February 18, 2010

Lightroom and/or Photoshop?

I am often asked “which should I buy:  Lightroom or Photoshop?”  If you can afford it, the answer is:  BOTH!  If you can only get one or the other, I usually recommend that people begin with Lightroom.  In my humble opinion, it’s way more intuitive, easy to learn & use, fast, non-fussy, photographer-friendly and truly adequate for most hobbyists’ workload.  For all but a few of my family photos, I use Lightroom exclusively.  Especially now that I’ve finally found settings that make my LR edits look pretty darn close to PS edits (no small thanks to Rebecca Lily presets – her Just a Little Something and b/w presets are the ones I usually begin and end with). 

In each of the following groupings, SOOC is first, LR is middle, and PS is last.

IMG_5193 IMG_5193-2 IMG_5192T


_MG_9279 _MG_9279-3 _MG_9279T



_MG_9279 _MG_9279-2 _MG_9279TT




_MG_9282 _MG_9282T

_MG_0041 _MG_0041-2 _MG_0041T


Alrighty then, if nothing else can be determined from these [above] particular pictures, you can see that I don’t spend oodles of time finesse-ing my family photos in PS.  And that, really, LR does a truly decent job.  So let’s look at a couple of my photos from my professional sessions, where I do put forth the additional time and effort to polish and finesse.  This is where PS is the real workhorse – anything requiring superior sharpening, curves/levels adjustments, selective area adjustments, skin retouching, eye brightening, etc.  In the following images, you will see the greatest difference in the eye detail (sharpness & brightness), because, of course, this little beauty’s skin does NOT need to be messed with!

IMG_2830-2 IMG_2830-Edit




IMG_2884 IMG_2884-2 IMG_2884-Edit

In this image [above]  you can especially see the PS difference if you look closely at the eyes, freckles, and dress detail.

IMG_2862 IMG_2862-2 IMG_2862-Edit

So there’s my simple offering of a comparison of what LR and PS accomplish for me.  Hope it’s helpful for anyone considering purchasing one or both of these…

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Aliso Viejo Portrait Photographer


Donna said...

I am a beginner to both programs. It's easier for me to get around in LR but I do like the tweaking features in PS better. I tend to go back and forth depending on what I am working on. Your photographs are so lovely. Thanks for posting this. It is very helpful!

Karin said...

Awesome post--thank you. I have PSE 7. Would I be able to do the same edits as your PS? I have heard that it is similar. I love how her eyes turned out. Maybe when you have time, you could share how you got them to look so gorgeous? :)

Skeller said...

Yes, Karin.
PSE can certainly do anything I'm doing in PS. Pioneer Woman has a free action for "popping eyes" and I'm pretty sure she has both a PS & PSE version available. She also has a tutorial on popping eyes. I think iheartfaces.com has an eye popping tutorial also. Or you can just google for numerous tutorials. They're available in abundance!

Life with Kaishon said...

This was so great to know : ). I love your pictures very, very much. Always.
I was going to get the free trial of lightroom for 30 days but my computer has serious memory issues so I decided not to : ).
Thank you for taking time to teach and help : )

Anonymous said...

I got the 30 day trial of LR a while back and LOVED it! I wish I could now afford to buy it for good. It was such a teaser having it for 30 days then having to let it go. Such a sad, sad day! I now have PSE8...until I can upgrade one day. : )

Drew said...

For me, LR is not intuitive, but I think it's because I'm so used to Photoshop. I have to admit, the LR edits tended to be my favorite every time. You don't need to be encouraging me to spend more money. :)

Annette said...

I enjoy reading your blog and learning from your photos. I appreciate that in your comparison you included the SOOC shot. Thank you for the comparisons.

Jessi said...

I have been looking for answers to this question and I saw you referenced if the ihf forum as a great LR resource so I came to your blog and here this is. The examples are sooo helpful. Thank you so much for sharing!