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Thread: Lightroom or PS

  1. #1
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    Default Lightroom or PS

    G'day everyone, just looking for some advice I have a copy of Lightroom4 which I'm trying to learn but just wondering is that all I need or is PS better?

    thanks in advance Charlie.

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    Hi Charlie,
    I don't have Lightroom, but have just flicked through an on-line overview of same, and have noticed two very important features I use in Photoshop that appear to be missing in Lightroom. Now, I could be wrong because I have never worked with lightroom.
    1. Photoshop allows you to select a specific area of your image e.g. the bird, and mask it off from changes you make to other parts of the image, or selectively enhance the selected part of the image without those enhancements being applied to the whole image.
    2. PS allows you to have a stack of layers (like transparent sheets of glass) on which the whole image or parts of the image, or other editorial adjustments are written. At any stage, you can delete or combine one or more of these layers without damaging the original image which remains on your base layer. You can also make areas of the layer invisible by selectively masking it off.
    These are just two of photoshop's superior functions. There are others.
    What do you buy? I suppose you get what you pay for. How seriously do you take your photography? How much time are you likely to spend dressing up your images after a day in the field? How competitive are you? Are you a patient or must-have-now person?
    As a retiree with no other commitments, I have never regretted outlaying the extra for photoshop CS4, and if I live to be 100, I will still be "just learning Photoshop".
    Happy to talk with you further via personal message if you are interested.
    Oh, and welcome to F&P.
    Cheers
    Margaret Leggoe
    Never too old to learn.

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    Lightroom is a great tool for beginners and I use it to convert my Raw files. I like the crop tool and all the sliders make it easier. The adjustment brush tool is pretty powerful for selectively making changes such as sharpening, shadows etc and well worth learning.

    Is PS better? it is a different product, lightroom is easy to use and does a lot of things well for a cheaper price. PS is a complete package and is very powerful. As Margaret mentioned you have total control over the image using layers. I do my final touch ups in PS. It comes down to whether is is worth it or not. The learning curve is huge and you almost need a degree in engineering to drive it but once you start to learn it becomes a very powerful tool. I'm sure there is heaps I don't know and I am learning all the time.
    View my latest review of the Canon EF400 5.6L View my trip report to Auckland Islands, NZ
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    Hi Charlie,

    Welcome to F&P.

    Between the two Adobe programs, Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6 (as the current versions) you have to consider the purpose these two programs were designed for, as there is a huge learning curve to take on if you are unfamiliar with either.

    So let me begin with Lightroom 4; Lightroom was designed solely for photographers and in the large part it will allow you to undertake most of the post processing tasks you would normally encounter.

    The program has a DAM (Digital Asset Management) system, the library module, which is a database for managing your images productively (something PS doesn’t do completely) and is very powerful. It shares the same Adobe Camera Raw as Photoshop so there is no difference in the initial processing of your RAW files.

    But one of the main points to remember about Lightroom is that whilst you are working on images within Lightroom you are working a non pixel based image, meaning you are not actually touching the original image. This is partly how Adobe got around not having Layers within Lightroom. So this means that you can “play around” with your images within lightroom and never fear mucking up the original unless you delete the file from your hard drive (in which case not even PS will help you there). You create a pixel based image only when you export a file to a device.

    Lightroom is a great program if you want an all in one program, which in its own right is extremely powerful and for most photographers it will achieve most outcomes once you master the program.

    Ok so what about Photoshop? Well Photoshop has been around since about 1990 (from memory); it was originally designed for many different associated imaging industries, such as designers, publishing, printing, web designers and photographers. As such it had to provide tools for all these different interest groups. Unfortunately photographers seemed to have drawn the short end of the stick when it came to features for us.

    Photoshop is a pixel based imaging program, which means every time you do something to an image you are modifying the pixels within the image. This is why Photoshop uses Layers, as Margaret mentioned. When you use a Layer you are in a sense using a copy of the pixels from the original and modifying them. Layers are a powerful tool and a good way to work with your images as it is non destructive but there is a cost, each layer increase the file size and with a large number of layers you can find you end with a file size around the 100mb or more quite easily, add all those image files together and you now have a space problem on your hard drive.

    Photoshop also has the ability to “stitch” multiple images together to form a panorama, something Lightroom can’t do.

    I personally use both programs and have done so for many years, Lightroom is my every day processor and Photoshop is for the troublesome files and when I use a scanner to scan transparencies (yes I’m old enough to have thousands of old film slides). I openly admit I would use only about 1% of Photoshop’s power and have a lot to learn about how to harness that power.

    But to be clear to everyone; I wouldn’t recommend people just starting out in photography to buy Photoshop as your main software for processing images, it is a extremely powerful program designed for many different associated imaging industries and there are many features as photographers you probably would never use. Adobe Lightroom 4 is designed for photographers and would be a more practical program in most cases for the beginner and professional photographer alike. Both Lightroom and Photoshop use the same Adobe Camera Raw program for processing your RAW files so you aren't missing out there. Photoshop just allows you more control in the more complicated tasks of layers and masks (if you don't know what these are and how to work with them, then you're definitely not ready for Photoshop).

