Choosing the Right Application


Today’s Question: If I were to be a new Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop [Creative Cloud Photography Plan] subscriber, would you recommend Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, or something else to be the main editing platform starting off?

Tim’s Quick Answer: When it comes to editing (optimizing) photos, the features are virtually identical in Photoshop (Camera Raw), Lightroom, and Lightroom Classic. Therefore, I recommend making a decision based on what is going to make the most sense for organizing your photos.

More Detail: Photoshop (via Camera Raw), Lightroom, and Lightroom Classic share the same underlying engine for optimizing photos, and so while there are differences in terms of the interface (and sometimes the timing of updated versions), the actual adjustments are the same.

Therefore, I suggest choosing between these options based more on which will best fit your needs for organizing your photos.

I certainly have my own biases, but I prefer the use of Lightroom Classic over the cloud-focused version of Lightroom or Bridge (the software you might use to organize if you focused on Photoshop). My preference for Lightroom Classic is partly that I prefer to store photos locally rather than in the cloud, and because I appreciate the benefits of the catalog in Lightroom Classic. Those benefits include being able to easily browse photos even if they aren’t currently available (such as when an external hard drive is disconnected) and to easily search across the entire catalog of photos at once.

My second choice would be Adobe Bridge, which provides the advantage of being a browser rather than a catalog-based application, which helps avoid issues related to the catalog, such as missing folders or photos. However, I’ve found that performance in Bridge can be a bit sluggish at times, especially when trying to perform a broad search for photos.

My last choice would be Lightroom. Initially I decided Lightroom wasn’t for me because it only supported cloud-based storage. While it now supports both cloud-based and local-based storage, I feel that this implementation creates a bit of a fragmented workflow with the potential for confusion about where your photos are actually located.

I shared more details about my recommendations for deciding between Bridge, Lightroom, and Lightroom Classic in a fun and informative webinar. You can view the recording of that full presentation on my Tim Grey TV channel on YouTube here: