How to move between Lightroom and Photoshop for editing!

Since Adobe Lightroom burst onto the scene a little over 11 years ago, it has revolutionized the way photographers work with RAW image files. Everything from ingestion to editing to asset management, Lightroom has become a staple of any photographer's arsenal.

In my own destination wedding photography studio, it has slowly supplanted Photoshop for the vast majority of my image editing. Most of the time, in fact, I've found the only editing I do in Photoshop is for detailed skin retouching and the removal of objects--tasks for which I feel Lightroom falls short.

So the question is: How do you take a Lightroom-edited image and move it over to Photoshop for further manipulation?  Easy!

In this tutorial, we'll run through the process for an image I shot:

The original, unedited image (left); and the finished image (right).

The original, unedited image (left); and the finished image (right).

For the image above, toning and cropping was done in Lightroom. But I needed Photoshop in order to remove several things I found distracting: the silver bar on the back wall, the clips on the back of the dress, a loose ribbon, and fly-away hairs on the model.

To bring the image into Photoshop, right-click the thumbnail and select Edit In > Edit in Photoshop CC 2018.

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 11.21.21 AM.png
Note:  This is different than "Open as Smart Object...".  We'll cover that in another blog post!

When the image opens in Photoshop, it will open as a background layer in the Layers panel. You'll want to make your edits on separate layers. For basic object removal, I simply duplicate the background layer by clicking Layer > Duplicate Layer.

Once your Photoshop edits are made, click File > Save and close the image. The image will save as a PSD file in the same directory where your RAW files reside.

Go back into Lightroom and you'll see the edited image right next to the RAW file. To prevent confusion with duplicate file names, Lightroom automatically appends "-Edit" to the PSD file name.

The edited PSD (left) and the Lightroom-edited RAW file (right). Notice the edited PSD has "-Edit" appended to the file name.

The edited PSD (left) and the Lightroom-edited RAW file (right). Notice the edited PSD has "-Edit" appended to the file name.

You'll also notice the number "2" in the upper-left corner. This is Lightroom's way of telling you that there's more than one copy of your original RAW file.

That's it!  If you have any questions, please leave them in the Comments section below.

Thanks!
-John