Lightroom vs Photoshop_Which is better for you?

Photographers have many tools for editing photos; of the available photo editing software options on the market, Adobe developed two of the most popular applications, Photoshop and Lightroom, which rank among the best and most popular. Both applications pack a lot of post-production power but perform functions differently. Both come with their share and cons, so choosing one depends on your choice of what you are trying to do. So, in the following article, we will look at Lightroom vs Photoshop.

lightroom vs photoshop
Before we start:

Information that will help you to find which of the two applications you should choose and when;

  • A highly detailed review-level comparison of Lightroom and Photoshop will discussed.
  • All the latest updates about tools and features will be explained.

Now, let’s get started;

Background of Lightroom vs Photoshop:

When digital photography became famous in 1990, Adobe released Photoshop as a graphic editor, which became the most popular app for photo editing. With the increasing demands of photography, Adobe released Lightroom in 2007 with photographers in mind. In many ways, Lightroom is more straightforward and has many tools and features that help edit photography. 

In 2013, Adobe changed its subscription plan and stopped releasing programs individually. You must sign up for a photography subscription to access Photoshop and Lightroom. This popular and user-friendly catalogue contains software, which was earlier called Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. It is limited to graphic design and is available for Mac, Windows, Tab, and Android. It is specified for editing pictures.

Unique features of Lightroom vs Photoshop:

Here we dicuss some unique features of both software.

Catalog organization;

Before editing an image, we import it from the camera into Lightroom. There is a clear difference between both programs.

Photoshop is designed to edit an image at a time, but Lightroom has a cataloguing system for creating and organizing photos. You can also import and edit batch images, keyword them, and rate their quality. You can also move and organize the pictures to make them easier to find later.

Photoshop is unable to do this. A separate program, Adobe Bridge, in Creative Cloud imports and organizes images. However, the editing tools are limited as compared to Lightroom.

Photoshop has another limitation when importing raw files: It can’t show raw images. To address this issue, Adobe introduced Adobe Camera Raw, which allows Photoshop to open raw files.

bridge editing

Winner: Lightroom is better for importing and organizing images than Photoshop.

Basic image editing;

You can do basic image editing in both applications, but the workspace and UX are very different. 

The Lightroom workspace is simple. It makes basic adjustments like contrast and color exposure. Adobe omitted the tools that photographers rarely use. 

 Photoshop is more capable of making basic photo editing adjustments. However, its interface could be more user-friendly because it was designed for something other than photographers. For basic adjustments, we have to use ACR in Photoshop. The interface of ACR is similar to Lightroom, but the workspace is challenging. In Photoshop, to access ACR, we can use a shortcut key, i.e. (Shift + Ctrl or ⌘A) or go to filter> Camera Raw Filter. 

Photoshop is a destructive editor, and Lightroom is a non-destructive editor. In the destructive editor, changes permanently alter the original file, while non-destructive editing preserves the original file and allows for reversible adjustments. In non-destructive editing, all the changes are saved in separate files.

I always use Lightroom because it allows batch editing. 

lightroom vs photoshop basic editing

 Winner: Lightroom is a winner because it helps with basic editing.

Advanced image Edits;

In advanced image edits, we can change pixels in the image; it can be anything in which you can remove dust spots and background. Adobe Photoshop is best for advanced image edits.

Lightroom has some essential content-manipulating tools. It is used to remove dust spots as a transforming perspective. The new version of Lightroom has some merging tools, which are used to create HDR and panoramas, but its more advanced version is located in Photoshop.

Photoshop includes many content-aware fill tools. These tools use advanced algorithms for editing, such as removing spots and transforming perspective. A liquify tool is a new addition to Photoshop. It is a favourite tool for portrait editors. Photoshop also has filters for blurring photos. These tools are challenging to use. For example, if you have an issue with focus, you can use a sharpening technique to fix it, but it’s not a single-button process; it’s a process.
All these tools are not available in Lightroom, but it’s easy to roundtrip images using Photoshop. Press (Ctrl or Comman+E) or Edit> Export, and your image will open in Photoshop. Once you have done your editing in Photoshop, clicking on save will roundtrip the image back into the Lightroom catalogue.

Winner: photoshop is a winner because it has the best-advanced editing tools.

Export for Print;

The last part of editing is commonly printed or posted online. Both programs allow you to adjust image size and ratio. Photoshop allows you to do this for the entire image, and Lightroom allows it during export.

Lightroom has the option of export presets. These are used to sharpen the image, adjust the size, change the file name, and add a watermark. Lightroom has some extra modules for exporting. These make it easy to export images to your website, for print, or to create a look.

Winner: Lightroom is best for exporting images in comparison between Lightroom and Photoshop.

Layer base- Editing;

 In Photoshop, you can select a part of an image and make changes using a desirable brush. You have control over your editing. If you make any mistake during editing, you can correct it by removing that layer. You can change color, tone, and white balance using Photoshop. It makes your original photo safe and secure.

Lightroom has similar tools and brushes, but it doesn’t allow you to select a part of an image for individual color. The latest version of Adobe introduced the feature to work with layers, but the ability to adjust colors in separate parts is still narrower than that of Photoshop software.

layer editing

Winner:  Photoshop is a winner in the Lightroom vs Photoshop Debate.

Photoshop vs Lightroom: Pricing Comparision:

The difference between both software is complete with a price comparison. The good news is that Adobe offers a seven-day free trial for every software, but the bad news is that it’s pretty expensive. Its price starts from $9.99/month and gradually increases according to your subscription plan. Adobe offers different plans, such as photography plans and iCloud storage plans. In comparison, Lightroom is much less expensive, depending on the plan that you want to buy. Another way is to use the free version of the Lightroom MOD APK app, which has 70% of the features unlocked.

Lightroom VS photoshop pricing

 Winner: Lightroom is the winner.

Honest Tip: Choose the Lightroom Photography plan.

Pros and cons of using Photoshop:

  • It has detailed graphic design capabilities.
  • Extensive and advanced editing tools.
  • Ability for detailed retouching capabilities.
  • The mobile version doesn’t contain all the desktop features.
  • It needs to be more user-friendly for beginners.
  • Overwhelming for basic photo edits.

Pros and cons of using Lightroom:

  • User-friendly interface.
  • Non-destructive editing workflow.
  • Mobile friendly.
  • I am synchronizing for photos.
  • Less focus on graphic design.
  • Limited vector and text manipulation.
  • Overwhelming for basic photo edits.


If you are a graphic designer, you can directly use Adobe Photoshop. But if you want to edit an image, use Lightroom to apply preset filters and do all the basic editing. For advanced editing, move the image into Photoshop. Moving images from one software to another is easy. Press the shortcut key Cmd/Ctrl+E, or go to Edits>Export and then export to Photoshop.

 Tip: for better results, I suggest using both software.

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