Using Save As with Lightroom Classic and Photoshop

Mission Mountains, Montana

Lightroom Classic's Develop module contains powerful sliders for adjusting the overall photo. However, the Spot Removal Tool or the Adjustment Brush are not always adequate for getting rid of larger blemishes than dust spots or changing complex portions of the image. In those situations, we can have Lightroom Classic create a copy of our picture (usually a PSD or TIFF format file) and open it in Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements) where we can take advantage of more advanced clean-up and selection tools.

In the past, it was challenging to return the edited image back to Lightroom Classic's catalog. We needed to be sure not to change the file name or the file type of the copy Lightroom Classic had created. If we did, the image we had edited with Photoshop's tools would not be added to the catalog when we closed it in Photoshop. So the approved workflow for combining Lightroom Classic and Photoshop was to choose an image from our Lightroom Classic catalog, tell Lightroom to edit a copy with Lightroom Adjustments in Photoshop, Save the image (not Save As) and close the file. Then we would see a second copy of the picture in our Library next to the original file.

In the screen shots below, you can see the original raw file I edited in the Develop module. The pond was a muddy brown where the reflection appeared and there was a large clump of grass intruding into the lower left corner of the picture. I selected Photo > Edit In > Edit In Adobe Photoshop 2020 to have Lightroom Classic make a copy of the raw file in PSD file format, add "-Edit" to the file name and open it in Photoshop. There I selected the water to change the color to blue and used the Content Aware Fill command to remove the grasses. When I was finished, I chose File > Save and File > Close in Photoshop. These two steps saved my changes in the PSD file with "-Edit" at the end and added it to the catalog next to the original image.

Edited raw file (left) and Photoshop edited file (right)

Original grass (left) removed in Photoshop (right)

Edited raw file (left) next to the Photoshop file (right) in the Library module

Recently, Adobe has made changes to this "Save and Close" process of doing additional editing in Photoshop. We can now use the Save As command to change the file name and/or the file format of a picture that came from Lightroom Classic.* The edited photo is added to the catalog and saved in the same folder as the original image. This works whether we start with a raw, TIFF or JPEG original. And we can save the copy in a JPEG or PNG format, as well as PSD or TIFF. We can even change the original file name to a completely different name and file type, and it still is added to the catalog.

Original JPG file (left) and renamed PNG file format created in Photoshop (right)

Original JPG (left) next to renamed PNG sepia copy (right) in the Library

We can also put the image copy in a different folder (that Lightroom Classic knows about) and it appears in the catalog under "All Photographs" next to its original (as long as you are sorting by Capture Time).

In the pictures below, I created a black & white JPEG copy of the raindrops in a leaf with a new name, but I saved it to a different folder than the original TIF image. So the black & white version is not visible in the original folder, but it is visible next to the original picture when I view the Library in All Photographs mode.

Black & White JPG copy not visible in the original folder

Black & White JPG copy visible in All Photographs view

So we no longer need to worry about choosing Save or Save As when we want to preserve the additional editing we do in Photoshop. And we can even change the file name and folder location. In all these cases, the edited photo is automatically added to Lightroom Classic's catalog and appears in the Library module.

*Note: These techniques were tested with Lightroom Classic version 9.2.1 and Photoshop
version 21.1.2. If you use an earlier version of Lightroom Classic (particularly version 6 or earlier), you may not have this flexibility.