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Light Painting

Lesson 13 of 19

From Lightroom to Photoshop

Tim Cooper

Light Painting

Tim Cooper

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Lesson Info

13. From Lightroom to Photoshop

Lesson Info

From Lightroom to Photoshop

All right, folks, and now it's time to go into Photoshop. And like I said, there's many times when you can do and complete all of your tasks in Lightroom. But for some of the more fine tuning, I think it's easier to do it in Photoshop. And sometimes it's the only way to get it done. So let's go through a couple of images. And we'll start off in Lightroom. We'll kinda go back through what we've done and then take them into Photoshop. And I'll show you guys some techniques that are very, very common to me when I'm doing light painting. All right, so, again, this was a image we shot up at Gas Works Hill. And, we've already adjusted this a little bit in the last lesson, where we were adjusting the white balance and we adjusted the basic overall tone in here. We even adjusted the HSL a little bit. So now let's take this a step further, now that we know our local adjustments. So really I want this to feel neutral or bluish. And I want this to feel a little bit warm. So I may take my overall ...

white balance, which is just gonna shift everything towards blue, somewhere just in there. And now that makes this bottom part feel a little blue. So this would be a great place to use that graduate filter, right? So I can grab my graduated filter, double-click on Effect to reset. And I'm gonna click right about here and just sort of drag upwards. Now, in one fell swoop, I could just take that white balance and push this all the way towards yellow. And you're gonna start to see how we're getting this real color contrast now, here, between a blue neutral or a orange yellow. And I may even put some magenta in there to make it slightly more orange. And you can push this as far as you want. This is just a real... It's real taste, real subjective sort of thing. So let's do that. All right, now you remember if you were watching the live section of this, when we were out in the field, that I painted from one side here, which cast the shadows onto the other side over here. And then what I did was I took another photograph, but I painted from this left-hand side and I painted at a lot less intensity. And the reason is is I just wanted to create that fill light, again, going back to where we were talking about that portrait in the studio. You've got a key light, that's your main light. And then you can put in a little fill light. So that's kinda what we're doing out here in the field. The only problem is is this image is adjusted with not only white balance and exposure and a whole list of things, this photograph here has not yet been adjusted I need all of the values that I did on here transferred over to this image. So the way that we do that when you're in the Develop module, you are going to select the first image, and this is the one with adjustments, and then Command or Control Shift on the second image, and that will select it. But notice that this image is actually brighter white and this is just a light gray. What that means it means this is the active image and this is selected, but it's an inactive image. And that's important, because when we go over here to hit Synchronize, it's going to say, well, which image should I take the settings from and which image should I put the settings to? And this image is where they're coming from. This image is where they're going to. So I'm gonna go ahead and hit Synchronize here. And I can check None. I could check ALL, or I could just go in and cherry pick little things that I want. In this case, I want the images to be identical from right to left. So I'm gonna hit Check All and then Synchronize. And that keeps me from having to go in and do all of those individual adjustments that I did on this other image. All right, cool, now, at this point we've got both images selected. I'm gonna return to the Library module. And I wanna send both of these into Photoshop. And what I wanna do is I wanna put them into the same file in a layer stack so that I can blend them together to allow a little bit of this brightening of the shadows on the left-hand side to even this photograph out. All right, so how do we go about that? Well, opening an image in Photoshop or into Photoshop from Lightroom is super easy. And let me just take one image as an example here. And we'll just go through this process. I'm gonna click on this image. Forget the blending together, we're gonna come back to that in just a second. A little bit of a detour here. So I'm gonna click on the image and I'm gonna go to Photo, Edit In, Adobe Photoshop. And what that will do is it'll take that photograph and launch it into Photoshop. And what it's actually launching is a copy of the image. So that was a DNG, which is actually a RAW file, but what we're gonna end up with here, even though it says it's a DNG, it's really a TIFF file. Now I can go and make wonderful adjustments to this image. I can create layers. And let's just really beautify this image, shall we, people? Let's see, where are we? Cap Lock on. All right, so I can make some important changes to this image. Isn't that beautiful? That's great. That's on its own layer, we're gonna come back to that. I'm gonna hit Save and Close. Now what's happened is I've just taken this image out of Lightroom and I've taken it into Photoshop. And I've made some subjectively subjective improvements to the image. And there it is, right? Here is my original, here is the edit that just came back. So, once again, opened a photograph into Photoshop, made some changes. All I did was hit Save and Close and it comes back to Lightroom. That's how easy it is to go back and forth between the two. But now at this point, we're gonna run into a snag. Let's say I wanna work on this and it felt that maybe my light or my black painting here was a little heavy-handed, and maybe I wanna reduce it or perhaps eliminate it. So I wanna open this back into Photoshop. But when I do, watch what happens, Photo, Edit In, Edit in Photoshop. And, ho! Lightroom wants information from me now. Now I've gotta answer questions. Now I've gotta read. I gotta stop and read this. And that's important, you guys. We get so accustomed to glossing over these things and just hitting OK and moving on to the next thing. But it's important to read this. So this says Edit Original. And what that means is it's actually referring to this photograph right here that I've clicked on, with the black marks all over it. It's not meaning the original, all the way back to the beginning, RAW file. So if I do, indeed, wanna remove these black paint marks that I put on here, I would choose Edit Original. If I chose Edit a Copy, this image would remain right where it is and it would take this photograph and create a copy of it and send it into Photoshop. There's no reason for me to do that, because I actually want to edit this file. Then the last choice is Edit a copy with Lightroom adjustments. And what that would do is it would take this file, again, make a copy. And if I had made any changes to the image in Lightroom, maybe change the white balance or change the exposure, it would include those. But there's a problem here. Edit a copy with Lightroom adjustments is gonna do what we call flattening the file. And that's not what I want in my Photoshop images. So we'll come back to that and explain that in a second. What I'm gonna do is choose Edit Original. Again, that means this file, not the original RAW. All right, so we choose Edit, come into Photoshop. And here's our photograph, people, just the way we left it. And you can see over here what we have is something called layers. And my layers are still intact, which is what I want, because if I want to remove this and say, you know, I didn't do a very good job painting, or maybe I don't like that black paint at all, I could just delete it and I'm right back to the beginning, no harm, no foul. But had I done that, by choosing edit a copy, with Lightroom adjustments, that would've all been flattened in there. And what that would've looked like is this when it opened up. And I would have no recourse and no ability to get to that layer. So we're gonna cover layers in just a minute. And what that all means, but I just wanted to show you guys how to go back and forth in between Lightroom and Photoshop. So we're gonna delete this image, since there's no reason to have that anywhere at all. And, let's see, what would we do