Wither Photoshop?

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Today’s Question: Maybe this is a bit too much of “reading the tea leaves”, but it has been a topic I’ve been thinking of. Do you think the fact that you address more questions about Lightroom than about Photoshop is an indication that photographers are no longer using Photoshop as much as they used to?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Quite simply, yes. My sense is that photographers are not using Adobe Photoshop anywhere near as much as they used to. That certainly is true for me personally, in part because Lightroom Classic CC has improved so much over the years.

More Detail: Photoshop has certainly been a graphics powerhouse for a number of years. The original release of Photoshop 1.0 was almost 30 years ago (in 1990). In the world of software, that is a very long time indeed.

In the meantime, other software has been released, including more “modern” options such as Lightroom. As many readers know, I am currently using Lightroom Classic CC to manage my overall photography workflow.

Over the years, other software such as Lightroom has improved to provide rather sophisticated tools for optimizing photos. Especially since Lightroom offers image-management tools, it makes sense that photographers using Lightroom to manage their photos would also perform at least their initial optimization adjustments within Lightroom.

In the early days of Lightroom, many photographers would continue sending photos to Photoshop to apply their most significant adjustments. Over time, as Lightroom expanded the range of optimization tools, Photoshop became a less important part of their workflow.

Based on the questions and feedback I get from readers, and the interest I see at various events I speak at, it most certainly appears at least anecdotally that many photographers are using Photoshop much less than they used to.

At this point I am able to apply the vast majority of my adjustments to the vast majority of my photos using only Lightroom Classic CC. It is very rare for me to need to send a photo to Photoshop, and when I do it is generally to take advantage of the superior image-cleanup tools in Photoshop. I expect that if Adobe were to add Content-Aware cleanup technology to Lightroom Classic CC, I would almost never need Photoshop for optimizing my photos.