Luke wants to know, Do I need Photoshop or Lightroom to edit my photos? I was having a conversation with a friend, He said you don’t need Photoshop or Lightroom as there are plenty of other packages that will do the same.
Luke, thanks for your question. Yeah, your mate is right. You don’t really need Photoshop or Lightroom to do any of your photo editing, unless you have a specific reason.
Today I will be discussing,
- Using your camera software to edit photos
- Using your operating software to edit photos
- Free alternative to photoshop & Lightroom
- When to use Photoshop or Lightroom
Software that comes with your camera
When I first started, I was using the software that came with my Canon 20D. The EOS Solution Disc came with software called The Digital photo professional. It was the editing software in the suite, it allowed you to edit your Raw and jpeg photos and also offered photo management.
I mostly used levels, contrast and crop tools to edit my photos using the software that came with my camera.
As a freebie with the camera I was given Adobe Photoshop elements, as you know it’s the kinda cut down version of photoshop, geared towards the consumer.
So, no you don’t need photoshop or lightroom because you will receive software with your camera to edit your photos.
Free alternatives for Photoshop & Lightroom
There’s software that comes with your computer like iPhoto, Mac photos or even the editing software that comes with Windows 10. These are free and more than capable to edit and even manage your photos.
Top free alternatives to photoshop:
- Pixlr Editor
Top free alternatives for Lightroom:
With anything that is free, there will be some drawbacks. Like the user interface might not be as refined or the feature might not be as extensive. The tech support might be limited, software updates not as frequent as their paid software equivalent.
But to be honest, all of these drawbacks might not even count if you only use the software for very basic editing. Barely scratching the surface of what the editing package has to offer.
Then you really don’t need paid software like Lightroom or Photoshop and the free alternative will do the job nicely.
If you do get stuck with any of the free software, simply use Youtube to find your answer. You would be surprised how many photographers use other software other than Adobe.
When to use Photoshop or Lightroom to edit your photos
It’s not to say that any other photo editing and management software, paid or otherwise, can’t do the same thing as Adobe’s suite of software.
They both have had their share of issues, But Adobe has had time to work on and refine both software packages, since 1990 for photoshop and 2006 for Lightroom.
Lightroom was designed for photographers. The features keep on growing and fit a specific workflow for event photographers.
For instance, the catalog I have, an online library for all my sports images. There’s over 10,000 images of editorial and club photos for 9 years of photographing sports.
All the photos have embedded metadata and keywords. So if you type the name of a player, game, club etc, you will find your image. By using Lightroom, I can replicate the same thing on my hard drive and catalog and store hundreds of thousands of images.
So, I don’t have to go online to download my images. When somebody calls up and they want to buy an image, I can just type in their name to retrieve it.
Features like that in Lightroom are definitely a godsend and definitely make life a lot easier. Plus, the things such as actions in Photoshop and presets in Lightroom make life a lot easier.
Clicking one button and all you have to do is just some minor tweaks to a photo, because a preset and an action get you to a good starting point. From there you tweak your photos.
Plus, the layout of Lightroom is quite intuitive. You’re working from the top working your way down the edit panels. Starting with the basic edits and then working your way down.
Photoshop is definitely the leader in pixel editing and you really are only limited by your imagination. Photo editing, digital compositing, working at a pixel level. It’s why so many professionals use it.
Do you really need these two big packages? Well, if you’re a professional photographer or even a very serious amateur, do you really need the power of Photoshop? With its feature set that is so large you can spend years fully mastering it, Maybe. Maybe not.
Do you need Lightroom to organise your images, edit your images and export them into all sorts of different sizes and different things like for printing?
Yeah, if that’s the type of thing you do, absolutely! I can say that by using these packages, my workflow or the way I edit my photos after a portrait session or even a wedding has been cut down quite considerably, from hours or even days for weddings.
They both have their place and it just comes down to: Do you really need all the tools or even a small percentage of the tools?
I know a lot of people that just use the editing software that comes with their operating system. Especially if it is a simple crop and a lightening or darkening of the photo.
But before you give Adobe’s software a go. Start with the free alternatives and see if they work for you, because sometimes it comes down to personal preference.