Lightroom vs. Photoshop

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If you’re looking to up your photography chops and considering whether to buy Adobe Photoshop® or Adobe Photoshop® Lightroom®, you should check out this blog post.

It offers a quick rundown on what each one is built to do and what specific image-editing capabilities each offers. The post also gives great guidance on which versions of the software to buy.

While we highly recommend reading the entire post, here’s a recap of some of the highlights:

What’s the main difference between Photoshop and Lightroom? Photoshop is an image-editing tool. Lightroom, the first tool developed by Adobe specifically for photographers, is a workflow tool with image-editing capabilities.

What do you mean by workflow? Workflow is soup to nuts, or basically just about everything you’d do with an image. Lightroom is the ultimate workflow tool. It helps manage all-things-image from importing to organizing to editing to printing to presentation to web posting. One of Lightroom’s most-loved features is its ability to manage a large number of images, keeping them organized in one place and easy to access.

Why does workflow matter? Great workflow makes everything easier and can streamline the process. Pro photographers, aspiring photographers, anyone with masses of digital images – and that includes Blurb bookmakers – can attest to the importance of workflow and organization.

So how exactly does Lightroom do this? Lightroom is database-driven. Organization is in its genes. Not only does it make it easy to find images, it also enables you to tag photos, which makes it easy to sort through images and edit selectively or in batches.

What about image editing? Photoshop has image-editing capabilities that Lightroom doesn’t have. However, Lightroom has what you need for 90% of editing tasks.

Why not buy both? You can and there are lots of creative professionals and hardcore enthusiasts who have both Photoshop and Lightroom. Go for it but know that the price tag for both will run in the several hundreds.

Which one should I start with? Lightroom is easier to learn and will get you going on the right foot with a solid workflow. Plus, it’s much less expensive.

Can I use Lightroom and Blurb to make books? We never thought you’d ask. Yes, Blurb has a plug-in for Lightroom 3 for use with Blurb BookSmart®. The plug-in makes it super easy to flow your Lightroom photos right into your book. You can edit your photos in Lightroom and see the changes in BookSmart (no re-importing), customize your layouts, and more.

Do I still need to read the blog post? Yes, you do because a picture is worth a thousand words and the blog post does a really nice job of showing you some of the image-editing capabilities of both Photoshop and Lightroom.

Cheers, everyone. If you do use Lightroom 3 and our plug-in for Lightroom and BookSmart to make your books, let us know. Send us a link on our Facebook page. We’d love to take a look.

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  1. For Mac users a cheaper alternative is Aperature and Photoshop Elements.

      December 1, 2011 – 11:18 am   Permalink
  2. Where does Apples Aperture software fit into this deabte . Is it a near equivalent to Adobe Lightroom ? It works well in the iMac enviroment but is not Adobe Photoshop , which has become industry standard .
    Anybody had comparative experience ?

    By mike lloyd
      December 2, 2011 – 2:18 am   Permalink
  3. Hey Mike,

    People do really like Aperture. I think the popularity of Lightroom, and our focus on it, goes to the ease in which it works with other products in the Adobe ecosystem.



    By Kent
      December 2, 2011 – 10:17 am   Permalink
  4. If you are serious about your photos you have to buy Photoshop.
    If you are working with 1.000 photos/week, forget it and buy Lightroom instead.

    By Greek photos
      December 9, 2011 – 2:52 pm   Permalink
  5. You refer to the plug-in for Lightroom 3 for use with Blurb Booksmart. Is there and equivalent plug-in for Aperture users?

      December 13, 2011 – 12:00 pm   Permalink
  6. Hey Deronda,

    It’s not something we have currently. But it’s something we may look into providing in the future.



    By Kent
      December 13, 2011 – 2:58 pm   Permalink
  7. i use both. adobe camera raw front end in lightroom is really nice. opening lightroom images as smart objects in photoshop works well for fine touches. but what i really like about lightroom is the cataloguing. being able to find one image our of thousands in just seconds is amazing! cant live without it.

    Dallas Photographer Les Wollam

      May 8, 2012 – 10:27 am   Permalink

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