Photoshop Express vs Lightroom | Which One is for You?

Photoshop Express and Lightroom Icon
Photoshop Express vs Lightroom

The debate between Photoshop Express vs Lightroom has been going on for about the past decade, as this is how old Lightroom is. For digital photographers, both offer great features, functions, and online tools for editing. But, you want to know whether to invest in Photoshop Express or Lightroom, based upon your photography needs. Let’s delve into each program.

Key Differences: Photoshop Express vs Lightroom

Let’s begin by taking a look at three primary differences in these two programs before breaking each one down a bit further.


End-to-end workflow solutions are where Lightroom takes the cake over Photoshop Express. The program’s primary function is to meet the needs of enthusiasts and professionals alike and performs several workflow tasks. Some of these include

  • Organising
  • Editing
  • Importing photos from memory cards
  • Sharing and printing

However, Lightroom also has keyword support and virtual folders so that you can maintain track of your favourite images accordingly. It even makes photo books and slideshows for you.

This is an aspect where Photoshop Express is lacking, and it doesn’t perform any of these functions. It’s not as streamlined, it doesn’t organise as well, and it makes file sharing a nightmare, in comparison to Lightroom.

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File handling

Lightroom doesn’t edit photos or move them around; instead, all changes made by users are kept within their catalogue. Lightroom keeps a log of edits in your catalogue, but the original photo remains intact.

Photoshop Express operates differently here. When editing an image, you’re always working on the original file unless a PSD file is saved. The PSD file is a downgrade in resolution but does maintain the changes you made. The primary difference is with Lightroom all changes are saved in the catalogue; with Photoshop Express, you have to keep separate files from managing.

Check out: Adobe Photoshop Express Tutorial, Intro, and Features (2020)

Editing tools

Photoshop Express is the clear winner here. It features

  • Numerous filters and brushstrokes
  • Different layers
  • Contrast and lighting edits
  • Brightness settings and adjustment panels

Lightroom doesn’t offer nearly as much in terms of editing. Editing with Lightroom is quick and easy. With Photoshop Express, you have multiple layers, filters, tools, image situation editing options, and more.

These are three areas in which the primary differences are seen in the Photoshop Express vs Lightroom debate.

Photoshop Express

Photoshop is a digital darkroom. It’s great for amateurs and pros and features cool editing tools like the healing brush tool and adjustment layers. With Photoshop Express, you can place images in meta folders and add descriptive metadata for file saving and sharing purposes. One of the primary complaints is that you can only work on one photo at a time, and the editing is a bit complicated for beginners.

You can utilise the program on iOS and Android platforms. Some features you can utilise with smartphone apps include

  • Resising images and cropping out edits
  • Light adjustments
  • Adjusting pixel settings
  • Change shadows, highlights, and contrast angles
  • Saturate, clarify, sharpen, or reduce noise

The same editing features on the desktop app, are all available on the iOS and Android app for different devices. So, if you’re taking photos on the go and want to edit immediately, this is a great function offered by Photoshop Express. It also allows you to add text to photos, correct red-eye, remove blemishes, add in watermarks, and eliminate blur in photos.

Although it is a little more complicated for beginners, Photoshop Express is the gold-standard in photo editing. The pricing today is about $10 per month, and you can use it on a pay-as-you-go program. So, you can no longer pay an upfront, one-time fee for lifetime use. It is an excellent option; however, if you don’t take photos or need to edit them frequently, you can only pay monthly, for the duration that you require the program.

Watch: 10 Best free photo editing Apps (video)


If you like the ease of use, this is the program to choose. It’s the younger brother and has a fresher look. It’s accessible, fun to edit with, and you can share images on Facebook and Flickr. This is a definite selling point for younger users who like social media.

It utilises a library-style system to save edits. So, you can view multiple forms of your images, all in one place; this isn’t possible with Photoshop Express. A major drawback is in the editing; Lightroom doesn’t offer nearly as many tools as Photoshop does. If you’re a beginner in photography, however, who doesn’t have that crisp eye for detail just yet, this is a great tool to help you learn the editing process and create nice looking digital shots.

Lightroom features an intuitive interface, allows you to create presets to save time, and quickly transfer adjustments in your catalogue. Graduated filters and crop overlay tools are also a nice addition, and the web export tool is something younger users, who like sharing everything, will truly appreciate.

Like Photoshop Express, with Lightroom, you pay monthly. The price is the same, at $10 per month, so if the price is the major decision-making or breaking aspect, it’s a personal choice between the two programs, as the pricing is the same.

Check out: Adobe Photoshop Tutorial for Beginners – Step By Step Tutorial

App details

Compared to Photoshop Express, Lightroom has positive reviews on both the stores. Another fact is, Photoshop Express app occupies more storage than Lightroom on iOS as well as on Android. Adobe Photoshop is more popular, which is also the reason for more downloads than Lightroom.

Photoshop ExpressLightroom

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Which one is right for You?

Well, the final part of Photoshop Express vs Lightroom is which one is for you? Ultimately, it’s a personal decision, and possibly a generational one. For those who like the original, Photoshop Express wins. It’s the gold standard. You know you’re getting quality, precision, and unparalleled use of editing tools. It is, however, more complicated to use. If you are a beginner or novice, it will require a learning curve, and use of Adobe and other tools over time to perfect the craft.

If ease of use, simplicity, social sharing, and the option to edit multiple photos at once is what you seek, Lightroom is the winner. It’s effortless to use, and there’s virtually no learning curve. If you want more editing tools, filters, cropping, and more exacting detail, or if you are a more advanced photographer, you might opt for Photoshop Express. And, with the same price point, this aspect really won’t edge out one program over the other if you’re trying to find a more affordable option.

It’s the debate of new versus old. Both offer great features, function, and editing. If you’re a purist who wants excellent editing and sharpness, Photoshop Express is it. For those who want new, fresh, and zero-guesswork, go with Lightroom. I hope the article helped you pick your ideal app. Let me know what do you think of both in the comments below.

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