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What Is Adobe Lightroom? (And Is It the Right Choice?)

Last updated: November 12, 2023 - 6 min read
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Choosing the correct photo editing app can be daunting as there are so many options. One of the most popular software out there is Adobe Lightroom.

A lot of photographers consider it the industry standard. But this program is also one of the easiest to learn and navigate.

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What Is Adobe Lightroom?

For quite some time, photographers only had a handful of options for photo editing.

For years, Photoshop was the dominant editing software. But having so many features had its disadvantages. Learning was challenging because it had options that most photographers don’t use.

Not all photographers need to edit their pictures extensively. Most only need simple exposure adjustments and color management.

That’s where Lightroom comes in. It streamlines the editing process and has a user-friendly interface.

Lightroom logo

What Does Adobe Lightroom Do?

Lightroom is a RAW image converter. When you add RAW images, it manages the file type in the background. You might have to use another program to edit and convert if you use other software.

And Lightroom supports images in all kinds of formats. Some of them include TIFF, DNG, and JPEG. But it’s also compatible with CR2 and NEF, which are RAW file types of Canon and Nikon.

Those who would gain the most are photographers who quickly capture and process a lot of RAW or JPEG images. (You can read our article on how to use Adobe Lightroom’s Develop Module.)

But Adobe Lightroom is also where most photographers start their journey in photo editing. It’s a versatile program where you can do many different edits. Plus, it’s pretty straightforward.

Lightroom CC (the cloud version) has a simple interface. It allows you to organize and process your images. You can even use it to print and share files.

You can also create books from your photos in the latest Lightroom Classic version. And did we mention that you can also use a virtual map for geotagging images?

Lightroom Classic focuses on speed when working with hundreds, if not thousands, of images. The program acts as a library, with easily accessible folders that you can organize.

And simple clicks let you process an image and then use those same settings over many images.

What makes Lightroom the best is its non-destructive editing feature. That means you can reset the settings and adjustments to work on the original photo again.

All these great features make Lightroom the most popular software package for photographers.

Adobe Lightroom interface screenshot

Is Lightroom Good for Beginners?

Yes, aspiring photographers get a lot out of this software due to the control it provides the users. There is a learning curve at the beginning. But this dips fast and is well worth the patience.

At first, Lighroom’s user interface seems intimidating since it includes so many elements. But once you become familiar with the location of different tools, you’ll find it’s so easy to use.

Have you tried editing apps on your phone with presets and adjustment sliders? Then grasping the concept of this app shouldn’t be difficult at all.

Lightroom is quite intuitive despite the plethora of features it offers. I bet you can learn the basics of this program in less than thirty minutes!

But Lightroom is also a professional tool for photographers. Most adjustments you would want to apply to an image are all in one package.

So it suits people who take a lot of pictures, from pet photos to street documentary projects.

When you’re in the Develop Module, there are only two elements that you need to consider. The first one is the Preset section. It’s where you can find the different filters you can use on your photos.

On the right side of the screen is the section where you make the adjustments. Using it is self-explanatory for the most part.

Do you want to change your photo’s exposure, contrast, and other parameters? All you have to do is move the sliders to make the changes.

It works just like your phone editing apps. So it isn’t challenging to master. Of course, Lightroom offers a lot more than presets and exposure or color adjustments.

The more advanced features may take a while to understand and master. But compared to Photoshop, learning the basics of this software isn’t difficult.

Screenshot of Lightroom editing screen

Which Is Better, Photoshop or Lightroom?

You don’t have to choose between Photoshop or Lightroom. Each one has a different way of editing photos. So you should use each one according to their capabilities.

You can use Photoshop to execute advanced editing techniques. It can be anything from cleaning up blemishes to removing backgrounds in pictures.

Of course, Photoshop can also do color correction and exposure adjustments. But it’s not the most convenient because it has many parameters.

Lightroom is the way to go if you want to add filters and change exposure and color settings. Instead of accessing different tools separately, you can find them under one module.

Photoshop and Lightroom come together in a package. So you don’t have to pick one over the other. We even recommend you use them both when editing.

In most cases, you can start with Photoshop for large edits. Once you finish, you can open the file in Lightroom and do all the necessary exposure corrections.

So don’t be afraid to use both Photoshop and Lightroom. Work on each software’s advantage to create better results when editing.

Alternatives to Lightroom

The most definitive contender against Lightroom is Capture One by Phase One. They also have a software package that lets you edit and organize photos.

But they focus on better color management and tethering system than Adobe. The only downside is that Capture One costs twice as much as Lightroom monthly.

Conclusion: What Is Adobe Lightroom?

Lightroom is the go-to photography processing program for many photographers. It’s easy to see why it is the most popular choice. It’s so accessible as you get to organize everything within the program.

But you can’t do everything you want with Lightroom. So you may want to export your photos from Lightroom to Photoshop and continue there.

Together, Lightroom and Photoshop are formidable. But even on its own, Adobe Lightroom is more than enough for many photographers. To learn all you need to know about Lightroom, try our Effortless Editing course!

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