Perhaps a silly question on LR vs PS CS

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Kerry Pierce
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Perhaps a silly question on LR vs PS CS
10 months ago

I'm a long time PS CS user and have dabbled with a couple of LR versions, currently LR 4.  I'm not really understanding why LR is so popular, probably because of my inexperience with it.

But, my question to those of you who like and use LR, why does it seem so very limited to me?  I realize that I can export my LR edits to CS, but to me, LR kinda seems like ACR with a database for file management and a few tools, prior to sending to CS.

Part of my problem is that I don't want/need a DAM.  I just want an easy to use program devoted to photographers.  CS has been the best that I've found for that, but after reading so many users that seem to like LR 4, I am thinking that I gotta be missing some special things.

I'd appreciate any help on figuring out what I'm missing.

thanks

Kerry

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Simon Garrett
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Re: Perhaps a silly question on LR vs PS CS
In reply to Kerry Pierce, 10 months ago

These things are very much a matter of personal preference, obviously.

I started using Photoshop and ACR only. Lightroom came almost free in a bundle, and for almost a year I decided it wasn't worth the effort or inconvenience of having to manage images from within Lightroom.

Then I played with it for a while - took a week or two - and found that (for me) it was a big improvement in two main ways:

  1. I didn't think I needed a DAM, but have found it very useful. I shoot around 10,000 a year (in terms of shutter count - I obviously don't keep that many), and found Lightroom enabled me to find things much more easily. I have collections (lists) for any purpose without having to create copies. I created a set for a display two years ago and wanted it again this week. I long since deleted the jpeg copies I created two years ago, but still have the collection in LR, taking up no space. Similarly, if I export jpegs for any reason - for the web, to send to someone, whatever - I don't need to keep them. I usually have only one version of an image to keep (the original raw with LR edits, and sometimes a PS-edited TIF as well). I may have multiple virtual copies, lists etc - but they're easy to keep track of. Version control becomes much easier.
  2. Clearly LR isn't as capable an editor as PS. It's simply ACR but (IMHO) easier to use, and with a full audit trail of edits. The local edit tools obviously aren't a match for PS tools, but surprisingly often they can do the job. The spot removal tool may seem a bit hokey compared to PS clone, but very often it's good enough. The terrific convenience of non-destructive editing, only one version to keep, means I often use only LR when superficially PS might seem better. I used to use PS for around 10% of keepers, but with the new local tools in LR5, it's probably down to less than 5% now.

I don't think anyone needs Lightroom, and it certainly takes a while (weeks not hours) to get used to it. I'd sooner give up PS than LR, but it really is a matter of personal style.

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vwcrusher
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Re: Perhaps a silly question on LR vs PS CS
In reply to Simon Garrett, 10 months ago

Not silly at all...the previous poster summed it up very well, but to perhaps add a bit more......the way I perceive each application: PS is (becoming) more of a creative, artistic tool, while LR is more of a photograph editor. This seems especially true with the introduction of 5.

Clearly my 2 cents .....

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Re: Perhaps a silly question on LR vs PS CS
In reply to Kerry Pierce, 10 months ago

Kerry Pierce wrote:

I'm a long time PS CS user and have dabbled with a couple of LR versions, currently LR 4. I'm not really understanding why LR is so popular, probably because of my inexperience with it.

But, my question to those of you who like and use LR, why does it seem so very limited to me? I realize that I can export my LR edits to CS, but to me, LR kinda seems like ACR with a database for file management and a few tools, prior to sending to CS.

Part of my problem is that I don't want/need a DAM. I just want an easy to use program devoted to photographers. CS has been the best that I've found for that, but after reading so many users that seem to like LR 4, I am thinking that I gotta be missing some special things.

I'd appreciate any help on figuring out what I'm missing.

thanks

Kerry

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The ACR interface in Photoshop is laughably crude compared to Lightroom. In fact, I think the entire interface of Photoshop is laughably crude compared to Lightroom. Photoshop's interface is stuck way back in time. I hate it. My advice is take the time to really learn how to use it and all of its features that are not so obvious. I recommend the latest, LR 5, not LR 4.

