Photography Article Background

Lightroom VS Photoshop

The most current version of Lightroom (Lightroom 3) now has some pretty powerful image editing capabilities! Initially Lightroom was built as an image cataloguer and had basic non-destructive editing features built into it, but now… now it has evolved… into something more powerful… almost as powerful as a Bill Gates eating a supercharged pie! Mmmm… pie…

Anyways, the question remains: If you are on a budget, which would benefit a photographer more? Lightroom or Photoshop?

Lightrom 3 (left) | Photoshop CS5 (right)

Lightroom 3 vs Photoshop CS5


A Wiki Point of View: Adobe Photoshop is a graphics editing program developed and published by Adobe Systems.


A Wiki Point of View: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom is a photography software program developed by Adobe Systems for Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows, designed to assist professional photographers in managing thousands of digital images and doing post production work. It is not a file browser like Adobe Bridge, but rather an image management application database which helps in viewing, editing, and managing digital photos.

Lightroom is broken down into these main features:

  • Library

  • Develop

  • Slideshow

  • Print

  • Web


The library is where Lightroom really stands out from Photoshop. This is where you start sorting your images, adding keywords, groups, comparing photo’s, and doing some quick rating. You can also view your metadata details and find out why that certain image didn’t turn out. 😉


The Develop module is where we really start battling out Lightroom vs Photoshop! In this pane you can adjust setting such as contrast, saturation, brightness, etc. These are all pretty much what you can find in Photoshop too. The key difference used to be that Lightroom edited non-destructively (meaning you can always make changes later in life). Adobe Photoshop CS5 now has pretty advanced non-destructive editing features built into it too… so I call this one a tie.

Lightroom 3 has advanced adjustment brush and spot removal tool (both found in Photoshop too).


Quickly export select images into a very fancy slideshow. (For those not so tech savvy) 🙂


The new print module is quite powerful. You can change tons of print settings and paper layouts.  Far superior than anything Photoshop can offer.


Once again for those not too tech savvy. You can quickly make some nice website templates ready to be uploaded online.

The Bottom Line:

Photoshop has the same editing features as Lightroom, however, I find Lightroom to be MUCH more user friendly for simple editing. The workflow with Lightroom and the ease of using the built in development module gives Lightroom 3 some bonus points for sure! For example, you would be forced to open each image individually in Photoshop to make basic edits; in Lightroom, your images are already loaded! Just click “Develop” and you  are off to the races!

I personally recommend Lightroom 3 over Photoshop CS5 for most photographers. It gives you much better photo organization, while having quick and easy access to powerful development tools. All this at a much cheaper price! If you are planning extensive image editing such as background modifications then Photoshop will be necessary too.

Expand Your Knowledge By Eating More Pie:

Rule of Thirds Photography Article End

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