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How to integrate Lightroom with Photoshop

In this article, we will tell you how you can use these two excellent programs simultaneously, Lightroom and Photoshop, often considered the best of the best.

We can integrate Lightroom with Photoshop, two programs from Adobe designed to work with pictures. Lightroom is exclusively dedicated to managing pictures. Photoshop is a graphic design program with a lot of possibilities. Many people don’t know how to work with both programs at once, and they’re missing a lot.

Before you begin

It’s important to note that you might have to upgrade Photoshop if you have an older version than your version of Lightroom, or vice versa. Older and newer versions of each programs don’t work well together, which affects the workflow with smart objects.

Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC work great together, but the latter no longer gets along so well with earlier versions of his little brother, especially if they have a different processing engine, since older versions make it impossible to work with Smart Objects.

In other words, we have no choice but to always use the latest versions. This may look like a corporate trap (and it maybe is), but I promise you it’s worth it.

Both programs expand their limits when they work together. They are not exclusive, but if I had to choose one, I’d pick Photoshop. Working with these two programs at the same time will allow you to greatly edit and classify metadata.

For those who prefer RAW

Imagine that you downloaded the pictures from your last trip, you added them to the Lightroom catalog and you’ve decided which ones you’re going to print. You have a quick collection (B) made of twenty pictures ready to be processed in the Develop module. Sometimes, you might see something you don’t like in one of your pictures, so you want to edit it. The most common method would be to go from Lightroom to Photoshop, but this is no longer necessary.

If for some reason you want to open a file with Photoshop, you just have to press Ctrl + E or right-click and then select Edit with > Photoshop and the picture will be opened in that program. Next you just have to select File > Save.

When you return to Lightroom, the picture you modified with Photoshop will be there, as well as the original, unmodified file.

If you work with any other image format

If you prefer JPEG files, the process is a bit more complete, since you have three different options:

1. Edit a Copy with Lightroom opens a duplicate in Photoshop. This is a brand new picture that shows the changes we may have implemented in the program. If we go back to Lightroom, we won’t be able to undo the changes.

2. The option Edit a Copy makes duplicate of the picture. You can then open it with PS by yourself.

3. The excellent option Edit Original opens the files without the changes you did with Lightroom. If you added a layer in Photoshop or you want to take a look at the editing history, this is the best option you can use.

If you take pictures of Smart Objects

This is one of the best features to develop our work, because we can always go back to the original RAW file. The problem is, again, the compatibility between versions of both programs.

I recommend to first develop your picture with Lightroom and if you see something that has to be edited, go to the Edit menu and select Open as Smart Object in Photoshop.

However, the workflow between the two programs ends here, as there isn’t much Lightroom can do now, other than opening the pictures with Adobe Camera RAW, with a less friendly interface. At least we know the result will be identical.

Other options

There are other ways to make the two programs work together, simply got to the Edit menu and you’ll see that there are other ways to integrate them.

In some cases it may be a disappointment. A lot of people think we can do panoramic pictures in Lightroom, but only Photoshop is capable of doing that.

The strange thing is that this relationship is not reciprocal, because Lightroom has many options to work with Photoshop, but the opposite doesn’t happen.

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