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
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.
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.
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