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Integrating Lightroom and Photoshop usually begins with the Edit command in Lightroom's Photo menu. This command spearheads several workflows that we'll be looking at in this course that let you move photos efficiently between Lightroom and Photoshop, and ultimately end up with edited photos back in your Lightroom library for viewing and asset management. The first step in using the Edit In Command is to specify what kind of photos you expect to get back in your library after they have been handled by the two programs.
And that's done in Lightroom's External Editing Preferences. I'll open my Preferences by pressing Cmd+Comma on the Mac, that's Ctrl+Comma on the PC. You can also open the Preferences window from the Lightroom menu on a Mac or from the Edit menu on a PC. In the External Editing tab, the first section, the one that's labeled Edit in Adobe Photoshop on my machine and probably on yours as well, contains options for Lightroom's primary external editor. Lightroom can pass files to other external editors too, as we'll discuss later, but the primary external editor is the default.
So if you use the shortcut for the Edit In command, which is Cmd+E on the Mac or Ctrl+E on the PC, the selected files in Lightroom will go automatically to the primary external editor, which will probably be Photoshop. The primary external editor can be only one of two applications, Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, which is Adobe's consumer-level editing application. The way it works is that Lightroom automatically sets as the Primary Editor the latest version of Photoshop that's installed on your computer.
If you don't have Photoshop on your computer, then Lightroom will look for Photoshop Elements, and if you have that it will set the latest installed version of Elements as your Primary Editor. If you have neither, then the primary external editing commands won't be available. So, what is the purpose of these options? Well, let's say that you have a raw file on Lightroom, and you want to pass it on to Photoshop for further editing. Now remember that Photoshop is a pixel editor, it can't display or handle raw data directly, so if you send a raw file from Lightroom to Photoshop, the raw file has to be rendered into a pixel-based image that you can see and work on in Photoshop.
And here with these options, you can specify the Color Space, the Bit Depth, and the Resolution with which the file will be rendered and opened into Photoshop. Also, when that file is saved from Photoshop, this File Format option comes into play to tell Photoshop the non-raw format in which to save the edited image. Now you can also pass a non-raw photo from Lightroom to Photoshop. By non-raw photo, here and throughout this course, I mean pixel-based formats like TIFF or PSD, which stands for Photoshop Document.
As you'll see later in the course, when you open a non-raw photo from Lightroom to Photoshop, you get an interim dialog box that gives you three options for how the file will be treated. One of those options is Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments. When you choose that option then these primary external editing options will work just like they do with the raw file. They will determine the Color Space, the Bit Depth, and the Resolution with which the file opens in Photoshop and the File Format in which it's saved from Photoshop. We will go through raw and non-raw workflows later in the course, but for now I just wanted you to understand the general purpose of these options.
And now, let's take a quick look at these options. Here you can see them at their default settings, and it's perfectly okay to leave them at their defaults. But if you wish, instead of TIFF, you can choose to have file safe from Photoshop as PSD, which stands for Photoshop Document, which is the proprietary Photoshop file format. There really isn't too much difference between these two formats, you can just choose the one you are comfortable with. Both of them retain layers and other proprietary Photoshop features, and both can be saved in 8 or 16-bits. The main difference between them is that TIFF is not a proprietary Adobe format.
So if you need to pass files off to another person who is not an Adobe user then TIFF is a safer bet. The next option, Color Space, describes the color tag that will be embedded in the image. You can choose from only these three, ProPhoto RGB or AdobeRGB (1998), both of which are good choices for photos that are headed for print, or if you are preparing files for online viewing or for email, then sRGB is the best choice. I'm going to go with AdobeRGB.
I usually leave the Bit Depth of the file set to 16-bits, so I have the greatest number of tones in the image, and therefore the largest editing headroom in Photoshop. But if I am preparing files for online viewing or for email or because I am preparing files for this course and want them to be smaller, I'll choose 8-bits. I am going to leave the Resolution set to 240 pixels per inch, this refers to the number of pixels that would be assigned to every inch if and when this photo were printed. 240 pixels per inch is fine for photos destined for an Inkjet printer.
So I am going to leave it there. And remember, whatever you choose here in the Resolution field is not set in stone, it can always be changed later when you export a file from Lightroom. And finally, here is a Compression menu. This only comes into play when you have chosen TIFF as your file format. I'm just going to leave this set to its default of ZIP. I want to emphasize that there's noting special or magical about the particular settings that I have chosen here, this is just an example. The settings that you should choose when you're setting up your primary external editing options are those that make the most sense for the kind of photographs that you take most and the projects that you work on.
So those are the options for the primary external editor, which is usually going to be Photoshop. Again, these define the way that raw files will be rendered when they're passed from Lightroom to Photoshop for editing. It also specifies the format and the type of file that will end up back in your Lightroom catalog when you start off with the raw files, or with those non-raw files that you choose to edit as copies with the Lightroom adjustments, as I'll explain in the upcoming chapter on non-raw workflows. Now you probably notice that there are some other options in the Preferences here, and I'll be addressing each of these, the external editor preferences, stacking, and file naming as we move through the course.
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