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Photo editing capabilities: Lightroom vs Photoshop/Photoshop Elements

Aug 6, 2012 4:01 PM

Hi,

 

I have a question about the features in lightroom. I'm not yet a photoshop user so I hope people can understand if I don't use the right terms. It seems from the web site that lightroom is a photo editor and a image file organizer. If I don't need a image file organizer is there any reason to buy lightroom instead of photoshop or photoshop elements. Does lightroom have image editing features that are not in photoshop elements or not in the full version of photoshop?

 

 

Thanks

 

Message title was edited by: Brett N

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 27, 2010 8:25 AM   in reply to jdur4567

    You have missed one of the "main things" about LR - despite it's great Library - its a nondestructive RAW Editor.

     

    http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/about/

     

    If you really want to miss the great library functions and are taking jpeg's you may be better off with Photoshop Elements or Photoshop, depending on what you're plans are.

     

    If you can tell us more about what you are looing for exactly, it would be easier to help.

     

    hth

    Franz

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 27, 2010 8:39 AM   in reply to jdur4567

    In addition to McLion's comments, let me add that the Lightroom "organizer" is a superior piece of software than the PSE Organizer ... it has more capabilities and fewer bugs.

     

    But if you don't need an "organizer", then maybe Lightroom isn't for you, as you are forced to import your photos into the Lightroom Library Module in order to use the rest of the features in Lightroom.

     

    Of course, I think you (and everyone else who works with digital photos) needs an organizer ...

     

    I also think that even if you are shooting only JPGs, Lightroom is a great piece of software. It's not for Raw shooters only.

     
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  • 99jon
    12,852 posts
    Jan 6, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 27, 2010 9:07 AM   in reply to jdur4567

    Lightroom will mirror the folder structure on your hard drive or external hdd if that is your preferred method of organization.

    If you shoot raw images I would recommend Lightroom as Elements has a stripped down version of Adobe Camera Raw. Even Bridge on the mac is now limited to version 5.7 unless you buy the more expensive CS5.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 27, 2010 9:38 AM   in reply to jdur4567

    jdur4567 wrote:

     

     

     

    Does lightroom have image editing features that are not in photoshop elements or not in the full version of photoshop?

     

     


    PS is capable of many things that LR cannot do and isn't designed to do. PS is a fully featured graphics application, whilst LR is for processing and managing image files from camera to end usage, such as printing, displaying on the web etc. There is nothing as far as processing images goes that LR can do that can't also be accomplished in PS. However for 99% of photographic usage LR does it quicker and with more ease than PS as well as being non destructive and doing away with the requirment for huge file sizes on your disks.

    PS elements is a very cut down version of PS primarily aimed at basic graphic processing required by amateur users. Its ability to process RAW files is very limited in comparison to LR, but for jpgs it is fine and it incorporates a management tool, which whilst not as sophisticated as LR's will do the job. It also works well with Premier Elements for creating videos.

    If your primary objective is to process your own photographic images from the RAW file in your camera to end usage, LR is the best bet. If you are happy with jpgs and want to also shoot and edit video the the PS and Premier elements package will do best. For professionals then LR and PS are essentials, even though these days trips to PS are rare!

    As you can trail all these products give them all a spin. LR has a learning curve and it will take you the full 30 days to get used to how it works and just what it is capable of. Once you have got to grips with it most users would never return to relying on straightforward bitmap editors such as elements or PS again.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 27, 2010 1:12 PM   in reply to jdur4567
    1) Smart sharpening  My understanding is this is a newer and better algorithm than unsharp mask.

    2) The layer blending modes: "darker color" and "lighter color:

    3) Adjustment layers - where you can change the parameters of an existing layer without having to undo and go back to when you added the layer.

