Lightroom vs Photoshop? Which and when?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by alexxk, Dec 1, 2015.

  1. alexxk macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    #1
    Hello All,

    I've been debating recently if I should use photoshop more to edit my images. I use lightroom 95% of the time to edit my images and I only open photoshop to fix things that are way to obvious.

    Question is, if you shoot a wedding then I believe lightroom is the way to go, too many image to edit and retouch for photoshop (maybe images that go on an album, then that might be doable) but what about a portrait session? Let's say I take 300 photos from a session taken at the beach and I pick 200 of them to work on and to give my client.

    Should I use photoshop to retouch the skin, sharpen the eyes, remove hairs falling on faces and so on for every image? Or is this more for fashion, magazines and while working on far less images?

    How do professionals tackle this?
     
  2. dwig macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Key West FL
    #2
    Divide those numbers by 10.

    No decent photographer needs to take 300 pictures at a portrait session. Delivering 200 portrait proofs to a client is massive overkill. It will prevent them from making a decent choice.

    I would do the basic adjustments in Lr where you can adjust a group of images in a similar or identical manner to yield a consistent look. I would then edit the chosen few in Ps to fix fine details, like those you mention, that can be better done using Ps's greater precision, which very fine detail needs if you are going to make large prints.
     
  3. aerok macrumors 65816

    aerok

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    #3
    You can do all that in Lightroom. I barely use PS now.
     
  4. alexxk thread starter macrumors 6502

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    #4
    The studio I work takes too many photos, weddings they take around 3.000 and deliver around 2500 LoL
     
  5. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    Scotland, UK
    #5
    Hi alexxk,

    For me, if it's going to a client then it's been through photoshop. It's a far more capable tool than any raw converter even for simple edits like dodge & burn. Personally, I use the raw converter for nothing more than file management, exposure and white balance.

    I do the same kind of work you do: weddings and portraits.

    My portrait work is largely limited to headshots these days (think Linked In profile for working professionals). If the shoot is for an individual I'll deliver 5 retouched shots. If it's for an organisation then it'll usually be no more than about 30 people per day and each person would get a single image. Regardless of the client or number of images, everything is processed & retouched in photoshop.

    From a full-day wedding (bridal prep to evening reception) we'll deliver somewhere in the region of 160 shots. Delivering 2500 is crazy - no client actually wants that. All you're doing is forcing them to search through lots of average images to pick out the best ones - a job you should be doing yourself. As dwig said above, divide your delivery numbers by 10. Then photoshop becomes more realistic. Your studio could easily process 250 fantastic wedding images in photoshop just as fast (or faster) than it can do 2500 in Lightroom.
    The client will be happier, because they're getting 250 great photos instead of 250 great photos hidden somewhere among 2250 average ones. (I haven't seen your work, so please don't take this personally, but nobody gets an 85% keep rate in uncontrolled circumstances).

    Regarding the use of photoshop, the key is making it work for you. All the things you do to every single image (contrast, sharpening) should be batch processed using droplets. All the things you do regularly, but not every time, should be action buttons. That way you're not spending unnecessary time repeating the same thing, or sitting on front of your computer while it runs through the motions. Another advantage of using droplets & actions is that you'll continue to get a consistent look.

    You asked specifically about using photoshop to retouch skin, sharpen eyes, remove stray hairs etc for every image. For this, it's all about numbers - is it in your financial interest to spend that amount of time on it? Personally, I would do this for portrait sessions because I'm delivering fewer images. For a wedding, I might only do this kind of thing on 20 or 30 images.

    Hope that helps. All the best!

    Iain
     
  6. alexxk thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 29, 2010
    #6

    Thanks for your response..

    I actually do not own a studio but I work in one as an editor only. The boss takes really lots of photos and he wants to deliver as many as possible. I DO NOT agree with it, but it actually makes my life easier there by editing one and just syncing the rest and going over the exposure pretty much on each photo. I personally do not even like the quality of their photos lol..

