009, Bush/Blair wedding, etc).


For me this is where the fun begins. Adjustments to color temperature, brightness, contrast, color vibrance and saturation, clarity and sharpness, can all be made quickly and easily in this module. There is a lot to do but, with proper instruction, much of the work can be automated inline with your personal preferences.


This module provides a quick and easy method for you to present your images, in sequence, in a kind of slideshow format.


The Print module is great for setting up files for printing, either directly to a desktop printer or, with the appropriate Color Print Profile attached, saved to a disk for printing at a conventional lab.


The web module provides a quick and easy way for your collections to be placed into a format appropriate for viewing on a website.
Glenn Guy