    4) Noise reduction with separate controls for luminance and color

    1, 2 and 3 are not in Lightroom (no layers in Lightroom at all)

    4 can be done in Lightroom

     

    Many people use Lightroom to do the initial editing of the photo and then another image editor (PSE or CS4/5) for additiona; editing

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Mar 16, 2011 8:36 AM   in reply to Pete Marshall

    Thank you very much for a clear answer.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 26, 2011 4:18 PM   in reply to jdur4567

    I have decided to use Lightroom as my organizer after using PSE for several years.  I have upgraded my exisiting PSE catalog to Lightroom, but ONLY the files that currently reside on my hard drive transferred.  Any files that had been moved to external disk using PSE, didn't transfer.  In the PSE organizer, it knows those files are on an external disk and gives you the disk name so that you can retrieve them.  Is there a way to import these files WITH their keyword information into Lightroom?  If not, this appears to be a real disadvantage of trying to upgrade from PSE to Lightroom.  Appreciate any help with this anyone can offer

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 26, 2011 4:40 PM   in reply to bkoenck

    Use PSE to transfer the files that are offline back to your hard disk, then upgrade the catalog to Lightroom again.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 1, 2012 10:35 PM   in reply to dj_paige

    dj_paige wrote:

     

    Use PSE to transfer the files that are offline back to your hard disk, then upgrade the catalog to Lightroom again.

    I have LR 4 (using 4.1 RC2 at the moment) and want to upgrade my PSE Organizer 9 catalog with over 50k photos.  The PSE catalog is on my internal hd, but I have these photos on a 1tb external hd.  They are not on my internal hd because there is not enough space for all of them (that is why they are on the external hd).  So, there is no way to transfer them to my internal hd.  As long as the external hd is connected at the time I upgrade the catalog using LR will everything be okay?  I have many keywords and star ratings on all those photos that I sure don't want to lose.  It was a tremendous amount of work taking months to do all that.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 2, 2012 4:14 AM   in reply to bakubo

    There is no reason to transfer your photos from one hard disk to another hard disk. Your catalog conversion is not affected by what hard disks you use for storage of your photos.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 2, 2012 4:51 AM   in reply to dj_paige

    That is what I was hoping to hear!  I only asked because you wrote this earlier:

     

    "Use PSE to transfer the files that are offline back to your hard disk, then upgrade the catalog to Lightroom again."

     

    It sounded like you were saying the files needed to be on the local hd.  Sorry for the misunderstanding.

     

    When I run LR and tell it to upgrade my Organizer catalog does it replace the Organizer catalog or upgrade and copy so that the original Organizer catalog is still there?  Of course, I have my Organizer catalog backed up, but I am just trying to understand a bit better what LR is going to do.  I couldn't find any info about this subject in the LR help.  Thank you.

     

    By the way, is this upgrade something that will take a long time, i.e., I should start it before going to bed because it will take all night?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 2, 2012 4:58 AM   in reply to bakubo

    My earlier comment about moving file online was discussing photos on DVD/CD.

     

    Lightroom does not make any changes to your PSE catalog. LR reads your PSE catalog and creates a Lightroom catalog.

     

    I have no idea how long it will take.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 25, 2012 9:07 AM   in reply to dj_paige

    This discussion has been very helpful.  I think I'll get Lightroom but I have one question.  Can you merge separate images into one image with Lightroom?  For example, create a diptych consisting of two images side by side with a narrow whitespace between and around both images? Can you do this in Lightroom without layers?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 25, 2012 9:37 AM   in reply to Biletubes

    Lightroom has no layers, and cannot merge photos. For work like this, you need Photoshop Elements or the full Photoshop, or other similar image processing program. Fortunately, Lightroom offers smooth workflows to allow you to send a photo to Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements or other), and then receive the adjusted photo back from the other program.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 25, 2012 9:49 AM   in reply to dj_paige

    Thanks dj_paige. That's helpful.  So it seems like Lightroom and Photoshop complement each other nicely and getting both is the best solution. 

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 7, 2012 11:02 AM   in reply to Biletubes

    thank you, this is very helpful

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 5, 2012 7:41 AM   in reply to meansis

    Meansis, you might want to avoid posting your address and phone numbers here in the forums.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 7, 2012 11:00 AM   in reply to dj_paige

    I Did nt post it on purpuse, could you tell me how to take it out please ,

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 10, 2012 7:26 AM   in reply to F. McLion

    I am using Picasa as a image organizer and PSE (9) as a real editor (can't afford full PS). I realise that LR also has editing features lacking in PSE and Picasa. If I  still am working at a fairly elementary level is the LR4.2 organizer any better than that of Picasa?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 24, 2012 4:26 PM   in reply to jdur4567

    I realise this is an old thread, but one important point may have been overlooked.  Lightroom is non-destructive and makes no changes to the original image, whereas Elements allows the original image to be overwritten.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 24, 2012 5:16 PM   in reply to Biletubes

    Biletubes wrote:

     

    This discussion has been very helpful.  I think I'll get Lightroom but I have one question.  Can you merge separate images into one image with Lightroom?  For example, create a diptych consisting of two images side by side with a narrow whitespace between and around both images? Can you do this in Lightroom without layers?

