FYI, this is Part 3 of a 3-part series on this subject – –
I’d encourage you you to check out these 2 previous blogposts first
to put things in their proper context:
Those that have worked with me know that I have a “love/hate” relationship with Lightroom (mostly hate, because of it’s continued mis-use!).
I am not fond of the program (an understatement!), and personally don’t use it (I use Bridge, mainly for its sheer simplicity).
I just don’t need Lightroom’s organizational power – and for me, it’s an added hassle to an already complex post-processing world.
But, if Lightroom is an integral part of your post-processing workflow BECAUSE you need its robust organizational features, then let’s at least do this properly – read on, and I think you’ll agree …
There are 2 possible “Procedures” for migrating your files between Lightroom and Photoshop (& safely back), BOTH with the same ultimate post-processing “Goals”:
Before you decide which “Procedure” below to use, ask yourself a question: do you want to PROPERLY work on your RAW file …
– in the Adobe Camera RAW Plug-in (ACR) – –
– in the Develop Module of Lightroom?
After answering that critical question, pick the appropriate “Procedure” below, and stick with it – Procedural consistency is a major key to effective post-processing – ultimately, either “Procedure” gets the job done, especially if you use my suggested Photoshop Workflow Chart.
By the way, I use “Procedure #1 for the reasons stated in this post: “Photoshop vs Lightroom? Wrong Question! – – Part 2”
1) Procedure #1 Summary (using ACR):
• Use Lightroom as your “Digital Library” ONLY (See Part 1 of this series), then “Export …”
• Using the “Goals” as guidance, adjust your RAW file in the Adobe Camera RAW plug-in ONLY
• Open your file in Photoshop, then use your PS “mojo” to create your Master File (as a PSD)
• Once saved in Photoshop (as a PSD), synch Folder in Lightroom
2) Procedure #2 Summary (using the Develop Module):
• Using the “Goals” as guidance, adjust your RAW file in the Develop Module of Lightroom ONLY
• “Edit in …”, open in Photoshop, then use your PS “mojo” to create your Master File (as a PSD)
• Once saved in Photoshop (as a PSD), synch Folder in Lightroom
So, now on to the “how-to” part – – the specifics, step-by-step …. For pic details, click on the following images to Zoom in & Pan …
First, a simple Housekeeping chore, regardless of the “Procedure” you decide to use:
I strongly recommend that you save your Master Files in the PSD File Format (vs TIFF), due to the way Lightroom works with Metadata.
So, to properly view your PSD Master File thumbnails in Lightroom: you will need to open Photoshop first, and do the following (you only have to do this once):
• Mac: go to the “Photoshop” Menu -> “Settings” -> “File Handling” -> set “Maximize PSD and PSD File Compatibility” to “Always” -> “OK”
• PC: go to the “Edit” Menu -> “Settings” -> “File Handling” -> set “Maximize PSD and PSD File Compatibility” to “Always” -> “OK”
• Procedure 1 – Use Lightroom as your “Digital Library” ONLY, adjust your RAW file in the Adobe Camera RAW plug-in ONLY, then open your file in Photoshop:
1) In the Library Module of Lightroom, click once on the desired RAW file to highlight it – then, click the “Export” button on the bottom left of the LR Workspace – Export options vary, of course, but here are my suggested steps / settings. See the highlighted areas in the pic below:
A) Under “Export Location”: export the RAW file with a unique name to a new unique folder or subfolder (See chapter 11 in my book for suggested File Naming Conventions).
• The idea is to isolate this RAW file (and ALL of its related files), to its own unique folder or subfolder – that way, it’s not lost in the general clutter of ALL of your image files.
• Remember, this is not just “any” file – you’re designating this image as a future Master File, which is only reserved for the “best of the best”.
B) Under “File settings” -> “Image Format: ” – choose “Original”.
C) Click on the button “Export” at the bottom right – this will copy the chosen RAW File to its own folder, with a unique file name AND matching folder name.
2) Go to the new RAW file’s actual location on your computer through your Computer’s Operating System (NOT through Lightroom!) – Note that a Lightroom “Catalog” link & the ACTUAL RAW file are 2 different things – you want the ACTUAL RAW file that you copied into its own unique folder in Step 1 above!
3) Open the actual RAW file in Photoshop, which opens the ACR plug-in. Then adjust in ACR using the Goals of RAW.
4) Once all of your work in ACR is done, open in Photoshop by clicking on the “Open” button in ACR. Adjust in Photoshop, then save your Master File as a PSD to the new unique folder for this image (created in Step 1) – that is, in the same folder as the adjusted RAW file.
5) To view the PSD Master File in Lightroom, sync the folder or subfolder that was created in Step 1:
A) Right-mouse-click on the folder, choose “Synchronize Folder …”
B) Check the boxes shown in the Dialogue Box below, then click the “Synchonize” button.
• Procedure 2 – Adjust your RAW file in the Develop Module of Lightroom ONLY, then open your file in Photoshop:
First, some quick (but necessary) housekeeping: In Lightroom, go to “Preferences” -> “External Editing”, and use the suggested settings shown below, regardless of what it says in the description to the right – you only have to do this once …
1) See Step 1 in “Procedure #1” above …
2) Highlight the RAW file in the newly created folder from Step 1 above. Adjust in the Develop Module (as you would in ACR), following the “Goals” of RAW – then right-mouse click on the image & choose “Edit In” -> “Edit in Photoshop CC 2020 …”
3) Your File Opens in Photoshop – Adjust in Photoshop, then save your Master File as a PSD to the new unique folder for this image (created in Step 1) – that is, in the same folder as the adjusted RAW file.
4) See Step 5 in “Procedure #1” above …
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By the way, all of this is part of my Photoshop book designed for photographers, “Not just another Photoshop Book”, available exclusively on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HNLS1Q2
Questions? Please contact me – also, feel free to comment, and tell all of your photography friends!
Thx again, and cheers,
John Watts 🙂