Roundtrip Lightroom to Photoshop Editing Workflow

Check out the two ways I like to bring my photos into Photoshop and return them to Lightroom! In this Lightroom tutorial, we’ll talk about how to adjust the settings for the external editors in Lightroom and talk about shipping an image over to Photoshop from Lightroom. I’ll talk about deleting images when needed, where the new image is stored on the hard drive, working with TIFF, PSDs, and the original Camera RAW files, wrapping your Lightroom images in a Smart Object to preserve the RAW image and Lightroom edits, and more! If you ever need to do more advanced retouching, this tutorial will teach you everything you need to know to get the job done.

Send the Photo to Photoshop & Roundtrip

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To send a photo to Photoshop from Lightroom is as easy as right-clicking the photo and choosing Edit In>Photoshop [whatever the latest version is.] When the file opens in Photoshop make your edits and changes and then simply CLOSE the file (don’t hit that Save As…!) and when Photoshop asks if you want to Save, choose to save the file. Go back to Lightroom, wait a moment, and the image will appear with your changes. The basic process is really that simple.

Working with TIFF or PSD

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You can change the file that is returned to Lightroom by Photoshop by going to the Preferences (Lightroom>Preferences for Mac, Edit>Preferences for Windows) and choose External Editors. Here we can specify exactly how Lightroom will work with Photoshop. I prefer returning a PSD file. I like to work in ProPhoto RGB color space, 16-bit images, and a Resolution of 240 (resolution can change depending on the project.) I also usually go to the bottom of this dialog box and choose to give the files a Custom Name – Sequence.

Save the Raw File with a Smart Object

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To wrap up and save the RAW image and send that to Photoshop as a Smart Object all you need to do is right-clicking the image in Lightroom and choose Edit In>Open as Smart Object in Photoshop. When the image is transferred to Photoshop you will be able to double click the layer thumbnail to open the Raw file in the Camera Raw editor. You can make your changes, save the file and it will be automatically be returned as a TIFF or PSD (depending on your settings) to Lightroom.

More Workflow and Roundtrip Editing

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Make sure you watch the video at the top of this post to see all the different things you can do between Photoshop and Lightroom. I also show you how to find where the PSDs or TIFFs are stored on your hard drive so you can clean out unused files and save hard drive space. Check it out at the top of the post!

Tags: Adobe Lightroom, Lightroom to Photoshop, Lightroom Photoshop Workflow, Lightroom Photoshop Roundtrip, Roundtrip Editing, Smart Object, Edit RAW, Edit PSD, Edit TIFF, Lightroom Tutorial, Lightroom Tutorials, Creative Cloud