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Lightroom Classic & Photoshop Integration

Lesson 9 of 14

Overlay Photoshop Images in Lightroom

Ben Willmore

Lightroom Classic & Photoshop Integration

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

9. Overlay Photoshop Images in Lightroom
Once you learn how to overlay a masked image, then you’ll be able to more easily choose images from Lightroom that you’ll later incorporate into your layered Photoshop file.


Lesson Info

Overlay Photoshop Images in Lightroom

Now let's take a look at how we can overlay images that were made in Photoshop onto other images that we have in our light room catalog. Why wouldn't you want to do that? Well, in this case for this picture, I find the simple blue sky to be rather boring, and I'd like to substitute a different sky. Well, I can't combine multiple images using just like Trump, so I need to open this image into Photoshop. I'm then going to mask it so the sky is hidden and therefore there's an empty portion of the image. And then we can head over to light room where I have thousands of sky images, and I can overlay this picture onto those sky images to pick out the one that would look best for the picture. Other examples would be I've had magazines ask to use my images on their covers, and it's hard to pick the best image for the cover of the magazine without considering where the masthead or the name of the publication appears, and where they like to put text and the mailing label Well, so I ask for an ex...

ample cover and I remove whatever picture was in there and just keep all the text and other elements like their logo from the cover. And I overlay that then on images and light room, and I can switch between multiple pictures and decide which one works best with that magazines. Overall cover layout. A third example would be if you want to send out for a large print, and the company that's going to print the image for you offers dozens of different sizes. But you can't really visualize all those sizes at one some one of your pictures unless you make an overlay that shows you those different sizes. We'll get into that. But let's start with the sky. I have this image open in Photoshop, and I'm going to go to the select menu, and there's a choice called Sky that should select that simple blue sky. Now I would like to hide the blue sky, and I'm gonna do that using a layer mask at the bottom of my layers panel. This is the layer mask icon, but before I click on it, I'm gonna hold down the option key Alton windows. If you don't have that key held down, it hides everything that is not selected, and that means the only thing left would be the sky. But if I hold down the option key, it will hide what's selected. That's exactly what I want. It gives you the opposite of what you'd usually have in that mask, and this isn't perfect, but it's good enough for our purposes. Now I want to save this image, and the only requirement is I need to save it in the PNG file format. So here I'll go to the file menu. I'll choose export, and there's a choice called Export As and in There on the right side, I can choose the file format. I'm gonna choose PNG, and I'm gonna make sure this little transparency checkboxes turned on. The only thing is, this image is huge, as you can tell by how long it's causing it to create a preview, and I can scale it down for these purposes because we don't really need it at full size. So I'm going to bring this down to maybe 2000 pixels wide, so we get a more reasonable file size. Just make sure you have this checkbox turned on called in bed color profile. If that's not turned on, then the colors will likely not look right in light room. Now I'm going to click Export, and I'm going to export that to my desktop, and I'm just gonna call it New Sky just so it's easy for me to find amongst the other files that are there. Now let's head over the light room and let's find the sky image. Let's say maybe this one and I'm going to. After clicking on that image hit the space bar, the space bar should make it view the image large. That's what's known as Loop view. The same thing is coming down here. The icons lower left in clicking, not the far left one, but the one just to the right of that, Um, Now I'm gonna go to the View menu, and only when I'm in this view can I come down here and there's a choice called loop overlay and I can choose my layout image. It should say choose overlay image. When I do that, I'm gonna point it at my desktop, and I'm going to find that file hit choose, and now it's overlaying it onto this image. Notice it says, hold command for options that would have said hold control for options If I was in Windows, so now, wherever the image was empty or transparent, it is showing the image that I have in light room. And if I want to reposition this, I hold down the command key and I keep it held down. Then I can drag this to reposition it, and I can also scale it if I'd like to grab the corners here and drag. And I'm thinking this sky just isn't all that exciting, It doesn't feel appropriate to have that cloud down there. Well, I have more than one sky here, and if I just use my right arrow key, I'll switch to the next image, just like you would. Any time you're in the loop view, the arrow keys will cycle between the images. I think that's a more interesting sky, but I think I have one more that one could work nicely. Also, let's say I want this sky, though I can again hold down the command key to reposition this and decide which portion would I like to use. Let's say I actually like that right there and then It might be, though, that that Sky doesn't have bright enough highlights in it to look like it belongs with this picture. Do you see that bright highlight here? And you look at the sky. How much more dull it is? Well, you can head over to the develop module to adjust the sky, but the overlay disappears. The overlay is still available, though, if you just go to the View menu and you choose Loop overview and choose the once again. That's because the develop module and the library module have independent overlay settings, and therefore you just have to choose it again when you get to