Photoshop Before Lightroom


Today’s Question: If I start with a photo in Photoshop, how do I get it into Lightroom [Classic]?

Tim’s Quick Answer: If you’re already using Lightroom Classic it is best to start from Lightroom if you want to work with a photo in Photoshop. If, however, you do start with a photo in Photoshop, you’ll need to use one of the import options to get the image into Lightroom, such as by synchronizing the folder the contains the image you created in Photoshop.

More Detail: One of the most important things to understand about Lightroom Classic is that all tasks related to your photos should be initiated in Lightroom, rather than in Photoshop or other software (or the operating system). That said, there are ways you can initiate working with a photo in Photoshop rather than Lightroom.

That said, it is possible to get photos into your Lightroom Classic catalog after creating a photo in Photoshop. You could use the import feature as you would with other photos, but this can create some potential confusion. For example, in this scenario you would likely be importing from a folder that has photos already being managed in your catalog. In addition, you would need to be careful to use the “Add” rather than “Copy” option for importing.

Instead, I recommend using the option to synchronize a folder, assuming you are saving the image in Photoshop in a folder that is already being managed in Lightroom. After saving an image in such a folder from Photoshop, you can return to Lightroom for the synchronization. Then right-click on the applicable folder on the Folders list on the left panel in the Library module. From the popup menu that appears, choose “Synchronize Folder”.

A dialog will appear indicating how many photos have been found in the folder that are not in your Lightroom catalog. There are also options for removing photos from the catalog if they are no longer in the folder, and checking for metadata updates that may have been applied outside of Lightroom. After enabling the desired options, click the Synchronize button to apply the update.

After this synchronization, images that you created outside of Lightroom will be managed within your Lightroom catalog. To me this is the simplest approach to importing photos into Lightroom, provided those images have been saved in a folder that is already being managed by Lightroom. Otherwise you would need to use the import feature, typically with the “Add” (rather than “Copy”) option selected.

To get a better understanding of how Lightroom works (and why it is so important to initiate most tasks within Lightroom, check out my “Understanding Lightroom” course in the GreyLearning library here: