This is Why You Need to Use Adobe Lightroom

Use Lightroom Image by Jay Goodrich

Use Lightroom because it is a non-destructive, importing, cataloging, processing, exporting, and sharing software designed as an all-inclusive platform specifically for photographers who need photo and video imaging control. It is completely integrated with most of Adobe’s additional software packages specifically, but not exclusively limited to/with Photoshop. Phew! With those two statements alone you can already begin to understand the power of this program. It allows me, the stand alone photographer, to run a photography business without the need for an army of other people managing my office and images for success. Thus, I realize more of the profits while I attempt to work less, unlike many of those whom I compete against.

Yes, Lightroom is a fairly easy software to begin to utilize, but it is the nuances that truly make this platform amazing for the single photographer. Once successfully setup, you can edit, organize, master, and export hundreds of images within minutes. Maybe not minutes, but REALLY fast. So what makes this single piece of software so indispensable?

Photoshop/Bridge vs. Lightroom

I know there are tons of you out there still on this Photoshop/Bridge kick for working on your images. You are probably into mastering all of your work in Photoshop as well, after making some basic adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw. One. Single. Image. At. A. Time. You are probably sorting those images that you create through Bridge too. Three separate software packages, two of which are natively built into Lightroom.

I have to say that Bridge may be one of the most counter-intuitive software platforms on the planet for adding any kind of metadata to your images. In addition, the functioning is slower than a turtle. Photoshop isn’t any better when it comes to adding metadata although it definitely runs much faster. In Lightroom it is as easy as tabbing through a series of blanks. In addition, you can build presets that allow you to add repetitive meta with the click of a dropdown menu.

Now I want you to open Lightroom and check out the Develop Module, then open Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop. We are loosing that same simplicity in these two comparisons as well. In Lightroom you follow the functionality down a column and in ACR there is this icon to dropdown deal that has layout here and all over there – more power to you if that works for your brain.

Now I am not going to sit here and say it’s all bad. Photoshop accesses your computer’s main and graphics processors so that it runs really fast in almost all situations. Lightroom accesses just the main processor, so if you have an old machine, you are probably plagued with slooooowwwwwwnessssss. I am hearing that will change with the next upgrade to Lightroom.

I now use Photoshop about 1% percent of the time and only for very specific functions. It would need to be a task like a macro stack of different focused point images or for building a giant panoramic image for print. I don’t even make adjustments in PS anymore thanks to how functional Lightroom has become with current versions.


I also know that many of you are still shooting RAW + JPEG in camera. Why I ask? From what you are telling me in my classes is that you need something for a quick export to the web. If you are using Lightroom, you already have that quick export functionality and you can even create presets to speed up that process as well. And who exports anything, anywhere, without processing it? Yes, I have the answer to that question as well.

If you are shooting the game between the Packers and the Seahawks for the Oregonian and they are going to produce a web story on the “Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat” that needs to launch immediately after the game and you have five minutes to get your editor the images, then you shoot RAW + JPEG. And if not, save yourself some card and hard disk space by just shooting RAW. Or you can keep fumbling through Bridge and opening everything in Photoshop and continue to make more work for yourself.

Aperture Import

Apple is actually the company who started the whole concept of a non-destructive digital asset management software platform when they introduced Aperture. In October of 2014, they announced that they are ceasing continuance of that platform. I started using Aperture with its first release. It was a major reason for my switch from film to digital. When Adobe released Lightroom, I switched over to it because of the integration with Photoshop, yes I wasn’t always so outspoken against this Photoshop thing. So now what do you do if you are completely invested in Aperture because you can bet Aperture 3 will stop working at some point as Apple continues to update their operating system?

Never fear my friends, there is a Plug-in for that and it is included with the most current 5.7 update that Adobe released for Lightroom. All you have to do is head to: File>Plug-in Extras>And choose your Aperture Import scenario.


If you are still convinced that the Photoshop direction is the way for you, imagine how cool it would be if you had an unlimited rolling history of the adjustments you performed on an image, that never disappeared. Because that is how it works in Lightroom. When leave your photo for another photo or quit the software entirely, those history states stay until you delete them.


Yes, yes, I know snapshots are part of Photoshop as well. Yes they work the same way. You are essentially taking a quick image of a current history state to revert back to at any point, but again they don’t disappear when you close your photo or quit Lightroom like the do in Photoshop…(continued exclusively for newsletter subscribers – see below)

Those are five points as to why you need to be working in Lightroom, NOW. For additional content and five more points on why you need Lightroom as your primary photo editing application, YOU WILL NEED TO SIGNUP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER to get the link and password to our NEW & EXCLUSIVE subscriber content area (if you are already a subscriber you will have the access password in our next email). 2015 marks the year where we have begun building FREE private online content for those who put an emphasis on their photography and want to grow with us.

Now, if you want start using Lightroom because of my amazing sales skills and have no idea where to start, we can help there as well, just HEAD TO OUR STORE TO PURCHASE AND DOWNLOAD THE DIGIT IMAGE, an online tutorial kit, designed to teach you some of the many nuances of utilizing Adobe Photoshop Lightroom for your daily image processing needs.


