Back to Lightroom

Two and a half years ago I took the plunge and started using Apple Photos “seriously”. It quickly became my main photo library, and the comfort of having photos sync seamlessly across devices became something I was not willing to do without. Lightroom was just not there yet (I tried, it was a nightmare), so Apple won.

Over my holidays I peeked back into Lightroom, which I’d neglected since then. And it clearly wins when it comes to organising and editing photos. Time has done its magic, too, and syncing across devices now works! It’s still reasonably early days, but it’s good enough for me.

Here’s what I’m looking at:

  • my main photo library is (and remains) Lightroom Classic CC — or “good old Lightroom” that we’ve known for years
  • I have the mobile version of Lightroom on my phone and tablet
  • I have created a collection called “mobile” in which I stuff the photos I want to sync with Adobe Creative Cloud and have available on phone and tablet (right now, all my 2018 photos)
  • I have set my phone to “auto-add” any new photos from the camera roll into Lightroom: this means that if I take a photo with my phone or tablet (omg), it will be added into Lightroom mobile, synced over Creative Cloud, and downloaded to the correct monthly folder on my computer (“Lightroom sync” setting in preferences in Lightroom Classic CC)
  • I have also installed Lightroom CC (desktop client built from the ground up specifically for dealing with photos stored in Creative Cloud), without making it download originals (it’s in the settings), so that I can benefit from the AI subject detection to search photos
  • I also use the web client so that I can benefit from the AI “pick my best photos” functionality — this is seriously the killer, as far as I’m concerned
  • I have a monthly “photography” subscription which includes Lightroom Classic CC, Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC (+Spark&Portfolio), and a measly 20Gb of cloud storage
  • I’ll certainly shell out what’s needed for the 1TB plan at some point, but as I’m only syncing Smart Previews to the cloud from Lightroom Classic CC, the 1000+ photos I have in CC don’t even take up 8Gb (my library is 70k, but a few thousand photos in the cloud is enough to play with it for a bit)

I do have a few headaches:

  • RAW and JPG: I’ll let you read the thread for details, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I should be working with JPG. I’m happy to not retouch photos if I can avoid it.
  • I’ve taken a lot of “RAW+JPG” photos with my camera, which means I have the JPG handy, but there is no way in Lightroom to say (like in Apple Photos) “hey, use the JPG for this one”; either the JPG is simply there as a sidecar, or it’s a separate photo, and there is no way for Lightroom to “know” that photos A and A’ are in fact the same photo in two different formats
  • I don’t like the idea of throwing away the RAW file, but the way Lightroom deals with RAW+JPG pairs is making me consider doing JPG only
  • I’ve taken some “RAW only” photos… so I’m going to have to deal with those. My photo post-processing skills aren’t great, and it’s not something I take pleasure in. I did get a Huelight camera profile for my old Lumix G2, which seems to help a bit.
  • I have a pile of albums in Apple Photos, and retouched photos, that I’d like to import into Lightroom. Apple Photos lets you export either the originals or the edited photos of any album, which can then be imported into the Lightroom catalog, and between the Find Duplicates and the Teekelesschen Duplicate Finder plugins I can figure out which version of each photo I actually want in the catalog. I’m still fiddling with the process but it’s workable. (I discovered the use of temporary working catalogs doing this, yay!)

Originally published at Climb to the Stars.