Lightroom and Photoshop Integration: A Free Video Tutorial

by George on May 24, 2011

Photograph © George A. Jardine

A subject near and dear to my heart. Lightroom and Photoshop integration. I created my first video on this subject way back for Lightroom version 1, and it’s been a favorite. Since then, Lightroom’s integration features have expanded and evolved a bit, and so I decided it was time to flush out that original idea into a complete mini-series. And besides, I heard from enough of you that LR + PS Integration was at the top of your list, and so here’s the first installment.

This free video tutorial will become “Tutorial #1: Overview & Workflow” when the rest of the series is published in July. After that, this particular video will still be free. But the world of Photoshop integration is large enough, and interesting enough, that it definitely warrants its own compete mini-series of 5 – 6 movies. And so that’s what I’m busy working on. I just wanted to get this one out there for you now, so that you had something to chew on, while the rest of the videos are being recorded and polished up for presentation.

In this video, I use a graphical, “road-map” view, to map out all the various options for taking a raw file round-trip, from Lightroom to Photoshop. I’ve found this graphical approach to be very helpful for photographers, when explaining somewhat complex workflows that are not well documented anywhere else. We are, after all, visually-oriented creatures.

Graphics by George A. Jardine and Jonathan Caponi

After each road-map example I double down, and show you the workflows for real, in the actual application, too. But rest assured, I already know the graphical approach won’t work for everyone. And if you’re addicted to fast-food style video tutorials, the fact that there’s actual content here, might upset your tummy. No matter, here’s a new tutorial on Lightroom and Photoshop Integration.

This entire video series is now free. Click here for info and links.

Total running time for this video is just under 16 minutes.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave R May 24, 2011 at 5:47 PM

After viewing the new “teaser” tutorial all I can say is “I’m in”. Can’t wait for it to be finished and published.
Keep up your great work George.

George May 24, 2011 at 5:51 PM

Ahhhhh…… that wasn’t a “tease”….. was it?? :-) I mean… that’s about as beefy as free gets, right?


Paul Beiser May 24, 2011 at 6:04 PM

Excellent news! I look forward to the video and to the entire series..

Randy May 25, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Looks good! I just got photoshop so this is perfect timing… One question: my current workflow uses DNGs and some older JPEGs. In your process are DNGs the handled same as RAW files and JPEGs the same as TIFs?

George May 25, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Yes, Randy. The only real difference is that DNG does not use sidecar XMP files, as the metadata is stored inside the file with DNG, and is NOT, with camera raw files. But for workflow purposes, they are pretty much identical. Ditto JPEG and TIF. No real workflow differences there, but if you are going back and forth to PS with JPEG’s, keep in mind that you’re compounding compression, which are don’t, with TIF.

Bud Gibson May 26, 2011 at 8:49 AM

I think I’ve always liked two things about your series:

1. Conceptual overview that vastly clarifies the road map. Your video tutorials are really the best out there in this regard. I first encountered you via your HSL tutorial (a real standout even for you), and I’ve been sold ever since.

2. Pragmatic techniques that are repeatable and actually work. In this regard, it’s your focus on the three quarters tones in LR’s curves tool. Those are very frequently a problem in available light photography.

3. I know I said 2, but this one’s a bonus. It’s the integrated story telling, problem solving approach. It’s a very effective way to put 1 and 2 together.

Personally, I’d like to see you solve two problems for us: the japanese room and the girl’s face. Obviously, it’s not going to be the exact same thing repeated twice. Rather it’s going to be the same principles applied to two different situations.

George May 26, 2011 at 9:07 AM

Thanks, Bud. I appreciate your comments very much.

I’m definitely focused on giving you a deep dive on the Japanese shoji screen project. It’s one that I’ve been working on ever since I was first able to get this photograph up on a computer screen! And now that I’ve been able to build my own lens profile for that ancient 24mm Nikkor, it’s better than ever. So that will be the basis for the bulk of the back-and-forth in the PS + LR Integration series.

