Lightroom and Photoshop belong to Adobe’s most popular photo editing software — but if you’re just starting, it can be challenging to know which one you should be using. Luckily, you needn’t worry; we’ve come to the rescue and will break everything down. So, if you’re comparing Adobe Lightroom vs Photoshop, we hope it will be easier for you to make a final decision by the end of this article.
What is the difference between Lightroom and Photoshop?
Lightroom and Photoshop aren’t just contenders — they’re a great duo, and many photographers use both.
Lightroom is often the first step in the editing workflow to import and organize photos and then apply the same editing filters/tools to the entire photo series. It’s a great all-rounder that’s easy to master and great to start with.
Photoshop, on the other hand, is fantastic when it comes to mastering the details.
Just to give you an example of what we mean: if you’re doing something like a social media image shoot, you’ll have a ton of photos to edit with the same look and feel. Lightroom is your friend here. While, if you’re shooting a magazine cover and are going to spend hours perfecting the edit on that ONE photo, Photoshop is what you’re looking for here.
When talking about the difference between Lightroom and Photoshop, it all comes down to the stage of the editing workflow you are in and how detailed your process is.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how the different areas and features of these two compare.
Lightroom vs Photoshop: interface user experience
|Lightroom’s interface is intuitive and straightforward — especially if you’ve used other, more straightforward photo editing software. Compared to Photoshop, it’s one you can master and enjoy using a lot more quickly. |
A major plus point for Lightroom’s interface is the ability to create and apply presets to a range of images — Photoshop doesn’t give you this option. Lightroom not only allows you to upload and edit several photos at once, but it also uploads their metadata, e.g., the camera model, date, time, aperture, etc.
You can then cluster your photos into a folder and mark your favorites. This makes the overall navigation and workflow simpler, especially if you have many images to edit.
|Photoshop is THE photo editing software on the market, and for a good reason. It’s incredibly powerful, has many functions, and truly is a skill you need to master. |
Although the interface is by far not as intuitive and straightforward as Lightroom, it has other perks. Photoshop has released an accompanying app where you can use most core functions. Although the app doesn’t replace the desktop version just yet, you might enjoy switching up your workspace from time to time and integrating editing on the app into your workflow.
Photoshop also offers a broader range of tools you can use to edit your photos, giving you more variety and creative freedom.
When it comes to pricing, Lightroom is a clear winner — but get this: if you purchase Lightroom + Photoshop in a bundle, it costs $19.99/month, plus you get 1 TB of storage — cheaper than buying Photoshop alone. So, if you’re still on the fence between the two, it might make sense to get both.
Lightroom and Photoshop both have plenty of features — but which one is right for you will depend on which features suit your workflow best.
Let’s take a deep dive into them.
|Photo import and organizing||Advanced|
This is one of Lightroom’s most robust features. You can quickly bulk import a ton of photos, mark your favorites, group them into folders, and bulk edit or apply preset edits (done by you or another creator).
With Photoshop, you can only add one image and create a new layer every time.
Lightroom likes to keep things simple when it comes to editing, but who said that was a bad thing, right? In Lightroom, you can enhance light and color, correct perspective, sharpen, and add creative effects. You can also whiten teeth, reduce red-eye, and use a healing brush to remove blemishes.
Photoshop takes photo editing to the next level and is the go-to software for the best tools to retouch photos. You can also combine images and create a completely new one. Filters, layers, masking, and transform controls are your photo editing friends here.
Lightroom offers the option to apply so-called ‘presets’ — edits you can automatically use to create a distinct look; these are designed and sold by other third parties/ photo editors who want to earn a bit of cash on the side.
Lightroom also automatically gathers metadata like the camera model used, aperture, and date and time the image was shot.
|No automation capacity|
In Photoshop, you can’t import a series of photos or apply the same edit preset to them. Photoshop is more about craftsmanship and creates freedom of photo editing.
In Lightroom, you can make as many edits as you want and revert them one by one because Lightroom stores every single version of your photo. This means you can always revert to the original or go back a few steps if you don’t like the look of the edit you just added.
|Photoshop does not save your versions; what you see is what you get. You can, however, create layers, where you layer edits on top of each other to create the finished look and permanently remove or hide a layer to go back to the original.|
|Removing objects||Lightroom is pretty limited on this front.||Photoshop is the king of|
removing unwanted things and people in the background; it has fantastic tools to achieve an edited photo — where you wouldn’t even notice there had been a person standing in the original background.
Lightroom or Photoshop: which one is best suited to what roles?
Whether you should use Lightroom or Photoshop (or both!) depends on your role – if you’re a hobby or professional photographer, or if you need them for other purposes.
For the hobby photographer, content creator, or trainee photographer
Lightroom is the way to go. It has all the functions you need to:
- Easily get to grips with photo editing.
- Bulk edit images.
- Switch up the contrast, clarity, warmth, and more.
- Improve your workflow.
- Move into more advanced editing with Photoshop later on.
For the advanced photographer who wants to take things to the next level
Photoshop will turn you into the master of your skill; it’s where award-winning photo edits happen. It has all the functions you need to:
- Edit in minute detail and be in control of every single pixel of the photo.
- Discover neat functions like the healing brush, patch tool, and lots more.
- Break up your workflow by editing on your iPad.
- Take your skills to the next level, create brand-new effects.
In case you might still be comparing Lightroom vs Photoshop, here’s a bonus tip.
If you’re just getting started, we recommend choosing Lightroom. If you’re looking to up your game and become a real pro, dive into Photoshop. Then, if you want to learn even more about Photoshop, you can start by learning more about mastering layer masking in photoshop.