Lightroom CC: A toy for consumers, not a tool for photographers

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  • Updated 6 months ago
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I have taken my time and really tried to like Lightroom CC before posting this.  It's hard because I have been a long time user of Adobe Products and, although I have lived with bugs and blunders, I have never outright slammed Adobe like I'm about to.

I have used Lightroom since Beta.   Lightroom is where 95% of my photography workflow lives - the remaining 5% is Photoshop, but I still access the photos through Lightroom.  I have a great system that lets me use and sync my Lightroom catalogs on multiple computers (Thank You One Drive).  I keep an 8TB NAS on site and access the full resolution photos from it.  On top of that, I back everything up to Amazon Glacier in case of a catastrophic failure or natural disaster.

Because of my setup, Lightroom CC intrigued me.  A place to both store my files and edit them with a professional tool.  Then I actually tried to use it and wondered why Adobe is even calling this product Lightroom.

This is not Lightroom - this is a toy.  Something for consumers and amateurs.  This is not the robust, full featured product that Adobe now brands as "Lightroom Classic"  as if the people that use it are not forward thinking individuals, but dinosaurs relegated to extinction.

Lightroom CC is closer to Apple Aperture than it is to Lightroom "Classic"  It's "elegant" interface is clearly aimed at smartphone users.  It's "smart/AI/Machine learning" Search tool is nice, but lacks the intelligence of the photographer that shot the image, so tagging is still a necessity.  The tools that professional photographers rely on in the Develop module have been dumbed down into cute icons and presets.  Plus - with the lack of a printing module - Adobe is clearly targeting people that will never print their photos.

I could continue to rant, but since I do not like being entirely negative, I will ask Adobe to re-think their Product naming.  Lightroom CC is NOT Lightroom.  It should not have a name that confuses what Lightroom is and should always be.  A professional tool for cataloging and managing one's entire workflow from digital negative to print.

Rebrand Lightroom CC - Lightroom Elements Cloud would be more appropriate.  Brand this for the people it is intended for - consumers.  And while we're at it, Don't brand REAL Lightroom as "Classic"  it's demeaning to the professionals that will continue to use it on a daily basis.
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Richard Snow

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Posted 7 months ago

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Dave Roberts

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What can I say, totally agree and thank you for your considered posting.
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stripeyjumper

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I disagree I'm afraid!  We consumers aren't always simple folk who like "dumbed down" software, we've just got a different set of requirements and a different workflow.

I appreciate having a streamlined browsing UI, with most of the same image editing options from the old Lightroom.  It's great having my images available everywhere, without wrestling with my own storage setup.

On the other hand, you're dead right that the branding is confusing, because it's clearly a very different product than the old Lightroom, and not aimed at the same people.  If they had done a better job of explaining things, they might have avoided p*****g off the professionals who need the advanced features.
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Shunsuke Samuel Sumitani

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Except now, I get to deal with the pleasure of paying an additional $10/mo for the "privilege" of using the "Classic" version.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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No you don't. The photographers plan with Lightroom Classic and Photoshop is still the same $10/month. You only pay an additional $10 per month if you want 1 TB storage rather than 20 GB.
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Shunsuke Samuel Sumitani

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This wasn’t an option when I first signed up - it was either 9.99 for the new CC, or 19.99 for Classic + CC. Now that my library has been migrated over to the new CC, and I just spent the last month uploading the library, what am I going to do? Migrate back?
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Richard Snow

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Depends on your situation.  Personally, I only uploaded a few GB of photos to the new CC to test and find out if I liked it.  After about a month, of bouncing between "New" Lightroom CC and "Classic" Lightroom CC, I simply migrated my full catalog to "Classic" - it only took about 35 minutes to update/convert my entire catalog.
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Jao van de Lagemaat

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Shusuke you should call adobe and complain you were mislead into the wrong subscription and that you really want the standard 9.99 Lightroom Classic + Photoshop package because the Cc only doesn’t work for you but you dodn’t Realize this wasn’t the real Lightroom. The old standard package is still available as it was before. If you don’t use the cloud features you don’t need 1TB.
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Jao van de Lagemaat

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>Lightroom CC is closer to Apple Aperture than it is to Lightroom "Classic"

I don't agree. Aperture was far more full featured and rich than Lightroom CC. Aperture was closer to Classic. Heck even the cloud based Apple Photos is more full-featured than Lightroom CC. It prints, it can change capture dates, etc. 