But for the schoolgirl’s face…. I mean… what can you do with that? It only required a minor tonal and color correction. Other than that, it’s just a lucky shot. :-) I am pondering one or two further examples for the Integration series, that tap more into the ‘scan optimization’ theme, but other than that I’m not sure how much more to try to layout in the series. One idea would be to do an extended series on “subjective color correction”…. mostly just because I love that the idea makes the usual suspects squirm so much. But I’ll probably focus on a “workflow mini-series” once the PS Integration series is complete.

But always open to suggestions.

Bud Gibson May 26, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Well, you’re probably right about the girl’s face. I like the subjective color correction idea. The HSL panel deserves its own series. I could even go for a course on B/W conversion.

I’m concentrating on my picture taking skills for now. I got pretty good at certain kinds of shots. I think I’ll be back heavy into post later in the year though. The two really go hand in hand. Expand what you can capture. Get creative in post.

I’ll be getting your LR/PS series as soon as you release it. I’ll also keep an eye on your workshop dates.

George May 26, 2011 at 2:04 PM

You did see my B&W video…. right? :-(

Billie June 14, 2011 at 9:45 AM

George, how did you know what I needed? I’m just now getting comfortable with LR and I’ve ventured back to PS with some images but had questions about how the two were integrated. Get busy! I need this series ASAP.

George June 14, 2011 at 9:51 AM

Thanks, Billie!

The series is good. And it’s almost done. But unfortunately, just today, I went chasing rabbits down one last, long and deep rabbit hole in the workflow: layered RGB files + LR adjustments -> Smart Objects + more LR adjustments ->…. well…. who knows where! (I’m still down there, sniffing around… :-)

With any luck, I’ll be done in 3 weeks.

james June 20, 2011 at 9:29 AM

In working with 7 B/W pigment ink sets and converting to gamma 2.2 grey, interested with your thoughts as with LR, native profile is ProPhoto which prints out via 3 inks max. I am using Jon Cone Edition K7 set. Wonder if you’ve converted to 2.2 grey profile. james

George June 20, 2011 at 11:50 AM

No, I haven’t used Cone inks. In any case, if you’re exporting to a 2.2 Gamma space for printing out of PS, you’re going to end up with gamma that is sooooo close to what the TRC in Lightroom is producing anyway, that I sincerely doubt that you will see any difference.

Jim Kahnweiler January 20, 2012 at 5:13 PM

I read the print version of this video in Digital Photo Pro and liked your approach. One thing that bothers me about LR or Aperture is their rigid data base system making it impossible to have multiple data bases open at the same time. To me one huge library with all my edits and adjustments is pretty scary, even with numerous backups.

I use Expression Media/Media Pro which permits multiple files open and has since its inception. I can copy/paste and search between open data bases. Great for managing large collections. Unfortunately, the editing tools are minimal, at best; that’s what CaptureOne is all about, but it’s not the same as working with LR or Aperture.

With every beta of LR, I have posted the need to allow multiple data bases and multiple previews that can be zoomed and panned, as Expression Media can: great of close inspection of similar shots, like a fashion or portrait shoot, where subtle differences are hard to discern in small previews.

What’s your opinion?

George January 20, 2012 at 5:32 PM

Thanks for the comment, Jim.

You’re not alone. Difficult for me to comment on the “multiple open database documents” argument…. but almost every pro I know does want multi-user access to their catalogs, and accessibility over a network. Unfortunately, these are features, and they are not small features. They are difficult, and expensive to implement. The problem is one of audience, and $$. How many more copies of Lightroom would they sell, if they developed and supported a multi-user catalog? A few hundred? A few thousand? It would never pay for itself.

Instead, more development focus goes into features that will sell well into the “advanced amateur” market, like book layout for online printing from within the app. So it is a quandary. For the professional studio that truly needs multi-user catalogs…. I’m afraid that I don’t have an answer for you.


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: