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Thread: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

  1. #1

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    To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Hello everybody! While i continue to bask in this new euphoria of meeting people ready to help with y photography journey, I have a few issues i will need your help clarifying.

    Background information:
    a. I will resume school soon and the intention is to be taking portraits and indoor events. So whatever post processing i do will be geared towards getting the portraits right and the indoor events correctly exposed.

    b. The idea is to be printing the pictures to clients' favorite size(4 x 6 inches).

    c. I have Adobe CS3 and it is not totally strange to me, i do create logos and website templates with it. Photography editing in photoshop is a different ball game, i presume.

    d. I had a brief stint with Lightroom some months ago but it was for curiosity sake and to watermark certain images.

    Now to the issue, i will not always be shooting raw. In fact, most of the shoots will be jpeg. I noticed lightroom has more features to offer for raw files than jpeg but then, i dont want to be sucked into a "features" vs "features" issue. Then i have seen so any people use photoshop.

    I am not objecting to having to use both, but for my present requirements:
    a. Which of them or what in general would you advise?

    b. I am on an extremely low budget, so which printer can you advise i acquire?(consider the cost of consumables too please).

    Thank you very much.

  2. #2

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    I would not shoot my images in a jpeg form, you might be away with it with some portraits as hopelfully you are controlling the light and are printing only 4 x 6. As for indoor events you do not control the light, most of it is not created with the photographer in mind, it usually goes from bad to worse, as a result you need to shoot raw as you will need every thing you can get, to bring that image up to an acceptable standard to print if you want someone to pay you for it. Going back to the portraits you need to learn the use a post processing program (CS3 or greater, lightroom, etc.), for the simple reason people do not want to see how they look, but how they THINK they look, and that means things like simple touchups, the use of light and shadows, burr and sharping, things to make them look like they think they look.
    Most new printers today do a pretty good job when you match their papers to their printer and inks. A lot of printers are almost given away at or below cost because they know that they have you on ink, Epson, Canon, and HP all make a good printer as probably the larges print you would be making you be 8.5" x 11".

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Your objective should be get as much right (and consistent) in the camera as possible. The debate for the type of work you are planning to do of shooting either RAW or jpg can go on forever. I know some commercial photographers that shoot exclusively in one or other format because it best meets their and their client's needs. The overwhelming view from the contibutors here on CiC is in the direction of RAW.

    Lightroom started life essentially as a cataloging tool and automation tool, and has over time added more and more editing functionality. If you take a lot of pictures in similar lighting, it is a great tool for making batch changes to your work. Photoshop is aimed more at detailed adjustments, and while it is a lot more powerful than Lightroom, the learning curve is long, the software is pricey and based on the type of photos you want to do, probably overkill.

    As for a printer, in this part of the world it is far more cost-effective to use a commercial printer than doing your own, especialy for smaller format stuff. The downside is that there is a delay in getting the prints back. Again, the commercial photographers that I know do this, but have a reasonable ink jet printer that they use only on rush jobs.

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyracles View Post
    Hello everybody! While i continue to bask in this new euphoria of meeting people ready to help with y photography journey, I have a few issues i will need your help clarifying.

    b. I am on an extremely low budget, so which printer can you advise i acquire?(consider the cost of consumables too please).

    Thank you very much.
    With an extremely low budget, have you considered RawTherapee ? That's free.
    As an alternative to Adobe, Corel's Aftershot Pro is also a good alternative. You can download a trial version of that.

  5. #5
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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    There are also several other very capable free packages other than Rawtherapee. Darktable and Photivo to name just 2. Both of those are perfectly happy to work on jpg's as is Rawtherapee. Photivo is a fully colour managed package which may be going too far. It includes the ability to select monitor colour profiles even 5000K print types. To me this mean that the monitor has to be calibrated. There is a very cheap way of doing that mentioned in a post on here. Free open source software again. Photivo is also geared to work on a view of reduced size images such as might be used on final prints. My personal favourite for general processing from either a camera jpg or a preprocessed raw file is called Fotoxx but that is only available for Linux. That one is intended to be quick and easy to use and specialises in typical retouching techniques locally or on the entire image. It's a lot easier and quicker to use locally than Gimp for instance. The software maintainer keeps a full set of video tutorials on you tube if any one is interested. It might encourage some to have a spare machine running Linux.

