Adobe Photoshop Lightroom vs. Adobe Photoshop CS5

January 14, 2010 | | Comments 82

Lightroom vs. Photoshop?

“Do I need to buy both Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop CS5?” Digital photographers ask me this question whenever I give lectures or lead workshops on either program. It’s a good question and one that deserves more than just a simple yes or no answer.

Each program has its own strengths, and although the two programs share some common features, they are not competitors. By design, each program fills its own unique niche.

Photoshop is the world’s leading pixel manipulator. There is no other program like it for complete control over the look and feel of your digital image. No other program offers the same level of local image repair or allows such artistic creativity. If you can dream it Photoshop can make it happen!

Photoshop rocks, but it is not an organizer of digital images. Photoshop is useless when you need to find your favorite images. Searching, sorting, and organizing are not part of its capabilities. These are Lightroom’s strengths.

Not only can Lightroom help you organize all of your files but it can also help you manage the whole digital imaging workflow. Lightroom is designed to help you from start to finish. You get the most bang for your buck once you learn to use Lightroom to empty your memory card, to sort through your files, to set your initial raw file conversion, and to push the finished product over out to the web or to your printer. Lightroom handles the whole chain of events with speed and grace whereas Photoshop really only functions as an image enhancer.

See the Adobe engineers never meant for one program to replace the other. For someone like me, who needs help both finding and enhancing my files, both program are essential. Knowing how to use them together is even better!

For more on what Lightroom does and how it interacts with Photoshop please click here.


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About the Author: David Marx is a digital photography instructor whose engaging teaching style inspires photographers of all skill levels. David is an Adobe Certified Lightroom Expert. To learn more about David's Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software training seminars and digital photography field workshops please visit or follow David Marx on Google+.