here? Let's take this photograph, which is actually a JPEG. And what I've done here is I've shot a bunch of star trail images, or star, yeah, star trail images, we're gonna stack them together in just a few minutes. But, for now, let me just take this one photograph and use it as an example separate from what we will be using it at. So, as you can see, name of this file is Lighten-Blend and it's a JPEG. Now if I'm opening up a JPEG, a TIFF, a Photoshop file, into Photoshop, I'm going to get that warning. So I click on this image and I go Photo, Edit In, Edit in Photoshop CC. And, boom, I get hit with that warning again. I think, oh, my gosh, what am I gonna do here? I've gotta read again. Well, at this point, we just have to think. If this was a JPEG from maybe some of your old work before you started shooting RAW, then you probably wouldn't wanna edit the original, because this is the actual original. So in this case you would choose Edit a Copy. If you had made Lightroom adjustments to it, then you would choose Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments. And that would be fine at this point, because it's not yet been into Photoshop. Once an image goes into Photoshop and we begin working on it in Photoshop, my recommendation for you all is to continue working on it in Photoshop. So if you save it and close it and you bring it back to Lightroom, you're looking at it, and you're tempted. You're gonna get tempted. You're gonna say, "Ah, I could just make this little change "really quickly in Lightroom and I'll--" Resist the temptation, people. Take it back into Photoshop. And that keeps the workflow really streamlined and keeps all your edits in Photoshop or Lightroom. And then when you come to this box, you won't get confused. So to recap here, when we click on a RAW file and open it into Photoshop, we never see this box. When we click on anything but a RAW file, we'll always see this box. If it's an image that's been in Photoshop and I'm working on it, and it has layers, we're gonna choose Edit Original. If it's a JPEG from an old camera, before you started shooting RAW, then you could choose Edit a Copy or Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments. So we'll choose Edit a Copy here. All right, so now we have this image in Photoshop. And we're ready to begin work on this. Well, before we get into the real nitty gritty of what I wanna talk about in Photoshop, what we really need to address is the idea of layers. And a layer is really nothing more than... Imagine it like a clear sheet of acetate. So if you laid your print down on table and then you had a clear sheet of acetate on top of that and took a magic marker and painted on that, that's basically what I just did in that last example. Now you lay the acetate down, we save it back to Lightroom. The print and the acetate go into Lightroom. We're looking at it. As we look at it, we see all the black paint marks. I open it back into Photoshop. I still have access to this layer. I can take this and throw it out. I could take it and draw more on it, whatever it's gonna be. That's called a layer. And that's sorta the foundation how we're gonna work in Photoshop. This is the idea of having different layers in a file is the way Photoshop got around permanently affecting or altering your images. So let's just take a quick peek at that. So I'm gonna reset photography here so that we're back to zero. All right, now, if I went to Layer, New, Layer, what's gonna pop up here? And I'll just click OK to this. What's gonna pop up here is a blank layer with nothing on it. And what I did in the last example was I simply took a paintbrush and chose a color. Open up there. And chose color, in this case, black. But I could choose any color I wanted. Now let's choose a nice color blue here. Yeah, we'll make some pretty stuff. And I simply just paint it on the image. But realize what I'm actually doing is painting on this layer. So I'm not permanently destroying this image. As a matter of fact, I could take this layer, and I can simply throw it out and as if the deed was never done. That's what a blank layer is. We'll certainly use them from time to time. But what the layers that we're more interested in is something called an adjustment layer. And when we're in Lightroom, let me get back to Lightroom here. When we're in Lightroom, it's super easy just to make a change to a file. You wanna darken it, you move your exposure slider. You wanna lighten it, you move your exposure slider. No biggie. But, we have to realize that Lightroom kinda stands on the shoulders of giants. Photoshop has been around for 20 plus years, it's made all the mistakes, gone through all the hardships an it still emerges as one of the most powerful editing programs out there. Lightroom has come along and has learned from all that Photoshop has built up over the years. And it's created a very streamline workflow. That's why Lightroom is so awesome. So what we're actually dealing with back here in Photoshop is some pretty old technology, with, (chuckles) you know, in regards to digital anyway. So the way that we used to work, before Lightroom came around, was that we would create something called adjustment layers. And that would mean if I went to Layer, New Adjustment Layer, to say something like a curves. No, let's start with something simple, just go brightness, contrast. What I would do is I would get a brightness and contrast slider. And I could brighten the image or darken the image. And that would all be on an adjustment layer, so that if I save this image, and I'll just go ahead and do this. I'm gonna save this. Ah, can't do that. If I save this and close this out, and then went back to Lightroom and brought it back in, this adjustment layer would still be intact. And all I would have to do is click on this and I could readjust my brightness slider. So this is the way that Photoshop used to address not adjusting the image exactly. We could take this layer, we could throw it out, we could create a new layer. And we can continue to work. And we'd end up with a whole bunch of different adjustment layers that all affected the bottom file, but they could all be readjusted at a later time. All right, so we have something called a layer. And that is called a pixel-bearing layer, 'cause it can contain brightness and color in images and change the pixels. Then we have something called an adjustment layer. And an adjustment layer is just what it sounds like. It's a layer that has an adjustment on it. And that would be as if you laid a print down on a table, and you say, "Gosh, I want that print to be more contrasty "or brighter or darker." So you'd grab a piece of acetate. And that acetate would have a little knob on it. And as you turn that knob, it would get more contrasty, turn it, it gets brighter. So as you're looking down through the stack, this layer is actually adjusting the image itself. So that's an adjustment layer. So those are the two types of layers that we would work with. So the way that we would work with adjustment layers is, first of all, globally, like we've done here. Say, yeah, let's brighten up that image, just... 'Kay, we'll brighten it up to there, that looks great. But then we could also say, hey, I wanna darken down an area. And that would be akin to when we were back in Lightroom, if I wanted to say brighten or darken and area here, let me just... 'Kay, brighten or dark an area here. I'd grab my local adjustment brush. And wherever I painted, I would be creating a mask. And within that mask, I could brighten or darken. All right, so that's the way we would do that in Lightroom. The way we we'd do that in Photoshop... Let me just get rid of that so it doesn't mess us up later on down the line. The way we would do that in Photoshop is we would create what's called a Selection. And that selection, and I'll come back to this in a little bit, we're gonna cover more of that. That selection automatically selects an area. And now when I create and adjustment layer, Layer, New Adjustment Layer, let's say, Brightness, Contrast, again, it's gonna turn that selection into a mask. And you could see that was the selected area. Or this is the selected area. Now when I make that adjustment, it's only going to affect within that area. But you can see how much quicker I made that selection versus having to paint it in, back in Lightroom. So we're gonna go over that in a second. I just wanted to show you guys what an adjustment layer is, what a mask is, and the idea of a layer itself. And through this process, teach you how to open an image from Lightroom into Photoshop and back again.