In a nutshell, Lightroom allows you to do many things much easier and quicker than in Photoshop. One of the tools that is far superior in Lightroom is spot removal which is a combination of a healing and clone tool. It's close to perfection.

The only things I generally miss from Photoshop, funnily enough, are the old auto color and color balance tools which are still very useful, especially the former, for quickly fixing color casts on some  film I am still scanning. For the auto color tool I simply export to an older version of Photoshop Elements and it updates the image in Lightroom. For my digital camera images Lightroom and SPP (I shoot Sigma cameras) is all I need.

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Thomas Niemann
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Re: Perhaps a silly question on LR vs PS CS
In reply to Basalite, 10 months ago

Basalite wrote:

In a nutshell, Lightroom allows you to do many things much easier and quicker than in Photoshop. One of the tools that is far superior in Lightroom is spot removal which is a combination of a healing and clone tool. It's close to perfection.

It's best to compare equivalent versions. In this case, LR5 and Photoshop CC are equivalent and both have the same spot removal feature.

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Re: Perhaps a silly question on LR vs PS CS
In reply to Thomas Niemann, 10 months ago

Thomas Niemann wrote:

Basalite wrote:

In a nutshell, Lightroom allows you to do many things much easier and quicker than in Photoshop. One of the tools that is far superior in Lightroom is spot removal which is a combination of a healing and clone tool. It's close to perfection.

It's best to compare equivalent versions. In this case, LR5 and Photoshop CC are equivalent and both have the same spot removal feature.

How so? Clone and Healing are separate and different tools in the latest Photoshop.

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Thomas Niemann
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Re: Perhaps a silly question on LR vs PS CS
In reply to Basalite, 10 months ago

Basalite wrote:

Thomas Niemann wrote:

Basalite wrote:

In a nutshell, Lightroom allows you to do many things much easier and quicker than in Photoshop. One of the tools that is far superior in Lightroom is spot removal which is a combination of a healing and clone tool. It's close to perfection.

It's best to compare equivalent versions. In this case, LR5 and Photoshop CC are equivalent and both have the same spot removal feature.

How so? Clone and Healing are separate and different tools in the latest Photoshop.

My apologies. I meant to say that the spot removal tool is the same in LR5 and ACR under Photoshop CC. Here's a screen snapshot.

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JudyN
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Re: Perhaps a silly question on LR vs PS CS
In reply to Kerry Pierce, 10 months ago

If you don't need to keep track of your images, then you don't need Lightroom.

Simple editing is MUCH simpler in Lightroom than Photoshop, but it is the same as ACR and even if you shoot jpg you can open files in ACR for that advantage without Lightroom.

But otherwise, you don't "export" (in Lightroom terms) to send a file to Photoshop.  First, many people find they don't need photoshop very much.  I do, but usually only for images that I'm going to use on a website, try to sell, etc.  But when you do want to edit in Photoshop, you have Lightroom prepare a file for you, stack with the original if you want (I do), then it automatically goes to Photoshop and will be there when you get back.  Otherwise, the intention is not to export files from Lightroom unless and until you have some use for them such as printing or uploading to a website, etc.  Edits made in Lightroom are in Lightroom's database (and, if you so choose, in the metadata in or with the image files).

No matter what you do, always always have backups of your pictures as well as of any database such as Lightroom's.

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ranalli
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Re: Perhaps a silly question on LR vs PS CS
In reply to Kerry Pierce, 10 months ago

Kerry Pierce wrote:

I'm a long time PS CS user and have dabbled with a couple of LR versions, currently LR 4. I'm not really understanding why LR is so popular, probably because of my inexperience with it.

But, my question to those of you who like and use LR, why does it seem so very limited to me? I realize that I can export my LR edits to CS, but to me, LR kinda seems like ACR with a database for file management and a few tools, prior to sending to CS.

