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Switching from Lightroom to Photoshop

Lesson 27 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

Switching from Lightroom to Photoshop

Lesson 27 from: Travel Photography: The Complete Guide

Ben Willmore

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Lesson Info

27. Switching from Lightroom to Photoshop


Class Trailer



Course Introduction


Camera Gear for Travel


What Camera Gear Should You Buy?


Gear Bags for Travel Photography


Location Research and Pre-Trip Planning


Importing and Naming Conventions in Lightroom


Processing Images with Presets in Lightroom


Lesson Info

Switching from Lightroom to Photoshop

So, Photoshop, first off, we have to decide when do we go to Photoshop for things. Or should this stuff be done in Lightroom? So in general, my mindset about it is everything that's done in Lightroom is done in a special way in that it's, some people call it non-destructive, but I don't like that term. If you move the sliders in Lightroom and you make your entire image solid black, did you not destroy the detail? What it is is everything in Lightroom is undoable. Nothing you do in Lightroom is permanent. And so whatever word you use for that, a lot of people use the word non-destructive, is what Lightroom is. All the changes we make in Lightroom are stored as text attached to your picture. And so all it is is it goes in there and it says, "You moved the exposure slider two plus two." And so it stores that on your image as text, just like the shutter speed you shot it with is stored as text and the keywords you type in are stored as text, so are the adjustments and changes we make in Li...

