ask a cmpro | what editing software do you use


It’s time for another edition of our bi-weekly series “Ask a CMpro” in which we give our CMpros one question and they dish.  Their answers alone are always inspiring and this week we asked them “What editing software do you use and why? ”

Lightroom screenshot from April Nienhuis

Courtney Keim, New Jersey
I am a Photoshop girl all the way.  Adjustments in ACR and then tweaks in Photoshop.  Learning Lightroom is on my list of to-dos and am thinking Lynne’s workshop may be just what I need!




Laurie Yuenger, Illinois
LR3 – to pick my favorites and batch basic edits. I also crop and do basic adjustments. I could do these things in Photoshop but LR is faster for me.

CS5 – for more detailed edits. I fine tune color or work on color casts, clone work or cleaning up skin flakes or other imperfections.



Jennifer Dell, Texas
I use a combo of LR and CS5 for pretty much everything. I start by tweaking white balance, exposure (if needed), brightness and contrast. I will also play with the HSL sliders too in LR. Then I bring it into CS5 to polish it off. In CS5 I fix skin and color casts as well as any cloning that might be necessary. I also handle my more creative edits in CS5.



Christine Bentley, California
As a wedding photographer I have decided that the most useful tool for me is Lightroom. Well, and Photoshop. So let me qualify this. I am a very very fast blogger. This has been key in creating referrals and vendor satisfaction. Being able to post amazing photos and give them to vendors within days of an event is truly a HUGE game changer. I choose 100 of my favorite images from a wedding to post on my blog. I call these photographers edits. I open my RAW images in Adobe Camera RAW to make lighting adjustments as needed and open each photo in Adobe Photoshop CS5 to be able to fine tune. Save, post and send to editors. However, the hundreds of other photos, for my client that get sent to online galleries for proofing, get run through Adobe Lightroom. This way I am able to batch edit similar lighting situations and make global changes more easily. I make sure that my clients are aware that the majority of their wedding photos will be considered lightly edited and not fully retouched. Only later, if photos are chosen for their album or to be printed by me to I add them into the “photographers favorites” folder and fully retouch them in Photoshop. It’s about time. Besides that you must also be consistent so that Lightroom makes sense. If I couldn’t batch edit, I would never be able to get my weddings out in time!

Melissa Gibson, Georgia
I am a Photoshop Elements girl. I use Pse9. Everything that I need to do, I can do in PSE. Occasionally, I will open an image in ACR, but for the most part, I do almost all of my edits in adjustment layers. Elements is quick and simple for me and although I’ve had a bit of pressure to upgrade to Lightroom or CS5, I’m completely confident in the software I am using. Besides, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right?



Beira Brown, Pennsylvania
Photoshop! I make adjustments in ACR and finish my clean edits in Photoshop. I’m finally at a happy place with my editing workflow




Jodi Arego
, Texas
I do all my edits with Photoshop. I first open up my RAW files in ACR and if needed,  make any tweaks to exposure and white balance there. I often apply one of the CM Film Art Presets… my favorites are Citrine, Moonstone, and the black and whites! If I haven’t applied a preset, I’ll then take the image to CS4 to bump mid-tones, add contrast, etc. I’m very comfortable with my PS workflow, but I’m also very intrigued by Lightroom. I actually just purchased Lightroom last month when Adorama ran a special on it… Now I just need to find the time to dive in and learn!

Carol Swaitkewich, Winnipeg
Right now I do a 50/50 combo between Lightroom and Photoshop.  I use LR to sort and choose my images.  Then I do global basic changes like exposure and white balance.  Being able to sync all of these things with a click of a button is such a time saver.  Then I bring them into PS to do any cloning, colour balancing and any actions I like.  I am currently taking Lynne’s 101 LR class so I can get the most possible out of LR.  I would like to eventually use it for 99% of my editing!


Christina McGuire, Michigan
I use Lightroom 3 almost exclusively, and do plan to upgrade to LR4 soon. I only bring images into Photoshop (CS5) for tough clone jobs, head swaps, or to extend the canvas (to add more negative space, etc).




What editing software do you use and why?  We’d love to hear about it – share with us in the comments!

Thanks to our CMpros for sharing with us!  Have a question of your own for our CMpros?  Make sure to check out our “Ask the Pros” section of the CMforum!


  • Jenny D. says:

    I used to use PSE9 but I upgraded to CS5 and although it is frustrating learning, I'm having fun with it :-)

  • Jennifer Vititoe says:

    I am so glad to PSE user on this list.

  • Davina Gruenstein says:

    I use DPP — Canon's software. Does anyone else? I also use PSE9, but just upgraded with a super deal to CS5. Now I need to learn how to use it. I may be taking PS101!

  • Jenna says:

    Question- When using the presets, which software can be used?

    And- thank you Melissa Gibson for reassuring me about PSE. I use PSE 10 and think it's GREAT! The only thing I would change about it is having the ability to batch edit and record my own actions. The time I could save…

  • Jenna says:

    Nevermind- just did more investigating and answered my own question. I never knew you could use the presets with ACR… so tempting. :)

  • Kim Miller says:

    I use CS5. Open in ACR and do exposure adjustments as needed then retouch in Photoshop. by the way you can batch edit in ACR in PSE 10 just select all the raw images you want to open and they will all open in ACR then you can select all or hold down shift or ctrl to select the images you want to adjust and any adjustment you make will affect all that are selected. Then you can select all and open images and it will open all the images in PSE. I discovered this by accident one day before I bought CS5 and literally jumped up and down and squealed.

    I have used Canons DPP and I have found I like the flexibility of Photoshop CS5 much more than DPP.

  • Mara Vaughan says:

    I loved reading this. Right now I am totally new to editing and I had two (!) trial versions of Lightroom – 3 and 4, and enjoyed that. Now I am taking Lisa's Photoshop 101 class, so we'll see how my workflow evolves over time! BTW, thanks for the tip, Kim! This was one of my concerns with using only ACR/Photoshop.

  • Clair says:

    I'm with you, Melissa! It was big stuff for me to move from PSE5 to PSE 9 a few months ago! LOL

  • Jeannette says:

    Great read! I love using Aperture & Photoshop CS5.

  • pam says:

    Yea! PSE user!

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