Editing TIFF and PSD Files

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Today’s Question: Do both TIFF and PSD files permit the full range of editing in Lightroom, in the event I might want to edit them further in the future either with Lightroom or some other editing or artistic software?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Yes, the full range of adjustments in Lightroom is available for TIFF and PSD files, as well as all other supported image formats. Just keep in mind that adjustments in Lightroom do not alter the actual source image file, which you’ll need to take into account for your workflow if you decide to use other software to work on these images.

More Detail: Lightroom is “non-destructive” in the context of your source images, which means that when you apply adjustments in Lightroom you aren’t actually altering the source image file on your hard drive. This is a very good thing, but something you need to take into account for your workflow when you want to edit photos outside of Lightroom.

What that really means is that you’ll need to create an additional copy of the image if you later want to use Photoshop or other third-party software to further refine the image.

When you send a photo from Lightroom to Photoshop, if you want to retain the adjustments you applied in Lightroom you’ll need to create a new copy of the image file. Similarly, if you want to work with the image (and have the Lightroom adjustments applied) with other software, you’ll need to make another copy of the file. You could either send the image (creating a copy in the process) directly from Lightroom, or export a copy of the image from Lightroom and then edit that duplicate image directly within the source file.

So, it would be fair to say that the Lightroom adjustments aren’t actually altering the source image, and that you would need to create a new copy of the file in order to have the adjustments applied. But this is an intended effect of the non-destructive workflow employed by Lightroom. Regardless, all adjustments found in Lightroom are available for all supported image formats, including TIFF and PSD.