    I've been in photography for about 3 years only and I enjoy landscape, cityscape and low light photography, but recently I've been getting more interested in Portraits maybe even fashion. I'm not interested in wedding but I don't discard it at the same time, you never know.

    I follow a few photographers on the web and they have incredible photos on their profiles for wedding, portraits and other events and I was just wondering if in general professionals use lightroom or photoshop or both like user dwig said.

    If I want to get into that, I want high quality photos but at the same time a workflow that's not too dragging.. like you said.. wedding it would be too much to do retouching on all photos.. that's why I said originally that maybe on photos that goes in an album only would get more detailed editing..

    I once did a portrait shoot for a friend, I did around 100 photos and delivered 75. I only used Lightroom and today I wonder if I had delivered less and used photoshop after basic raw processing in lightroom would be ideal.

    Once I started in photography I thought retouching and doing all that skin fixes was for Fashion shoot only where you shoot very few photos and work on even less, but after seeing so many gorgeous wedding photos and casual portrait (example on the beach o a park) I started wondering if they go editing in PS as well but not as hardcore as fashion goes.

    This photographer - www.vydavska.com
    I really like her style, I know she uses lightroom and VSCO but I think she also uses photoshop, her images are very clean, the skin is beautiful as well..
     
  7. highdefjunkie macrumors 6502

    highdefjunkie

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    Chicago
    #7
    Ditto

    I usually take a ton of shots. It's so much easier to batch edit in Lightroom.
     
  8. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    Location:
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    #8
    I do 95% of everything in LR.
    I don't have PS and decided I didn't really need it.
    I also have Macphun, DXO, OnOne, Nik and Pixelmator.
    Most of those don't see much use.
     
  9. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Ultimately, the decision of what software to use comes down to the level of quality you’re trying to achieve, and your financial incentive.

    Photoshop can, without doubt, produce results that are simply not possible in raw converters. However it takes time to learn how to get the most from photoshop, and if you’re shooting things like high-end fashion it can also take a long time to retouch each individual image.

    This is where financial incentive comes in. Let’s imagine you’ve been paid €1500 to deliver a single image that will appear on the cover of a famous magazine. In this situation it might not be uncommon to spend 3 full days working on a single image to make sure it’s absolutely perfect.

    Now let’s imagine you’ve been paid €1500 to photograph a wedding and deliver 300 images on a USB. In this circumstance you want to be processing about 100-150 images per day to make the same daily rate. You certainly couldn’t spend 3 days on a single image or you’d go out of business.

    I looked at the wedding photographer you linked to. Some of her work is very good. It’s impossible to know for sure, but I would guess that she does her processing in lightroom, then takes a small number of photographs into photoshop where she does nothing more than blemish removal (cloning) and skin smoothing. She’s not doing it on every image, only the ones where the bride or groom’s face appears very large in the frame.

    There are certainly a lot of wedding photographers out there who never use photoshop. They are satisfied with the quality they can get in lightroom and so are their clients. Personally, I don’t think lightroom makes images of high enough quality to deliver to the client which is why I choose to use photoshop instead.

    Best regards,

    Iain
     
  10. mofunk macrumors 68000

    mofunk

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    #10
    I've only used PS on a photo when I want to keep the image and it needs serious editing.
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #11
    You'd give 200 images to a client? What you are doing is asking your client to grade and sort them. If you show only the best 20 ir so to the client then on average your work will seem to be of much higher quality

    What software to use? Lightroom (or Aperture) is good for making what I call "adjustments" to a large number of images. I resort to Photoshop only when I want to change the content of the image. That means add or remove something.

    OK, one more use os PS. When you have a close portrait selected or maybe as many is three of them then I'd used layer based retouching. Maybe mask the teeth and make it an "adjustment layer" so that I can play with a slider to see how much whitening I can do before it looks like a photoshopped it. Also maybe removing a second catchlight in the eye
    If you are dealing with that many images then (1) photoshop is impractical and (2) you need to slow down and also do a LOT more culling to find just a few selects.
     
