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Lightroom and Photoshop difference?


Our camera club is hosting a "Boootcamp" with a professional photographer dealing with LR. What is the difference between LR and PS? BTW, I have PSE 2021 if that helps. TIA.

Canon EOS T7; EF-S 18-55mm IS; EF 28-135mm IS; EF 75-300mm; Sigma 150-600mm DG

Greetings John,

See this:

Adobe Lightroom vs. Photoshop: decision guide | Adobe

Bay Area - CA

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Thanks for the link. Interesting facts and capabilities for both. I think I'll attend the Bootcamp and get the leader's recommendations as well.

Canon EOS T7; EF-S 18-55mm IS; EF 28-135mm IS; EF 75-300mm; Sigma 150-600mm DG

@Tintype_18 wrote:

Thanks for the link. Interesting facts and capabilities for both. I think I'll attend the Bootcamp and get the leader's recommendations as well.

Lightroom is only available as a subscription, unlike your Photoshop Elements which is a one time purchase.

Adobe offers a Photographers subscription plan for $9.99 per month, which includes both Lightroom and Photoshop (Full Photoshop, not Photoshop Elements). The image processing engine in Lightroom and Photoshop is the same. 

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic

Community Manager
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@Tintype_18  For my use case and work flow I have generally regarded Photoshop as a compositing tool and a robust set of tools to modify images one by one. If I were feeling productive I would create actions 🙂 Prior to Lightroom I would review and cull multiple images with Bridge or a 3rd party application. When Lightroom was introduced, I re-thought my workflow. I cull and do my first edits exclusively in Lightroom (classic) and will only rely on Photoshop when I need to composite. IMO - Lightroom has changed the game of editing in such a great way.


Lightroom is a great tool that both organizes photos as well as provides simple to medium-level editing.

Photoshop (created long before Lightroom) has no organization features, but it allows one to do effectively anything with an image.   I've used Photoshop over the years for the following activities:

  • More advanced photo editing (where Lightroom didn't have the specific capabilities)
  • Photo retouching (put this as a separate item since there are so many separate workflows around this one topic: dodge & burn, frequency separation, etc.)
  • Creating UI elements for iOS and macOS software (buttons, etc.)
  • Creating artwork for DVD menus where you needed to work with non-square pixels.

I personally have Adobe's photographer subscription (Lightroom + Photoshop).  Best of both worlds to tackle any level of editing.


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The differences used to be fairly cut and dried.  But, the lines have become quite blurred in recent years and releases.

If you are familiar with Canon’s DPP4 app, then imagine that app on hyper-steroids.  [Lightroom] is a digital darkroom.  You use it to convert digital negatives, RAW files, into digital prints, JPG files.

If you are familiar with MS Paint, the imagine that program on super-hyper steroids.  [Photoshop] is used to build and create images by digital artists.  Photographers use it for much the same, but typically on a lower skill level.  For example, you could use Photoshop to create a movie poster.  Or, you could create a portrait of an athlete on a poster.  Imagine a baseball card, for example.

I recommend trying Paint Dot Net app, which is free.  It is the app that MS Paint was supposed to be.  It is a good introduction to image editing and not as intensive as an app like GIMP, which is also free.

[EDIT] This guy is an absolute wizard with Photoshop.

How I Remade The Phantom Menace Poster 

"The right mouse button is your friend."
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