Photoshop or LightRoom - My Take on it All

April 25, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

The Photoshop versus LightRoom debate has been raging since LightRoom was released and quite frankly there isn't a right or wrong answer but I'm sick of it all. The simple fact of the matter is that people like to bicker over who is right and who is wrong and we see this with Ford and Holden, Nikon and Canon and it isn't going to go away regardless of what I say here. However, I will say that there are certain things in life that have a cult following and to me some users of LightRoom fit into that category. Apple, Elon Musk and Tesla Cars, Hitler and the Pope are all leaders of cults and even though Adobe are not, I think that LightRoom users may well be.

You see, in the immortal words of John Cadogan anyone can own a device like an Apple computer because they want one and that doesn't make them a cult member. But, people who are fanatical about something and they actually have no idea why, then they are cult members. When nothing else will do for them and you receive a whole load of abuse from them when you say anything about their cult product. I find that this is the case with LightRoom, people get all defensive and give out abuse and to be fair they really have no reason to do that.

Personally, I consider myself to be fortunate, I hate Apple, I would never buy a Tesla car and I certainly do not follow the road of Hitler or the Pope so, it figures that I wouldn't be a lover of LightRoom and that is exactly right, I am not. Thing is, I don't love Photoshop either but, I do find it more intuitive and easier to use and the workflows are certainly more sensible but, I don't worship the ground it walks on and I certainly don't like the quirkiness of Bridge. So, I guess I'm not a cult member but I do feel sorry for people who cannot make their own informed decisions because they are blinded by marketing and cult following clouds their judgement.

So I have a quick response to people who ask me why I don't like Apple and LightRoom and it is this. You can use whatever you like and it doesn't bother me at all however don't come to me for help when your product fails and in the case of Apple, in my experience it will. So I also ask them to look at it subjectively like this, You will not find an Apple MAC simulator on a PC but there are several PC emulators for Apple MACs. Equally, there is not an open in LightRoom option in Photoshop yet there is an open in Photoshop in LightRoom which for me sums the entire debate up. I don't need Apple or LightRoom so why are you even talking to me?

What I can do though is help you make the choice that will best suit you. Not that I'm going to advocate LightRoom, far from it because I use Photoshop but, if what I say about Photoshop doesn't make sense then go and buy LightRoom.

So, what do I use? I use Bridge, Photoshop and Camera RAW and NIK not necessarily in that order. Do I use LightRoom? I do own LightRoom because Adobe's cloud licence says I can use it but, I rarely use it and in fact I think I've opened it 3 times in 2 years and each time it was to use the map module. In fact I've now uninstalled it to clear some space on my computer so the answer now is "no I don't".

So what's my take on it all?

Now the problem for me is this, why would I want to go out and learn LightRoom only to find I need to learn Photoshop as well, its pointless. I did pay about $60 to learn LightRoom online, I watched a 1 hour video on setting up LightRoom and then gave up but, at least I did try to use it. I teach Photoshop and I occasionally get the odd LightRoom user and I always ask them "where are your photographs stored in LightRoom and where is your LightRoom Catalogue located and do you back it up?" usually I am met with a blank stare and shrugged shoulders. Even Mark Galer an Adobe LightRoom Master jokingly says that the 'Skip Backup' is the most widely used button in LightRoom. Can you imagine their horror when I tell them that all of the edited images that you have in your LightRoom library that you have spent years editing will be GONE if that catalogue is lost or corrupted, they just never know the technicalities of the catalogue, where their images are and how they are edited. I want to be able to manage my own files and not have software do it for me, I want to be able to have the skills to do these things myself so that I have an understanding of how it all works and if LightRoom is doing it for me and I don't know what it is doing then what is the point?

That's it folks

Dave Sumner


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