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Jeremycw1's avatar

Photo Editing: Adobe Light Room or Photoshop?

Asked by Jeremycw1 (1357 points ) February 14th, 2012

I have been a photography enthusiast for years and am now creating my own photography business. I have a good idea on all of the equipment I need except for one thing… the photo editing software.

The two programs I am looking at right now are Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. I am a complete novice and haven’t even looked at either. I’ve only used iPhoto, Picasa, and Picnik, but I need to upgrade to a professional level software if I want to be successful.

My question to you: Which program (or something better that I haven’t listed) is good for a photographer just stepping out into the professional world? I would mainly be doing senior photos, weddings, and other events for my business, but also landscapes and other types of photography for personal use.

I would appreciate any feedback!

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15 Answers

cookieman's avatar

I know and teach them both.

For your needs as described, I’d go with LightRoom. It’s a good solid digital darkroom with nicely organized tools and presets. The learning curve isn’t too bad.

If you’re on a Mac, I might suggest looking into Apple’s Aperture. It’s similar to LightRoom and even easier to pickup.

Photoshop is simply too much program for what you need. Steep learning curve, not intuitive at all, tools are poorly organized. Don’t get me wrong, I love PS and use it every day, but I’ve been using it for over fifteen years. But truthfully, it’s a convoluted beast of a program.

auhsojsa's avatar

Hm, will you be doing a ton of photo manipulation? Or kind of keep it realistic? If realistic LightRoom is perfect, PhotoShop is the king though, everything you can do in LightRoom can be done in PS :D

DeanV's avatar

If you can afford it, or can get some sort of a deal, go with Photoshop. It’s more complicated, and like @cprevite said, overkill for what you need now, it is an excellent program to learn if you plan on getting into photography seriously. Lightroom can certainly act as a good stopgap for just testing the waters, but eventually you’ll need Photoshop and its versatility.

Hain_roo's avatar

I’m a designer/photographer who’s been using Photoshop since the 90’s and I’ll tell you what- honestly?— I spend most of my time with Irfanview (freeware). It’s a snap to use, you don’t launch anything. When you open a picture the menu bar’s right there running along the top of your image. It offers a varienty of photo manipulating options and you can also bring images in from a scanner. I LOVE IT. (Mostly I use it to adjust image size, brightness/contrast, saturation, gamma correction, crop, adjust colors, and sharpen, but it does a whole lot more. Download Irfanview and play with it before you invest the big bucks :)

GladysMensch's avatar

You should also consider Photoshop Elements. In comparison with full Photoshop: 20% of the price and 85% of the functionality. However, most of the missing functionality can be unlocked with Elements+. So, the only things you will have to live without are CMYK colors, and customizable actions.

mrentropy's avatar

I’ve never been one to recommend a hideously expensive piece of software, but with Photoshop CS6 and the “content awareness” features, I would probably have to bite the bullet and suggest it. You can find YouTube videos of stuff, like circling a person and just moving them to a different part of the picture without worrying about background matching.

Well, here’s an example.

auhsojsa's avatar

@Hain_roo You do realize Irfanview is a just holds just a fraction of power compared to PhotoShop right? The lengths of how far you can go with PS especially with PS5 are enormous. I don’t mean to be offensive but Irfanview is just inferior to PhotoShopp5.

@mrentropy Is CS6 Out? When!

Hain_roo's avatar

@auhsojsa Of course I’m aware of Photoshop’s capabilities, I’ve been using it professionally for years. Jeremycw1 said he’s a complete novice when it comes to photo editing who will be “mainly be doing senior photos, weddings, and other events”
...I think Photoshop just may be way too much of a monster for his specific wants or needs. Don’t get me wrong- it’s my favorite program in the world and if he wants to buy it and learn how to climb mount Photoshop that’s great, but I say download Irfanview and see what he thinks. That’s my opinion. ( no offense taken :~)

cookieman's avatar

This Q is not about which software is superior, it’s about which is appropriate for his needs.

And no, CS6 does not exist yet. I’m sure it was a typo.

mrentropy's avatar

@cprevite CS6 isn’t out yet, but it’s in the works. Otherwise everyone wouldn’t be going nuts over the new features. Unless Adobe are lying scumbags. So, no, it wasn’t a typo.

hungerforpizza's avatar

I’ve been using Photoshop for years, and it has wonderful capabilities. However, it can be very complex sometimes. Luckily, there are tons and tons of great guides on how to use it’s various features. I’ve googled things countless times. In fact, watching a few tutorial videos may give you an idea of how confusing each program is. Hope I could help!

auhsojsa's avatar

@Hain_roo I agree. I’m curious though @Jeremycw1 What will your company be looking to do? Is it arrange magazine style photography? Or perhaps just touch ups? (Contrast, Saturation, Black & White, etc)

Jeremycw1's avatar

@auhsojsa right now, my main work will be with just personal pictures (graduations, weddings, that kinda thing) but later on, I plan to get into more graphic design specific work. Right now I probably only need a program with basic adjustments and an airbrush tool, but later down the road I would like to do a lot more.

After reading these comments, I’m thinking I want to take on the beast of a program that is photoshop. Hey, you gotta start some where! I’ll try the demo first and see how it goes…

Thanks for your input everyone!

auhsojsa's avatar

@Jeremycw1 Well congrats on your business. Remember any you question you have about PhotoShop can be and will most likely be answered via YouTube. Or buy the “Class Room In A Book PhotoShop” It’s what the students are reading these days. Good luck on your endeavors.

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