If I asked new photographers to name a piece of editing software, the one that pops into mind most often is probably Photoshop, or even Photoshop Elements.
Whist Photoshop is (undoubtedly!) an amazing tool for editing, it’s definitely NOT the one I recommend for new photographers.
Why on earth not, I hear you say?
I’m so glad you asked 😀…..
Here are 5 reasons why learning how to edit your images in Lightroom is MORE beneficial to you when starting out - or indeed, at any time!
#1 Lightroom was created specifically for Photographers
Although Photoshop is a great program, it was never made especially for photographers (yes, even despite the name!)
Photoshop has been created to be used by graphic designers, web developers, cartoonists, digital artists, 3D video creators, and many more creative types, along with photographers, which is just one reason why that it can be so darn difficult to master!
It is has, oooh, I dunno, about a trillion tools that you will never use as a photographer, making it like learning how to use a jet engine to cook your dinner on instead of simply using your stove 😀
Lightroom, on the other hand, was created especially for photographers, and as such, every single module and tool was designed for you to use. There is no extra bits, or twenty five ways of doing one thing, which in turn makes it much easier to master, and more intuitive to use once you have learnt how all the bits fit together.
There is a bit of a learning curve with LIghtroom, no doubt about it, but it is still easier to learn than Photoshop.
(Pssst! To get you started, I also have a FREE Lightroom Starter Kit that you can download - it has an import guide, an editing checklist, and a export cheat sheet, so you have everything you need:)
#2 - You always need to edit your photos in your RAW processor first.
If you shoot in the RAW file format - which again I strongly recommend! - then if you were to use Photoshop as your main photo editor, you would need to open it first in Adobe Camera RAW, or Lightroom so you can process the RAW file.
This RAW processor is actually where you will make MOST of your changes to your image.
You will fix white balance, noise, exposure, contrast and lens corrections as a bare minimum - in fact, the more you can do whilst working on this RAW file, the better!
Just to give you an idea, that means you are looking at doing around 90 - 100% of your edits in your RAW processor. (If you want to see a breakdown of what to use when, check out this blog post When Should I Use Photoshop Instead of Lightroom?)
So, even if you use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements to edit your photos - you definitely don’t want to use Photoshop for ALL your edits, so you will STILL need to learn Lightroom, or at the very least, ACR.
This is why I say that learning Lightroom will have the BIGGEST impact on your images, because that is where you are going to do most of your editing!
In my Launch Into Lightroom course, we go over this step by step, so you will have an editing routine down in a matter of days :)
#3 You can get organised too!
You might at this point be thinking “so why use Lightroom over ACR, if they can both process your RAW image files?”
Guess what? I can tell you that too 😀
Lightroom has a whole host of OTHER features that make the whole photography process a breeze.
Put it this way: taking a photo and editing a photo are just two of the steps. You still need to:
Organise your images in such a way that you can find them again
Possibly create different edits based on where you are using them
Back them up (so you don’t lose your files)
Use them in Photobooks or Slideshows
Share them on social media (i.e Facebook or Instagram)
This is where Lightroom excels over any other software out there, because with it you have the ability to manage your photos end to end in ONE place.
You can learn a bit more about WHY I love LIghtroom for end to end management a bit more right here in 8 Reasons to Love Lightroom as a hobbyist.
#4 - It’s quicker to use!
Photoshop was never created to work on multiple images, at least not with speed in mind! You can only ever work on one image at a time, and whilst there are some tools that allow you to batch edit, it’s slow and quite frankly, tedious.
Lightroom, on the other hand, WAS designed for you to work on multiple images, so it has a range of tools and options that make editing loads of images a breeze. (If you want to learn more about this, check out my post 5 ways using Lightroom saves you time too!)
Think of it this way, Lightroom is for doing the majority of your edits on ALL your images, and Photoshop is for when you want to go DEEP into one image.
#5 - It’s Non-Destructive
Unlike most other editing software, including Photoshop, LIghtroom is non-destructive, because it never edits the original image.
What happens is, when you import an image to Lightroom, you are really just importing a reference to the file. Your image file is stored safe and sound on your hard drive, and Lightroom works on a virtual “copy” of the image.
This means your edits are NEVER saved over the top of your file, which means you always have the original to fall back on should you ever need it!
One another feature to note that is related to this, is that you also have unlimited undos, because Lightroom keeps a full history of all the actions you take on the image. Better yet, it keeps that history even after you have closed the program - unlike Photoshop which resets its history when you close - so you can always go back to the original, or just the last five or even twenty steps.
Now all this might make it sound like I am against Photoshop, whereas nothing could be further from the truth! I big puffy heart Photoshop (and I have a course on Photoshop too!) but the reason I recommend that you learn Lightroom FIRST is simply because that is what is going to give the you the most bang for your buck.
You can do a heck of a lot in that one program, and most importantly when it comes just to editing, it’s where you will actually do most of work, and therefore have the BIGGEST impact on your images.
Plus of course, you get all the organisational tools and systems, which will help you speed through your workflow and become a one-woman editing MACHINE.
If you don't yet have Lightroom, but are thinking of getting it, then you are going to need to purchase it as a ongoing subscription from Adobe.
For just $10 a month, you get BOTH Lightroom and Photoshop, so you are covered for everything you will ever need. Click on the link below to find out more:
If you already have LIghtroom, or are just thinking of getting it, then make sure you download my Lightroom Starter Kit! It has everything you need to get started with LIghtroom, including a step by step guide to importing, an editing checklist, and an exporting quick guide. There’s even a few presets to get you started too 😀