    Last but not least is the Gimp. This is a fully professional package that can do all of the things that the Adobe stable can do and is intended for use on jpg's and similar colour space formats. It's bound to move into deeper colour spaces at some point. It uses a raw plug in called ufraw for raw files that just does what it says on the tin. A few curve controls and that's it. It lack things like textural contrast and similar specialised image processing software that is in Photivo for instance. There are many tutorials on youtube about using Gimp including making it look like Photoshop.

    No doubt many people will throw their arms up in horror but I always shoot raw plus best quality jpg. There is often no need to use the raw file. The space on memory cards is so large now shooting both isn't a problem. Cameras have various tone settings and it's a case of finding out which ones are most suitable for what. One area where camera jpg's often prove the best option anyway is when very high iso settings have to be used. It's also often best to use the camera in the appropriate full auto mode as well. Hardly surprising really as camera manufacturers put a lot of effort into this area.

    John

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Ife, Can we confirm that you already have CS3. Which should have a perfectly capable Raw converter as well as full Jpeg editing facilities. Including the ability to work with layers and masks.

    If that is correct, I can't really see any benefit for you in using Lightroom, except for it's cataloging ability.

    So if finances are tight I would stick with what you have.

    And with regard to shooting Raw or jpeg. For normal use I would certainly advise shooting Raw then saving as another format after conversion. Personally, I would convert to Tiff or Psd for storage then change again to Jpeg if required, for example to use on the internet.

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Ife,

    Out of curiosity, why would you be shooting JPEG over RAW (if even on occasions)?

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Lightroom and Photoshop are complementary products. I like you had been solely using CS3 and then purchased Lightroom 3.6. There was a bit of a learning curve but the ability to manage and search for a photograph is invaluable. At first I did some preliminary adjustment in Lightroom but dioing final edits with CS3. As I became more familiar with Lightroom I find the need to edit in CS3 happens far less often. The export and print functions in Lightroom I find very useful. I am awaiting B&H to send me the Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6 I ordered 2 weeks ago as it was on special. My recommendation would be to supplement CS3 with Lightroom but then I shoot exclusively in RAW.

    P.S. I used CS3 on its own for about 5 years and if the budget is tight staying with CS3 and spending more on the printer may be your best option. If you skimp on the printer apart from lower quality you may end up paying to much for ink.
    Last edited by pnodrog; 17th September 2012 at 09:26 PM.

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Hi Ife, if you are on a tight budget, you already have everything you need to dramatically improve your photography shooting skills. Most of the post processing software training you can use is free on the web in the form of videos and tutorials.

    At this point, your current goal should be learning composition and how to get the most out of the equipment you already own.

    If you are interested, here is a link to a free e-book called "Craft & Vision - 11 Ways to Improve Your Photography" to help you learn composition:
    http://craftandvision.com/books/craft-and-vision/

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Ife,

    Out of curiosity, why would you be shooting JPEG over RAW (if even on occasions)?
    This was my thought as I read the original post. Actually, I can work with RAW images as quickly and when needing somewhat extensive PP, more quickly than with JPEGS.

    I never work with JPEGS anymore except to edit some images of Maltese Rescue Dogs which have been sent to me, by various foster care providers, for sprucing up and for posting on www.petfinder.com. I really hate working with those JPEGS and I am going to have to learn how to convert JPEGS for use in the Camera RAW Interface. I am just too lazy to do that!

    Yes, JPEGS are O.K. but, I far prefer RAW for all my imagery needs including when I need a quick turnaround.

    I will be receiving Photoshop CS6 in a day or so and I am anxious to work with the new RAW interface that program includes. However, the Adobe folks were quite astute in letting a user revert back to the original RAW interface of the earlier Adobe editing programs if desired. That means that I don't have to bite my nails wondering if I will like the new interface.

