Should You Use Photoshop or Lightroom First?

When it comes to photo editing software, Photoshop and Lightroom are two of the most popular options. Photoshop and Lightroom are powerful Adobe photography tools, but it can be confusing which one should be used first. Should you use Photoshop or Lightroom first?

It is best to start editing photos in Lightroom first. Lightroom is perfect for making global adjustments and changes to general exposure. Photoshop is usually not a necessary step in the photo editing process if Lightroom is used first.

In this post, we will discuss when to use Lightroom and Photoshop. Keep reading to discover why Lightroom is the best option to start your photo editing.

Should You Use Lightroom First?

Using Lightroom first is the smartest option when it comes to photo editing. You can employ Photoshop later, but only if you need to make more specific adjustments and edits to an image.

You should use Lightroom first when editing photos because:

  • Lightroom is perfect for making global adjustments.
  • Lightroom lets you use sliders to apply edits across a set of photos
  • Lightroom is a beginner-friendly, powerful tool for photo editing

But, what makes Lightroom better than Photoshop? Keep reading to find out.

Lightroom Features

With Lightroom, you have access to a lot of features.

They include:

  • Cropping
  • White balance
  • Exposure
  • Histogram adjustments
  • Tonal curves
  • Black and white conversion
  • Spot removal
  • Red-eye corrections
  • Gradients
  • Local adjustments
  • Sharpening
  • Noise reduction
  • Lens profile corrections
  • Vibrance
  • Saturation

Lightroom is the more approachable software option of the two. It allows for simple edits to be made with minimal effort and time.

When Should You Use Photoshop?

Photoshop can be helpful in quite a few different scenarios. However, it does not need to be used all the time and certainly should not be used first if you are pairing it with Lightroom.

You should Photoshop an image when:

  • You need to make specific, detailed edits
  • You want to edit at the pixel level
  • You have the time to invest in learning Photoshop
  • You are comfortable with Photoshop’s interface

Now, let’s see what Photoshop is good for.

Photoshop Features

Photoshop is great for certain applications.

They include:

  • Advanced retouching – To change shapes and sizes in an image, Photoshop is needed.
  • Composite images – To create a single image from multiple images, sliced together, Photoshop is needed.
  • HDR exposures – To create an exposure that blends images through highlights and shadows, Photoshop is needed.
  • Panoramic images – To create a panoramic image from multiple images, Photoshop is needed.
  • Advanced healing – To adjust skin tones, remove blemishes and whiten teeth, Photoshop is needed.

In general, you should use Photoshop sparingly. It’s a more complex piece of software and can make images look quite distorted if used improperly.

Do Professional Photographers Use Lightroom or Photoshop?

Professional photographers most commonly use a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop. Lightroom is perfect for making batch edits to a series of photos, while Photoshop is great for specific edits. But if a professional photographer is only using one of the two programs, they are most certainly using Lightroom.

These are what professional photographers use either applications when editing photos:

– Cropping
– Adjusting exposure
– Adjusting white balance
– Applying presets
– Removing objects from photos
– Creating composite images
– Adding text to images
– Changing colors in images

Lightroom also allows for easier organization of large numbers of photos over Photoshop. In Photoshop you can’t apply edits to a group of photos easily as you can in Lightroom.

Oftentimes, professional photographers will use Lightroom first to batch edit photos and then go over individual images in Photoshop as needed to create the right look.

Do You Need Photoshop If You Have Lightroom?

You do not need Photoshop if you have Lightroom. Lightroom is a powerful program that can do almost everything Photoshop can do.

If you are just getting started in photography, we recommend using Lightroom first. Photoshop is a great program, but it’s not necessary for everyone. Also, Lightroom has a host of features that can meet most simple editor’s needs.

Lightroom is easier to use than Photoshop. It’s the perfect program for beginners. Photoshop is more complex and can be overwhelming for people just starting out.

And if you are not sure which program to use, we recommend trying Lightroom first. You can always upgrade to Photoshop later if you need it. But oftentimes, if you start with Lightroom you rarely need the upgraded possibilities of Photoshop, but that really depends on the type of work you create.

What Happens If You Use Photoshop and Lightroom Together?

If you want, you can use Photoshop and Lightroom together.

The suggested workflow is to start in Lightroom, make your batch edits and then switch to Photoshop. This is the easiest way to use these two programs together.

Your image will not change in size or quality unless you change the save settings. But you should be able to use Lightroom and then upload your image into Photoshop without any issues. If you know what you are doing using Lightroom then Photoshop can create some amazing, high-quality images too.

Photoshop is great for advanced editing that can’t be done in Lightroom. You can even go so far as to change the color of different objects in an image. How cool?!

What Are the Main Differences Between Photoshop and Lightroom?

The main differences between Photoshop and Lightroom are far but not wide.

They include:

  • Photoshop is more complex and can be overwhelming for people just starting out.
  • Lightroom is easier to use than Photoshop.
  • Photoshop offers more features than Lightroom.
  • Lightroom is a better choice for beginners.

Photoshop has an intricate interface that can be difficult to get used to, however, it has tons of tools, that are unavailable in Lightroom, to edit the perfect photo.

In Summary: Use Lightroom Before Photoshop

You should use Lightroom before Photoshop. Photoshop is more complex and can be overwhelming for people just starting out. Lightroom is a better choice for beginners. Photoshop offers more features than Lightroom, but Lightroom is easier to use than Photoshop. And since Lightroom is so easy it takes only minutes to get the edits you want.