  12. phrehdd macrumors 68040

    phrehdd

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    Oct 25, 2008
    #12
    3000 images (whoa). I would love to get those photographers back to using film and see if they are so generous with the shutter given the cost of film and processing.

    As for Lightroom vs Photoshop - if you are very good at Photoshop, you don't need Lightroom. If you are so so at Photoshop, better to use Lightroom and go round trip to Photoshop for special needs and continue to use Lightroom as a DAM tool. As for "raw converter" discussion - silly. Both Lightroom and Photoshop are raw converters.

    Some folks remain with Lightroom and use 3rd party tools to achieve effects similar to what Photoshop can do. This is not a bad choice either as some of those plugins also work as stand alone as needed.

    In my case - I use Capture One for my own now hobby photography, and Photoshop for photo restoration and retouch along with OnOne plugins. If Lightroom did better with Fuji's RAW files, I might have gone with Lightroom.
     
  13. fieldsphotos, Dec 1, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2015

    fieldsphotos macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I used to use Photoshop for all my editing needs, and only every used Lightroom as a Raw Converter and catalog organizer. However, the latest versions of LR have been adding more and more non-destructive edits for things like blemish removal and even perspective corrections, etc. I have found that with the newer brushes, you can do a lot of pretty serious editing to an image including softening skin, whitening teeth, making iris's pop, and correcting blemishes, etc. I even like the new adjustment brushes to add things like backlight glow, etc.

    I now only go into Photoshop for a few things - persnickety cloning that involves patterns or edges, and I still like to run a mid-tone contrast enhance with the Unsharp mask technique on most of my images. If you are going to be doing any sort of liquify or other major pixel level edits, you still need PS. I also use PS if I have to cut something out of a background - the Pen tool is way more accurate than the LR brushes for that type work.

    I would imagine that many portait photographers out there process mostly in LR and only do a few final touches in PS. I wouldn't consider my results from Lightroom to be inferior in any manner to what I would do in a fully PS workflow. You just have to learn how to fully use the tool, just like when you learned photoshop.

    Edit: I don't know where you are from, but Adobe does offer a package of just PS and Lightroom for photographers that is pretty reasonably priced. Here in the US its $10/month and you always have the latest greatest copy of both PS and Lightroom. Then you can use both tools.
     
  14. The Bad Guy macrumors 6502a

    The Bad Guy

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    Location:
    Australia
    #14
    This^ For portraits and hero shots for the wedding album. They're definitely going through Photoshop.
    And yes, you're delivering waaaay too many images.

    You guys use Lightroom for retouching portraits? For hair and skin work?? Wow...
     
  15. fieldsphotos macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Lightroom has gotten some pretty powerful tools in the newer versions. I am slowly becoming a convert.

    Stray hairs can be removed with the spot removal brush. The new spot removal tool also contains a clone function as well as the normal healing brush function for skin blemishes. I can actually get rid of ~90% of the clone/healing brush work right in LR before it even gets to PS. It's great because it's all non-destructive so it can be edited later.

    Skin smoothing might still need to go thru PS depending on how heavy/ what your favorite method is.
     
  16. Apple fanboy macrumors P6

    Apple fanboy

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    #16
    I'm no people shooter, but if @The Bad Guy says PS is the way to go, that's the way to go!
    Otherwise he'll send his male stripper group round!
    Seriously I'd imagine the quality you put on here would only be possible in PS.
     
  17. alexxk thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 29, 2010
    #17
    The responses were great.

    I came to the conclusion that I will work on Lightroom for global adjustments and then depending on the image I will throw to PS to make fine adjustments. I will also deliver less but better quality images.. this has been my idea from the beginning, but then working for this studio I thought I was wrong,, turns out they are, not me.
     
  18. aerok macrumors 65816

    aerok

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    #18
    Yeah I always avoid using PS. You can check out my pics on my instagram for my pics: #kangmlee but keep in mind some pics are NSFW.
     
