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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lightroom Vs. Photoshop

Which one of these programs will you find more useful for your photography?

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Lightroom (above, left) and Photoshop (above, right) each has its strengths for nature photographers. It’s a matter of choosing the right tool for the job.
If you’re going to get the most from your digital images, you have to use some sort of image-processing program. A camera doesn’t “capture” reality, it interprets it based on sensor range and limits, camera designer decisions, and processing done by the camera before the image becomes a RAW or JPEG file.

Today, we have a wealth of excellent programs available to help in this interpretation, whether that means making a more accurate photo of a natural scene or creating something more unusual that fits the fine-art category. Adobe Photoshop has long stood at the top of this field, and for good reason, as it’s a powerful program.

But is it still the best program for all photographers? A question I’m asked more often now is, “Lightroom looks interesting, but why should I bother with it if I already have Photoshop?” There’s no question that you could use Photoshop and its associated Bridge program to successfully work on your images. And that’s true whether you use JPEG or RAW. And I definitely believe Photoshop in some form (even if it’s Photoshop Elements) is still needed.

For photographers, there are some big advantages to doing most of their work in Lightroom. If I had to choose between upgrading to a new version of Photoshop or using Lightroom with Photoshop Elements 6 or 7 (7 for PCs, 6 for Macs), I’d go to Lightroom and Elements. This would give most photographers more usable power and an easier, faster workflow for their images.

Here are 10 advantages to Lightroom, and it’s important to understand that they apply to both JPEG and RAW workflows.

1 Nondestructive editing. Nothing is actually changed in an image until the photo is exported. This means you can make an adjustment, change it again and again, but no quality is lost as it would be in Photoshop.

2 Better controls over organizing your photos.
Lightroom has Collections and Smart Collections, which are very helpful. Say you’re gathering a group of photos to use in a slideshow. You could put these into a Collection so you could go to them instantly at another time. The photos aren’t actually moved, so the Collections are “virtual,” meaning they need little storage space. Once you start doing this with Collections, you’ll find a lot of uses for them.

3 Large views. Lightroom has larger Compare and Survey views of images when you need to compare them for editing, compared to Bridge.


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