Exploring and making sense of the new Lightroom.

Yesterday Adobe dropped some major updates to Lightroom, their photo editing/organizing apps. It was a little confusing at first, but now that I’ve been able to process everything it makes more sense. Let me explain their new apps situation and let’s take a look at them.

Naming

So first, let’s get the names straightened out. There are now two desktop apps:

1. Lightroom CC
2. Lightroom Classic

The new Lightroom CC.

The new Lightroom CC.

The naming was a little confusing.

The naming was a little confusing.

Lightroom CC

Lightroom CC is of course the name of the old version of Lightroom although I guess it was technically named “Lightroom CC (2015)”. At least that’s what it showed whenever it received updates. Now their newly designed app is just simply Lightroom CC. This is the one with the slightly new icon. This is also the app that now looks the same on the iPhone, iPad, Desktop, and web. Yes, you can actually edit your photos on a website. Pretty cool actually.

Now, here’s the controversy that some people online are getting a little upset over. The new Lightroom CC that syncs your photos and edits everywhere is a little bit more scaled back as far as features go. It looks a bit more simplistic. It appears to have all the features that *I* need, but I think they may have left a few of their more pro features out. I would say that they’ve kept their main editing tools there though. People hope that the new app isn’t going to be scaled back to appeal to more people. I don’t think that’s what Adobe is doing though. I think Adobe is preparing for the future. Mobile is already a big part of how people consume things. If you have a website, just look at your analytics. Most of your views will come from mobile, by far. Adobe is getting Lightroom prepared for that and they are creating a reliable new blueprint for that. Sure, that may mean that they have a few features left out for now, but I believe that they will add them back in the future. They have to prove me right though.

Lightroom Classic

Lightroom Classic is Lightroom that you are familiar with. It’s the standard desktop app that you’ve already been using. It’s just picked up the nomenclature of “Classic”. Here is the concern of the people; they believe that Adobe will eventually abandon this app, which currently has the most features, in favor of the new Lightroom CC which has less features. That’s a valid concern. Adobe has said that they have teams on both apps and will continue to develop for both. Time will tell if that’s true.


User Interface

So we have Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic. Let’s take a look at the new Lightroom CC and see how it looks.

Lightroom CC

First off, I love it. I like the refreshed look. I thought the old Lightroom was ugly. It was an eyesore. But the new Lightroom CC feels more at home in 2017. It actually looks great. Take a look.

The UI is much less cluttered. 

The UI is much less cluttered. [/caption]

I like the organizing much better. It just seems much easier and cleaner. They also claim to be able to auto-tag the photos for you. I assume this will be like Google Photos and Apple Photos where it scans the photos and can pick out mountains or snow. I don’t really care about that, but it will be nice to have. Remember, everything you do get’s synced to their cloud and is available everywhere. For someone like me who does a fair amount of edits on my iPhone, that’s huge. I’m sort of their prime demographic for the new apps.

Making albums is much simpler and so is tagging photos. I absolutely despised the old organizing on Lightroom Classic. It was about as ugly as anything I’ve seen. From what I have seen online, most photographers really liked it. Being someone who is used to mainly using iPhoto and Photos, I like the new organizing much better. A lot of people won’t.

Let’s look at what really matters now, editing.

I love the new UI. The sliders are slightly larger and everything just looks nicer.

I love the new UI. The sliders are slightly larger and everything just looks nicer.

To me, it looks like everything is there. After looking the only thing I use that isn’t there is the Tone Curve. That seems like a pretty huge omission. I hope they add it back in in the future. There are a few photos that I’ll throw into NIK Collection and then do some edits on it back in Lightroom and from what I can see there doesn’t seem to be any other option to edit the photo in any outside application other than Photoshop. I doubt this will change, but only time will tell. I love the way the UI looks. It’s much better to look at and is about the same or a little easier to use. I really like it.

Since everything get’s synced to the cloud, everyone is wanting to know if there’s an option to keep some photos stored only locally and not in the cloud. RAW files can get rather large and 1TB can be used very quickly. Here’s an option that I found although I’m not sure exactly how it works right now.

Not sure exactly how this will work.

Not sure exactly how this will work.

I don’t know if that means it won’t store it in the cloud or if it will store it in the cloud and locally. The cloud aspect of Lightroom CC isn’t very clear right now. I’m going to try and watch the keynote to see if they explain this part a bit more.

One thing I really like is that they seem to be putting a larger emphasis on Presets. It looks like they sync everywhere now. Hopefully this means if you add some RNI Films or Mastin Labs presets that you can use them on your iPhone too.

Lightroom Classic

Let’s take a look at Lightroom Classic. It looks pretty much the exact same. It’s got a new splash screen. Take a look.

Not much has changed with Lightroom Classic except that it's a little faster.

Not much has changed with Lightroom Classic except that it’s a little faster.

It looks just like the old Lightroom people know and love. You still have the ability to open photos in any app you want. It works just the same. This is good news for people that don’t want the new, lighter, Lightroom CC.

Final Thoughts

I really like the new Lightroom CC. I love the refreshed look and I like the idea of having everything everywhere. I’m someone who uses my iPad and iPhone for editing. I work in social media and I’ll be at events and will often have to post photos immediately and I don’t have the ability to carry my laptop with me. I’m really Adobe’s prime target for these updates. I can throw my photos on to my iPhone and do some quick edits in Lightroom and even throw on some presets I use. It will be up to Adobe to make sure they continually update both of the apps. If they do, it looks like we can have the best of both worlds. But the burden is on Adobe to prove that they can do that. Only time will tell.

Let me know what you think of the new Lightroom.