Lightroom CC is a nice little experiment in my opinion and sort of fun to play with but it is far from a professional tool. I really wish they did not change the name to a product that already exists and that has a reputation of being a fully-fledged tool. There are so many people that download and Lightroom CC and are utterly lost because everything changed and every feature they use is missing. That could all have been avoided by better naming.
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Richard Snow

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Understood where you are coming from with my comparison to Aperture - might have been a poor comparison, but I was referring to the target audience rather than the features.
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Dan Donovan

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Adobe has made it clear that LRCC is a Version 1 product and they will be working hard to bring the feature set closer to LR Classic over the next year.  They have also said that serious LR users should stick with LR Classic and TRY OUT (not migrate to) LRCC to see if it can be a part of your workflow, in one way or another.

Personally, I am a commercial photographer and use Capture One to process my raw files.  However, I am trying out LRCC to manage my final images.  Overall, it is working out very well!  I really have the best of both worlds: a high quality and fast way to process raw files, plus the benefits of Adobe's cloud to manage the final photos.  It is SO NICE to have all of my recent photos (commercial, fine art, stock and personal) available to me on any device...and backed-up!  And oh yeah, the search ability of Sensei!  I am also going back in time to add other important images to LRCC.  I have figured out how to make the Lightroom ecosystem a valuable tool and am excited about the future of LRCC!
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Richard Snow

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While I understand that Adobe is saying this is a "Version 1" Product, I'm not sure you remember what Lightroom 1 was like.  While it was clunky and slow, it still had the majority of the features I still use today.  Lightroom CC should not be considered a "Version 1" - more like an "Alpha"

Glad it's working for you, but I cannot see how a commercial photographer can even afford to have their photos in Adobe's $10/TB/month cloud.

As for Sensei - may be nice for your purposes, but for me it just doesn't work.  Today it's smart enough to find "shoes" or "waterfalls", but at this point it cannot differentiate between "Arethusa Falls" and "Angel Falls", which is what I need it to do.  Tagging is still required.

As for your photos being available on any device, this can be achieved in many different ways at this point - and I'll never use an uncalibrated phone or tablet to make photo edits - again Adobe is aiming this at people that don't print and only want to "play" with their photos to make them just good enough for social media and web.  I cannot see how it will ever be part of my workflow or the workflow of the majority of photographers.
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MonkeyMe

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I'm  totally with you, Richard! As much as I appreciate that this former mobile version which was built into Lightroom (Classic) is now transformed to Lightroom CC, this version 1 is still under construction and it's absolutely nothing to work with as a professional or ambitioned photographer. It's more or less a companion desktop app for the iOS version of Lightroom in my eyes. Besides, I wasn't able to get Lightroom CC running on neither of my three Macs, one running macOS 10.13.1 and the Macs for production still unter macOS 10.12. Although I'm signed in with CC desktop app, Lr CC says I'm not in the preferences dialog but is offering me a "sign out"-button in the top right corner. I will stick with Lightroom Classic and forget about this toy.
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Dan Donovan

