Photoshop vs Lightroom – Which Is Right For Me?

Many people can’t even imagine their lives without taking a bunch of photos anymore. Today people photograph everything – pets, babies, street views, food, etc. The more time people invest in social media, the more obsession they feel with digital photography. Lots of nice photos in your account means more views, recognition, and for many – better marketing and more profit. So, after the fun and exciting process of making photos, here comes a process of editing. And that’s the point when many people start scratching their heads wondering – Photoshop or Lightroom?

To many professional and semi photographers, Photoshop is a golden standard for post-production and there is no doubt in its efficiency whatsoever. However, especially to those, who are just starting out, it seems like there is no clear-cut answer to this question.

Before you get carried away with either Photoshop or Lightroom, take a pick at this article. Read through the information, make a note of it, and then draw your conclusion. We evaluated the main features of these two image editing programs and made a comparison.

What is Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop was launched in 1990 and since then has become one of the most popular and recognizable brands worldwide. By 2020 Photoshop has already grown into a monster heavy-duty software with lots of features and capabilities specifically designed to satisfy every need for image editing. If somebody would make an attempt to describe all features it offers, that would be a never-ending list. Photoshop has unlimited potential for a wide range of creative projects on hand. 

The power of Photoshop is appreciated not only by professional photographers but also by architects, animators, graphic designers, and publishers. Today Photoshop is used even for creating more advanced digital art, for example, 3D graphics. 

What is Lightroom?

Lightroom is a software which is often called a younger brother of Photoshop. Lots of users find this image editor great because it has a processor for working with raw files already installed. Just simply import your images, plug, and you’re ready to process it. 

This software is also handy for the management of your files. A simple interface makes it much easier to search for images on a particular topic. Another feature that makes Lightroom user friendly is the directory of folders. Smart folder processing allows adding images manually. Also, browsing and finding your photos with keywords or colored flags make this experience extremely easy. 

Lightroom offers one of the advanced features that deal with cloud and mobile technology. In other words, your photos can be stored in cloud storage, as well as in mobile applications for Android and iOS platforms. Whenever you are cataloging your pictures, tagging, saving, or editing, it is synchronized with your cloud library on an instance. 

Basically, all original images you made, as well as all edits with metadata become accessible on any device you currently use –  your PC, your phone, tablet, or even an Apple TV. As a bonus, you will be provided with the handy backup that updates automatically. 

Difference Between Photoshop and Lightroom

Photoshop or Lightroom is an almost philosophical question. Here are some major differences of Photoshop vs Lightroom:

  • Photoshop only works with one image at a time; 
  • Photoshop doesn’t have the organizational abilities of Lightroom;
  • Photoshop doesn’t have an ability to manipulate with RAW files directly from the camera and must rely on ACR plugin or something like that in order to import or modify images;   

Lightroom vs Photoshop:

  • A limited number of editing tools compare to Photoshop;
  • You can’t do layer management and editing (no real separation in image segments);
  • You can’t work with either vector or raster images (this software is for photos only).

When Should I Use Photoshop?

In most cases, the decision of whether to use Photoshop or Lightroom will depend on the complexity level of your work. Here is a brief outline of major points that can be taken into account. Take a look before you make up your mind about processing images in Photoshop.

  • You can edit on the pixel level

If you work with vector images, then Photoshop would be much better for this kind of work. You can edit images on pixel level and this is advantageous in working with raster images too. 

  • You can editing on separate layers

You can edit an image on separate layers and then store multiple layers in the master file. There is also an option of image modification and enhancement layer by layer separately. 

  • You can recreate your work with just one click

“Action” is one of the handiest features of Photoshop because you can recreate the whole process of editing in just one step. Every step that you take during the editing process is recorded. 

  • You can utilize and impressive and extensive toolbox

Photoshop has a huge toolbox that advances every time a new edition of this software is released. The toolbox offers anything from editing camera shake effects and photo filters of many kinds, to panoramic stitching which performs automatically. 

When Should I Use Lightroom?

You should probably go with Lightroom software if you don’t want to spend too much time figuring everything out or want to save some time with editing. Since this software was simplified, it’s interface doesn’t require lots of learning. Since Lightroom has a lot of post-processing tools already installed, it can be used for almost any editing task. Image metadata can be displayed in Lightroom as an overlay, even if you’re in the process of editing photos. Photoshop doesn’t have this option. If you need something like that for your work, then go with Lightroom. Another advantage of Lightroom is that you can save your changes and go back to them whenever is needed. Photoshop doesn’t offer an option of restoring changes. 

And here is more, Lightroom allows you to go through the process of editing many photos at the same time without opening or closing files. This makes image processing more efficient. Also, there is an option of storing all files in one place, so you can organize and find your photos in just one click. Lightroom creates folders and subfolders and is a great tool for managing files. 

Finally, when it comes to editing images, Lightroom is totally non-destructive because the original file never changes permanently. 


Still feeling uncertain about which editing software to use? Then try them both and learn from your actual experience. You can always integrate all creative projects you completed in Photoshop and Lightroom in the Creative Cloud. If you are a newbie in photography, then Lightroom would be your better aid and a good place to start. If you’re going for more advanced image processing or work with vector images, Photoshop will offer more features and tools to do this job. 

In case, if you need to learn more either on Lightroom or Photoshop, Grinfer offers three useful online courses for beginners

The online course “The Everyday Guide to Photoshop” is less than $30 and was created on Grinfer by Bogdan Vaida, an Experiential Trainer with 10+ years of experience. During this course, you’ll get hands-on practical experience of editing and modifying photos including your self-portraits. Among other things, Bogdan teaches how to create special effects for your images, such as changing background, removing objects, changing your eyes or lips color, and much more.

Another online course on Photoshop is “Photoshop Basics Series Class 1: Navigating Photoshop” which is only $19.99 and was created by Dan LeFebvre, a professional digital artist. He has extensive experience not only in graphic design but also in 3D art. During the course, you learn about the basic features of Photoshop, such as planning, zooming, and navigating through the interface. Also, learn about common formats used in Photoshop and pick up some production-proven hints and tricks of editing. By the end of this course, you will be able to easily navigate throughout the interface and use your workflow effectively. 

Need more hints and tricks on Lightroom or want to enhance your experience? Then sign up for one of the bestselling online courses offered on Grinfer for only $19.99. “Adobe Lightroom CC: Landscape Photography Masterclass 2020” was created by Fabian Rosshirt, a professional landscape photographer based in Germany. He has extensive knowledge of Lightroom and Photoshop image processing which he shares with over 10,000 people across the globe. His main goal is to inspire other people for creativity and digital art. 

Taking his course, you will learn a lot of useful information starting with basics and progress up to more advanced professional techniques. Basics include step-by-step explanations of how to import and edit images with lots of hands-on practice. On a more advanced level, you will be dealing with visuals effects and learn how to make a great shot despite the bad weather. And these are just a few spoilers out of many more that we listed. By the end of the course, you’ll boost your skills and will be creating stunning images on the professional level. 

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