Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is an Adobe graphics editor for working with digital photos. It can be used to develop «digital negatives» (data formats DNG, Raw), retouch photographs and organize their catalog.
It’s a comprehensive image editing program that lets you do it all. Yes, that’s all, without any restrictions — all you need to do is find suitable tools in the standard set or from third-party developers.
The program was created for professional photographers and retouchers. You can also install plugins in Lightroom. For example, Portraiture, which automatically removes imperfections on the skin. Although many scold him for too clumsy a result. For Lightroom, plugins are an order of magnitude less than for Photoshop. Another major benefit of Lightroom is its intuitive interface.
Lightroom is like the all-terrain vehicle you might see on many farms. It is fast, agile, and can handle a variety of tasks like hauling small items and towing trailers. But he just can’t compete with big trucks when it comes to serious work like hauling large bales of hay, transporting horse trailers or wading through mud and snow.
About a decade ago, Adobe realized that not everyone needs the power of Photoshop, especially for photographers who come back on their travels with hundreds of photos and need fast processing. What this new generation of digital photographers needed was the essential Photoshop editing tools in one easy-to-use package that Lightroom became.
Difference between Photoshop and Lightroom
Photoshop is aimed at leisurely deep work with one image, while Lightroom, on the contrary, is aimed at quickly processing and styling large blocks of photos and photo sessions, when most of the work has already been done during shooting: by light or by an event — and only basic color correction is required.
Usually, the job of a wedding man, for example, is to select and process about 100 or 200 frames (out of 400 or 1000 taken) within a week, and from the chosen ones to make up a photobook, so LR is the best fit for them. Portfolios of models shot in the studio are prepared in about the same way. At the same time, if a photographer shoots an idea in the studio, out of hundreds of captured frames, he can choose only one and spend a lot of time in Photoshop — it doesn’t matter if it is complex retouching with overlaying frames or working with textures, as well as retro stylization. Perhaps that is why the developer himself doesn’t greatly spread programs to the sides — as a standard item in Lightroom there is always an option «Edit in Photoshop».
Usually confusion in the selection problem is caused by trying to match actions in Photoshop and presets in Lightroom. This comparison is incorrect, because a preset is only a set of about 20 (maximum) standard Lightroom settings for color correction of an image, and an action is a set of almost any Photoshop commands, including even plug-ins. At the same time, standardization allows Lightroom to work very quickly — tools are at hand, presets are readily available, and all commands are within scrolling and clicking.
But in Photoshop, each RAW frame must be opened through an external module (Camera RAW or the same Lightroom), which does not make it very useful when editing large volumes of images. In other words, Photoshop is more of a creative tool, and Lightroom is a craft tool, without which you won’t make much money.
Both programs are capable of handling different types of files such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF and, a constant favorite of many photographers, RAW. Basically, both Photoshop and Lightroom use the Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) processor to process RAW files. Thus, you can expect similar controls and processing in both programs when doing things like adjusting saturation, working with curves, or correcting distortion.
As a rule, advanced and professional photographers select and catalog works in Lightroom, do the initial processing there, and then export the photos.
There are also a large number of photographers who use Lightroom exclusively in their work. After shooting, they select and process the required frames. Lightroom’s capabilities are enough to turn an ordinary photo into a juicy picture.