Lightroom or Photoshop, Which Is Better for Real Estate Image Editing?

As a real estate photographer, the right photo editing software can make or break your visual marketing efforts. Lightroom and Photoshop are two powerhouse programs from Adobe, each with its own strengths and weaknesses when it comes to enhancing real estate imagery. 

Whether you need to quickly batch process hundreds of photos or meticulously retouch every detail, understanding the capabilities of these tools is crucial for producing stunning listings that captivate potential buyers. 

In this article, we'll dive deep into the battle between Lightroom and Photoshop, exploring their key features, strengths, and ideal use cases for real estate photography.

Lightroom vs Photoshop for Real Estate Photos: Which Is Better?

Looking at today's available real estate image editing software, we have two main ones: Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, both being products of Adobe. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. The arguable point though is, what are the differences, and which one is better for real estate photography?

A living room with furniture

What Is the Difference?

When looking at both products by Adobe, it may be confusing at first as the distinctions are not as straightforward and obvious as you would like. For example, both Lightroom and Photoshop can open RAW files. 

Both Lightroom and Photoshop are industry-standard programs that allow you to manipulate exposure and color balance. Let’s examine their differences in detail. 


Adobe Photoshop has been around for three decades, providing a household name for editing in general. In the real estate photography editing process, Photoshop offers a set of editing tools that allow a professional photographer to make extreme manipulations. 

There are enough tools to make the learning process go on for a long time, but the end result will undoubtedly be richer. Furthermore, Photoshop gives the user more control over the changes, helping the most minute changes happen with very specific tools for the job.


On the other hand, Lightroom offers a more basic set of tools to work with. It has the basics such as color correction and white balance, correction of perspectives, curves, and brush tools. What is unique about Lightroom is the fact that it is built to help you organize your files. 

It allows non-destructive editing by keeping the original photos untouched. Instead, it produces an enhanced image separately. This gives you a chance to go back to the raw photos for any reason you may need to.

How to Choose Between Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

When it comes to editing real estate photos, the decision between using Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop ultimately depends on your specific needs and workflow. Both programs are incredibly powerful and capable of producing stunning imagery, but they excel in different areas. 

Lightroom is designed as an all-in-one photo management and editing solution, while Photoshop is a more comprehensive image manipulation tool with advanced retouching and compositing capabilities.

Before diving into the details of each program, it's important to understand that Lightroom and Photoshop are not mutually exclusive. Many professional photographers use them in tandem, taking advantage of Lightroom's efficient organization and batch editing tools, while turning to Photoshop for more complex edits and compositing work. 

The choice often comes down to the type of edits required, the volume of photos to process, and personal preferences in terms of workflow and interface.


There are a lot of reasons why Photoshop is still the go-to real estate image editing software. It offers a wide array of tools that allows micro adjustments as well as macro level changes.

Full Scale Editing

This means that if a photo needs to be corrected for a color cast, Photoshop gets the job done and it also can retouch the smaller items such as blemishes, shadows, and removing/adding objects. Staging is also possible with all the cropping and lasso tools available through the software.

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Layers and Stitching

Photoshop allows you to open several images all at once. It stacks them in layers and allows photo editing to take place for a certain portion of a photo on any one single layer. The advantage of this is that it allows you to work on a layer independently and avoid messing up your current canvas of work. 

Stitching is also achievable in Photoshop with all the tools at your disposal. The stitching can be achieved seamlessly and be made to appear as if the edges are conjoined using blur tools or smudge tools. 


Lightroom is definitely not behind when in the running for software of choice for professional editing. It just has a different primary function but can still do intricate edits on your images. Lightroom is also a beginner’s choice as a real estate image editing software due to its simpler interface. 

You can learn the basics of photo editing without being overwhelmed. Generally, it plays around with the foundational enhancements such as color, warmth, sharpness, and exposure. It also preserves the raw image. For a beginner, this is a great option.  

The software comes with a catalog feature. As the name suggests, this helps you organize your photos. You can sort and group. The catalog contains management tools such as tagging photos, rating, and searching select images through keywords. You can also edit multiple photos at once.

Other Software Options Apart From Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

Adobe doesn't hand out their software for free. They offer subscriptions through the Creative Cloud service. It's like a Netflix for creative software, with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop being two of the headliners. 

Not all real estate photographers love this pricing. Adobe is not a monopoly, though. There are competing applications out there. So, consider the following alternatives if you’re one of those real estate photographers and want something other than Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

  • Snapseed: This is the best software for beginners. It's totally free and available on both Android and iOS. There is no need for a Ph.D. in photo editing. Snapseed is super user-friendly. You can adjust brightness, contrast, color balance, and sharpness. Still, you can remove unwanted distractions with the healing tool.  
  • DxO PhotoLab: This software has a massive database of cameras and lenses. It uses this knowledge to automatically apply corrections for lens distortion and noise reduction. The downside: DxO PhotoLab isn't free. 
  • Luminar: Lumar, especially the latest Luminar Neo, uses artificial intelligence to automate common editing tasks. For instance, it automatically adjusts exposure and white balance and helps with sky replacement. It features editing tools like Accent AI 2.0 that brightens up dark interiors and HDR Merge that combines multiple exposures. Still, it’s not free.
  • Capture One: Capture One is a direct alternative to Lightroom. It has high-level color editing capabilities, granular control over white balance and local adjustments, and excels at tethered shooting. The downsides are a high price tag and a steeper learning curve. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Best Photo Editing Software for Real Estate Photography?

The best editing software for real estate photography is Lightroom. It’s easy to use, has comprehensive editing tools, and offers efficient workflow for batch processing.

Is It Better to Edit Photos in Lightroom or Photoshop?

Lightroom is great for photo adjustments and batch processing, while Photoshop offers more advanced editing and retouching. It depends on what you want.

What Is the Best Format for Real Estate Photos?

The best format for real estate images is JPEG, once the images are edited. It offers a good balance between image quality and file size, making it easy to share and view online.

Can You Photoshop Real Estate Photos?

Yes, you can edit real estate images using Photoshop to enhance their appearance and correct imperfections. For example, you can remove blemishes on walls and unwanted objects on the ground. 


Lightroom might be the one for you if you’re just getting started with editing. The learning curve is not steep if you are a beginner in real estate image editing. The organization and management provides you a great way of getting everything together. 

Photoshop is the software of choice for professional real estate editors. It can perform micro adjustments and complex manipulations. However, use both Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop for the right set of enhancements.  

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