How To Export Images From Photoshop To Lightroom (And Back!)

Maybe you just opened an image from Lightroom into Photoshop, but your Photoshop edits aren’t being saved back in Lightroom. Or perhaps you started working in Photoshop and realized you want to bring your project over into Lightroom and feel like you’re too far gone. Luckily, it’s easy to export any image from Photoshop to Lightroom with this simple process.

To export a photo from Photoshop to Lightroom, go to File > Save A Copy in Photoshop. Save your image as a TIFF file and set the export location to a folder that is already imported in Lightroom. In Lightroom, click Import and select the folder that you exported the file to bring it into Lightroom.

Now, this might seem like a roundabout way of doing things, but you’ll learn why this is the only way later in the post. After that, you’ll discover a more streamlined way to open your Lightroom files in Photoshop (and vice versa), so you can use both apps to bring your vision to life. 

Let’s get started!

How To Export From Photoshop To Lightroom

Let’s say you started editing your project in Photoshop, and your image has never touched Lightroom yet. In that case, the best plan of attack is to save your Photoshop file to an existing Lightroom folder, then import it into Lightroom.

Step 1: In Photoshop, Go To File > Save A Copy

After you’ve finished working on your file in Photoshop, click File in the Menu Bar, then click Save a copy. In older versions of Photoshop, simply click “Save As.”

This will allow you to save your file in the format you desire to later be imported into Lightroom. Alternatively, you can use the Save a Copy feature by using the shortcut Alt + Control + S on Windows or Alt + Command + S on Mac. 

Step 2: Set Your Export Location To A Previously Imported Lightroom Folder

When you’re exporting your file from Photoshop, don’t save it in a random folder. Instead, save it in a designated folder that you’re already using in Lightroom. This way, it’s easier to find the photo you need to import into Lightroom to continue your editing. For this tutorial, a folder named Ps to Lr was used. 

Step 3: Choose An Export Format And Export From Photoshop

Additionally, while you can save your photo in any format, it’s good to save it in the TIFF format. This is because TIFF retains the most photo information, which works great for editing RAWs. However, as mentioned, this tutorial works for just about any photo format. 

To select the TIFF format, click the Save as type field. This will reveal a dropdown menu with a list of file types to choose from, TIFF will be at the bottom of that list. After you select TIFF, a popup window will appear in Photoshop showing you the settings for saving a TIFF file. Everything that you need will be automatically checked, so simply click okay to save your image as a TIFF file. 

Step 4: Open Lightroom

Once you’ve saved your image, open Lightroom on your desktop to begin importing your image. Although I am using Lightroom CC, these same steps apply to Lightroom Classic.

Step 5: Go To File > Import Photos And Video

To begin importing your photo, click the Add Photos button on the left-hand side of your screen, beneath the Menu Bar. Lightroom allows you to import multiple files at once, but for this tutorial, only one file will be used. 

If you don’t want to use the Add Photos button, you can also use the import shortcut Control + Shift + I on Windows or Command + Shift + I on Mac to import your photos. 

Step 6: Locate The Folder Your Photoshop Export Was Saved

After you’ve clicked the Add Photos button, a popup window will appear, so you can browse for your Photoshop export. Open the folder you saved the image in by double-clicking it or click it and then click the Review for Import button to open it 

Once you’ve opened the folder, select your image, then click Review for Import again to begin loading it into Lightroom. 

Step 7: Click Import

After you’ve loaded it into Lightroom for review before completing the import process, ensure the photo is selected with a tick on the box. Also, check at the top of the window to make sure that your imported photo is not added to an album. You can confirm this by checking where it says “Add to Album” and being sure that “None” is beside it. 

Afterward, click the Add X Photo (X being the placeholder for the number of photos you have selected)  to load it into Lightroom for further editing. 

You’ve Exported From Photoshop To Lightroom!

After you’ve imported your photo into Lightroom, you will see it appear in the film strip at the bottom. Simply click on it to enlarge it and begin working on it. If you’re new to editing photos in Lightroom, this post will get you up to speed!

How to Open Lightroom Files Into Photoshop

When you’re finished editing your image in Lightroom, you don’t have to save it and then reopen it in Photoshop. You can easily export it back to Photoshop for further editing.

First, right-click on the image and then click “Edit in Photoshop.” 

Lightroom will then open the image in Photoshop, so you can continue working on it. Even if you don’t have Photoshop open, this function will automatically start Photoshop and load the image. 

Alternatively, if you want to speed up your workflow, you can use the Edit in Photoshop shortcut, which is Control + Shift + E on Windows or Command + Shift + E on Mac.  

If you saved the file as TIFF (as mentioned before) or PSD then when you use the Edit in Photoshop function in Lightroom, you’ll have access to all the layers in Photoshop. This means you can go back and make corrections to any layers you may have created prior to exporting your photo from Photoshop to Lightroom. 

Once you’re done editing your photo in Photoshop, you don’t need to export it again if you need to do further editing in Lightroom. You can simply use the Save as function to update your existing file over in Lightroom. 

You can access the Save as function by clicking File > Save as. If you want to save time, you can use the shortcut, Shift + Control + S on Windows or Shift + Command + S on Mac. 

This will save the changes made in Photoshop and update the file in Lightroom without any additional importing. This only works because we started by choosing the “Edit In Photoshop” option inside of Lightroom. This really streamlines your workflow when you need to work between the two programs.

As you can see, exporting from Photoshop to Lightroom is a quick and easy process. And you can also open Lightroom files in Photoshop with ease too. Both apps work great together, which allows you to spend less time bouncing between the two and more time bringing your visions to life. To help you get a better understanding of the uses of each program and when to use them, see exactly why you should use Photoshop or Lightroom!

Happy Editing!

Article By

Brendan Williams

Hey, I'm Brendan! I'm a professional photographer and photo retoucher who has spent the majority of his career shooting or retouching outdoor lifestyle and social media campaigns for brands like G-Adventures, xoxo Bella, P&G, Fitbit, Chevy, Tourism California, and more. These days I primarily focus my efforts on this site, creating guides and tutorials that I wish I had earlier in my career. Each week I publish new tutorials on Photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Canva to help you unlock new skills and bring your creativity to new levels! Everything you learn here is backed by real experience, so you can finally skip the fluff and focus only on what matters.

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