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06-14-2009, 07:10 PM   #1
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Lightroom or Photoshop?

I have been using photoshop for many years now to process my photos and to also covert raw files. I am curently using PS CS4. I have heard Lightroom mentioned quite a few times on this forum but I am not famialiar with it. Can you use Lightroom insteed of PS for PP or do you use it in conjunction iwth PS? And what are the advantages of using Lightroom?

06-14-2009, 07:41 PM   #2
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Lightroom does two things:

First, it allows you to organizing your photos using metadata and keywords. This is a much more powerful way of managing your photos than using the native file system on your Mac or PC. Keyword tagging in particular adds extra dimensions to your ability to manage projects of any size.

Second, it is a dedicated tool for processing raw files. You can rip through a day's shooting ten times faster with Lightroom than you can with Photoshop. The reasons are a) Lightroom does not need to convert the raw files to another format, b) it allows you to apply adjustments to large numbers of photos simultaneously, and c) it has tools for rapid triage and comparison of photos to rate photos and delete the unacceptable ones.

That said, Lightroom does not do everything Photoshop does. If you need to use complex masking in adjusting your photos, or HDR then Lightroom's tools will fall short. However, you can round-trip between Lightroom and Photoshop, using them in tandem.

I've been using Lightroom for about a year, and I couldn't go back to using Photoshop alone for handling large numbers of raw files.
06-14-2009, 07:48 PM   #3
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Thanks Jim it sounds like a useful tool, I shoot only in raw so I will give it a go.
06-14-2009, 07:55 PM   #4
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I think a lot of people use both (I do). I use Lightroom to import can catalog my RAW files. I do the minor tweaks (WB, exposure ect) to them. For any that I plan on printing or showing I then bring them into photoshop for some more processing. For snapshots of the family and stuff I just export to jpg right from lightroom and let it resize and sharpen for viewing on the web.


John

06-14-2009, 11:26 PM   #5
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I have downloaded the trial version and looked at the tutorials online so am getting a handle on it...does some pretty amazing stuff and really speeds up the workflow. One thing I havn't worked out yet is when you edit a raw file does it alter the original file? I havn't seen any option to save the files say as Tiffs etc.
06-14-2009, 11:48 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ozlizard Quote
One thing I havn't worked out yet is when you edit a raw file does it alter the original file?
no

QuoteOriginally posted by ozlizard Quote
I havn't seen any option to save the files say as Tiffs etc.
the word is "export"
06-15-2009, 12:48 AM   #7
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No RAW processing program ever modifies the original RAW file. But note, with programs like LR, saving or exporting as TIFF is generally unnecessary. The whole point is that that even though your RAW files is not modified in any way, LR automatically keeps track of the adjustments oyu make to each fiel, so the next time you view the file, it will look the way you adjusted it to look. Exporting to another format is soemthing you'd normally only do when you have a very specific reaosn - like submitting to a client, uploading to a web site, etc. And in the case of web upload, you wouldn't normally need a full resolution version, and certainly not a TIFF. the expected use model is to just make you adjustments but never save or expoert anything except for the images where you need a TIFF or JPEG for some reason - and then, you can generally batch convert those. That is, do all you processing, and then when you're doing, select the subset of images for which you need a TIFF then kick off a batch conversion of those; then select the subset for which you need a web-resolution JPEG and kick off a batch conversion of those.

This same type of workflow is actually possible with Photoshop too (using Bridge), but LR is really optimized for it.
06-15-2009, 03:47 AM   #8
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Thanks Marc for that information. I presume from what you have said that if I am not printing the photos myself but having then printed via cd or dvd that I would be exporting them in whatever file format I have chosen (most likely tiff)?

06-15-2009, 05:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ozlizard Quote
I presume from what you have said that if I am not printing the photos myself but having then printed via cd or dvd that I would be exporting them in whatever file format I have chosen (most likely tiff)?
That's exactly right. Any regular image file format -- JPEG or TIFF or PSD, for example -- should be thought of as a copy of your original photo, created only for the purpose of printing or electronic distribution. Your raw files remain your masters.
06-15-2009, 06:11 PM   #10
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depends

QuoteOriginally posted by ozlizard Quote
I have been using photoshop for many years now to process my photos and to also covert raw files. I am curently using PS CS4. I have heard Lightroom mentioned quite a few times on this forum but I am not famialiar with it. Can you use Lightroom insteed of PS for PP or do you use it in conjunction iwth PS? And what are the advantages of using Lightroom?
It depends on the way you post-process, the way you shoot and how much you shoot.

I find that lightroom is great if you have shot a large number of images of say, an event like a wedding or a keynote address. It "imports" all your images at once, presents them in an an interface where the images are easy to access (no "open" and "save" for every image) and make quick adjustments by using readily accessible adjustments tools located on the right side. And if there's an image or few that does need the full power of Photoshop, all you need to do is right click on the photo and choose to edit it in Photoshop, once you are done you save the image and it shows up in lightroom so you can "export" it along with the rest of the bunch.

But if you shoot less and do a great deal of post processing that includes complicated layers and other Photoshop specific tools, then lightroom doesn't make so much sense.

-AM
06-15-2009, 06:50 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ozlizard Quote
Thanks Marc for that information. I presume from what you have said that if I am not printing the photos myself but having then printed via cd or dvd that I would be exporting them in whatever file format I have chosen (most likely tiff)?
Yes - a RAW file is useless to any printer. Even if it hppened to b able to read that format, it wouldn't be able to reproduce whatever processing you had done. In order for your processing to be visible outside of your own processing softeare, you do need to create a conversion. BTW, if you're thinking TIFF because you've heard that JPEG applies compression and loses info, that is true, but unless you're printing posters, it's pretty unlikely you'd ever notice the difference - at leas,t if you use a decently high JPEG quality setting. The advantage being *much* smaller file sizes than TIFF But given that these are just temp files for printing, you can usually delete them when done unelss you expect to print those same pictures again and would rather pay the storage penalty in keeping that copy around than the time penalty in having to regenerate it later. Given that it takes only seconds to regenerate a file for printing, but keeping lots of high resolution files around takes a lot of space, I'd personally just delete them.
06-15-2009, 11:53 PM   #12
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Two entirely different softwares for different uses, are they not? One cannot certainly replace the other, both ways. For me I need both.
06-21-2009, 05:50 AM   #13
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I haven't bought LR yet, I'm still playing with the free trial. While comments above are true to an extent, IME most of what is done in LR can be done in PS. Is it easier in LR? You bet! But most can be done in PS.

Global WB etc. works in Bridge, but it's not as elegant as in LR. I'm not a particularly high-volume shooter so LR isn't attractive to me for that. I'm starting to explore HDR shots and what makes LR attractive to me is the histogram. Makes picking shots to include much easier than the "trial and error" method in PS.

The only thing that remains to be seen is whether having a histogram for RAW thumbnails is worth $300 to me or not.
06-21-2009, 07:27 PM   #14
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Well Lightroom has a great print module. When I print from within LR (almost always) I never export a file first, if I want to print a dng file I just run it on over to the print module and let LR do the work of converting it to a printable format for me. Now I let LR do the color management, not the printer, but the versatility of printing from the print module is incredible.
06-21-2009, 09:02 PM   #15
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I've mostly been using Lightroom. It's great for organizing, keeping small file sizes, and most post processing needs. However, for quicker retouching, I've started to use Photoshop, though I probably don't really have to since I don't use any skin blurring filters, just dodge and burn.
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