    Hello Jay, I’m one of the Aperture fans who got disappointed last year and I want to ask you about the Aperture -> Lightroom plug-in. Have you tried it? I heard that it doesn’t actually do much – all your enhancements are left behind and you just get the pictures, hopefully metadata and what else? Can you move the Aperture project/folders structure to LR?

    Also there’s one more thing worth mentioning. Apple will replace Aperture with Photos app around March (…rumors say) and it’ll be interesting to see how they meet the needs of pros. I’m afraid they won’t and it’ll end up being an iPhoto equivalent.

    Hi Jan,

    I haven’t tried it because I haven’t used Aperture since version 1. I did a little research online and it looks like there is a process to getting more of info to move over than just clicking a button. So I think you are correct in that you will lose some info. So the decision becomes keep your current workflow until Aperture does’t work or bit the bullet and make the switch? There could also be upgrades to the plugin as things progress so that could be an advantage to waiting.

    I was having trouble losing files in Lightroom every time I moved a folder or changed file names. So I reverted back top bridge because you don’t have to do the whole importing thing. Is there something I’m missing?

    Hi Aimee,

    It sounds like you may be moving files around outside of LR? If this is the case LR is a databasing software. Think of it like a website, everything is linked within the software so if you make moves outside of it then those links are broken and LR doesn’t know what to do. Bridge only reads what is there so moving direct files isn’t a problem. My suggestion would be to always move things within LR, never outside of it.

    Hi, I have been using LR for some time- its great- but I shoot only in JPEG- I had a low light interior shoot problem a few days ago and reshot in RAW+JPEG- the RAW files were so grainy I could not do anything with them at all…

    Any idea why? I was wondering if using medium grade SD cards would have something to do with it?

    I am using 45MB/sec class 10 HDSC cards…

    Please comment, kind regards. Luke

    Hi Luke,

    It sounds like you may be dealing with a high ISO/noise issue? I would compare the file metadata and see what the stats are. The other thing you may be dealing with is that the noise reduction is turned off in your camera and in LR so you are seeing the image without any adjustment. Have a look and if so try adding some luminance noise reduction to the file.

    I’m not computer savy and have tried on my own to use my installed Photoshop Elements 9 on my MacBook Pro, but it’s difficult for me. I’ve heard LIghtroom is userfriendly and I’ve heard it’s more for photographers who frequently work with large batches at a time vs taking lots of pics 2-5 times a year. I think I need more than iphoto in order to enter contests and have more editing choices (HDR, panoramic stitching, layering, etc.) to frame larger prints for self and family. Suggestions?

    Thanks for your time!


    Hi MK,

    LR is great for an all inclusive professional package. HDR, Panos, and Layering all still happen in Photoshop, but you can export all that work directly from LR to PS and then save everything back into your LR catalog. It also will work with Elements. I guess I have nothing bad to say about Lightroom. And if you are looking for something way more powerful than iPhoto, it will definitely help you out.

    Hi. I am one of those Aperture-users, finally understanding that I have to move to other software. But after scanning miles and miles of text about this, I still haven’t found the really good description about the one thing I’m looking for (and anxious about). And here it comes: I photograph birds, and have used hiearchical keywords i Aperture. Therefore one picture may have only the word raven, and another pic may have the keyword magpie. They are both passerines, and they are both birds. And mammals are structures the same systematic way, alongside. Aperture knows this from my hierarchical keyword list, but “passerines” and “crows” are not included in every picture file. Will this survive on my way to Lightroom?

    I teach photography and about 4 years ago while I was still a Bridge/Photoshop hanger-oner and didn’t want to learn new software (Lightroom), I had a student bring me an article: 101 reasons to use Lightroom over Bridge or close to that. It was compelling. The punch line for me is that the image I see and work on in Bridge does not have nearly the resolution or sharpness that the image I see in Lightroom. I had been deleting images that were not sharp in Bridge that likely were really sharp !!! Yikes.

    So I bit the bullet and took a weekend immersion course in Lightroom and have been expanding my skills with it since. Thanks for your help in this article.


    I am just starting Lightroom 5 version 5.7. My cameras are Nikon D7000 and D7100, I shoot jpeg & RAW and all photos how have been downloaded to View NX. Now that I am starting L/R the both formats from the D7000 open but only the jpeg from the D7100 open, the RAW display only grey squares. Any help will be appreciated.

    Great Article. I am a professional photography educator and one of the greatest strengths of LR is the philosophy of not backing up EVERYTHING. One of my pro clients was backing up his images in Tiff format. What a waste of time and storage space. His work flow took 4 pieces of software and literally hours to do what LR does in minutes. Remember LR only does its magic when needed, on export. Carol- I use a D7100 and a D750 it may not be the case but make sure you have upload the latest versions of LR. It takes Adobe time to get new cameras in the Camera Raw engine

    Great Article. I am a professional photography educator and one of the greatest strengths of LR is the philosophy of not backing up EVERYTHING. One of my pro clients was backing up his images in Tiff format. What a waste of time and storage space. His work flow took 4 pieces of software and literally hours to do what LR does in minutes. Remember LR only does its magic when needed, on export. Carol- I use a D7100 and a D750 it may not be the case but make sure you have upload the latest versions of LR. It takes Adobe time to get new cameras in the Camera Raw engine


    Thanks for the nice review of LR. I’m curious to know whether one can update one’s version of LR in order to be able to read RAW files from newer cameras. Thanks.


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