Have you ever wondered how Lightroom compares to Camera Raw? Actually, did you know that if you use Lightroom, Photoshop, or Bridge, you are still using Camera Raw!
When you use any of them, Adobe Camera Raw is the “engine under the hood” that does raw image editing for all Adobe applications. It is Camera Raw that will read your raw files such as Canon’s .CR2, Nikon’s .NEF, or Sony’s .ARW.
So, what is it about both of them that makes them so different, when they are both software designed to edit your images?
Adobe Camera Raw is something you’ll only see if you shoot in raw format. A raw image will hold more information from your captured scene. This allows more editing possibilities, but, have you notice when you shot in raw your computer has a problem viewing these files. It may only be showing you an icon instead of images?
Raw images need to be converted to JPEGs, TIFFs or other image formats, so that is why you need a program like Lightroom or Photoshop. If you are using Photoshop and upload a raw file, it will open in Adobe Camera Raw first. Lightroom lets you import and see these files immediately as it comes with Adobe Camera Raw.
View my video above comparing Lightroom to Camera Raw.
Camera Raw uses a plugin software and you don’t need any type of catalogue system to view raw images in this program, whereas Lightroom is a photo organiser as well as photo manipulator of adobe systems. Lightroom will create a catalogue keeping the information on every photo, it’s location, every single applied adjustment – together in one place.
Lightroom is used more for local adjustments, Photoshop is better suited to very detailed and complicated editing.
Camera Raw only allows you to edit one image at a time whereas Lightroom has a wide access area, so you can edit multiple images at the same time.
Camera Raw offers a side card file option for every raw image. What is this? You may have noticed that along with your camera raw image files, sometimes there is a sister file with the same name but with a .xmp extension. When you open a photo from Camera Raw into Photoshop, instructions are applied to create a copy of the file, and the original raw file is preserved. You will not lose this file until you delete every single XML file of those images. Lightroom software differs because if the image is deleted or lost by you, then you have to start with your editing work again.
The reason many of us use Lightroom is an easy decision.
Lightroom will point straight to the images you have imported; it allows non-destructive edits and stores these edits perfectly.
In Lightroom CC, you can send an image to photoshop, make edits and send it back to Lightroom. This allows you to change the content of the image, such as removing objects, adding a border, applying a texture, or adding text. Just right-click on your image and choose > Edit In > Edit in Adobe Photoshop. In Photoshop, edit the photo and choose File > Save. A new version of the photo with your Photoshop edits appears in Lightroom Classic; the original remains untouched by Photoshop. The edited version appears with the original in a stack—click the number on the thumbnail to hide or show the stacked versions.
Lightroom creates a catalogue file that includes all your images, and their edits. If you were to use Adobe Camera Raw, you would need a file for each image.
You can use ‘Smart Previews’. These are great. A Smart Preview is a copy of a photo file. It is a compressed, lossy DNG file that has been resized so the longest edge measures 2560 pixels. It is saved, along with all other Smart Previews belonging to the same Catalogue, in an .lrdata file. They’re especially useful for those who travel, keep RAW photos on external drives, and/or just want to make Lightroom faster.
You can create and add images to it manually. Or, a smart folder process will add and find images through keywords or coloured flags.
Lightroom is nice and easy!
For me almost all of my workflow is through Adobe Lightroom. I like to add the keywords to my images and my metadata gets added automatically.
My Lightroom library houses my images. I always use my smart folders, created by keywords and flags. It makes searching for a particular image a breeze.