Lightroom is a very powerful image editor as we discussed in the previous article, and we demonstrate it’s editing and retouching capabilities with the SLRLounge Lightroom V5 Preset System. Lightroom is what we use for the majority of our photo editing, but there are instances where we need to use Photoshop for its additional functionality. Watch the video or read the article below to learn more about the strengths and limitations of Lightroom.



Global adjustments are changes made to an image that effects the look of the overall image. Local area adjustments are adjustments made to a specific part of an image. Lightroom’s strength is that it is great at global adjustments and dialing in settings to give the image an overall look. While Lightroom does also offer local adjustment or area effect features, it’s the fine tuning of the details where we begin to see the limitations.


Adobe Lightroom 5 doesn’t have the ability to create precise masks, mask based effects, multiple layers, and so forth. For all advanced retouch, digital enhancement, or image manipulation, we need to use Adobe Photoshop.

In the photo below we see what it looks like when we try to selectively erase an effect we applied to our image in Lightroom. Although Lightroom gives us a few options with our brush, it’s not extremely precise, and the functionality is limited. This makes it difficult and time consuming to create precise selections when we want to create advanced editing effects.

Lightroom vs Photoshop


In the image below we see what it looks like when we’re doing local area adjustments in Photoshop. Right away you can see how much more precise it is compared to Lightroom. Using Photoshop, we are able to retouch, create and refine precise selections. We can also create masks, layers for compositing and image manipulation. Even the brush options and functionality within Photoshop is infinitely more capable than Lightroom.



These two programs are built to run efficiently on their own, while not bogging down the user interface and overstimulating users with additional complexity. Let’s be honest, in and of themselves, both Lightroom and Photoshop have interfaces that have relatively steep learning curves. Could you imagine trying to learn both applications simultaneously?

By keeping these two products separate, Adobe has created two different and powerful tools for photo editors to use, while designing them to work seamlessly together. Lightroom and Photoshop have different purposes in a photographers workflow while maintaining streamlined efficiency and approachable interfaces.


For the majority of photographers (amateurs and professionals) Lightroom is capable enough because most images do not require the functionality of Photoshop. When we need to do advanced retouch, image enlargement enhancements, or image manipulation, that’s when we need to use Photoshop. We work in Lightroom literally 99% of the time, and this makes our workflow quick and efficient.

Photoshop CC
Image courtesy of Joe Gunawan | Fotosiamo

Of course depending on the type of photography you shoot, your needs are going to vary, and your needs may require you to spend a lot more time in Photoshop. Some photographers only deliver 5-10 perfect images, and they need the tools of Photoshop to get every detail in their image perfect. For the advertising, commercial, or fashion photographers, Photoshop may be their only option.


For the majority of photographers, Adobe Lightroom 5 is capable enough to edit most of our images. My recommendation to all photographers is to learn to master Lightroom in this workshop first, because many people don’t realize how powerful Lightroom is when it comes to photo editing and retouching. When you start to hit the limitations of Lightroom and you want to take your images a step forward, that’s when you need to make the decision on whether you want to purchase or subscribe to Photoshop.


  • 1.1 Intro and Welcome
  • 1.2 What is Adobe Lightroom?
  • 1.3 Lightroom Strengths and Limitations
  • 1.4 3 Keys to Understanding the Lightroom Catalog System
  • 1.5 Our Two Recommended Catalog Workflows
  • 1.6 7 Steps and Best Practices in the Production Workflow
  • Getting Started

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Creating Our First Catalog
  • 2.3 3 Simple Steps to Understanding Importing
  • 2.4 3 Ways to Skin Every Lightroom Cat
  • 2.5 8 Interface Components and Shortcuts
  • 2.6 Module and Shortcut Overview
  • 2.7 Taking Lightroom Images to Photoshop
  • 2.8 The Basics of Exporting
  • Customizing Lightroom

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 6 Ways to Customize Your Interface and Views
  • 3.3 My 3 Favorite Loupe View Metadata
  • 3.4 Customizing Grid View Attributes
  • 3.5 Customizing the Identity Plate
  • 3.6 Customizing Panel End Marks
  • 3.7 How to Create a Watermark
  • 3.8 Additional Interface Customization
  • 3.9 Using Neutral Desktop Background
  • Key Library Features

  • 4.1 Folders and 10 Tools to Manage Them
  • 4.2 5 Reasons Collections Rock
  • 4.3 Why You Should Use Publish Services
  • 4.4 The Histogram and Quick Develop Panel
  • 4.5 Everything You Need to Know About Keywording
  • 4.6 The Basics of Metadata
  • 4.7 3 Ways to Rate and Cull Images
  • 4.8 3 Reasons the Filmstrip is Awesome
  • 4.9 3 Methods to Filter, Unlimited Possibilities
  • 4.10 My 5 Favorite Library Toolbar Functions
  • 4.11 Stacking and Why I am Not a Fan
  • 4.12 How and When to Rename Images
  • 4.13 10 Must Know Library View Shortcuts
  • 4.14 14 Must Know Library Function Shortcuts
  • A Professional Workflow

  • 5.1 Introduction
  • 5.2 5 Tips on Your Shooting Workflow
  • 5.3 3 Pieces of Hardware to Optimize Lightroom Speed
  • 5.4 Wide Gamut IPS Displays and Color Correction
  • 5.5 9 Key Settings to Optimize General Preferences for Workflow
  • 5.6 3 Key Settings to Optimize Catalog Settings for Workflow
  • 5.7 Creating a Soft Import Develop Preset
  • 5.8 Creating a Vivid Import Develop Preset
  • 5.9 Creating a Standard Metadata Preset
  • 5.10 Creating a General Import Preset and Importing
  • 5.11 How to Sync Camera Capture Times
  • 5.12 How to Keyword a Wedding Catalog
  • 5.13 Rendering Previews Prior to Working
  • 5.14 The 3 Pass Workflow Overview
  • 5.15 Our 3 Step Logic to Culling
  • 5.16 Simple Culling Out Example
  • 5.17 Simple Culling In Example
  • 5.18 Syncing Functions
  • 5.19 Process by Scene
  • 5.20 Rename Prior to Export
  • 5.21 Creating Our 4 Most Used Export Presets
  • 5.22 Archival
  • 5.23 Refer to the Workflow Checklist
  • Tips & Advanced Functions

  • 6.1 Introduction
  • 6.2 How to Use the Auto Import Function
  • 6.3 How to Import via Tethered Capture
  • 6.4 Export, Import and Synchronize Catalogs
  • 6.5 Export with Previous
  • 6.6 Export to Email
  • 6.7 10 Useful Shortcuts You May Not Yet Know
  • 6.8 Use View Modes to Navigate Modules
  • 6.9 Using XMP Sidecar Files
  • 6.10 RAW vs. DNG
  • 6.11 Advanced NAS and Smart Preview Catalog Setup
  • 6.12 Conclusion