    The thing that Lightroom provides is the ability to search for an image using multiple parameters. PSE10 also has that capability but, tell you the truth, I would rather keep my images in folders as I have done all my digital career. I am an "old dog" and find learning new tricks difficult. Especially when I have no problems with the older way of doing things.

    I have thousands upon thousands of images and never have any problem finding an image in a folder.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 18th September 2012 at 04:23 PM.

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    Lightroom and Photoshop are complementary products.
    Kinda yes, kinda no IMO - folks need to keep in mind that it's not so much LR -v- Photoshop as it is LR -v- Photoshop + ACR + Bridge.

    In terms of image processing, LR and ACR are functionally equivalent. LR does have better cataloging functionality, but if one is disciplined about organising their files then Bridge is more than adequate. ACR can also export to JPEG (but doesn't have print functionality) (although Photoshop does of course).

    I've looked at LR in the past, but for me, the interface just isn't as efficient as ACR (where I do 80% of image prep), and I really find it quite scary the number of people who save their edits in the LR catalog - not realising that if they get a problem in the catalog that's not detected before they back it up (IF they back it up at all), then potentially, they can lose a LOT of work.

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    I've looked at LR in the past, but for me, the interface just isn't as efficient as ACR (where I do 80% of image prep), and I really find it quite scary the number of people who save their edits in the LR catalog - not realising that if they get a problem in the catalog that's not detected before they back it up (IF they back it up at all), then potentially, they can lose a LOT of work.
    Colin your comment above concerned me somewhat. I have been using Lightroom. It has its own internal backup process. I also backup this to an external drive on a regular basis. I can't quite understand the part where you say about saving edits in the LR catalog? Am I missing something here? Is there any other way to save your edits in LR? What do you mean by problems with the catalogue? Would be interested in your response.

    Cheers for now

    Gary
    Last edited by oldgreygary; 19th September 2012 at 04:10 PM.

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by oldgreygary View Post
    Colin your comment above concerned me somewhat. I have been using Lightroom. It has its own internal backup process. I also backup this to an external drive on a regular basis. I can't quite understand the part where you say about saving edits in the LR catalog? Am I missing something here? Is there any other way to save your edits in LR? What do you mean by problems with the catalogue? Would be interested in your response.

    Cheers for now

    Gary
    Gary - I don't want to put words into Colin's mouth, but I believe what he is saying is that all of the edit information done in Lightroom is stored in a database, and unless you back things up, you are at risk of losing all of your edits. It sounds like your workroom makes sense, but not everyone will be doing the backups. If your database goes, you have lost 100% of your edits.

    In ACR, metadata from adjustments of the RAW files are saved to a sidecar file (*.xmp) associated with every image, so short of a catastrophic failure of a hard drive (and I do back up my images to an RAID device, just in case that happens), the amount of data loss is minimal. The execption is DNG files, where the file's metatdata is part of that format's data structure. The original image is not touched.

    I tend to be on the same page as Colin on Lightroom vs Photoshow with ACR. Lightroom is a cost effective cataloguing tool and is great for "mass production" work (I've been using LR since 3.0). I personally don't like the LR interface either, it is slow and awkward as compared to Bridge + ACR + Photoshop (I've been using PS since CS came out).

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Gary - I don't want to put words into Colin's mouth, but I believe what he is saying is that all of the edit information done in Lightroom is stored in a database, and unless you back things up, you are at risk of losing all of your edits. It sounds like your workroom makes sense, but not everyone will be doing the backups. If your database goes, you have lost 100% of your edits.

    In ACR, metadata from adjustments of the RAW files are saved to a sidecar file (*.xmp) associated with every image, so short of a catastrophic failure of a hard drive (and I do back up my images to an RAID device, just in case that happens), the amount of data loss is minimal. The execption is DNG files, where the file's metatdata is part of that format's data structure. The original image is not touched.
    Hi Gary,

    Pretty much as Manfred describes it.

    LR can store image edit info in 3 places - either in the catalog - in an *.XMP "side car" file - or directly into the file if you're using DNG files (as I do). Personally, I feel that saving edit info into the DNG file makes the most sense because the image and the image edits really need to "be together as one" (to get all "yoda" for a second). Having edits in a separate database is crazy in my opinion, and having them in a separate side car file has never made a lot of sense to me either - however - the default behaviour is for LR to store the edits in it's catalog.