the develop module. So that's the framing I'm thinking of. And now I can come in here and maybe bring my whites up to get the brightest part of the picture to look bright enough where it might look appropriate. If I've maxed that out, I could bring up the exposure a little until I think it's regarding the look like it really belongs might also be that we need a little bit more warmth than the sky so I can adjust my white balance a little bit. And when I do that it's not affecting the foreground image. Notice the picture where my wife is there in the building is not changing. It's just the image that's actually in light room in this overlay will not print out or anything else is just a preview. It's It's just there. So you can pick an image to use as a backdrop like this. And when you're all done, you go back to the view menu and you come back down here to loop overlay and just turn off that first choice called Show, and you'll no longer have the overlay. But if I head back to the library, remember we had it turned on there and remember, its setting is independent of the one that is in the develop module, so I might need to turn them both off, so that made it easier for me to pick a good sky to use. Then I could take that image, open it into Photoshop and actually put it into that layered file that we had over there. I'm not going to spend the time to do that, though, because I want to look at another example. Here is an image that I captured in Africa, and I would like to make a huge print of this, because how often do you get to capture something like this? But when I go to the website where I'd like to order the print, they offered literally dozens and dozens of sizes, and they're all different proportions. They have square versions, they have panoramic versions, and I really don't know what you want to use. So I created this file. The offering that they had that had the most panoramic aspect ratio was a 20 by 80. So in Photoshop, I made a rectangle that had an aspect ratio of two by eight. And that's one of the choices you have in the options bar at the top of your screen as you can set it up as a ratio and type in these numbers. But then I typed in all the other sizes that they had as well, and I drew rectangles for them, and I learned that a lot of the sizes are really the same ratio or the same shape, just a different size of it. And so I put them all together and created this. So now I'm going to overlay this on my pictures so I can decide which of these ratios would be best. So I'm gonna take that image, and I don't know that I have it saved in a convenient spot. So I'm gonna right click and say, Show in Finder. Okay, it's just sitting somewhere on my hard drive. I'm going to move a copy of it to my desktop just so it's easy to find. I just held down the option key and drag that made a duplicate, but most of the time it would have been making that in Photoshop, and I would have just chosen save as and chose a convenient place. Now let's hit Space Bar somewhere in loop view. Let's go to the View menu and choose loop overlay and let's choose an image. I'm gonna go on my desktop and see if I can find that file. There it is, and now it's over late on my image. So let's see how these various sizes might work well. In order to move this around, I have to hold down the command key controlling windows, and I could put it up here and decide that I don't want to cut off the legs of this lion here. And if I was going to go all the way out to 20 by 80 this edge should be on the edge of the picture unless I decided to crop it. And that's what the framing would look like. And I think that's actually pretty good. But maybe the space in my home, it's not good for a 20 by 80. So I want to try the other choices. We're gonna run into one issue here, and that is whatever. You attempt to resize this overlay by holding down the command key and grabbing its little corner, you only can do it within your screen right now. I can't make it dramatically larger. So what I'm gonna do is over here if I go to the left side of my screen. There's this area called the Navigator, and right now it's set to fit the image within my screen. Uh, and I can instead choose one of these other options, and I could go to something like 50% view. And if I click here, there's actually a little pop up, and if I bring it down, let's say to 25 or maybe even further 12. Now, I can easily take this overlay, although don't click on the image with no keys held down. Otherwise it'll zoom up and I can now expand this out and get the second line to get on that image. So right here, it's near the edge of the frame and I could see with that it's pretty much the entire picture without really much cropping at all. So if I position this just right, I think that would be the most precise use of this. But let's try other ratios. So I'm just gonna come in here, hold command. You gotta be careful because I want to resize. Make sure you're getting right on the corner and just watch your mouse. If it looks like a hand, you're gonna move it. And if it looks like arrows, you're going to resize it. So now I can go to the next one. That one's not going to work because I'd have to add extra space. I'd be fine if I'm going to add the space at the bottom and use maybe the word Africa or, if I wanted to crop in the image, may be ignoring the lion. That's on the far right in deciding I'm gonna crop to right about here to get rid of that line on the right, and then I'm going to drag this down. But anyway, I can visualize and decide. Um, which one of these ratios might be best for me and doing that, Using this overlay again to turn off the overlay. You go to the view menu, you choose loop, overlay and just turn off the choice called show. And those overlays can be saved anywhere on your hard drive. But when you turn them on, you are going to have to manually navigate your hard drive. I can't just grab this image and say Overlay it on this one. Uh, doesn't work that way. You have to know where they are on your drive. Next, we're going to look at how we can apply adjustments that are usually only available in Photoshop. But we're gonna make them to be available in light room

