Regarding photo editing and manipulation, there are two tools that everyone and their grandparents will know: Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. And why wouldn’t they? Between the two tools, there isn’t a type or style of photo editing that you can’t do.

But is there a difference between the two? That’s what this Photoshop vs. Lightroom article will provide you with. We will be looking at the two tools in depth. We will talk about what they are, why you should use them, and what tools they have. 

By the end you will have a clear understanding of what Photoshop and Lightroom can do and you will know which you should go with. 


What Is Adobe Photoshop?

In simple terms, Adobe Photoshop is a software that helps with photo editing. With Photoshop, you can change how any image looks. The software allows you to make them brighter or darker, change colors, and remove parts of them. 

Since it was published on February 19, 1990, it has quickly risen to the top of any and every best photo editing software list. The interface has gone through a host of changes and is now easy to use for both beginners and experts. 

Why Use Adobe Photoshop? And When?

There are many reasons to learn to use Adobe Photoshop, and it can be very helpful in numerous situations. Let’s find out more about this.

Reasons to Use Adobe Photoshop

1. Photo Enhancement

Just for the simple reason that it allows you to improve the quality of any image you should use it. From brightness, contrast, and color to improving the overall appearance Adobe Photoshop can do it all and do it well. 

2. Photo Retouching

A really good reason anyone gets into photo editing is to retouch photos with themselves or others in it. Photoshop has amazing tools that allow for removing blemishes, wrinkles, or other imperfections. It also has tools that do an outstanding job of removing background nuisances like power lines or trash cans.

3. Creative Editing

With Photoshop you can also let your creative genius flow and add your own artistic touches. The filters, overlays, and textures in Photoshop will allow you to add your desired look and feel. You can express yourself with Photoshop and experiment with whatever new style that catches your attention. 

4. Graphic Design

Photoshop might not be as amazing as Adobe Illustrator, which is programmed for graphic design, but it can do a really good job. You can design basic to even advanced-style posters, flyers, logos, and other visual elements. There are various tools and layers that are great for designing digital artwork and promotional materials.

5. Professional Results

While you can experiment with other photo editing tools, nothing really comes close to achieving professional-quality results like it does with Photoshop. 

Times to Use Adobe Photoshop

1. Portrait Photography

One of the main areas where Photoshop shines is when editing portrait photos. From giving smooth skin to removing blemishes and enhancing facial features Photoshop does it all really well.

2. Product Photography

Editing product photography is a breeze with Photoshop. You can make your product photos more appealing to customers once you are done working on them in Photoshop. The software will let you adjust lighting, colors, and backgrounds to highlight product features.

3. Event Photography

For wedding and party photo editing, Adobe Photoshop is the clear best choice. You can do a lot with Photoshop and get some really polished images for your clients.

4. Social Media Posts

Nobody likes sharing photos that look bad on Instagram or Facebook. So edit them in Photoshop to really make your photos eye-catching. 

5. Creative Projects

Whether you’re designing posters, creating digital art, or experimenting with photo manipulation, Photoshop offers the tools you need to bring your creative vision to life.

List of Adobe Photoshop Tools

  1. Selection Tools:
    1. Marquee Tool: Used for making rectangular or elliptical selections.
    2. Lasso Tool: Allows freehand selection of irregular shapes.
    3. Magic Wand Tool: Selects areas based on similar colors or tones.
  2. Crop and Slice Tools:
    1. Crop Tool: Cuts away unwanted portions of an image.
    2. Slice Tool: Divides an image into sections for web design or exporting.
  3. Retouching Tools:
    1. Spot Healing Brush Tool: Used to remove blemishes and imperfections.
    2. Clone Stamp Tool: Copies pixels from one area to another.
    3. Eraser Tool: Removes portions of an image or layer.
  4. Painting Tools:
    1. Brush Tool: Paints strokes of color with adjustable settings.
    2. Pencil Tool: Creates hard-edged lines and shapes.
    3. Gradient Tool: Applies gradual blends of color.
  5. Drawing and Type Tools:
    1. Pen Tool: Creates paths and shapes with precision.
    2. Text Tool: Adds editable text to images.
    3. Shape Tool: Draws predefined shapes like rectangles, ellipses, and polygons.
  6. Adjustment Tools:
    1. Brightness/Contrast: Adjusts the overall brightness and contrast of an image.
    2. Levels: Fine-tunes the tonal range and contrast.
    3. Curves: Provides precise control over the tonal range with a curve graph.
  7. Filter and Effects Tools:
    1. Blur Tool: Softens areas of an image.
    2. Sharpen Tool: Increases the sharpness of details.
    3. Filter Gallery: Applies various artistic and creative effects.
  8. Navigation and Measurement Tools:
    1. Hand Tool: Navigates within an image.
    2. Zoom Tool: Zooms or reduces the view of an image.
    3. Ruler Tool: Measures distances and angles within an image.
  9. 3D Tools:
    1. 3D Object Rotate Tool: Rotates 3D objects in the scene.
    2. 3D Object Scale Tool: Scales 3D objects proportionally.
  10. Annotation and Measurement Tools:
    1. Notes Tool: Adds annotations or comments to an image.
    2. Count Tool: Counts objects or elements within an image.