Part of my problem is that I don't want/need a DAM. I just want an easy to use program devoted to photographers. CS has been the best that I've found for that, but after reading so many users that seem to like LR 4, I am thinking that I gotta be missing some special things.

I'd appreciate any help on figuring out what I'm missing.

thanks

Kerry

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If you're already very good with Photoshop you're not going to see much about LR that is actually going to improve your photos.

That being said, I use LR for all my photo management and cataloging.  I love the ability to create virtual copies that I can later shoot in PS for the real work.

I usually use LR for sync'ing a lot of global settings or just looking push a few sliders to get a "mock-up" idea of how an image would look after some amount of processing.

After that I usually do most of the work in PS.  I find that masks, extraction tools, layers, etc are far superior and flexible than LR...but more complicated of course.

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Gerry Pasternack
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In the beginning ...
In reply to Kerry Pierce, 10 months ago

LR started out as a photo database with some basic editing capability -- no comparison to PS, which was (and still is) the photo-editing "gold standard".

Over time LR editing evolved so that "acceptable" results were achievable with minimum effort.  Falls far short of PS in areas of selection, masking, layers.  (LR database is excellent -- much better than PS Bridge).

I use LR after a photo shoot to quickly catalog and edit a large number of images.  When I find the ones I really like I use PS to get the best I can out of them.

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momartz
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Perhaps another silly question
In reply to Kerry Pierce, 10 months ago

Are LR and ACR essentially the same thing?  I've learned a good deal on how to use LR4 but I have just begun with PS (CC) via tutorials.  While it appears really convenient to stay within the Bridge/ACR/PS workflow, if LR4 or LR5 is a better choice for primary editing to be followed with finishing specialty edits in PS ... It seems best to continue with my use of LR.

jean

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MagicAngel
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Re: Perhaps a silly question on LR vs PS CS
In reply to Kerry Pierce, 10 months ago

I think Lightroom is a shameful scam taking features out of PS and putting them in LR so that we have to pay extra for them!  So Photoshop is basically photo editing without any specific photo editing tools?  That sort of <makes me mad>.  Add it to the list of reasons I hate Adobe.

When started using Lightroom, my first thought was that it was useless.  I could do far better in PS than LR.  However, with LR4, I've noticed that LR is actually very good at a few things they left out of PS.  Namely the color and luminance noise reduction and the lens corrections.  Those alone make LR worth using. Also the ability to batch images with the same corrections is very useful.  I'll preprocess a whole shoot with the same basic settings to get an idea how they look, then LR the final choices for fine tuning.

I've now included LR in my processing, I'm very happy with LR4.  I wish PS did everything, but as it doesn't, I'm happy to use LR.

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Kerry Pierce
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thanks all!
In reply to Kerry Pierce, 10 months ago

Thanks for the great responses, folks.  Now I have a much better idea on LR and what I will likely do with it.  Seems like it is Bridge, on Steroids. I just wish it had a better UI for the tools.  I'll have to wait on LR 5 until I get my new PC built.

thanks again

Kerry

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Thomas Niemann
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In reply to MagicAngel, 10 months ago

MagicAngel wrote:

I think Lightroom is a shameful scam taking features out of PS and putting them in LR so that we have to pay extra for them! So Photoshop is basically photo editing without any specific photo editing tools? That sort of <makes me mad>. Add it to the list of reasons I hate Adobe.

When started using Lightroom, my first thought was that it was useless. I could do far better in PS than LR. However, with LR4, I've noticed that LR is actually very good at a few things they left out of PS. Namely the color and luminance noise reduction and the lens corrections. Those alone make LR worth using. Also the ability to batch images with the same corrections is very useful. I'll preprocess a whole shoot with the same basic settings to get an idea how they look, then LR the final choices for fine tuning.

I've now included LR in my processing, I'm very happy with LR4. I wish PS did everything, but as it doesn't, I'm happy to use LR.

No need to hate and be mad. It's only software.

Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), included with Photoshop, supports color and luminance noise reductions. It also supports lens corrections. In a nutshell both LR and ACR support the same features for developing images.

