Lightroom Vs Photoshop: Detailed Guide to Choose the Best One for You

lightroom vs photoshop

Adobe Creative Cloud gives you the world’s best creative apps so you can turn your brightest ideas into your most excellent work across your desktop and mobile devices. There are so many products on the market, and we are here to make it easier for you to choose the right software.

You may have heard a lot of people talking about Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, but you are not sure which one is right for you?

In this article, we will go over all the differences between these fantastic products of Adobe creative cloud so you can decide which one is right for you. We will also talk about how to use them in your workflow.

You will get an idea of what these photo editing tools, Photoshop vs. Lightroom, do and how they can help you in your photography journey.

photoshop vs lightroom

What is Adobe Lightroom?


Adobe Lightroom is a powerful and versatile tool for editing and enhancing your photos and compiling them into a slideshow. With an impressive set of tools for improving your images, it can handle RAW files from over 300 different Adobe camera raw files and it also includes a built-in image organizer to help you keep track of all the photos on your hard drive. Still, Lightroom is much more than an image editor or photo editing software. So, when you are looking for image editing tool, Lightroom is the best choice.

adobe lightroom vs photoshop

How does Adobe Lightroom work?

Adobe Lightroom allows users to import and organize their images using a library, edit images by using various development settings, and publish them online; it gives the print option to users as well.

It uses a database (SQLite) to store information about your photos, including developing settings, keywords, GPS location, etc. A catalog file is used to reference the location of the photos on your hard drive and is required for Lightroom to work correctly.

adobe photoshop vs lightroom

Lightroom will not modify any of your original images. Instead, it stores its advanced settings as XMP sidecar files alongside your images. These can be viewed in programs like Adobe Bridge or PhotoME.

In Image Editing Tools, you should need much more than the essential photo editing tools if you do graphic design.

photoshop elements vs lightroom

What is Adobe Photoshop?


Adobe Photoshop is a graphics editor developed by Adobe Inc. for macOS and Windows. Photoshop was created in 1987 by Thomas and John Knoll.

The latest version of Photoshop includes new features aimed at photographers and digital artists, including content-aware fill and puppet warp.

lightroom vs photoshop elements

How Does Adobe Photoshop work?

Adobe Photoshop is an image-editing program that allows you to alter photographs or create images from scratch.

Photoshop’s most common use is to edit photos with the help of photoshop elements. For example, you can change their size and resolution, remove red eyes, straighten crooked pictures and correct the color balance.

You can also use Photoshop elements to design Websites, brochures, and other marketing collateral. If you have the right skills, Photoshop can also be used to create artwork and illustrations.

photoshop lightroom vs photoshop

Pros of Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom is an editing software used to add features to photos, edit photos and keep them organized. Adobe Lightroom has many valuable features; they can be used to make the images look more professional. It can be used to edit them in a way that you want. Finally, it helps organize your pictures in different folders.

lightroom vs. photoshop

The essential function of the program is to make it easy to browse through your photos, which makes it much easier to find the best photos for any project. Once you’ve picked out your favorite photos, there are different things you can do with them, from basic edits such as crop and rotate to more advanced edits like adjusting exposure and color balance. Lightroom also allows you to create HDR images and panoramas from a series of photos taken in succession. Check out the finest guide for how to rotate an image in Photoshop.

Pros of Photoshop

Photoshop is a professional image editing program, and it has a lot of pros. The most obvious ones are:

The Photoshop interface is very intuitive and easy to learn, even for people who aren’t familiar with the software.

adobe lightroom vs adobe photoshop

It allows you to create layers which makes editing easy. You can also reorder the layers according to your needs.

It supports a lot of file formats. It’s one program that supports the PSD format, which allows you to save your work in progress without losing any quality.

lightroom vs photoshop for photo editing

Photoshop vs Lightroom

Here are a few differences between Lightroom and Photoshop:

First, Lightroom is a cataloging system: you tell it where your photos are on your hard drive. Then, it reads the metadata (like camera settings and keywords) and generates small, standard-resolution previews of each photo. You can then use Lightroom to search through your photos, fix them up and export them to wherever you want.

photoshop vs lightroom for photo editing

Photoshop is an image editing software: you open a photo in Photoshop, work on it and save the result. You can then open the modified version in Lightroom (or any other program) or leave it sitting on your hard drive.

You’ll probably want to back up the original version before opening it in Photoshop since there’s no way to undo any changes you make once you’ve saved them. Find the guide for how to remove background in Photoshop.

Do you really need Photoshop if you have Lightroom?

When deciding whether to get Photoshop in addition to Lightroom, you should think about how much time you want to spend editing your photos versus how much money you want to spend on software. So let’s start by taking a look at what Lightroom does.

The secret to understanding Lightroom is to realize that it is not an image editor like Photoshop. Instead, it is a program designed for working with extensive collections of images. It is a tool for managing your photography workflow. Professionals use both Photoshop and Lightroom Classic to edit photographs.

The advantage of Lightroom is that it will allow you to manage your entire photo library with ease. You can add keywords and captions, rate images from one to five stars, and sort your photos into different collections. You can also apply basic adjustments to the tonal qualities of the image and make some corrections to perspective or lens distortions. Make your brand identity with this guide, how to make a logo in Photoshop.

