I get so many emails from folks wanting a simple answer to the question "do I get Photoshop or Lightroom?" I think of it this way: if you want limitless editing possibilities and are interested in graphic design, get Photoshop. But if you're a photographer who wants massive possibilities at your finger tips and doesn't want to spend their entire existence (not to mention $$) editing their shots, you can't possibly go wrong with Lightroom.
Lightroom takes some getting used to. For example, when I first started using it, I didn't understand the concept of importing and exporting. I didn't get why I couldn't just open, edit, save and close like I would with Photoshop. But there are plenty of generous people out there (shameless plug!) who will help you figure that out. Check out Pretty Preset's Lightroom for Beginners eCourse. It is 100% worth it and you will come out feeling completely equipped to start you long and happy life with Lightroom.
So if the jury is still out about whether you want to start your editing with Lightroom (or switch to it from another program like Photoshop), then allow me to share with you the top 5 ways Lightroom will make your workflow a breeze:
1. Importing & Exporting
Like I said, the import/export part of LR seemed like rocket science to me. I was perplexed (don't laugh at me!) but it's like this...instead of opening your photo, editing and then saving, importing your images into LR will save your butt in so many ways. As a busy mom, I often spend my editing days jumping back and forth from the computer to the kitchen, school run, back to the computer, upstairs to change a diaper, back to the computer, etc etc. And at some point, my 7 year old will log me out on the computer so he can play Star Wars. And my hours of editing? They would be lost if it weren't for the fact that the files aren't simply opened for editing. Instead, they're imported into LR so that whenever I go back into the program, I can pick up where I left off and nothing gets lost (thank goodness for that!)
Clearly the funnest part of LR. I love presets. They're (in theory) one-click edits for your photos. In practice, you still need to do some of your own tweaking but they will save you time I swear!
The 'previous' button is my absolute favorite button in any computer program ever. Say you're editing a wedding ceremony. You spend 5 minutes acquiring the most perfect combination of settings for the perfect B&W. But you still have 20 shots to go. Well, just move over to the next shot and hit 'previous'! It will apply your perfect settings onto the next image in a nanosecond.
A variation on the above concept is copying your settings and pasting them onto another image. When viewing an image, right-click-copy or just hit ctrl+c and the panel will come up that asks you which settings you want to copy. For example, I usually de-select 'crop' because I don't want to crop every shot the same way. Then, you can right-clic-paste or ctrl+v the settings onto any other photo. And yet again, you've saved potentially hours of your life editing every image in the exact same way.
When you're all done, just export all the images into a new folder (I call mine 'edits' or something) and instead of individually saving all of my images one by one, they all save in one go.
So there you have it. 5 ways that LR makes editing faster & easier. After all, editing is just part of being a photographer. It shouldn't be eating your whole life away.
Special thanks to Susan from Lily Fields Photography for the beautiful picture featuring our Perfect Portrait Portrait Brushes.