I imported the images in Lightroom and applied my usual enhancements. I cropped the photo, adjusted the highlights and shadows and applied sharpening. Basically the same edits I would have done in a traditional darkroom. Lightroom’s task is to enhance my photos, not manipulate them. That’s a job for Photoshop.
Once our image is inside Photoshop, we can start to create art and manipulate to our heart’s content. Using the same composite techniques from the Color Matching: How I Got the Shot article I wrote, I added a space city behind Jet. I created a folder of the layers I used. then turned that folder into a smart object. Doing this organizes your layers but more importantly it applies editable smart filters to the entire folder.
With the smart object folder selected I opened Topaz’s Simplify plugin. I applied a painting effect and used Grid view to see how the effect would be applied to my photo. The plugin turns your photos into works of art with just a few clicks, it’s well worth the $40.00 price tag!
That was fast and easy. To apply a finishing touch, I applied Photoshop’s Poster Edge filter found in the Filter Gallery under the Filter menu. I saved the image and went back to Lightroom.
From inside Lightroom, I right mouse clicked on the new image, selected export and chose the free LR/Gmail plugin to send Jet’s mother the final image.
Understanding the Lightroom to Photoshop workflow
I used this simple example to show how I use Lightroom and Photoshop. For the majority of my photos, I stay in Lightroom. If I have to manipulate a photo, add a new background or create a painting look, I use Photoshop. Of the two programs, Lightroom is by far easier to work with. Most photographers will develop about 90% of their photos in Lightroom’s develop module. But if you have to remove an element from a photo or replace a dull sky, Photoshop will be waiting.