Lightroom 4 or Photoshop CS6

Discussion in 'Beginner Questions' started by tiffanie_butcher, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. I'm trying to decide which editing software to get. I don't like to do a whole lot of editing but I need to be able to convert RAW photos, organize my photos, simple touch up edits, and design wedding/graduation/christmas cards. Do both of these softwares offer all of these tools or just one out of the two? What are the pros and cons of both?
  2. PS CS6 would last you and you would never grow out of it. I think it is good enough to stay with even if Adobe goes starkers and does this monthly license thingie they are talking about for after CS6.
    Lightroom is much cheaper, does enough for many people. It has had many Photoshop-like image editing features added to what was originally an image management program.
    For the needs you have right now, something like Lightroom should do, I would think. I personally use Photoshop, but many people here tell me, repeatedly, that Lightroom is all one needs.
  3. Hi Tiffanie and welcome to
    Of the two, I would recommend Lightroom 5 which has just been released. It has a catalogue with which you can organize your photos. It has sophisticated editing tools which may be all you need for what you say you want to do. Note that Lightroom does not have a file browser, per se, but makes a catalogue of the photos that you have on a hard drive. The catalogue points to the original image. The edits are "non-destructive" so the original raw (or DNG) file stays the same. There are a number of ways you can arrange to print photos, upload them to the web, do a slideshow, or even make a book. It is much less expensive than photoshop but a good value. Photoshop uses a file browser (called Bridge) so you organize your photos on your hard drive and browse for the ones you want to edit. To me there is a fairly steep learning curve to become competent at photoshop and I have all but abandoned it except for special occasions when I need layers and layer masks to do what I want. To help you decide, you might want to check the Adobe web site for the basic "tutorials" in using Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and Lightroom.
  4. grh


    LR is less expensive and extremely powerful, as well as providing function that PS does not. They each have their place, but PS comes with Bridge, which provides the organization function that is built into LR.

    Also, LR5 is out. You can download a trial copy and test it out for 30 days before making a decision. Strongly recommend you do so. You can also sign up for just PS CC (or the whole suite) for a month and work with it to see what it offers for editing. Nothing beats hands-on experience.
    Given that you seem unfamiliar with both of these products, you should really do some homework on your own to understand their function, and do so by going to the Adobe website. They have tons of material and tutorials for their products. What you are asking for will take far too much effort, and everyone is going to have a different list of pros and cons. What works for someone else's style may not fit yours. Only you can answer that question.
  5. On another thread, just now, I reminded myself that there is an extremely powerful graphics editor that is actually "free" if you don't count your own time invested in it.
    It's GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) - at
    I personally find it even "steeper" to use than Photoshop; but, as I said, I've been using PS since it was a pup.
  6. LR is designed for handling a lot of images that you only need to do basic editing on. CS6 is designed for heavily editing one image to perfection.
  7. I only started shooting less than two years ago, so I'm no pro, but I did a ton of research into what photo organizing and editing program I should purchase, and in the end I opted for Lightroom. It's a bit of a learning curve initially, but not as steep as Photoshop from what I gather. It's been great for organizing and keywording images. I have thousands of images, but LR makes it super easy to find any image I may be looking for with keywording. The image editing is quite powerful, and does everything I need it to do. Lightroom was essentially designed by Adobe for photographers, whereas Photoshop was geared a bit more for graphic designers is my understanding. I would caution against Apple's Aperture program only because it hasn't had an update in years, and it's difficult to say if and when there will be an update for Aperture. As others have mentioned, Lightroom 5 just came out, so you get the newest and best technology for a very reasonable price compared to Photoshop CS6. I'm looking into getting Adobe Elements 11 to compliment Lightroom, if I need to do anything that I can't do in LR. I don't need everything that CS6 has to offer and would likely never use most of it.
  8. Maybe the fireworks is better for beginner.
  9. Out of the two, Lightroom. In my view, Photoshop is complete overkill for the vast majority of photographers, it's the whole kitchen of graphics gear, while you just need a spoon and fork. Lightroom instead is created purely for photographers. It may offer less functionality, but it's quicker to use for all the "normal" edits, and easier to learn.
    But I wouldn't shortlist only these two, there are many competing products for both that are worth considering; as editor indeed Photoshop Elements 11, or PaintShop Pro X5 (Fireworks, mentioned above, is an editor for web graphics mostly, not ideal for photo-oriented work), as Lightroom competition CaptureOne 7 (Pro or Express, depends on your needs, Express could well be enough), Corel AfterShot, RAWTherapee, DxO or maybe the software supplied by your camera maker (i.e. DPP for Canon).
    All of these programs have trial versions, so why not download some of those, try for yourself and see what you like best?
  10. I would go for LR 5 plus photoshop elements 11 for any finishing off. LR 5 has excellent highlight and shadow recovery.
  11. Just as an added information point: Lightroom isn't "editing software" in the way that Photoshop is.
    The two programmes certainly have common ground, but Lr isn't an "editor", and the two aren't functionally as interchangeable as the original question implies.
  12. I have Lightroom 5 and CS6. I shoot a lot of sports and a wide variety of other subjects. I use LR for more than 95 per cent of my processing as I can rapidly make global changes like correcting white balance after a 300 shot swim meet under sickly looking yellow lights where there is mixed white balance against natural window light. I use CS6 when I do large prints and when I want to do retouching on a face; however LR 5 now has greatly improved spot removal capability so I can use it rather that PS on many pictures. I have used CS6 to replace ugly backgrounds but I do very little of that. CS6 allows much greater manipulation through the use of layers which helps in retouching and modifying original photographs. I do very little of that though in actual practice. LR really serves me well when I want to process large quantities of pictures and post them on the web within a couple of hours of loading them. Some of those pictures need individual correction like exposure, WB etc., and they can be taken care of rapidly in LR. I just photographed some models and because you can now in LR5 specify an area to be replaced and smoothed it is very easy to quickly clean up facial areas that need retouching without going to PS.
  13. I have both programs, but I use Lightroom for just about everything. LR is extremely powerful, flexible, and user friendly.
    PS is even more powerful, but unless you are layering one image on top of another (compositing), you don't need it and
    you can avoid both the expense and it's terse and perplexing user interface.

