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Photoshop CS5 Upgrade, Lightroom or both

edited April 2012 in news & discussions
I just ordered Lightroom 4 but realized that I was going to have to learn a whole new workflow with LR. I currently have PS CS3 and was wondering if it would make more sense just to upgrade to CS5. I hear all about how LR is the gold standard for photo editing and digital workflow. But is it really worth adding it into the mix of my workflow or should I just stick with what I already know and do a simple PS CS upgrade?


  • TrevTrev Moderator

    Entirely up to you, if you currently do your work efficiently and easily with just PS and presumably ACR, then stick to that.

    But LR4 is very reasonably priced now for even a new full version, not like a few years back and that would be a hell of a lot cheaper than an upgrade in PS would be.

    I am comfortably confident and skilled with Photoshop so I do 99% of my edits in that even though I did purchase the LR4 upgrade [only $89 for me] but I stick to mainly WB and Exposure in LR or ACR and then edit in Photoshop anyway, since I am going to be wanting to do things that are either not available in LR or if so it's cumbersome to do so.

    I cannot speak as to what your workflow is and if you are a professionally working photographer or not, the choice is yours to make.

  • The biggest difference between a Lr workflow or using Ps/Bridge/ACR is that the Library module in Lr is a true database driven DAM ... in other words, it can track and reference your images in a more controlled fashion than Bridge. I've been using Lr since the very first beta and I can't begin to calculate the number of hours I have saved with it's workflow enhancements. There's no bouncing around between apps, it all flows quite nicely from a single unified UI. It's been a very worthy asset.

    Bridge can only reference images that are currently available to it from volumes connected to your workstation or network. With Lr, you can actually use the Library to keyword, rate, label and add/edit other metadata even if the volumes where they reside are currently offline. Though you can't edit offline images in the Develop module.

    I find for the vast majority of my images, I can process 90%-95% without the assistance of Ps ... though I do keep Ps current because what it can do that Lr (or ACR) can't is very important ... mostly compositing and those portrait and wedding images that would need specialized skin blemish retouching.

    I find for jobs that require larger volume of images, like weddings and events, that I can get much more done, much more quickly in Lr vs Ps/Bridge/ACR ... especially if you do any of your own printing ... the Print module in Lr is so much better than printing from Ps.
  • My current portrait workflow starts in ACR making any major exposure adjustments and choosing an appropriate WB. I then open PS and further refine exposure as needed by using luminosity masks (got them from Tony Kuyper). Once exposure is set I use healing brush or clone to remove blemishes and hair fly-aways. Fix eye or teeth issues as needed then use Portraiture plug-in to smooth skin. I have specific actions for B&W or any other effects I may add but I do that only after I've saved a full color copy.

    So I do most of my editing in PS with predesigned actions or plug-ins.

    And I'm a weekend photographer - still working a full time career with aspirations to have the photo business replace first my wife's salary so she doesn't have to work then mine one day.
  • FYI, PS CS6 is coming out very very soon.
  • dgvdgv Member
    definitely go with the CS6 first..and invest in LR later on to help you make basic corrections (WB, contrast, noise correction, etc..) faster. I am a hobbyist and i recently started importing my pics into LR first, reject the pics i dont want to keep, do basic corrections on the rest and export selected pics (that need further editing - eg: remove spots, etc..) into Photoshop.

    I could live without LR..but could not without Photoshop.
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    dgv said: I could live without LR..but could not without Photoshop.
    Totally agree. After all Photoshop's been around for a very long time before LR come into being.

  • NaftoliNaftoli Member
    as far as raw workflow i wouldnt be able to live without LR i remember the days befor i got LR using bridge and ACR, never again! i would rather have LR and CS3 than cs5 or cs6
  • StroNoobStroNoob Member
    edited May 2012
    >> I could live without LR..but could not without Photoshop.

    >Totally agree. After all Photoshop's been around for a very long time before LR come into being.

    I too agree, however considering he already has CS3 I would argue that you could live without the upgrade more than LR4. In other words, I'd rather have CS3 and LR4 than just CS6. Edit: oops, just saw that Naftoli already said this just above me. Oh well, worth restating.

    I've been using Photoshop since 3.0 or so (3.0, not CS3), and have just picked up Lightroom for the first time - being suckered in by the low price. I'll admit, it's really frustrating at first, being so comfortable in PS, but I now see the light. Ultimately it's all about what works best for you, of course, but if you're a photog that shoots more than a couple pics here or there, I don't see how it can't help you. If you shoot thousands of pics in an outing, I don't see how you can get by without it. The workflow is in a different league than PS/Bridge, it's really quite amazing when you get used it. I still get frustrated by some things, but for the most part its sped up my entire process and organized me to boot. I really only go into PS when I want to do some real 'Chopping, or perhaps a poorly shot travel pic that I refuse to let go.

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