    That's actually extremely easy with lightroom's Print panel. I do this all the time. The only limitation is that you can only print it or export to a jpeg. Just google "triptych Lightroom" and you'll find 100's of videos showing how to do it but anybody can figure this out with a little playing in the Print Panel.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 26, 2012 8:47 AM   in reply to jdur4567

    This thread was extremely helpful. I've been trying to decide whether I should use Lightroom in addition to Elements or instead of Elements. Now that I know the two can work together, I plan to use them both. Thanks!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 29, 2012 1:31 AM   in reply to BonnyDan

    " Lightroom is non-destructive..."

     

    I am quite new to Lightroom, and have spend some time with Elements, but it seems to me that this so-called "non-destructive" behaviour you mention is quite the same as in Elements...

     

    It is always your personal choice to "destruct" and even do a "overwrite" and not to blame the software?!

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 29, 2012 2:31 AM   in reply to flageborg

    @flageborg

     

    I am quite new to Lightroom, and have spend some time with Elements, but it seems to me that this so-called "non-destructive" behaviour you mention is quite the same as in Elements...

    Absolutely not! Elements is not a "non-destructive" Software in the same sense as LR is.

    With Elements you always have to save your editings to either the original (overwrite!) or to a full, new copy of the file.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 19, 2013 8:41 AM   in reply to F. McLion

    I'm aware this is an old post, but may be helpful for anyone stumbling across it, looking for lightroom and elements differences/comparisons ...

     

    From: http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop-elements/using/processing-camera-raw- image-files.html

    "Photoshop Elements does not save your changes to the original raw file (non-destructive editing). After processing the raw image file using the features of the Camera Raw dialog box, You can choose to open a processed raw file in Photoshop Elements. You can then edit the file and save it in a Photoshop Elements supported format. The original raw file remains unaltered."

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 19, 2013 9:05 AM   in reply to BLC1002

    Yes, that's correct BLC1002 --  McLion is correct about how PSE handles non-RAW files, but McLion is wrong about PSE's behavior with RAW files. PSE saves your edits to a RAW in a sidecar file, and so it is completely non-destructive when editing RAW files.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 16, 2013 11:44 AM   in reply to dj_paige

    I convert my RAW files using either Adobe Camera Raw or RawTherapee to create Tiff files).  I then use PS Elements for all my organizing and editing.  I sometimes need the layer editing that I can get from Elements and I definitely need Elements  for running my NIK  plugins.  The question I have is what does Lightroom give me that I don't already have with this setup?  If I use the NIK plugins in Lightroom, I won't be able to selectively turn them on or off by checking the layer enable box.

     

    Does LR give me better quality than the editing filters in Elements?  For example, I notice that Elements will not support 16-bit color files with layers.  It will always prompt me with a screen that says, "Convert bit depth?"  Does Lightroom keep everything in the 16-bit color domain even when working with NIK plug-ins?  If so, I could see the advantage of doing everything in Lightroom and only using PS Elements when I absolutely need to use layers.  Thanks in advance for any replies.  

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 16, 2013 12:08 PM   in reply to Clem

    Lightroom provides non-destructive, 16 bit editing without the extra step of converting to TIF. Many people use LR for primary editing and organizing and then Elements for advanced editing; which seems to me to be a more streamlined and efficient method than what you are currently using.

     

    Does LR give me better quality than the editing filters in Elements?

    For some things, yes it does, in my opinion.

     

    Does Lightroom keep everything in the 16-bit color domain even when working with NIK plug-ins?

    Yes, everything in Lightroom is done 16bit. I assume (but I don't know as I have ever used the NIK plugins) that if the NIK plugins work 16bit, then you don't lose the bit depth going back and forth.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 16, 2013 12:53 PM   in reply to dj_paige

    Thanks, dj_paige.  So now my big question will be whether I want to continue to use Elements as my Organizer and just use LR as an editor, or whether I use LR as my primary organizer and editor, and then use PS Elements as a secondary editor.  Any thoughts there?  I guess I may need to download a LR trial version to see how stable it is and how well it works with the NIK software and Elements.   