    Lightroom is more than an organization tool with adjustments as some might suggest. It is a world class raw photo
    processor with identical features to Photoshop's Adobe Camera Raw tool, but It is easier to use than ACR and completely non-destructive. You can undo any change at any time, and your original files are never altered.

    LR also adds convenient local adjustment tools such as Spot Healing and Gradients. These local adjustments are not as powerful or as flexible as their counterparts in PS, but they are effective and easy to use. You are welcome to take a look at the photos in my portfolio
    and on my personal website as examples. 100 percent of them were processed with LR. None were processed with PS.

    Between the two, I would strongly suggest starting with Lightroom and adding PS only if you need it's highly specialized
    feature set and are willing to pay Adobe's Cloud leasing fees.
  14. If you have Canon, Digital Photo Professional that comes with their camera software is free. It will do most everything you want to do and I like the user interface.
  15. It will do most everything you want to do​
    But often not nearly as well as will Lightroom...
  16. I'll glance at Canon files in DPP occasionally to view the way that Canon interprets the file or to check sharpness. DPP is useful when I
    fine tune lenses because of the camera info that it provides. But the users interface is not very sophisticated. Nikon's View NX2 is more
    user friendly. Compared to Lightroom's feature set, these programs are extremely limited.
  17. I do not think DPP matches either LR or PS but merely suggest it as an interim application until the OP decides on my bias with is, of course, LR.
  18. Lightroom's preview navigation interface for editing images is far more advanced and full featured than Photoshop's ACR. At least for ACR that's included with CS5 & CS3 which I have both but have worked primarily in CS3.
    To be more specific LR4 has keyboard shortcuts and click buttons that instantly expand the main editing preview to get a better overall look of the entire composition of the image with high quality/accurate previews (over ACR's less than 100% truncated zoom views necessary to see the entire picture even on my 6MP images)...large, full view previews greatly needed especially if you have a display smaller than 24".
    And to add to that LR's interface is a bit cluttered to begin with out of the box with modular columns and tabbed menus (Facebook, Pinterest, Google button icons-Ugh!) taking up screen real estate that easily collapse and get out of the way leaving only the tabbed editing panel on the right just like in Photoshop's ACR only LR's main preview can expand to fill the left side of the display with very thin if not invisible borders that don't take up a lot of space.
    Not familiar with CS6 since a trial version off the CC server is a 2GB download. I bought LR4 on disc at Amazon after downloading the most up to date (4.4-Mac) version online which was a much smaller file size. Entered the serial number off the disk and was good to go as a new owner of a perpetual LR license.
  19. In addition to photos you mention the products you want to design. If you learn PS you can create your prodcuts from start to finish.
    Lightroom cant do that. Photoshop not only does photos, but vector grahics and typography. Lets not leave out layers. You can do sooo
    much in PS with layers to create your cards and products that you cant do in Lightroom. Theres pretty no product that you cant create in

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