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Richard, I totally understand why you are not happy with LRCC for your work.  But, I just want people to see how I have been able to make it a part of my workflow.  I feel some additional info is in order.  I don't plan to put all of my photos in the Adobe cloud.  After preparing my photos in Capture One, I export my final photos mostly as high quality JPGs (quality of 11 out of 12 or 90 out of 100) and deliver those to clients.  Instead of deleting the JPGs once delivered, I am now putting the JPGs into LRCC.  Looking back at the last 10 years, I have delivered over 200,000 final edited photos to clients.  The space they have taken up is about 700gb.  So, the 1tb plan is reasonable to start out.  These photos have been prepared on a calibrated monitor and are ready to use.  So, I am using the LR ecosystem primarily for distribution and back-up.  The RAW files stay on my hard drives.  Hope this gives people some ideas!
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Richard Snow

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Ahh - I see how you are using it now, but it seems like a lot to spend simply on a distribution solution.

Personally, I distribute JPEGs through my web site, which includes unlimited storage for jpg and jpeg format photos.  I cannot, however, use them to store .DNG or .NEF without an added cost.  The cost for the whole solution is about $160/year, but that includes site hosting, e-commerce, and direct shipping to clients from my online labs, so I consider the .jpeg storage "free" 
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Dan Donovan

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I bet you use Zenfolio!  That is what I have been using for the past 10 years.  It has worked well for delivering my JPGs and TIFs.  My commercial clients only download the files, so I really do not need the e-commerce aspect.  I like what Adobe is trying to do and feel it will provide me more flexibility, so I am giving it a chance.
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Richard Snow

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Bingo - I do use Zenfolio :)
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Dan Donovan

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Zenfolio has been fantastic.  Really no issues over 10 years.
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Jao van de Lagemaat

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Dan, you seem to be the ideal person for a cloud solution to store your jpegs. I do wonder though why LR? LR is really built around the raw conversion engine and if you're not using that, it is just a cloud storage system not very different from Google photos, dropbox photos, Apple Photos, etc. all at much lower price per TB than Adobe's cloud and more versatile in keywording mapping, etc.
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Dan Donovan

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You are correct Jao, there are definitely a variety of online storage options out there.  In order to access the latest version of Photoshop, I have been a Photography Plan member.  So, it will cost me additional $10 per month for 1tb of cloud storage.  I believe $10 for 1tb of online storage is the going rate these days.

Looking at the big picture, I believe Adobe and LRCC will be better positioned in the future to help me as a professional photographer.  For instance, creating a book, slideshow or making prints will be perfect for my finished files (when those are added to LRCC).  And I'm sure keywording functionality will improve over time as well.  Also, it will be great to have access to Lightroom tools in order to make minor adjustments to photos when needed.

I realize LRCC is not there yet, but I am willing to have patience as it grows.
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Richard Snow

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Actually - $10/TB is fairly high.
Consider this:

Microsoft includes 1TB of storage in their $69/year personal edition of Office365
OR 5TB in their $100/year Office 365 Home (and you get full versions of MS office in that cost)

Amazon Cloud Drive is $69.99/year for unlimited Storage

Dropbox and Google Drive are stuck in the stone age at 1TB for $10/month

And, if you're using your online storage strictly for backup, you can consider Amazon Glacier at $4/month/1TB 
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Dan Donovan

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Thanks for the updated info.  I like the potential of the Adobe system for photography, but will definitely keep the others in mind if needed.
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Selondon

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For Apple and Google Photos, the price for 1TB (ok, you get 2TB with Apple) is similar to LrCC.

These are the Cloud Storage solutions that interested parties are ‘advised’ to use on many Lightroom forums and articles, as opposed to LrCC.

Whilst I completely understand why most traditional Lightroom users are unhappy (with good reason), turning customers away from a good product, that will only get better, seems, in some cases out of spite for Adobe..... almost wanting LrCC to fail.
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Jao van de Lagemaat

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Google photos is free and unlimited for images below 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p. Above that it is indeed $10/TB. Apple photos is half the prize and includes raw storage. Amazon drive is far cheaper. I don’t want Adobe to fail. But I am curious about the marketing message with the very unfortunate choice of naming.