Lightroom vs Photoshop: Who Are They For and What Do They Do?
Photoshop has been around for a long time. It has become a standard for all sorts of graphic editing, and has even become a verb in our language. However, there is another program made by Adobe for photography and that is Lightroom. Unless one is in the photography world, very few people have heard of Lightroom. Even though Lightroom isn't as well known, it is an amazing program. But what does it do? You might ask. Well, Lightroom and Photoshop are similar in one sense, and quite different in another so lets take a look at each one.
Photoshop: Photoshop is arguably the most powerful graphic editor which is designed for image editing and compositing. It uses layers to apply multiple effects and edits to your images. Photoshop has a lot of powerful tools designed for compositing. This is the program you want to use if you need to cut a subject out of a background or remove a distraction from the image. However, Photoshop is a destructive editor. This means that any changes you make are permanent. Although you can get around this by making new layers and making copies of your image so that you can go back if you make a mistake. All of these features and functionality makes the learning curve in Photoshop very steep. If you have never used Photoshop before it will probably be a few months before you become comfortable with most of Photoshop's tools, and maybe even a year or two before you get really good with some of the more advanced tools and techniques. However, don't let this scare you because if you need to edit your images a lot or composite or design photos then Photoshop is the best tool out there.
Lightroom: Lightroom isn't as old as Photoshop and therefore isn't as well known, but Lightroom is Adobe's program for photographers. Lightroom is set up for the professional photographer who shoots lots of images at a time. Lightroom includes organization and editing tools. The organization tools in Lightroom are second to none. Lightroom makes is easy to find images you took years ago. The develop module is where you edit your images, and it is amazing. Lightroom's develop module is based on ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) which is also available inside Photoshop, however, Lightroom's interface makes it easier to use. The editing abilities in Lightroom are limited to tonal and color edits as well as some simple cloning tools. However, Lightroom is probably to best program to use for these types of edits. Lightroom has a much easier learning curve, so you can become adept at editing you photos much faster.
While both Lightroom and Photoshop have access to ACR, Photoshop is designed for heavy editing and compositing while Lightroom is designed for photographers because it can handle large volumes of images. If you would like to try either of these programs out for 30 days just click here for Lightroom and here for Photoshop (note: these are affiliate links).