    The "problem" (or perhaps "potential risk" is a better phrase) with databases is that - because of the way they store and index information (ie very efficiently) it's possible to have corruptions that may not be readily apparent; just imagine having edit info for - say - 4 years worth of images stored in there ... but unknown to you - perhaps due to a disk error or faulty RAM on your PC - you end up with a corruption that screws up part of the database that relates to images between 2 & 3 years old ... being that old you may not access them for months at a time - and all current images are loading fine ... and so you end up backing up the corrupted database (perhaps several times) thinking all is well - only to discover at a later stage that you've lost info. And at that point, what can you do (usual answer is "nothing").

    If the edits are stored with the image - and the image is backed up - then you're safe. I should point out that LR does have a database integrity check, but I've also seen such checks miss things.

    I guess that what I'm saying is that with a little discipline, the cataloging functionality can easily be catered for with just a sensible file / folder organising regime - so as far as LR is concerned (for me anyway), it's clunky - risky, and not as efficient as my present bridge / ACR workflow.

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Thanks for the usual input gentlemen. As far as budget concerns go, I have no software problem. I develop websites so adobe cs2 has been a necessity. Summary: I have adobe cs2 and I also have lightroom.

    For why I don't always shoot raw, if I shoot raw for example, how do I know what needs to be done to what picture? How do I know when to stop?...and so on. Another reason is that I will be photographing students who are not exactly the most-patient of people. Also, is raw processing not extremely time-consuming?

    I am no means a dogmatic person so I'm open to practical ideas. Thanks again.

    All the best!

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Quick Quick Please send details of a system I will not need to backup.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    Quick Quick Please send details of a system I will not need to backup.
    If it is a computer, you always have to back up, otherwise if (when) you have a hard disk failure, you will lose all of your data. That is guaranteed to happen at some point, you just don't know when.

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Manfred we agree again.

  19. #19
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by pnodrog View Post
    Manfred we agree again.
    Your point is well taken. Most of the people I know never back up, and if they do, they pick a method that is not systematic or they use technology, burning their files to DVD for instance, that might not even last as long as their hard disk. Currently, I'm in the middle of switching backup units. I have been running a simple 1.5 TB mirrored RAID, that I've been using for about 3 years now and am switching to a networked DataRobotics DROBO FS that will hold up to five hard drives and is dynamically expandable. I've got two 3TB drives in it right now, with lots of room to grow. The old unit is just going to be my 3rd level of backup for "high value" files.

    Every time I download my cards, I immediately copy the files to the Drobo. I use a simple Chronological filing system, execpt for the high value files that are stored by event.

    Touch wood, I haven't lost any files since I started doing this back in 2003; even though I have had some hard disk failures.

  20. #20

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    Re: To Lightroom or Photoshop, that is the question.

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Gary,

    Pretty much as Manfred describes it.

    LR can store image edit info in 3 places - either in the catalog - in an *.XMP "side car" file - or directly into the file if you're using DNG files (as I do). Personally, I feel that saving edit info into the DNG file makes the most sense because the image and the image edits really need to "be together as one" (to get all "yoda" for a second). Having edits in a separate database is crazy in my opinion, and having them in a separate side car file has never made a lot of sense to me either - however - the default behaviour is for LR to store the edits in it's catalog.

    Thanks for your replies. Just to clarify the above. When I import my RAW files I have chosen the option of getting them converted into DNG format. So, does that automatically mean that when I do any edits the information gets stored in the DNG file as well as the database? Or do I specifically have to tell Lightroom to do this?

    I chose the convert to DNG format as it seemed the most sensible and portable of the formats. My current backup situation is that I backup the images after conversion to DNG i.e. after importing. I am then backing up the database after I do edits. But, if that information can be/is stored in the DNG files then it would make more sense for me to backup those up more regularly. As if anything did go wrong or I went to different software I would be able to use them with minimum fuss. I used to work with database software so I know of the perils of potential corruption issues!!!

    Cheers for now

    Gary

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