ghtroom. And that makes is so there are many different advantages. One of which is our file sizes are small. Because all we have is the original raw file and some text added to it to describe the things we've done. And there are some things we can do that'll make it take a lot of text to describe, like if we paint on our image, it's gotta somehow describe exactly where you painted, and that can take up some space, but it's nowhere near as much space as it takes when you get into Photoshop. With Photoshop, it's gotta resave the entire picture and all of the little changes that it makes and it takes up a lot more space. Also in Lightroom, all the changes we make, you are working with raw data, if it's raw file, and that's special. Raw data is the purest form of your image, and once you get it into Photoshop, it goes through a lot of changes and manipulations to make it workable in the way Photoshop works, and most other programs work. And that limits the quality we can get when we make radical changes to the image. Slight changes, they're fine, but if you wanted to radically change the brightness or the color of the image, it would look much better if you did it in Lightroom. Because of that, we wanna do as many changes as possible in Lightroom. And I'm only gonna leave Lightroom when there's a task that is either inconvenient to do in Lightroom, it's because of the way it saves the info, that's it's just text, it limits you on what you can do. And so there might be something that Lightroom is actually capable of, but it wouldn't be practical to do it there. It'd just take too much time and I wouldn't have quite the control I'd want. And then the other time that I wanna go to Photoshop is when there's simply something that is not possible in Lightroom, it just can't do it. So we're gonna pop over there. But whenever I go to Lightroom, or from Lightroom to Photoshop, I try to make sure that I've done as much of the adjustment that the image needs as possible in Lightroom. Because once the image gets to Photoshop, doing additional changes on top of that will no longer be changing a raw file. We'll no longer be working with the pure data that came from the camera. Once it gets to Photoshop, and what gets saved from Photoshop is no longer a raw file, and it's just less versatile. So get the changes, as many as you can, done first before you pop it over to Photoshop. So let's talk about first, how do I get it to Photoshop, and how to do you deal with the file, the resulting file back in Lightroom? So here I have a picture that I would like to work with. This particular image, what I want to do it is I'm actually gonna use two different adjustment settings in it, and I don't feel like using the adjustment brush to brush in a setting. If I were to brush in a setting, I'd be limited to the features available in that little brush tool, and you saw when I use things like the auto-mask checkbox, you can often get little halos and weird things around the edges. I wanna use what's available in Photoshop. So if I click on this, do you see that on this little Buddha sculpture we got a little character on there, and I want to make him stand out and do that with the equivalent to the adjustment brush, but with more control, which means in Photoshop. So first, to get an image over to Photoshop, I usually type the keyboard shortcut, but first I'll have to show you where the thing is the keyboard shortcut goes to. And it's right here. It's just Photo, Edit in, and then there's a choice, Edit in Photoshop, whatever version you have. Now, I use that enough that I'm just used to the keyboard shortcut of Command + E, Control + E in Windows. If you don't associate anything with that, just think of edit. I'm gonna edit this picture, so what would the keyboard shortcut be that would be logical? Command + E. So I'm gonna just type Command + E. And when I do, Photoshop should come to the front and it's gonna open this picture. Now there are multiple ways of opening your picture. Some have advantages over others. Typing Command + E is not always the best way. Command + E is what I usually use to edit an image that has already been to Photoshop. If I went to Photoshop, I've made some changes, and I saved the result, I went over back into Lightroom and a week later in Lightroom, I go, oh, there's that file I made in Photoshop or manipulated in Photoshop and I wanna work on it some more, 'cause I never finished it. If I click on it and I type Command + E for edit. Lemme show you a different way of opening your image that will give you a few advantages that you might like that can be better than Command + E. I'll close this image. I'm just gonna go up here to close. I'm not gonna save it or anything. And I'll go back to Lightroom. Here's my different way, Photo, Edit in, and instead of telling it to just edit it in Photoshop, let's tell it to open it in a special way. You gotta scroll way down to a choice called Open as Smart Object in Photoshop. I'm gonna choose that. It's gonna still open the image in Photoshop. And when it's done opening the image in Photoshop, it's not gonna look visually any different, but if I were to look at my layers panel, there is something different about it. Usually in my layers panel you get a thumbnail, a small version of your picture here, and you get the name of the file. But there's something different about this one in that there's an extra icon in the corner. That icon indicates this layer is special, and that means it contains a smart object. A smart object is like a container. Think of it as a Ziploc bag or whatever kind of container you envision. And you've put something inside of that container, and that container is protecting its contents. What's actually inside there is your raw file. What that means is right now, Photoshop just loaded my entire raw file, while trying to keep it as a raw file. So now watch what happens if I come in here and I double click right on this thumbnail. Since Photoshop can't magically make Lightroom show up within its interface, it uses the closest thing it can, the thing that it has designed for working on raw files, which is know as Adobe Camera Raw. It's the thing you use if you didn't own Lightroom to adjust your raw files. But when this comes up, Adobe Camera Raw, what we have available over here are all the sliders that we had in Lightroom when we were in the develop module. And so we can make the same kinds of changes that we could make in Lightroom. We can make them here. I don't need to make any changes right now, though, so I'm gonna click cancel. But that's what's special about this, had I not opened it as a raw file, I wouldn't have the capability of doing that. Double clicking on it and adjusting it as if I was adjusting it back in Lightroom, as far as quality goes. So that's something a little bit special. Now let's see how I can get two versions of the image, using two different adjustment settings and then we can control where one shows up and where the other does. I'm gonna click on that layer to make it active. Then I'm gonna go up to the layer menu in Photoshop, and up there I'm gonna find a choice called Smart Objects. I'm gonna end up choosing New Smart Object via Copy. Now you might think, that's just gonna copy that layer. No it doesn't. It does something special. Before I actually choose it, lemme show you what would happen if we just copied this layer. I'll click on the layer. There's another command for copying layers. New, Layer via Copy. That means make a new layer that's identical to the one that's currently highlighted. Well, if I double click on the thumbnail for that layer and make a change. Let's double click and I'll make the image really dark. Is that dark? Click OK and watch my layers panel. You see that both layers changed? When you just copy a smart object, you have two instances of the same smart object. They point back to the same original contents, they will be identical. It can be useful if you had a, I don't know, some sort of flier you're gonna print out and you want the same picture duplicated over and over and over again to make the border around your document. You laid it out so you had fifty copies of your image to go all the way around the edge, and then you looked at it and went, "Oh man, that's too bright." Well, you wouldn't wanna have to go and adjust every image separately, so you double click on one of them, you adjust the settings, and all of them would update. That's what's known as multiple instances of the same smart object. I don't want that. I'm gonna choose undo to undo the changes I made that made this darker. And I'll throw away that layer that's on top, the one that was just a duplicate. I wanna make a special copy. A copy that makes the result independent of the other layer that's there. And I do that by choosing Layer, Smart Objects, New Smart Object via Copy. The key wording there is new smart object, not the same smart object, multiple instances of it, but a brand new, independent entity. So if I choose New Smart Object via Copy, when I look in the layers panel, it doesn't look any different than when I just duplicated it, but they are different. If I double click on the thumbnail now and I do the same darkening, click OK, you'll notice that in my layers panel, only one of them changed. That make sense? So a smart object is a layer that contains the entire original raw file, it's actually a copy of the original raw file, but all the content's there, then it makes it so when I double click on the layer, I can still adjust it, and you still have the same purity of the image available when you're moving those adjustment sliders. And so now I'm gonna work on that top layer. I will double click on it and I'm gonna do a few things to it. I'm going to just think about this image and I'm gonna be adjusting as a whole. What I'll do is I'm gonna make it less colorful. I'm gonna pull the highlight detail way down and maybe darken it a little. About like that and I'm gonna click OK. So I'm gonna have two different interpretations of the same picture. Two versions, just different adjustment settings on. Now, if I turn off the eyeball for that top layer, it will hide the top layer, revealing the layer that's underneath. You can see the difference between the two. So if you watch, here I'll turn off the eyeball. That's what the layer underneath looks like, this is what the layer on top look like. Underneath, on top.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Lightroom Presets Quickstart Guide
Lightroom Preset Sampler
Pre-Trip Planning
Actions Sampler Guide
Travel Photography Handbook
Actions Sampler
Lightroom Keywords
Big Set of Lightroom Presets
Practice Images
Travel Photogtaphy Mobile Guide
Gear List
Lightroom Tips and Keyboard Shortcuts

