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How to Photo Merge in Photoshop from Lightroom CC

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Have you ever been bungee jumping? Is there a moment where for a split second you feel like a complete idiot that might go splat? Obviously, I’ve never been bungee jumping because just standing in the vicinity of a ledge makes my hands sweaty. The closest I’ve felt to that terrifying, existential crisis is when I tried to figure out how to merge photos in Photoshop via Lightroom CC. I know, dramatic.

Anyway, one of my early day laments about CC was that it didn’t support photo merging and there was no easy way to send photos to Photoshop without exporting them as a jpeg or using the original raw file. A few updates ago, photo merging got added as a feature and then “edit in photoshop” popped up as an option. I like how Lightroom CC continuously gets better but it drives me low key crazy how little documentation there is about new features.

I wanted to use the “edit in photoshop” feature to create interior composite images. So I sent 4 images to photoshop, combined the images, made my edits and then could not for the life of me figure out how to get my final image back into Lightroom CC. I wanted to make a few additional stylistic changes in Lightroom CC.

This was part of a larger series of images I worked on for  the opening of Francois Frankie .

This was part of a larger series of images I worked on for the opening of Francois Frankie.

Obviously, I turned to Google for help and went down a rabbit hole of Adobe forums. If you go down this same rabbit hole, you’ll learn that Lightroom CC creates a temporary file while you’re working on your Photoshop edits. At first I thought that was sort of helpful but there’s really nothing you can do with that file, so not actually helpful.


Okay, so here’s how things work with the Lightroom CC and Photoshop link. You can send photos from Lightroom CC to photoshop via the “edit in photoshop” option when you right click on a photo in Lightroom CC. From there, the image opens in photoshop. You can make whatever edits in Photoshop. I always move all images into one photoshop file and whatever image I move things to and save will be the one that later imports in Lightroom CC. You can’t create a new Photoshop file and save to Lightroom CC. You have to work within one of the files that you sent over from CC.


Once you’re done with all edits in Photoshop, hit “save” and close the window (this is the part where I felt existential dread and wondered if I was an idiot about to lose half an hour of work). After a few painful moments (the example GIF below is sped up just fyi), Lightroom CC will show that it’s importing information from Photoshop. Your Photoshop stuff will then pop into whatever image you were working in over in Lightroom CC. For me most of the files appear as TIF files but I’ve had them pop up as Photoshop files a few times.

Sending images to Lightroom CC from Photoshop

At this stage, I generally make final edits in Lightroom CC and export. One thing to keep in mind, the TIF and Photoshop (they’ll say PSD) files are HUGE. I organize my Lightroom CC by projects (which are done) and current projects (which are in progress). Whenever I’m finished with a project, with final approvals and all that, I delete the TIF and PSD files and move the overall project files to my projects folder. When I “save” my photoshop files and am about to close out to send files back to CC, I always “save as” an additional copy on an external hard drive. This backup won’t link back into CC, so as much as possible I try to have the images as close to complete as possible when I start editing in Photoshop. With my projects albums, after about 6 months, I archive them along with the backed up original photoshop files.

same same but different