Class Description

Short on time? This class is available HERE as a Fast Class, exclusively for Creator Pass subscribers.

Shooting at night can create dynamic landscapes or portraits through long exposures. By using a wide range of tools, you can add light to your night photographs to create dynamic highlights or unique shapes. Painting with light opens a door into night photography that will keep you out until the wee hours of the morning. Tim Cooper is the author of The Magic of Painting with Light and in this course, you’ll learn:

  • The basics of light painting from accessories to camera considerations 
  • How to use test shots to capture your focus and exposure in the dark 
  • How to post-process your night images in Lightroom 
  • How to use layer stacking in Photoshop to build up light in your photographs  

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Tim's Lightroom Presets

Tim's Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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DiDi Hendley

The BEST class ever! Learned so much--Tim is a great instructor. I highly recommend to the creative photog looking to expand his/her arsenal of tools, talents and products. Appreciated the patience and thoroughness that Tim offered students. Great pacing and information. I can see how I can very easily take his instruction out at night and produce something. I also appreciate that this session demonstrated images that weren't created in total darkness.

Gene Chamberlin

Tim is an outstanding teacher - I love his style, thorough and basic without being too elementary or condescending. I will be looking for other classes by Tim in the future. I'm am excited to apply the things I have learned from Tim and create my own style from the tools he has given. I never would have give much thought to light painting in the past. I have already notice a change in the way I scout my shots, now that I have added light painting into my tool box. Thanks for sharing your experience with the world Tim. Gene

Andrew Gow

Really enjoyable course. Clear instruction and surprisingly easy to put what I learnt into practice, which I did for the first time last night. This is also my first exposure to Photoshop, which initially put me off buying the course. However, Tim is a great instructor and explains his approach very clearly, so as well as an introduction to light painting it's a great introduction to what Photoshop can do.