     

    (Dang, my son was right.  When I first downloaded PS Elements, he warned me that it was the gateway drug to Lightroom, then full Photoshop.  

     

    The best price I can find for Lightroom 5 is $129, but I realize it just came out.  Is it realistic to expect that to go on sale for say, $99 in the next few months?   

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 16, 2013 1:05 PM   in reply to Clem

    my big question will be whether I want to continue to use Elements as my Organizer and just use LR as an editor

    In my opinion, this is an absurd way to go.

     

    Lightroom was designed to seamlessly work with the Phtooshop Elements Editor. Not true the other way around, you have to jump through hoops to make the PSE Organizer work with the Lightroom editor (as in lots of extra steps, which I don't particularly recommend). So if you are going to use Lightroom and PSE together, the only sensible way to go is to organize and do primary editing in Lightroom, and extra editing in PSE.

     

    Yes, definitely download the Lightroom trial.

     

    Lightroom has not been a "gateway drug" to full Photoshop for me, and in fact you can read many people in these and other forums who say that 99% of the time, they don't even need another editor (in other words, they are using PHotoshop or PSE less and less)

     

    I have no comment regarding pricing issues.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 17, 2013 5:08 AM   in reply to dj_paige

    Thanks again.  I think the biggest concern that I have at this point is how this catalog transfer process will deal with my PSE images that I have stored offline on DVDs.  Let me explain...

     

    To save disk space, my process is to import RAW files into PSE Organizer, tag them, rate them, then move the images to a DVD.  This allows me to see the image as a large thumbnail in the Organizer, complete with all the tags, but keeps the huge files off my hard drive and puts them on inexpensive, reliable media.  Then, if I ever need to access the full image, I simply put in the DVD and the full image is instantly available, where it can be moved back to the harddrive if needed for edits or printing.  I probably have 30 or so DVDs of images and the PSE organizer tracks all of them flawlessly.  I've even moved .psd files to DVD to free up harddrive space, and the Organizer still lets me know that I have that offline .psd file available and also the name of the DVD of where it lives.  I love this approach... keeping the big image files separate from the catalog (especially images that I rarely need access to, but don't want to remove from the catalog). I'd say 80% of my Organizer catalog is comprised of these offline images and having only the thumbnails in the catalog works great for me.   

     

    From your earlier replies (#9 and #13 above), it sounds like Lr won't transfer these thumbnails when I move the PSE Catalog to Lr.  If I need to move ALL of those offline images to my harddrive before I do the "Upgrade Catalog" command, that will be a huge problem.  I simply don't have the free space available.  So Ideally, I want to transfer the thumbnails, tags, metadata, and offline file location information from my PSE Organizer catalog to the Lr Organizer, and I would like to do that without having to load DVDs.  Is this possible?  If not, I haven't been able to find any procedure outlined anywhere that addresses this specific situation... Can it be done one DVD at a time?    Thanks.        

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 17, 2013 5:38 AM   in reply to Clem

    I don't know what needs to be done in your case, as I have never been in the situation where my photos were offline. My GUESS is taht all the images have to be online before you convert the catalog to Lightroom.

     

    If I have any recommendation for you at all in this situation, it is that external hard drives are not expensive these days, use PSE to put all your images on an external hard drive, and the problem goes away.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 17, 2013 6:51 AM   in reply to dj_paige

    Fair enough, thanks. I'll guess I'll do that as a last resort. 

     

    But just to be clear, do you know for a fact that offline images won't transfer to the Lr catalog from Elements if those images are on CD or DVD?  I got the impression from your earlier post in this thread that this was indeed a problem.   

     

    I've read elsewhere that Organizer Albums and Notes are also lost during the transfer to Lr, so it's becoming apparent that the catalog upgrade isn't without some shortcomings and I just want to understand what all those limitations are before committing to Lightroom and external hard drives.   

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 17, 2013 7:17 AM   in reply to Clem

    As I said, I have no experience with offline images. It is my understanding/guess that the images must be online when you upgrade to Lightroom.

     

    PSE Organizer Albums will become Lightroom Collections when you upgrade the PSE catalog.

     

    PSE Notes will not transfer via this process. There have been threads here somewhere or at ElementsVillage.com regarding how to use ExifTool to transfer the PSE Notes to some other metadata field so they can indeed be transferred to Lightroom. I leave it up to you to search for them.

     
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