Lightroom Classic CC: Branding a total catastrophe

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I've used Photoshop since v1.0 in 1990, and Lightroom for some years. I've also been a professional software dev and product manager for 25 years.

It makes a great deal of sense to me that Adobe would introduce a prosumer-oriented, cloud-based photo cataloging and editing application natively supporting mobile workflows. The overly simple slant of Apple Photos and others have left plenty of room for a capable and scalable app+platform targeting less-casual users.

However it's inconceivable to me that Adobe would not see the branding catastrophe of calling that "Lightroom". The announcement video in which Julieanne Kost lays out the differences and argues with a straight face that it "works for both professionals and amateurs" feels tone-deaf, bordering on disingenuous.

Classic" is akin to saying "Yesteryear." It smells like "end of life" and will most surely discourage new professional adoption. It also telegraphs to existing users that this tool, central to so many pro workflows, may not be there in the future. No amount of forum-reply assurances "we plan to keep both forever" can overcome the implication that senior-management focus may have shifted toward greater consumer orientation and that Adobe is paving the way for abandonment of a key pro app.

The language in Kost's video backs this up: unadorned "Lightroom Classic" vs "the All-New Lightroom CC", and so forth throughout, providing a contrapunctal narrative in which at every turn "Classic" represents the old, the manual, the difficult, and the new app (how do I even reference it separate from Classic? I already use "Lightroom CC" (2015), but now "Lightroom CC" is a completely different application. Do I write "Not Classic"? or just ""?) represents the agility and ease of the cloud- and mobile-empowered future.

I happen to come from an industry (feature animation) that got to the cloud long before most, we just didn't call it that in 2005. But in 2017, master data in that industry is still well too large and sensitive to live in public server farms. It's kept on-premises and backed up "manually" as Kost puts it. I have 500 GB of LR master images on an SSD here. I know many LR users have multiple TB of master images. How does Ms. Kost propose one would move those to "the cloud"?

Either Adobe intends to end-of-life Lightroom as a pro app, in which case I'm disappointed, or it doesn't but somehow didn't realize this branding would telegraph such an intent, which would be astonishing.

I hope it's the latter. If so, "Lightroom CC" (the new one, not the one I already have installed) should be given an entirely different name. Or, just call a spade a space: "Classic" is "Pro", and the new one isn't.
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Dan Herman

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Posted 2 years ago

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Dimitrios Matsoulis

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Complete agree, the "classic" part makes me feel very suspicious. I would love to have cloud features in the LR we all know and use instead of getting with classic vs CC comparison nonsense.
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Photo Studio TNK

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I fully agree!
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Gary Rowe

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Nailed it, thanks. I totally agree with this, Something being a 'Classic' is often used as an excuse for when things don't work as you'd expect .. "well, it is a classic" (meaning, please excuse its foibles, it is old and not as fancy as current stuff, you know ...).

37 yrs in s/w development & architecture, and have been with all versions of Lightroom (perpetual license ;) since Raw Shooter.
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I am very concerned as well.  This is not aimed at pro photogs, but more at the amateur.  The pros, with their larger files, and more of them, will be hurt by this new version.  Not to mention those that pay for data ...
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Brian D. Tucker

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Nowhere does she address the issue of limited (metered) bandwidth and the costs associated with that. And how about letting the user store and access their "CC" files from cloud services we already may have subscribed to? 20GB to "try it out" is nothing near what is needed and the unspoken message is that there will be additional storage costs when the 20GB limit is reached. "Classic" is newspeak for on its way out. A major marketing fumble on the part of Adobe. I just don't believe the reassuring words.
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Alessandro Castagnini

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Disagree... the CC version is there since “forever” (for who was using the cloud already like myself), now Adobe, simply released a desktop app as well.
Furthermore, in CC will go whatever you decide to put there for mobile use (if needed, otherwise you’ll keep things in the classic only as usually) via the collections.
For me a priceless service: I’m always around and my wife shows pics to the client on iPad or I simply send them a private web link. They put all the stars, flags, comments they want and in real time I have their choice on my MAC and LR Classic...
We need to use things for what they’ve been built for ... not complain all the time :)
My two cents, of course...
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My thoughts exactly. This was a big disappointment, and for me it's clear that I need to start looking for an alternative to everything Adobe. The "Classic" app might live another year or two, but it doesn't  look anymore as a safe bet for my photography workflow. :(
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Marius Müller

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Thank you for your post, it summarizes the situation quite well.

I bought all LR versions except one (I got this bundled with a new camera body). Inside LR are not only my photos, but my edits, the version history, smart filters, presets and plugins. It works, but doesn't utilize the computing power I have. It lags. Adobe claims to have addressed these performance issues, although you find reports of new and unsolved issues related to performance even here on So "performance" is the new feature (next to "Faster image selection" and "Range Masking for fine selection control"). What pathetic version jump. Bugfixes and some minor improvements. There is no vision for this product anymore. 

Subscription models always comes with the promise of features that are constantly improved and added (instead of queuing them for the next major release). So look at Adobe's own (slim) release notes: Nothing significant happened for two years:

Why should it get any better? Neither the name, nor the features of Lightroom Classic CC or the history of Lightroom CC until now suggest any of this. They will replace it with something else and tell us that this is a much better product.