  19. convergent macrumors 68000

    convergent

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    #19
    I think that what you are doing is the way to go. That said, all this depends greatly on your genre and expected output. I do mostly action sports and I rarely if ever go into Photoshop anymore unless I want to do what I'd call a modification of an image. For any processing and retouching I use Lightroom. There are simply way too many images from an event to waste time in Photoshop. I do broad processing and correction for groups of images shot in the same lighting, and then only go further on the special ones. Most of them are never get output into any large format or high quality printing, so not worth the time.
     
  20. The Bad Guy macrumors 6502a

    The Bad Guy

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    #20
    You've got some great shots there, it's just a pity they look like they were retouched in Lightroom...oh wait. ;) :p
     
  21. aerok macrumors 65816

    aerok

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    #21
    Hahaha I see what you did there
     
  22. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #22
    You should be doing everything that you can in Lightroom/ACR. You are working with the most basic, RAW, data at that point. Anything you feel that you can't do in in Lightroom/ACR should then be done in Photoshop.
     
  23. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Personally I don't agree with this advice. It's true that working in Lightroom/ACR lets you generate a JPEG based on the raw file and that it's completely non-destrucive, but once you've got your exposure and white balance correct in the DAM/raw converter it's completely possible to work non-destructively in Photoshop.

    On the other hand, it is not possible to apply high-quality contrast and sharpening in Lightroom/ACR, because they apply the same algorithm to every single image regardless of its content. Would you choose to sharpen a portrait and a landscape the same way? This is the choice Lightroom is making for you. The same is true of contrast.

    There's an obsession in the industry that working with raw files is always the best option. It's not. It's certainly wise to SHOOT in raw so you can get your image to the best possible starting place, but using Photoshop offers high quality tools that no DAM can compete with. I don't just mean for cloning and dramatic manipulations, but for the things you do on every single image: extending dynamic range, adding contrast, applying sharpening, adjusting saturation.

    By editing your images in a DAM you are trading quality for convenience. There's nothing wrong with this if convenience is more important to you than quality. But you shouldn't give the small benefit of working with raw files more weight than it deserves.

    All the best,

    Iain
     
  24. bent christian Suspended

    bent christian

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    #24
    It sounds like you don't understand how Lightroom works. Sharpening, contrast, and saturation (and other adjustments) can be adjusted globally to an individual image, and can also be fine-tuned with custom brushes (see the last tool on the right "Adjustment Brush"). I typically do one pass of sharpening in Lightroom or ACR using brushes, then open in Photoshop, fine-tune levels and apply selective sharpening using Unsharp Mask if necessary.

    Best practice is to do as much adjustment to the RAW data where the most control exists. RAW photos need sharpening here due to the low-pass filters put in front of sensors to combat moire.
     
  25. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #25
    Apologies if my description wasn’t clear. I understand very well how lightroom works. I used it for several years before switching to a combination of Aperture and Photoshop. I also understand how sharpening works. Which is how I can say, completely objectively, that the sharpening in lightroom is poor.

    The reason it’s poor is because the mask that lightroom generates is poor, and there’s no way to change the algorithm. Sure, you get is a slider for the amount of sharpening and a slider for the amount of masking, but you can’t choose which channel to sharpen through, or the grey tone across the mask. You can’t change the underlying algorithm, and it’s the algorithm that sucks. If you hold down the alt key while moving your masking slider, you will see the mask you’re sharpening through. It looks insane. There is no point on that sliding scale where you can get a good quality mask. A good mask should have smooth transitions where the image has smooth transitions.

    Contrast suffers a similar problem, because you’re locked in to Adobe’s single contrast algorithm. But once again, the algorithm is poor so introduces colour shift when you crank it.

    This is exactly my point - the most control does not exist in the the DAM/raw converter, because the tools inherently limit your control.

    Best regards. And apologies to the OP as I think we've drifted pretty far off-topic here.
     

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