Ratings and Reviews


This was simply an amazing experience! Without a doubt the best investment of time and money I have experienced in quite awhile. Ben's complete command of the subject, the practical tips, suggestions and reference information was outstanding. I have enjoyed point and shoot photography for some time and recently decided to invest in some decent DSLR equipment (Canon EOS D70). I have a trip to Cape Town and Johannesburg South Africa rapidly approaching and thought it might be a good idea to take some classes and make an effort to get up the learning curve ASAP to take advantage of this travel opportunity. "Discovering" Creativelive and Ben Willmore's class was literally an answer to prayer! There is nothing like sitting at the foot of wisdom, taking notes, and having numerous "ah-ha" moments! This was great....looking forward to more classes. Thanks for the high quality effort!

a Creativelive Student

Genius! Ben is a brilliant master teacher - focused, clear and holds back no information. The best! This course has condensed the equivalent of 10 courses into one. He is a perfectionist in his approach and knows how to present the material. He is the leader in photoshop and photography "par excellence". Highly recommend any of his courses. Save your time and start with the best - everyone loves Ben!!!!

Nichole Sams

I feel the title of this class, Travel Photography, is much to limiting for what you are really going to get. As a wedding photographer, who dreams of traveling, I attending the class live in Seattle, and was hoping to get some inspiration for on location shoots. What I got, however, was a WHOLE LOT MORE. I would recommend this class to anyone with a camera and Lightroom. What I learned about how lightroom works and how to integrate it with photoshop is invaluable. I actually think they should charge WAY more for this course. The bonuses with purchase from the keywords (we are talking every key word you could possibly imagine) and the presets (holycow everything you would ever need) are worth exponentially more than the course price itself. Ben is a gentle easy going teacher and nice to listen to. His ease of teaching pretty complex ideas was truly wonderful. If you are reading this you must buy this course, it is well worth it!

Student Work