Lightroom CC Updates
Most people know that I do most of my post-processing in Adobe Lightroom. It has some serious drawbacks, and I’ve been drawn to the Capture One side many times (we actually own a license!), but the workflow benefits and general compatibility and ubiquitousness just keep drawing me back. More on the LR vs Capture One Pro thing in another if you guys are interested (let me know in the comments). Alex and I have been using the the Lightroom Classic CC for a few weeks now. I’m sure many people have been wondering whether or not to update the software, and I just wanted to share some thoughts (with some of Alex’s opinions sprinkled in, too).

First off, we’re using Lightroom Classic CC, not the new Adobe Lightroom CC (which is what Lightroom Classic CC used to be named). It’s super confusing, but Adobe is making a big push toward cloud-based photo processing. The software is actually really slick, and the interface feels like a much-needed design overhaul to the classic Lightroom. If you’ve used Lightroom mobile on an iPad (we actually did our on-the-go processing on an iPad Pro for a while, but gave up with all the clunkiness), you’ll feel right at home. The software also feels more polished and less buggy, things seem to move a little faster. Beyond the interface, though, there are tons of problems that make Lightroom CC unsuitable from a professional standpoint. Lightroom CC’s main selling point is that it stores ALL of your photos (yes, the raw files) in the cloud, so that they’re accessible from any device. Super cool. What’s the problem? We shoot approximately 4 terabytes (4000 gigabytes) of photos a year. Uploading that kind of data to the internet would take ages. Then there’s price. If you’re on the Adobe Photography monthly plan, it has traditionally been $10/month for Lightroom and Photoshop. With the new updates, Adobe threw in 20 gigabytes of cloud storage. You can make that 1TB of storage if you pay $20/month, or you can forego Photoshop and Lightroom classic and only get the new Lightroom + 1TB of storage for $10/month. It’s an additional $10/month for each terabyte of extra storage. That adds up. 

Then there’s the software itself. We actually briefly considered trying it out for our actual workflow with food and weddings. Maybe if we archived our files regularly, we could make 1TB work. Then we realized that Lightroom CC (the new one), doesn’t have tone curves or split toning at all in the interface. What kind of professional photo editing program doesn’t have tone curves? You can even do that on the mobile iPhone/iPad version. Also, installing presets involves digging into a folder and copying them there manually, and those don’t sync across anything at all. You have to install on each computer you use. Adobe’s clearly positioning Lightroom CC (at least currently) as a consumer product. It’s just not ready for primetime.

Lightroom Classic CC. This update was focused on performance increases after years of people complaining that Lightroom is sluggish, and laggy (it was). Also they added the word Classic into the name to confuse everyone. Good news, Adobe delivered. Imports seem to run faster, preview building is wayyy faster, and exports are faster. There’s also less of that cogwheel animation of previews loading when you switch between photos. From what we can tell, Adobe just added a new Process Version 4 to speed things up (make sure you update all your presets to utilize this). All in all, it’s a few fractions of a second here and there, but they add up. And exports and preview building really are noticeably quicker (probably somewhere around 20-25% for us). We have heard from a few friends that LR Classic CC seems to crash more, but we haven’t noticed that (yet).

One more note for those not on the monthly plan, but bought the standalone Lightroom 6. Adobe’s released version 6.13 to include Nikon D850 support, but it looks like they really won’t be supporting that much anymore. We’ve seen a lot of debate about this, and it’s irritating to be paying Adobe a monthly fee instead of a one-time fee to own the software license, but leasing software is the trend. If you update your photo software once every year or two, Adobe CC seems to save you a little money.

We really updated to Lightroom Classic CC for two reasons: D850 support and the touted performance boosts. Adobe was able to give both of those. Our workflows haven’t improved dramatically by any means, but it’s a nice little boost. If you’re paying for an Adobe monthly plan, we’d recommend going through with the update.

I actually plan on doing a bigger Lightroom workflow and optimizations writeup if people are interested. Definitely let me know if that’s something you’d want, and if there are any specific questions/issues you have within Lightroom that I can make sure to include!