Class Description


  • Optimize your settings and explore the multitude of options for round-tripping images between Lightroom and Photoshop.
  • Apply adjustments in Lightroom that are usually only available in Photoshop.
  • Make multiple passes of Lightroom adjustments on layered files while retaining the ability to edit all the layers.
  • Mask an image in Photoshop and then transfer the result to Lightroom in order to preview how it would look on top of images in your catalog.
  • Teach Lightroom to automatically create complex layouts in Photoshop.
  • Work on your Lightroom images in Photoshop even when the originals are not available.
  • Learn tips and tricks to increase productivity.


If you’ve ever sent an image from Adobe Lightroom to Adobe Photoshop and have been confused by the choices of “Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments”, “Edit a Copy”, and “Edit Original”, then you’ll love this class from the start. After all, developing clarity on the fundamentals is essential before you can feel comfortable with Lightroom Classic.

If you dig a little deeper, you’ll learn that both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom have unique strengths that become dramatically more versatile when they are used together. For instance, Photoshop’s advanced masking and layering capabilities are great when you want to replace a dull and boring sky. But, it’s only when you partner it with Lightroom’s ability to overlay a Photoshop image that you can experiment with various skies and interactively adjust the raw file until it looks like it belongs in the resulting image.

Once you have a solid feel for the strengths and limitations of each program, you’ll learn to push them and combine features to accomplish things you had no idea were even possible. This is Ben Willmore’s special gift: He gets you comfortable by relating the technical aspects to things you already know and use every day, which develops clarity. Then he guides you through real-world projects to help build your confidence before showing you just how far you can push the boundaries so you know what’s possible.

This class will help you:

  • Understand the preferences and choices that control how Photoshop and Lightroom Classic interact
  • Learn under which situation each option makes sense so you can always choose the best option for your images
  • Discover how uncommon features add a lot of functionality once you see concrete examples of their use
  • Eliminate the frustration of having Photoshop images not appear in your Lightroom catalog after editing
  • Understand how to round-trip your images while retaining Photoshop layers and multiple passes of Lightroom adjustments
  • See how Metadata conflicts can cause issues and how to resolve them


  • People who have Adobe Lightroom Classic and Adobe Photoshop (not elements) installed and have some familiarity with the absolute basics of both programs.
  • Those who desire clarity, confidence and efficiency based on proven logic.
  • Please who want to develop versatile workflows that go beyond the basics.


Adobe Lightroom Classic (v10.2)

Photoshop (v22.3)



Fantastic, clear explanations of these features. i have a much better understanding of how to go back and forth between LR and PS. Thank you Ben. this is must watch class for anyone that uses LR and PS