What LR has, and Photoshop/ACR does not have, is tools for organizing your files. And while you can batch process in Photoshop, it's much more convenient to do this in LR.

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JudyN
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Re: Perhaps another silly question
In reply to momartz, 10 months ago

momartz wrote:

Are LR and ACR essentially the same thing? I've learned a good deal on how to use LR4 but I have just begun with PS (CC) via tutorials. While it appears really convenient to stay within the Bridge/ACR/PS workflow, if LR4 or LR5 is a better choice for primary editing to be followed with finishing specialty edits in PS ... It seems best to continue with my use of LR.

No, they are NOT the same!  The EDITING part of Lightroom is much like ACR.  Lightroom probably has more beatures in it.  I don't use ACR in CS6 because I use Lightroom, but what I've seen of it, some of the sliders are similar for the basic stuff.

However, a big however, Lightroom is a catalog program.  I think that's what it primarily is, but others may disagree.  A catalog program with some editing features.  The editing features are getting better and better and more and most PS plugins can now be directly started up from inside Lightroom.

It also supports printing and web development and books, but the latter two are too restrictive for me to use and I still haven't dived into printing with LR partly because I don't do most of my printing in-house.

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goanna
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Re: Perhaps a silly question on LR vs PS CS
In reply to Kerry Pierce, 10 months ago

Kerry Pierce wrote:

I'm a long time PS CS user and have dabbled with a couple of LR versions, currently LR 4. I'm not really understanding why LR is so popular, probably because of my inexperience with it.

But, my question to those of you who like and use LR, why does it seem so very limited to me? I realize that I can export my LR edits to CS, but to me, LR kinda seems like ACR with a database for file management and a few tools, prior to sending to CS.

Part of my problem is that I don't want/need a DAM. I just want an easy to use program devoted to photographers. CS has been the best that I've found for that, but after reading so many users that seem to like LR 4, I am thinking that I gotta be missing some special things.

I'd appreciate any help on figuring out what I'm missing.

thanks

Kerry

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I think philosophically, LR presents difficulty to some users until they "Get It".

It seems those who are very entrenched in the PS Interface and use some other DAM that they are happy with have more difficulty in "Getting It". It is a different paradigm and it is not (for most) either/or LR/PS but LR+PS(or other editor).

For yourself I would suggest you do not stress over "the grass must be greener on the other side because so many appear to like it" but continue to use your current workflow if you are happy with it.

To my mind, for myself, I would not like to contemplate a photographic world without LR (or very similar).

I would routinely only use a PS type of package for 1% of photos, the rest are done in LR, and for me, much quicker and easier with an modification history that is always available and reversable.

I would suggest with LR 5 that the above percantages may change to 99.5% Vs 0.5%

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Kerry Pierce
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Re: Perhaps a silly question on LR vs PS CS
In reply to goanna, 10 months ago

goanna wrote:

I think philosophically, LR presents difficulty to some users until they "Get It".

It seems those who are very entrenched in the PS Interface and use some other DAM that they are happy with have more difficulty in "Getting It". It is a different paradigm and it is not (for most) either/or LR/PS but LR+PS(or other editor).

Yes, I think you're right.  I am certainly no CS "guru", but I've been using it for many years and am quite comfortable with my current DAM and workflow.  Part of my workflow is Bridge, so if I can replace Bridge with LR and derive significant benefits, that would be a good thing.

For yourself I would suggest you do not stress over "the grass must be greener on the other side because so many appear to like it" but continue to use your current workflow if you are happy with it.

No stress, other than trying to figure out the UI and tools to see if I too, can be happy using it for the majority of my shots.

To my mind, for myself, I would not like to contemplate a photographic world without LR (or very similar).

I would routinely only use a PS type of package for 1% of photos, the rest are done in LR, and for me, much quicker and easier with an modification history that is always available and reversable.

I would suggest with LR 5 that the above percantages may change to 99.5% Vs 0.5%

Right now, I'm using a Vista machine, so I can't use LR 5.

Thanks for the post.

Kerry

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