What Is Adobe Lightroom?

Adobe Lightroom is also another great choice for those looking to edit photos. It was released just 6 years ago on September 19, 2017. However, whereas Photoshop is more generic software, Lightroom is more like a digital darkroom. With this software, you can make more detailed adjustments to colors, brightness, and other things in your photos. While it might be a more specialized software it’s made to be easy to use, even if you’re new to editing pictures. 

Why Use Adobe Lightroom? When?

There are many reasons to learn to use Adobe Lightroom, and it can be very helpful in numerous situations. Let’s find out more about this.

Reasons to Use Adobe Lightroom

1. Streamlined Workflow

Those who are really into editing photographs will find the Lightroom interface a joy to use. There are numerous easy-to-use tools for organizing, editing, and sharing photos. Thus, it’s a convenient software to learn to use.

2. Non-Destructive Editing

Lightroom follows the non-destructive editing approach just like Illustrator. This means you can edit your photos without the fear of damaging them. It has tools that make edits and adjustments without altering the raw or original file. 

3. Efficient Batch Processing

Lightroom also has tools that let you apply image edits and adjustments to multiple photos at once. This is a huge time-saving feature. When you need to edit a batch of photos with similar adjustments, Lightroom should be your go-to choice. 

4. Integrated Cloud Storage

Adobe Lightroom comes with Adobe Creative Cloud integration. This means you will have access to your photos and their edits wherever you are. Granted, you will need to pay for this feature and a device that’s connected to the internet. 

5. Built-in Presets and Profiles

There are various built-in presets and profiles in Lightroom that lets you apply professional-grade edits. These presets and profiles are great for those that are just learning Lightroom and still aren’t too familiar with it. It’s a time-saving feature as well. 

Times to Use Adobe Lightroom

1. Photo Organization

An ideal time to use Lightroom is when you are in need of organizing your photo library. You can easily categorize, tag, and search for images based on keywords, dates, or other criteria. 

2. Quick Edits on the Go

Since Lightroom comes with Adobe Creative Cloud integration and a mobile app, you can edit and sync your photos seamlessly across devices. With Lightroom, you can make basic edits or adjustments to your photos while on the go.

3. Event Photography

Wedding and party photo edits are especially a great time to use Lightroom. This digital darkroom lets you batch-edit photos that need basic and similar adjustments. 

4. Professional Portfolio Building

Those looking to become professional photo editors will need to master Lightroom because it offers features like non-destructive editing capabilities. 

List of Adobe Lightroom Tools

  1. Library Module Tools:
    1. Import: Add photos from your computer or camera to your Lightroom library.
    2. Library Filter: Filters and sorts photos based on criteria like keywords, ratings, and dates.
    3. Keywording: Assigns keywords to photos for easy organization and searching.
  2. Develop Module Tools:
    1. Basic Adjustments: Allows you to adjust settings like exposure, contrast, and white balance.
    2. Tone Curve: Fine-tune the tonal range and contrast of your photos using a curve graph.
    3. HSL/Color: Adjust specific colors in your photos or convert them to black and white.
  3. Crop and Rotate Tools:
    1. Crop Overlay: Crops your photos to remove unwanted portions or change the composition.
    2. Angle and Straighten: Rotates and straightens photos to correct perspective or alignment issues.
  4. Spot Removal Tools:
    1. Spot Removal: Removes dust spots, blemishes, or other imperfections from your photos.
    2. Red Eye Correction: Corrects red eye caused by flash photography.
  5. Graduated Filter and Radial Filter Tools:
    1. Graduated Filter: Applies adjustments gradually across your photo, such as exposure or temperature.
    2. Radial Filter: Applies adjustments in a circular or oval shape, allowing for targeted edits.
  6. Adjustment Brush Tool:
    1. Brush: Allows you to make adjustments to specific areas of your photo, such as exposure or clarity.
    2. Eraser: Removes adjustments applied with the brush tool from selected areas.
  7. Presets and Profiles:
    1. Presets: Predefined sets of adjustments that can be implemented to your photos with a single click.
    2. Profiles: Applies color and tone adjustments to your photos to achieve different looks and styles.
  8. Detail and Lens Correction Tools:
    1. Sharpening: Increases the sharpness of details in your photos to enhance clarity.
    2. Lens Correction: Corrects distortion, vignetting, and chromatic aberration caused by camera lenses.
  9. Local Adjustment Tools:
    1. Radial Gradient: Creates a circular or oval-shaped adjustment area for localized edits.
    2. Linear Gradient: Creates a linear adjustment area for localized edits.
  10. Export and Sharing Tools:
    1. Export: Saves your edited photos to your computer or shares them online.
    2. Publish Services: Publish your photos directly to social media platforms or photo-sharing websites.

Further Reading: Color Correction Vs. Color Grading


So that’s all we have to talk about regarding Adobe Photoshop vs. Lightroom. Both of these tools are amazing and can do a lot of stuff if you are looking to edit or manipulate photos. However, these two tools are helpful in different situations. So, while both can do something that the other cannot, you should get both of them. Anyone who is serious about photo editing and manipulation will find themselves needing both of them at some point.