Camera Raw and Lightroom Classic


Today’s Question: Why would you use Camera Raw if you have already adjusted in Lightroom Classic?

Tim’s Quick Answer: Under normal circumstances if you are using Lightroom Classic to optimize a raw capture, you would not use Camera Raw (via Photoshop) to process a raw capture. However, you may still want to make use of the Camera Raw Filter in Photoshop.

More Detail: Adobe Lightroom Classic and Adobe Camera Raw provide the exact same adjustment options for processing a raw capture. The only real difference is which software is used. If you’re using Lightroom Classic to manage your workflow, you should process your raw captures in the Develop module within Lightroom Classic. If you’re using Adobe Bridge (or other software) to manage your photos, you can open raw captures directly in Photoshop for processing, which means you’ll have the intermediate step of using Camera Raw to apply adjustments when converting the raw capture to an actual image file format.

So, for processing raw captures you would either use the Develop module in Lightroom Classic or Camera Raw in Photoshop. If you’re using Lightroom Classic you should not be using Camera Raw to process a raw capture, because then Lightroom Classic would not know about the work you did with the image.

However, Camera Raw is also available as a filter within Photoshop. So, if you’re a Lightroom Classic user and you send a photo to Photoshop, you can use the familiar adjustments from the Develop module (which are the same adjustments available in Camera Raw) by using the Camera Raw filter.

You could, for example, make a copy of the Background image layer, and then choose Filter > Camera Raw Filter from the menu. This will bring up the Camera Raw interface, which Lightroom Classic users will find is relatively similar to the Develop module, with the same overall adjustments available.

The reason the Camera Raw filter can be helpful to Lightroom Classic users who have sent an image to Photoshop is simply that the interface and overall adjustments are the same as those photographers have gotten used to in Lightroom Classic, so they may find it easier to refine the appearance of their photo with the Camera Raw filter rather than using other adjustments. Of course, they can still take full advantage of the other advanced features of Photoshop, such as the superior image cleanup tools, selections, layer masks, and more.