Lightroom to Photoshop Workflow: How to Bring your Image from Lightroom to Photoshop and Back

If you're an Adobe Lightroom user and also transfer your images into Photoshop, there is a best practice you can follow. This is especially true if you're using Mastin Labs presets.

Here, we'll detail how to quickly and easily take your image from Lightroom to Photoshop and back again while maintaining the quality of the image file and edit.


Before you go into photoshop, edit the image almost all the way. Follow the below checklist, editing in Lightroom up until the point of adding any grain to your image.

Checklist for a Mastin Labs Edit:

  • Apply Your Chosen Preset
  • Apply Lens Correction
  • Adjust Exposure (optional)
  • Adjust White Balance and Tint
  • Select Tone Profile (optional)
  • Bring to Photoshop (optional)
  • Bring back to Lightroom
  • Apply Grain (optional)
  • Make Crop (optional)

You'll notice in the edit list that you bring the image over to photoshop BEFORE any grain is applied. This is because if you were to apply the grain and then bring the image into Photoshop, whatever adjustments you make will most likely harm the structure of the grain. Adding the grain in Lightroom after you make your necessary Photoshop adjustments ensures that it will look even and natural.

How to Edit with Mastin Labs in Lightroom

Apply Preset

I went with the Ektar Preset from the Kodak Everyday pack for this one. I really enjoy how Ektar pops the color, especially the reds in the background.

Apply Lens Correction

This is an important step, and it's essential to make it before making any exposure adjustments. Not only does lens correction remove any distortion from your lens, but also vignetting. Depending on the lens you used, the vignette correction could make a huge difference and make your image much brighter! Always apply lens correction before exposure adjustments for this reason.

Adjust Exposure

If an exposure adjustment is needed, make it now. Most of the time, you'll be increasing exposure. This really depends on how you shoot, but most of us tend to underexpose with digital.

Adjust White Balance and Tint

Many people find this adjustment tricky, and if that's you, don't fret! Just keep practicing! Keep these general rules in mind for balancing temp and tint:

  • If the photo is a little cool, pull the temp slider toward yellow.
  • If it's a little warm, pull the temp slider toward blue.
  • If your subject's skin looks a little green, pull the tint slider toward magenta.
  • If it's a little magenta colored, pull the tint slider toward green.

Look closely at the shadows of your image when making these adjustments. They're usually the most telling areas. For a more in-depth overview of adjusting temperature and tint, check out this Live Edit with Kirk Mastin.

Select Tone Profile (optional)

The tone profiles found in Mastin Labs' presets are yet another way that the presets emulate actual films so well. When scanning film with a professional Fuji lab scanner, there are options for tone correction.

Those options include:

  • all hard
  • all soft
  • highlight hard
  • highlight soft
  • shadow hard
  • shadow soft

You'll find these same correction options within each Mastin Labs preset. While they are entirely optional, they add a strong element to your editing. You can learn more about tone profiles in this Live Edit Video Replay.

Bring to Photoshop (optional)

If you intend to do any editing in Photoshop, you should move the image over to the program now before proceeding any further in your Lightroom edit. To move the image directly from Lightroom, right-click on the image and select Edit> Edit in Adobe Photoshop.

Lightroom will automatically open Photoshop and bring your RAW file, with adjustments, over to edit.

Bring Back to Lightroom

Once you're done making your adjustments in Photoshop, save the file by going to File > Save.

Unless you have directed Photoshop to do otherwise, the program will default to saving your image as a PSD file and will automatically send it back to Lightroom.

You will see the new file right next to your RAW file in Lightroom. From this point, you will finish your editing on the new PSD file.

Apply Grain (Optional)

If you're going to apply grain, now is the time to do so. Making sure to select the newly imported image from Photoshop, choose whichever grain profile you would like and apply.

Make a Crop (Optional)

Any crop adjustments should also be made to the new PSD file. Once finished, this file will be your final image and ready for export.

That's it! The reason for walking through most of your edits before any Photoshop work is that Lightroom presets react differently (and not as well) to PSD and TIFF files than they do to RAW files. Making the bulk of your edits on a RAW image allows you to use all of the information stored within it.

Following this procedure will ensure that your images stay neat, clean, and of the highest quality.

If you have any questions or comments, you can always post them below. Also, join us in the Mastin Labs Facebook community! It's a very active community and is full of wonderful folks that love to help each other out. We'd love to have you as a part of it!