Why You Should Finally Make The Jump From Lightroom To Photoshop

Glenn Carstens-Peters

As a digital photographer, editing your images is a vital process in your workflow. With the constant new wave of technological products, today’s photographers have access to a database of high quality tools and software that can be used for post production.

With the Adobe Creative programs, Lightroom and Photoshop have become the top two leading resources for aiding photographers with their professional edits. While both programs have similar tools and functionalities, there is a definitive distinction between their internal processes.

While Lightroom is perfect for the beginning photographer and editor looking for a streamlined interface and ease of use, it is no doubt that Photoshop delivers in high quality, intricate editing tools and capabilities.

If you are growing as a professional photographer, you need to know how to effectively combine the use of Lightroom and Photoshop to create the highest quality edits for your image. This is why you should make the jump from Lightroom to Photoshop.

Use Lightroom For The Storing Of Your Images

The most effective way to edit your photographs is through a combined use of Lightroom and Photoshop. Since opening up a RAW image in Photoshop requires a substantial amount of internal memory and computer power, you will want to use a program that can easily import your images into their library.

By using Lightroom to import your images, you can:

  • Select the images you want to add to the Library
  • Create a specific folder/ naming system
  • And even apply a generalized preset to all of the images as they are importing

Once you have imported your images, you can then cull through them to see which ones you want to edit. With simple features such as using the arrow keys to move from one image to the next and quickly removing with the delete button, there is no easier way to narrow down your selections.

You can also give each photo a rating, 1 or 5 stars, to then group your rejects and selects into different folders rather than removing them from the library. Once you have chosen your images, you can now move onto the editing process.

Make Small Adjustments Before Exporting

When you edit in Photoshop, you are editing one image at a time. While this is effective for ensuring you create your more unique alterations, it doesn’t exactly save you time. Before you send an image from Lightroom to Photoshop, consider making any small adjustments in color or light.

You can easily edit a photograph from the side bar basics editing tools. Here you will find values for exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites and blacks. Make any changes that you see fit and then you can send your image to Photoshop by either right clicking and choosing “Edit in Photoshop” or using the keyboard shortcut of “Command + E.”

Open Your Image Up In Photoshop

Once you made any small edits in Lightroom, you can open your image up in Photoshop. You can choose to open your image in Photoshop with or without the adjustments you have made in Lightroom, but I would recommend importing your semi-edited image in order to increase the productivity of your workflow.

Opening up your image in Photoshop will allow you to utilize the tools available in the program to change and alter your photograph as you would like. You will notice that your image is still in RAW format (or whichever type of file you imported it as) therefore making it easy for you to add your new layers and adjustments.

Utilize The Tools, Filters And Coloring Features 

The main reason why you should make the jump from editing solely in Lightroom to utilizing Photoshop is due to the vast capabilities of the program.

Photoshop is meant for photographers who have already spent ample time understanding how to effectively edit and adjust the components of their images. Photoshop is not a beginner tool, but can be quickly learned if a photographer is willing to invest the time to discover how the tools and interface work.

With Photoshop, you can bring your images to the next level through its range of tools, filters and coloring features such as selective range, tonal adjustments, blending modes and more.

With Photoshop, you do not simply adjust light and color and call your image a finished product. Instead, you can access the abundance of tools that can help you achieve your own personal and stylized look for your images. With concepts such as radial gradients, dodging and burning or color overlays – you are guaranteed to heighten the level of professionalism in your digital images.

Save Your Image Back Into Lightroom

Once you have made your adjustments in Photoshop, you can save your image back to the Lightroom Library. This process is done by pressing “Command + S.” This will save the edits you have made and bring your photo back into Lightroom.

The reason you will want to place all of your images back into Lightroom is for efficiency. This allows you to save all of your images in one place, quickly and without utilizing too much of your hard drive’s capabilities. Then, once you have all of your edited images in one place you can export them from Lightroom onto your desktop.

When exporting you can create a folder, give each file a specific name and even make adjustments to file size, dimensions and sharpness for print or web use.

As you can see, using a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop can make a significant difference to your editing workflow. As you progress as a photographer, using Photoshop will be a key tool in creating professional and high quality imagery. By understanding how Photoshop’s tools, filters and features work, you can easily make the jump from Lightroom to Photoshop to effectively edit your images.