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Lightroom 4 or Photoshop CS6

Tiffanie Butcher , Jul 03, 2013; 08:42 p.m.

I'm trying to decide which editing software to get. I don't like to do a whole lot of editing but I need to be able to convert RAW photos, organize my photos, simple touch up edits, and design wedding/graduation/christmas cards. Do both of these softwares offer all of these tools or just one out of the two? What are the pros and cons of both?


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JDM von Weinberg , Jul 03, 2013; 09:00 p.m.

PS CS6 would last you and you would never grow out of it. I think it is good enough to stay with even if Adobe goes starkers and does this monthly license thingie they are talking about for after CS6.

Lightroom is much cheaper, does enough for many people. It has had many Photoshop-like image editing features added to what was originally an image management program.
For the needs you have right now, something like Lightroom should do, I would think. I personally use Photoshop, but many people here tell me, repeatedly, that Lightroom is all one needs.

Steve Henry , Jul 03, 2013; 11:04 p.m.

Hi Tiffanie and welcome to Photo.net.
Of the two, I would recommend Lightroom 5 which has just been released. It has a catalogue with which you can organize your photos. It has sophisticated editing tools which may be all you need for what you say you want to do. Note that Lightroom does not have a file browser, per se, but makes a catalogue of the photos that you have on a hard drive. The catalogue points to the original image. The edits are "non-destructive" so the original raw (or DNG) file stays the same. There are a number of ways you can arrange to print photos, upload them to the web, do a slideshow, or even make a book. It is much less expensive than photoshop but a good value. Photoshop uses a file browser (called Bridge) so you organize your photos on your hard drive and browse for the ones you want to edit. To me there is a fairly steep learning curve to become competent at photoshop and I have all but abandoned it except for special occasions when I need layers and layer masks to do what I want. To help you decide, you might want to check the Adobe web site for the basic "tutorials" in using Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, and Lightroom.

Gary R Hook , Jul 03, 2013; 11:12 p.m.

LR is less expensive and extremely powerful, as well as providing function that PS does not. They each have their place, but PS comes with Bridge, which provides the organization function that is built into LR.

Also, LR5 is out. You can download a trial copy and test it out for 30 days before making a decision. Strongly recommend you do so. You can also sign up for just PS CC (or the whole suite) for a month and work with it to see what it offers for editing. Nothing beats hands-on experience.

Given that you seem unfamiliar with both of these products, you should really do some homework on your own to understand their function, and do so by going to the Adobe website. They have tons of material and tutorials for their products. What you are asking for will take far too much effort, and everyone is going to have a different list of pros and cons. What works for someone else's style may not fit yours. Only you can answer that question.

JDM von Weinberg , Jul 03, 2013; 11:41 p.m.

On another thread, just now, I reminded myself that there is an extremely powerful graphics editor that is actually "free" if you don't count your own time invested in it.
It's GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) - at http://www.gimp.org/
I personally find it even "steeper" to use than Photoshop; but, as I said, I've been using PS since it was a pup.

Mike Earussi , Jul 04, 2013; 12:01 a.m.

LR is designed for handling a lot of images that you only need to do basic editing on. CS6 is designed for heavily editing one image to perfection.

Miguel Lecuyer , Jul 04, 2013; 12:45 a.m.

I only started shooting less than two years ago, so I'm no pro, but I did a ton of research into what photo organizing and editing program I should purchase, and in the end I opted for Lightroom. It's a bit of a learning curve initially, but not as steep as Photoshop from what I gather. It's been great for organizing and keywording images. I have thousands of images, but LR makes it super easy to find any image I may be looking for with keywording. The image editing is quite powerful, and does everything I need it to do. Lightroom was essentially designed by Adobe for photographers, whereas Photoshop was geared a bit more for graphic designers is my understanding. I would caution against Apple's Aperture program only because it hasn't had an update in years, and it's difficult to say if and when there will be an update for Aperture. As others have mentioned, Lightroom 5 just came out, so you get the newest and best technology for a very reasonable price compared to Photoshop CS6. I'm looking into getting Adobe Elements 11 to compliment Lightroom, if I need to do anything that I can't do in LR. I don't need everything that CS6 has to offer and would likely never use most of it.

Beally Jean , Jul 04, 2013; 03:09 a.m.

Maybe the fireworks is better for beginner.

Wouter Willemse , Jul 04, 2013; 03:46 a.m.

Out of the two, Lightroom. In my view, Photoshop is complete overkill for the vast majority of photographers, it's the whole kitchen of graphics gear, while you just need a spoon and fork. Lightroom instead is created purely for photographers. It may offer less functionality, but it's quicker to use for all the "normal" edits, and easier to learn.
But I wouldn't shortlist only these two, there are many competing products for both that are worth considering; as editor indeed Photoshop Elements 11, or PaintShop Pro X5 (Fireworks, mentioned above, is an editor for web graphics mostly, not ideal for photo-oriented work), as Lightroom competition CaptureOne 7 (Pro or Express, depends on your needs, Express could well be enough), Corel AfterShot, RAWTherapee, DxO or maybe the software supplied by your camera maker (i.e. DPP for Canon).
All of these programs have trial versions, so why not download some of those, try for yourself and see what you like best?

Simon Hickie - Melbourne, Derbyshire, UK , Jul 04, 2013; 04:37 a.m.

I would go for LR 5 plus photoshop elements 11 for any finishing off. LR 5 has excellent highlight and shadow recovery.

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