Lightroom is all about managing your files. It just happens to have a good editor attached to it.
The general workflow for Lightroom is this:
Copy your images from your camera to a hard drive (internal or external).
Import the images into the LR catalog.
Edit your images.
Export your edits to JPG/TIF files for other apps to see the edits.
If you want to make additional edits to your original file, you just make the edits and export the new changes.
If you want to keep the old edits, you can make a "virtual copy" of the original file and edit the copy.
You can import the exported files back into the catalog, but most folks don't fine that to be useful. However, if you did so you would be able to see the two versions side by side.
Alternatively, you can use the "\" key to toggle the before/after view of the image from inside the Develop module.
Thank you for your answer Joe
I normally shoot raw and JPEG, is it possible to import both files ? So I can compare the raw file to camera processed JPEG ?
Once I have made my adjustments, I then export to original file on hard drive.
Where I am struggling is if I want to then take the raw file back to Lightroom from hard drive. Lightroom seems to recognise the file as one that has been worked on so I can't seem to do further edits.
Has Lightroom recorded or copied the raw file data and I just can't find it ? It does not seem to allow me to use the raw file on the hard drive
When I used photo shop, I would first download images onto desk top, transfer to photoshop make my edits and save onto desktop then say file on external hard drive. If I ever need to re work the image, I would just drag back to photoshop. I'm trying to do the same with Lightroom.
Sent from my iPad
Both the raw and JPG files can be imported. There is an option in the Preferences dialog to treat them as separate files.
In the grid view, there is also stacking options; you may need to turn this off to easily see both files.
"Once I have made my adjustments, I then export to original file on hard drive."
If by this you mean you select "export as original" in the export dialog, this is probably messing you up. Exporting "originals" gets you a copy of the unedited original file. You need to export as a JPG or TIF to see your edits.
There is no need to "take the raw file back to Lightroom". Once the raw file is in the LR catalog, you can edit, reedit, start-from-scratch as much as you would like. However, see the paragraph above.
Your workflow in LR needs to be different from your workflow with Photoshop as LR does non-destructive edits by never updating the original files.
In LR the workflow is this:
Import images into the catalog.
Record your edits into the catalog.
Export your edits as new files (JPG or TIF).
Edit and export as often as needed.
Part of your edits can be sending the file to Photoshop. This will create a new "original" file that was created by photoshop.
Thank you for taking the time to guide me through, I will give this a go I think I have realised were im going wrong.