    My suggestion would be that if you have mastered Lightroom and still need a bit more grunt to handle more difficult images than it may be worth purchasing Photoshop to compliment Lightroom but otherwise stick with Lightroom and learn to master it first, then maybe consider Photoshop but if you have a need for power and time to learn to use Photoshop then I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

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    John Kenney (21-09-2012), Paul B (01-04-2013)

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    I also use both. Lightroom is fabulous for tagging and cataloging images, as well as minor RAW tweaks. However the majority of my PP work is done in PS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Blyth View Post
    Lightroom is fabulous for tagging and cataloging images, as well as minor RAW tweaks. However the majority of my PP work is done in PS.
    I'm the opposite. I use ACR extensively and do very little in PS.
    Cheers,
    Geoff


    reposts welcome

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    Hello Charlie,
    I'm new to bird photography too, but can give you some feedback on my recent experiences and observations.

    I usually battle to get the "photographic capture" element right finding good subjects with good poses/behaviour in good light at a good distance and then getting good focus, sharpness, exposure, composition, and either separation from back-ground or good habitat. My duds couldn't be salvaged by any software other than drawing-tools and the better photos don't really require much post-processing.

    If you already have Lightroom and really want to spend money on improving your photos then perhaps higher priorities than "Photoshop right now" may be: funding more road-trips to experiment with exposure, camera settings, and the standard composition guidelines; and perhaps purchasing any "capture gear" that you don't yet have, such as a good tripod and head, flash and beamer.

    Some of the "perfect" or "fine-art" photos on the forum undoubtedly use Photoshop to get that final 5% perfection, but I think that 95% of the of the result comes from the effort and technique put into capturing an excellent image to start off with. Some of the users on this forum post fantastic images with no more than minor cropping and exposure tweaks using far more basic programs than Lightroom.

    For me, once I have a portfolio of a few hundred "excellent images" (rather than the current "OK's" ) I may think about re-visiting the good ones with Photoshop. I don't think that this will be tomorrow.

    cheers,
    Tony

  10. The following 2 users say thank you to Tony Peterson for their reply:

    James Doyle (30-04-2012), John Kenney (21-09-2012)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Peterson View Post
    Hello Charlie,
    I'm new to bird photography too, but can give you some feedback on my recent experiences and observations.

    I usually battle to get the "photographic capture" element right – finding good subjects with good poses/behaviour in good light at a good distance and then getting good focus, sharpness, exposure, composition, and either separation from back-ground or good habitat. My duds couldn't be salvaged by any software other than drawing-tools and the better photos don't really require much post-processing.

    If you already have Lightroom and really want to spend money on improving your photos then perhaps higher priorities than "Photoshop right now" may be: funding more road-trips to experiment with exposure, camera settings, and the standard composition guidelines; and perhaps purchasing any "capture gear" that you don't yet have, such as a good tripod and head, flash and beamer.

    Some of the "perfect" or "fine-art" photos on the forum undoubtedly use Photoshop to get that final 5% perfection, but I think that 95% of the of the result comes from the effort and technique put into capturing an excellent image to start off with. Some of the users on this forum post fantastic images with no more than minor cropping and exposure tweaks using far more basic programs than Lightroom.

    For me, once I have a portfolio of a few hundred "excellent images" (rather than the current "OK's" ) I may think about re-visiting the good ones with Photoshop. I don't think that this will be tomorrow.cheers,Tony
    Well said Tony, couldn't agree with you more! No software will save a bad image no matter how much money it costs. "Garbage in, garbage out" as they say!

    Cheers
    James

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    Wow a lot of expertise here. I reckon Adobe Bridge which comes with Photoshop is good for organising images but I have never used Lightroom so I don't know how it compares. I am also of the belief that a good photo is made in the camera not in the post processing and I am never happy with my photos which I have to do a lot of fiddling with to make them look good. I reckon that time would have been better spent trying to get the photo right when I took it.

    Good luck with your decision
    Richard Jackson
    http://www.owlphotographer.com/
    your comments and suggestions are welcomed

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    The differences in the two programs have been very well documented above so i won't add any more to that.
    Like Geoff, I do very little in PS besides my preset action that resizes, sharpens and adds my watermark. Lightroom is incredibly powerful and as Tony said so well if the image is any good in the first place then i do believe that this is all you need for most of the work.
    The great thing about LR4 is of course that its a free beta download so you can get used to it before you have to pay for it.
    Since using Lightroom i rarely if ever use Bridge - feels totally inadequate now.
    Cheers, Dave

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    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff Gates View Post
    I'm the opposite. I use ACR extensively and do very little in PS.
    Same same.

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    Don't forget if your keen to get photoshop you could always start with PS elements which has more than enough tools to start you learning and give you great processing power with a much much lower pricetag than the full version.

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    Does Lightroom except plugins like Topaz DeNoise for example

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    Quote Originally Posted by gtp View Post
    Does Lightroom except plugins like Topaz DeNoise for example
    Sure does!!! You can have Noise Ninja, NIK software plugins all work with Lightroom...I'm pretty sure that the Topaz plugins do too.

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    gtp (13-05-2012)

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    Just an add on to this thread - Lightroom 4 is now less than $200!!! I paid over $400 each for the couple of copies i bought of LR3!
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS - www.flockwildlife.com

    Aus Life List IOC= 688 - Carpentarian Grasswren
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


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