Music Photography Software: Photoshop or Lightroom?

music photography software

When we as concert photographers think about music photography software, the two most common names that come to mind are Photoshop and Lightroom, and if you are brand new to this form of photography you might not know what to use. That is fine, you can start creating your opinion of each here. While each product is a quality suite of software, each has its own pluses and minuses. Let’s talk about both of the programs and uses:

Music Photography Software Photoshop vs. Lightroom: The Basics


  • Used by photographers, animators, publishers, and 3D artists.
  • Virtually unlimited potential with upgrades, updates and third party vendors creating plug-ins.
  • The term ‘photoshopped’ is an everyday term used on TV and in news reports.
  • Household name


  • Used exclusively by photographers as it edits only photographs
  • Catalog-based image management system that automatically imports EXIF data (make and model of camera, date and time, aperture, shutter speed and ISO etc) when importing images
  • Makes searching large volumes of images easier by allowing you to tag images with keywords, flags and star ratings.

Now let’s take a look at the pluses and minuses we mentioned:

Music Photography Software Photoshop vs. Lightroom: Advantages


  • Pixel-level editing and restoration meaning you can manipulate an image down to a basic single-pixel level
  • Layer blending means you are able to combine two different images into one image i.e.: adding a photography watermark to your concert images
  • Incredibly large toolbox gives you access to content-aware filling, photo filters and some reduction in camera shake.


  • Built-in RAW editing means no extra plug-ins for Photoshop, as images are ready to edit upon import.
  • Presets – if you are into making the editing process easier and getting hundreds of images ready for a band or publication, this is where it’s at. Find a series of images with similar lighting and use the same basic preset to edit photos. You can also create a preset to upload your images through. Too much red lighting? You can create or own or get my free Black&White Lightroom Presets here.
  • Image Management made simple. As mentioned earlier, the ability to manage your images through keywords, flags or stars makes creating and finding groups of images a breeze.

Music Photography Software Photoshop vs. Lightroom: Disadvantages


  • Learning Curve – because of the sheer volume of tools in Photoshop, it takes a much longer time and much more knowledge input to learn all aspects of the software.
  • No native RAW editing, so the only way to edit RAW images right out of the camera is to download a plug-in like Adobe Camera RAW.
  • No image management system, which is the main reason Lightroom was created for us photographers.


  • No advanced editing, changing images at the pixel level is just not available here. If you are looking to make someone taller or shorter, you won’t be able to do it in this program.
  • No layer blending, no taking Eddy from Iron Maiden and putting him over James Taylor’s shoulder onstage. You just can’t do that here!
  • Photos only – as we pointed out, Lightroom is a photography image editing software suite. No vector images here.

Pricing is big with the two products as well. You can still purchase Adobe Lightroom 6 as a standalone program whereas Photoshop CS6 seems not to be available as individual program on Amazon anymore. Fortunately Adobe created the Adobe Creative Cloud where you can have access to both Photoshop and Lightroom for a small monthly fee.

So, it´s up to you which music photography software you want to use. I am using 99% of the time Adobe Lightroom for my concert photography work.

To help you get started with Adobe Lightroom I am giving away my best Black&White Presets for free!
Download my free Black and White Lightroom Presets and use them for your own pictures. 

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