Lightroom can do some amazing things, but it has its limitations. For example, you cannot perform any retouching in Lightroom (such as fixing blemishes or removing unwanted elements). In addition, if you want to combine multiple images or create composite images, you will need Photoshop (and then some).

lightroom cc vs photoshop cc

If you are an amateur who only shoots pictures on the weekends and occasionally uploads them to Facebook, you probably don’t need Photoshop. However, if you’re a professional photographer or a part of an adventurous team of graphic designers or at least want to call yourself one, then you need Photoshop. It’s that simple. Lightroom is for people who take photos as a hobby.

You can use Photoshop to remove logos and watermarks, extract an image from its background, and do any of a million things you can do in Photoshop that you can’t do in Lightroom.

when to use lightroom vs photoshop

Photoshop is the de-facto photo manipulation standard. So there’s the reason for Lightroom to try competing with it on features; instead, it focuses on being a great photo management tool — which it is — and let Photoshop be the de-facto photo manipulation tool.

photoshop vs. lightroom

The best thing about Lightroom is choosing what to work with. For example, if you have a primarily fine photo except for the sky, you can use the graduated filter in Lightroom to adjust the sky without affecting the rest of the image. This is handy because it’s much faster than using Photoshop. I’ve recently started to use Photoshop less and less, and I find that I am now twice as fast as I used to be.

What is the main difference between Lightroom and Photoshop?


The critical feature of Photoshop layers allows you to do amazing things with your images. For example, if there is something in your photo (like a branch in the sky) that you want to remove, you can use the clone tool (or one of its many variants) to clone pixels from another image area. The only limitation is your imagination and how much time you want to spend on an image.

Lightroom also has excellent tools for editing photos (sharpening, noise reduction), but it doesn’t have layers and brushes for complex editing.

Lightroom is all about the management of your images. It is a raw converter and a good DAM (Digital Asset Management) tool. It auto-generates smart previews of your images in a database as you import photos. Those previews are stored on your local hard drive so you can work with them without having the original image available and without losing quality.

photoshop vs lightroom classic

Image Destructiveness

In Lightroom, the editing itself is done with non-destructive edits, meaning it does not change the original when you change an image. This means that none of the modifications you make in Lightroom will alter your original image; they are just saved as commands. So if you want to go back and change something, no problem! Instead, every edit is saved as a recipe (a list of instructions) that can be applied to any other image afterward or discarded. Here, you can learn how to flip an image in Photoshop.

Photoshop, on the other hand, is more oriented toward pixel editing. So if you want to change colors in an image, adjust brightness or contrast or do some retouching like removing dust spots from your photos, Photoshop has the tools to do that.

basic photo editing tools editing images

However, it does not come with a DAM out of the box as Lightroom does, and if you want to make sure you don’t lose quality in the process, you should always work with 16bit color depth instead of the 8bit Lightroom does by default.

Photoshop is a destructive editor. Every time you make an edit in Photoshop, it directly alters your image. Of course, you can always undo using Ctrl+Z, but if you close a file without saving it, all your work will be lost. Find the guide on how to resize images in Photoshop.

Batch Processing

Lightroom is great for batch processing. For example, say you have 100 images that need a bit of brightness and contrast and then cropping to remove any distracting elements from the background. You can do this quickly with Lightroom’s presets or by syncing/copying edits from one image to the others.

Lightroom vs Photoshop: Pricing

If you’re someone who wants to print some photos for your friends now and then (or even share them online), you probably don’t need Photoshop at all; something simpler like iPhoto will do fine.

If you want more than just editing photos, I recommend Adobe Lightroom. It’s affordable, easy to use, and has everything you need unless you’re an advanced user. If you’re an advanced user or want to be one, you can buy Photoshop, too; it’s worth the money.

But if you’re a hobbyist or amateur photographer and don’t need to do those things, then Adobe’s pricing model seems designed to prevent you from buying Photoshop. And if you’re a professional who needs to do those things, then Adobe’s pricing model is designed to force you to pay a huge amount of money every month for it.

Adobe doesn’t seem to want us using both together, preferring instead that we pay them $240/year just for the privilege of using Photoshop or $120/year just for the benefit of using Lightroom and effectively preventing us from doing both at once by charging us $600/year if we want to use both.

Adobe’s new pricing scheme has been controversial. In the past, the two programs were sold separately, and Photoshop was much more expensive than Lightroom, but now the two are bundled together. Photoshop is still a more robust program than Lightroom, but it’s also more complex – there’s a reason why people used to pay several times as much for it.

If you are purchasing Lightroom or Photoshop for the first time and don’t already own another Adobe Creative Cloud plan that includes Lightroom, your best option is to buy Lightroom for $9.99/month (or $119.00/year).

This is simple: If you purchase Photoshop outright, it will cost you $9.99/month anyway if you want to take advantage of Adobe’s cloud storage plans (for storing images online in the cloud), which are pretty helpful to have access to. So why not just get Lightroom instead?

If you already own Photoshop outright and don’t want to upgrade yet, and you need access to cloud storage, it’s probably worth getting a subscription since it will give you access to both Lightroom and Photoshop and all your cloud storage needs. Find out some best Photoshoot ideas for you!


Lightroom is the way to go for the vast majority of digital photographers most of the time. It’s an excellent tool for gathering, organizing, and processing your photos. But there are still times when Photoshop is a better choice.

It’s more flexible, powerful, and better suited to fixing problems that can’t be solved.

Photoshop and Lightroom work very well together, so you can use them both simultaneously. You have to choose the right tool for the job.

April 28, 2022
10 min read
7 reads

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