The Born approximation and the Kirchhoff approximation are two frameworks that are extensively used in solving seismic migration/inversion problems. Both approximations assume a linear relationship between the primary reflected/scattered data to the corresponding physical model. However, different approximations result in different behaviors. For least-squares reverse time migration (LSRTM), most of the algorithms are constructed based on Born approximation. We have constructed a pair of Kirchhoff modeling and migration operators based on the Born modeling operator and the connection between the perturbation model and the reflectivity model, and then we compared the different performances between Born and Kirchhoff operators for LSRTM. Numerical examples on Marmousi model and SEAM 2D salt model indicate that LSRTM with Kirchhoff operators is a better alternative to that with Born operators for imaging complex structures. To reduce the computational cost, we also investigate a strategy by restricting the propagation of the background wavefield to a stopping time rather than the maximum recording time. And this stopping time can be chosen as half of the maximum recording time. This computational strategy can be used in LSRTM procedures of predicting the primary reflected data, calculating the step length, and computing the gradient. Theoretical analyses and numerical experiments are given to justify this computational strategy for LSRTM.

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