Black and White Photoshop style VS Lightroom edits. Which is better?

This is a common question for photographers. As a photographer who makes editing tools and workshops for Lightroom and Capture One, as well as Photoshop. I can demonstrate that the Black and White Photoshop style gives you more nuance while the RAW style gives you more speed.

So should you edit your Black and White Photoshop style or Lightroom style? I usually get this question in relation to the presets and actions I make that make Black and white easier in both apps. The fast answer is… Don’t let it stress you. It comes naturally.

“Gavin should I use, Silver presets, or BlackRoom actions?”

This video applies to anyone asking themselves. Should I use Lightroom or Photoshop to edit and convert my black and white? Whether they use my tools or not, this is the answer.

Black and White Photoshop styles give you deep gallery-quality edits. In Lightroom, you edit fast, in batches, and get great results, especially with the new Ai masks. In Capture One with Styles, you get similar results.

Lightroom presets vs Photoshop Actions to Keep it simple.

Presets, like Styles in Capture One such as Silver or Filmist. These are recipes that combine many settings to instantly create an edit in LR, RAW, etc. Presets can be used from Photoshop from within the Camera RAw filter (see this video on my channel)

Actions are like mini apps that run in PS. Commands that are run with one click. I create actions like BlackRoom, Lumist, and others. They use the native tools of Photoshop without PlugIns and can create in 30 seconds which would take me an hour to do manually. Giving me layers and effects to mix as I want, but without the manual labor. Lightroom can’t use actions

Use both, but not on everything…

Actions make advanced edits in Photoshop much faster. Often people have Photoshop and take a file from Lightroom only to find they don’t know how to make it any better. But with time, or with actions that make atmospheric edits natural, Photoshop is easy and will always give you more tools.

Don’t edit only in PS. You will experiment less because it takes longer. Often making you less creative. Start with that basic RAW edit and go to Photoshop when you are ready for more.

LR or C1 is the starting point because its sliders, channels, and fast shadow control helps you create. Photoshop will give you more advanced and refined edits that you save right back into your photo library. If I use BlackRoom actions, the Photoshop part is fast with more detailed layer style controls that I don’t have in Lightroom.

Here we have a good Lightroom edit made quickly using Silver presets. One or two clicks and little adjusting are needed.
The final photo, taken further in Photoshop. I used BlackRoom actions to make it fast. It’s the control over details and atmosphere. On a small screen, you may not see the difference. But on my best photos going to print, the black and white Photoshop edit is more refined.

Photoshop is for when you’re serious!

You can almost think of Lightroom and Capture One as black-and-white film choices back in the day. It’s how you start. Then Photoshop is your Darkroom where you us native tools and layer mixes to make your image Ansel Adams-level perfect.

On a small screen, you may not see much difference. As a photographer who wants gallery quality, it’s a big difference. Black and white photographers who want the best do the final work in a layer-based editor like Photoshop. But I use a RAW editor for 90% of the photos. Having well-planned presets/styles, and actions is a must to expand creativity. Even if you make your own!

I hope you find this helpful in your Lightroom vs Black and White Photoshop questions. It’s really not a dilemma. Both are good! If it’s still confusing, let me know in the comments and I’ll try and address it in future videos on my channel.

Gavin Seim

You can get the latest versions of Silver Presets for Lightroom and Styles for Capture One here. And BlackRoom actions for Photoshop are here.

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About the Author

Glad you're here.

I'm from WA State USA and started studying photography in 97. I started work as a pro (using that word loosely because I sucked) using film at age 16. I learned fast but was not as easy to find training then. Sometimes I beat my head against the wall until I figured stuff out.

As digital dawned I went all in and got to study with masters like Ken Whitmire. In 09 I founded the Pro Photo Show podcast. I started promoting tone-focused editing. When Lightroom arrived, I started developing tools to make editing and workflow better.

20 years of study and photography around the country earned me a Master of Photography (M.Photog) from PPA. I got to see my workshops and tools featured in publications across the industry. Once I even won the prestigious HotOne award for my "EXposed" light and tone workshop.

Wanting something calmer, I moved to Mexico in 2017. It's a land of magical light. I'm here now exploring light and trying to master my weak areas. I make videos of that for my Youtube channel, sharing what I learn. I hope you'll stick around and be part of Light Hunters Tribe... Gavin

Gavin Seim

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