Which Lightroom Should You Use?

Published October 23, 2018, 1:36 PM


By Chris Malinao

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What’s new with Adobe’s Lightroom? Let’s get back on track with the latest about Lightroom. Lightroom CC Classic is now Version 9.0 with the underlying raw converter as Adobe Camera Raw Version 11.0, and this classic version is what you will use if you’re a professional photographer, or a hobby photographer who shoots lots of photos. The classic version is desired not only for its editing capabilities, but more so for its cataloguing functions. The catalog function of Lightroom is what separates this parametric software from all other image editing software. Photo management is extremely useful for the professional photographer, and that’s what Lightroom offers with its catalog.

Now, if you have no need for the catalog, or you really hate cataloguing because it requires additional work, then there’s Lightroom CC Cloud. It was this cloud version that Adobe tried to push with Lightroom Version 6.2; it turned out to be a fiasco, the professional photographers were up in arms, and Adobe quickly back-pedaled because they tried to dumb down the workflow software that professional photographers all over the world use. Adobe was only trying to reach a larger market, the smartphone selfie crowd; that’s business.

So, Adobe decided on a solution: maintain the classic desktop version for the professional photographer but go ahead anyway and try to capture that large selfie crowd market, those who shoot with the smartphone, and offer the serious capabilities of Lightroom as editing software. They came up with Lightroom CC Cloud, now officially Version 2.0.1.

All photo editing capabilities of the classic version are available in the cloud version. It is the same Lightroom all over again, with a very important difference: you don’t have those modules there – Library, Develop, Map, Book, Slideshow, Print, and Web – they are absent. These modules are not found in Lightroom CC Cloud.

You simply open your photos by clicking the plus (+) sign at upper right of the workspace, then edit them to your heart’s content using the familiar editing sliders of Lightroom. There’s no more confusing import dialog box, no cataloguing necessary. When you’re done, the process is also simple – no more exporting – you simply hit Share, that open box icon with the up-pointing arrow and save your work. Simple, right?

But wait there’s more. Lightroom CC Cloud is also Adobe’s way of enticing us to deposit our photos with them, in the cloud. Adobe tries to convince us photographers to go this way, so we can access our photos across all our devices. You edit your photos in your laptop, open and edit them some more on your iPad or Android device and share them anywhere with your smartphone. That can’t be bad, right?

Yes, but I have two issues with it. One, our internet connection in the Philippines is not that fast, we’re not there yet. There’s a cloud icon on the upper right corner of the Lightroom CC Cloud interface and Adobe requires us to turn this on always to upload our photos, so they are available from the cloud. With our large photo files and our slow internet connection, this becomes impractical.

Two, our large photo files can quickly fill up the 1TB storage that Adobe offers for free when you sign up for their photography bundle that includes Photoshop and Lightroom. When that 1TB of space is filled up, Adobe will require us to cough up additional money for additional storage. Business, man, business.

Of course, you have the option to turn off that cloud icon and simply save your edited photos on the local hard drive, in your computer. That defeats the intention of being able to access your photos across all your devices, but a viable option just the same.

So, it’s Lightroom CC Classic if you’re a serious photographer – professional or hobbyist – because photo management offered by the catalog is important for the pro. It’s Lightroom CC Cloud if you just want to edit your photos in Lightroom and you don’t have a need for, our you hate, cataloguing.

There are also mobile versions of Lightroom for Apple and Android devices, and these mobile versions are what you use to access and edit your photos from the cloud.

[Chris Malinao teaches Lightroom as workflow software to photography students at the Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation ( FPPF ), a non-profit organization that offers year-round workshops in Basic Photography, Advanced Photography, Wedding Photography, Strobist Lighting, Food Photography, Photoshop, Lightroom, and other specialty photography workshops. For details of FPPF workshops, please visit www.photoworldmanila.com.]