Us­ing Light­room with Pho­to­shop

Adobe’s two photo-edit­ing head­lin­ers can com­ple­ment each other per­fectly if you know how to use them in tan­dem, says James Pater­son

Amateur Photographer - - 7days - James Pater­son James is as skilled a photo editor as he is a pho­tog­ra­pher. His work has ap­peared in count­less mag­a­zines and books, and in 2014 he was ap­pointed editor of Prac­ti­cal Pho­to­shop mag­a­zine. His sub­jects range from por­traits to land­scapes, ar­chit

James Pater­son shows us how to use adobe’s two photo-edi­tors in tan­dem

1PS vs LR – which is bet­ter?

It de­pends. Pho­to­shop is bet­ter for im­age- edit­ing, as it can do ev­ery­thing Light­room can do (in the Cam­era Raw plug-in), plus a lot more. For in­stance, you can’t blend im­ages like this in Light­room, or add other el­e­ments to your pho­tos. How­ever, Light­room is less bloated than Pho­to­shop. It’s de­signed solely for pho­tog­ra­phers so it’s eas­ier to use and bet­ter for or­gan­is­ing your im­age li­brary.

2How to open into Pho­to­shop

The sim­plest way to open a photo from Light­room Clas­sic into Pho­to­shop is to right- click it and choose ‘Edit in’, then se­lect Pho­to­shop from the list. Al­ter­na­tively, use the key­board short­cut Cmd/Ctrl+E. If you like, you can open sev­eral im­ages at once: sim­ply Cmd/Ctrl+click to high­light them, then right- click and open them all at once.

3The best of both worlds

These days we don’t have to choose be­tween LR or PS as we get both with the Adobe Pho­tog­ra­phy Plan. Many pho­tog­ra­phers pick Light­room Clas­sic for work­flow and raw edit­ing, and switch to Pho­to­shop for heav­ier edit­ing tasks like com­posit­ing, re­touch­ing and ex­po­sure blend­ing.

4Three Open op­tions

Open a JPEG or Tiff and you’ll be given three op­tions. The first will ap­ply any ed­its and cre­ate a copy along­side the orig­i­nal file. The sec­ond op­tion dis­re­gards Light­room ed­its – use­ful if you want to edit an un­touched copy of the im­age but re­tain Light­room ed­its (you can al­ways sync the ed­its with the orig­i­nal copy af­ter). The third ‘edit orig­i­nal’ op­tion is handy if you’ve al­ready cre­ated a copy be­fore­hand.

5Do all you can in raw

In gen­eral, your im­age should only be opened into Pho­to­shop once you’ve taken it as far as you can in Light­room. The lat­ter ex­cels at global ed­its, so it’s the best place to be­gin ton­ing your im­ages. Se­lec­tive tonal tools like the Ad­just­ment Brush are also ex­cel­lent, but if we need to be more pre­cise we can open in Pho­to­shop and use Ad­just­ment Lay­ers and Masks in­stead.

6Create Pro­files in Cam­era Raw Cam­era Raw and Light­room Clas­sic’s De­velop Mod­ule are nearly iden­ti­cal, but there’s one thing Light­room can’t do that Cam­era Raw can – make Pro­files. You can save any set­tings in Cam­era Raw as a new Pro­file by Alt- click­ing the New Pre­set icon in the Pre­set Panel. Once the new Pro­file is cre­ated, it’ll ap­pear in Light­room the next time it is opened.

7Keep it ed­itable

Light­room Clas­sic lets you open im­ages into Pho­to­shop as Smart Ob­jects. Right- click an im­age and choose Edit In>Open as a Smart Ob­ject. Any tweaks that you make in Light­room will re­main ed­itable once it’s open in Pho­to­shop – just dou­ble- click the layer thumb­nail to open it into Cam­era Raw, where you’ll see the ex­act same ed­its as those made in Light­room.

8Dif­fer­ing ap­proaches

Pho­to­shop and Light­room take two dif­fer­ent ap­proaches to im­age- edit­ing. Light­room ed­its (and those made in Pho­to­shop’s Cam­era Raw plug-in) are para­met­ric - they af­fect how the im­age looks rather than al­ter­ing the pix­els. Ed­its are only per­ma­nently ap­plied if the im­age is ex­ported. Pho­to­shop is pre­dom­i­nantly a pixel-based editor, which is why it’s best to use du­pli­cate lay­ers to pre­serve your orig­i­nal im­age.

9Sync your pre­sets

Pre­sets are a great way to ap­ply one- click ef­fects and save your favourite ef­fects for use on other pho­tos. Thanks to re­cent up­dates to Light­room Clas­sic and Pho­to­shop’s Cam­era Raw plug-in, any pre­sets cre­ated in ei­ther pro­gram will au­to­mat­i­cally sync to the other (as well as Light­room’s cloud-based CC cousin).

10Make panora­mas in LR or PS Light­room Clas­sic of­fers a ‘Merge to Panorama’ fea­ture but if you pre­fer to use Pho­to­shop then se­lect the set, right- click them and choose Edit In>Merge to Panorama in Pho­to­shop. Each fea­ture has its ben­e­fits – Light­room of­fers the use­ful Bound­ary Warp fea­ture and cre­ates de­tail-rich DNG files, while Pho­to­shop’s com­mand of­fers more pro­jec­tion op­tions and lets you Con­tentAware Fill empty edges.

11Open from Light­room CC If you use the new Light­room CC app on your desk­top then you can open pho­tos into Pho­to­shop with a right- click in much the same way as Light­room Clas­sic. How­ever, un­like with Clas­sic, with CC you can’t open sev­eral im­ages at once, or load a set of pho­tos into a layer stack.

12Com­bine your im­ages

If you want to com­bine two im­ages – per­haps to make a com­pos­ite of land and sky like this – then first Cmd/Ctrl+click both files in Light­room Clas­sic, right- click and ‘Open as Lay­ers in Pho­to­shop’. Grab the Quick Se­lec­tion tool and paint over the part of the im­age you want to keep vis­i­ble, then click the ‘Add Layer Mask’ icon in the lay­ers panel to hide ev­ery­thing else, re­veal­ing the de­tail on the layer be­low.

13Sim­ple re­touch­ing

Light­room of­fers a sin­gle re­touch­ing tool – the Spot Re­moval brush – that’s good for re­mov­ing small blem­ishes, spots and sen­sor marks. How­ever, for in­ten­sive re­touch­ing work it can’t com­pare to Pho­to­shop’s ar­se­nal of re­touch­ing tools. Se­ri­ous re­touch­ing should be done in Pho­to­shop with clever tools such as the Spot Heal­ing Brush.

14Blend­ing tricks Pho­to­shop of­fers all kinds of layer blend­ing ef­fects. If you’d like to ex­per­i­ment with a dou­ble ex­po­sure like this then sim­ply high­light any two (or more) im­ages in Light­room, right- click them and ‘Open as Lay­ers in Pho­to­shop’ then go to the Lay­ers Panel (Win­dow>Lay­ers), high­light the top layer and change the Blend Mode from Nor­mal to Screen.

You can open a photo from Light­room into Pho­to­shop quickly us­ing the key­board short­cut Cmd/Ctrl+E



You can open im­ages as Smart Ob­jects to make any ad­just­ments ed­itable

Un­like Light­room, Pho­to­shop of­fers layer blend­ing ef­fects

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