Camera Raw from Lightroom


Today’s Question: When I right-click an image in Lightroom it does not give me the choice to open in Adobe Camera Raw, only to open in Photoshop CC. Can you give me a hint how to have the ability to open in Camera Raw from Lightroom?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In terms of a “normal” workflow with Lightroom, you’re not able to send an image from Lightroom to Adobe Camera Raw. The primary reason for this is that the Develop module in Lightroom provides the same processing engine as Adobe Camera Raw, so when you send a photo from Lightroom to Photoshop there’s no need to put Adobe Camera Raw in the middle of that process.

More Detail: In other words, at least in concept there shouldn’t be any need to use Adobe Camera Raw if you have processed an image in the Develop module in Lightroom and then want to send the photo to Photoshop.

If you still want to employ Adobe Camera Raw in this type of situation, you do have a couple of workaround options available.

First, you could export the image from Lightroom using the “Original” option from the Image Format popup in the File Settings section of the Export dialog. You can then open that RAW capture in Photoshop, which will cause the Adobe Camera Raw dialog to appear.

Another option is to employ Adobe Camera Raw as a filter, so you can perform the same adjustments on an image that is currently open in Photoshop. In the case of sending a photo from Lightroom to Photoshop the image in question will no longer be a RAW capture (it will be a TIFF or Photoshop PSD file instead, based on your Preferences settings in Lightroom). However, you can still use Adobe Camera Raw on that image by employing the filter option.

In this type of situation if you wanted to use Adobe Camera Raw as a filter I would suggest first creating a copy of the Background image layer by dragging the thumbnail for that layer to the “Create a New Layer” button (the blank sheet of paper icon) at the bottom of the Layers panel. Note that you could also convert to a Smart Object if you prefer, using the Filter > Convert for Smart Filters from the menu.

You can then choose Filter > Camera Raw Filter from the menu to bring up the Adobe Camera Raw dialog. All of the same adjustments you would otherwise use for a RAW capture will be available for the current image, simply being applied as a filter within Photoshop rather than as tool for processing the RAW capture upon opening that image in Photoshop.