I write, edit, and illustrate a wide range of books and training materials, with a focus on digital imaging with Lightroom and Photoshop. My holistic approach to projects draws from years of experience providing technical writing, training, and support for digital imaging, graphic arts, video, and Web software products. My projects help people take full advantage of Adobe Creative Cloud, and my books regularly receive 5-star reviews from Amazon.com readers. I’m also a fine art photographer.

This blog is a place for me to publish tips about the software and hardware I use all day long. I hope you find something useful here. For more about me, please visit conradchavez.com. You can also reach me directly on my contact page.

All contents of this blog are copyright 2006–2023 Brightbox Studio LLC unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce any contents of this blog in any medium, other than short editorial quotes. All trademarks mentioned on this blog are the property of their respective owners.

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  1. Hi Conrad. I’ve been trying to get into more photography as maybe a little retirement job in a few years. So, I want to start teaching myself to do photo editing. I am a professional artist so I think this should be a good thing for me. I run a Macbook Pro 2017 and IMac 2015 with 10.12. I am wondering about the difference in all the Adobe apps since I could use apps good for photography and art/graphics (Photoshop, Illustrator, In Design, Lightroom, Premiere Pro). I also see where others like Affinity Designer and Photo, Krita. All my computer work has been with architectural cad programs in 2d. But, I love the idea of migrating to do some of my artwork on computer. I have not used any of the Adobe or other apps and have not idea where to start to buy any of them. Of course, I suppose using the free trials is a good idea. But my time is very limited, mostly weekends so a trial will go very fast. Do you have any suggestions for something versatile for photos and graphic/artwork. I guess Im ok with paying one monthly fee if it gets me enough flexibility to do both.

    1. Hi Lori, what you should choose largely depends on what kind of art/graphics you want to make. Here’s a quick breakdown on how the products are related.

      Lightroom vs Photoshop: Lightroom is popular for efficiently processing and organizing camera raw, JPEG, and TIFF images — purely photography. Photoshop can do that but is also good for working with photos as illustrations and for graphic design, including adding type. You can use Photoshop for deep, pixel-level editing of images, combining multiple images, and creating digital paintings.

      Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic: Lightroom uses Adobe cloud servers as the master storage area for your photos, so anything you import gets uploaded and stored there. This makes Lightroom the better choice if it’s important that all your photos be accessible from all your devices (computer, phone, tablet) at all times, and if you have a fast Internet connection both down and up. If you prefer to keep all your images on your own local storage and only upload selected images, you should use Lightroom Classic. Lightroom Classic is also the one you should use if you want to print from Lightroom.

      The least expensive way to start would be one of the Photography Plan options. For USD$9.99 you would have access to Lightroom, Photoshop, and a few extras. If you want to use Lightroom Classic, pay attention to the choices because there are different Photography Plan options that do or don’t include Lightroom Classic and varying amounts of cloud storage.

      If you need more than that, you can move up to the full Creative Cloud plan which includes all of their products.

      Illustrator is for creating both technical and expressive digital drawings. It’s based on vector paths, unlike Photoshop which is based on pixels.

      InDesign is for designing multiple-page documents. It is especially strong at handling long documents like a magazine or product catalog. You would typically prepare text in Microsoft Word, photos and digital paintings in Photoshop, digital drawings in Illustrator, then pull them all into InDesign and precisely lay them out on pages.

      In terms of the non-Adobe competition: Krita and Affinity Photo are like Photoshop. On1 Photo Raw and Luminar are more like Lightroom. Affinity Designer is like Illustrator. Affinity Publisher is like InDesign. So if the monthly Adobe fee seems like too much, you can consider those less expensive alternatives.

      Premiere Pro is for editing multiple video clips into a single unified video title.

      After Effects is for creating 2D and 3D special effects and motion graphics. You would typically create specialized motion graphics in After Effects, and then add them to a video being edited in Premiere Pro. You can bring in a layered Photoshop or Illustrator file, and animate each layer individually.

      If you have more questions, feel free to reply. Good luck!

  2. Long time, Conrad

    Saw your video on LA in the time of Bladerunner. I see your eye is as amazing as it was in highschool.

    Peace, and hope you are doing what you love to do.

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