What Is Adobe Lightroom?

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Ask professional photographers to name their best photo software, and you will be surprised that a sizeable number will mention Adobe Lightroom. This program has been a leading photo software among professional photographers. To add flavor, it now comes in two versions: Lightroom or Lightroom Classic. This article is fundamentally designed to help amateur photographers looking to edit and organize photos online using powerful tools.

About Adobe Lightroom

Whereas Lightroom Classic weighs in the traditional interface suitable for advanced photographers, Lightroom has been gaining traction with Adobe adding various features to be on par with its sibling Classic. As of June 2020, users can watermark, make changes to local hues, as well as import custom raw settings via Lightroom.

Despite Adobe Lightroom being suitable for entry-level photographers, it is slowly gaining popularity among pro users due to its flexibility. But it still lacks some major features to convince many pro users such as tethering, plug-in support, and local printing. This is why most veteran photographers still prefer the Lightroom Classic to access an in-depth editing platform.

Unlike Photoshop which is used by both graphics’ editors and photographers, Adobe’s Lightroom was designed with the former in mind. In another view, Lightroom is the simpler version of Adobe’s Photoshop as it comes packed with editing options needed by photographers. However, this doesn’t mean Lightroom is the “baby Photoshop” as it also features powerful tools that can create results that are on par with Photoshop.

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What Is the Difference between Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Lightroom Classic?

With photographers now able to choose between Lightroom and Lightroom Classic, it raises the question of what is the difference between the two?

Lightroom CC was released to patch the growing demand of cloud-storage, which allows photographers to have a seamless workflow regardless of the device they are using. Lightroom users can store their work in progress, final products, as well as prospective files which include RAW files in a cloud server.

On the other hand, Lightroom Classic CC keeps the traditional photo-editing prowess designed for desktop systems. Classic allows users to work offline, storing their files locally. Both Lightroom versions share common features, but there is a significant difference with many options not crossing over between platforms.

With Adobe continuing its update of both programs, the gap narrows with the latter version catching up. Here are the major differences that tear the two apart:

  • Platform – Classic is only available on desktop, while Lightroom can be accessed through desktop, mobile, and web browser.
  • Storage of Originals – Classic uses a local storage drive to keep files, while Lightroom uses the cloud as the location of originals.
  • Backup – Classic does not feature a file backup option. However, Lightroom automatically offers the option.
  • User Interface – Lightroom is intuitive and streamlined, making it more ideal for entry-level photographers. As for Classic, it is the most comprehensive, offering advanced tools for established photographers.
  • Search and Organization of Photos – Lightroom delivers automatic tagging accompanied by an intelligent search. Classic requires users to manually insert keywords.

Is Adobe Lightroom Free?

If you are wondering whether you can get this one for free, tough luck! Adobe offers three subscription options for the newer version. The basic Lightroom plan costs $9.99 per month, including 1TB of cloud storage, but it doesn’t include Photoshop. Therefore, to get more for the same price, it would be best to buy the Photography plan which comes with Lightroom, Photoshop, as well as Lightroom Classic. However, with this offer, you’re sacrificing 1TB of cloud storage in exchange for 20GB.

With a yearly cost of around $120, Adobe Lightroom is quite pricey compared to its competitors such as Affinity, ACDSee Ultimate which comes with a price tag of $99, and Skylum Luminar at $69. Considering that competitors offer a one-off payment plan compared to Lightroom’s monthly subscription, it is very expensive in the long run.

Adobe Lightroom Features

Lightroom offers a fresh, clean interface in progressive disclosure. It starts simple and then reveals the complexity of its tools as you go. On the Home screen, users can select various tools for sharpening photos. On the left pane, photographers can click a Plus sign button to add photos, select the Home screen, choose My Photos, as well as Sharing. Under the My Photos thumbnail, you can select and edit pictures. You can toggle the whole setup to a contact-sheet view.

Upon the release of the June 2020 update, Lightroom fanatics can already create edit versions, enabling comparison of two or more edit versions. The touch input is also fluid, allowing users to manipulate control and button via touch. On the app, you can pinch to zoom. The new update also features community-contributed tutorials. This makes one wonder if Adobe’s end goal is to create a social network platform for photo-editing.

Adobe Lightroom Review

Although the program continues to grow, it’s still missing vital features for it to be considered by pro photographers. Some of the frustrating missing features include the inability to manage what’s synced, the absence of local printing, a strong file conversion, as well as other sharing solutions. Worse, there is also no plug-in support nor tethered shooting. EXIF or IPTC data can’t be viewed. The program also does not offer the creation of slideshows.

Regardless of all the drawbacks and missing features, the software is still a great contender, especially to aspiring photographers. It offers an intuitive interface that promotes progressive learning. Cloud storage also promotes a seamless workflow on various devices. The slick and agile interface is everything that one needs to have a great photo editing experience.

We understand Adobe’s notion of accommodating aspiring photographers with this lightweight photo editing program. However, merging these two programs such that Classic users can access cloud editing features would have worked like a charm. Nevertheless, with Adobe continuing to add features to Lightroom CC, the program will eventually catch up with Classic.

Adobe Lightroom Pros and Cons


  • Intuitive interface
  • Stores files in a cloud server
  • Robust raw profiles
  • HDR stitching


  • Quite pricey compared to competitors
  • Sharing is limited
  • Does not allow selection of photos to sync
  • Doesn’t offer local printing
  • Doesn’t support plug-ins
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