Lightroom’s task

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.

Photoshop’s task

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.