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/, Getting Started, Lightroom CC (New Cloud-Based Application)/Urgent: Don’t Use the New Cloud-Based Lightroom CC Until You Read This!

Urgent: Don’t Use the New Cloud-Based Lightroom CC Until You Read This!

I hope you won’t find yourself emailing me to say, “Help! All my photos are GONE from Lightroom CC! How do I get them back?”
Lightroom CC Delete ImagesLightroom CC LogoThe new cloud-based Lightroom CC program has a lot going for it: while it’s still light on features, it’s easier to use than Lightroom Classic (renamed from “Lightroom”), it backs up everything for you (assuming you have an internet connection), and you’ll have all your photos with you and you can work on them everywhere you go. However, if you’re going to use it in its current “version 1.0” state, you need to know this:

If you accidentally delete photos – and it’s EASY to accidentally delete photos – they cannot be recovered!

They will not go to your Trash or Recycle Bin and you will not be able to recover them from the cloud – they will be gone FROM YOUR LIFE.  Adobe does plan to implement some type of trash bin so you can recover them for some period of time, but this is not in version 1.0.

It’s important, therefore that you have a backup. You won’t be able to count on Time Machine or a typical backup program because many of your photos will reside only in the cloud (depending on whether in Preferences you choose to keep a copy locally – but even if you do, they may or may not be recoverable from your backup program.)  When you add photos to Lightroom CC, Lightroom CC makes its own copy of the photos, and then normally you are free to delete the originals (whether they are on memory cards or on one of your hard drives). I would suggest, however, that until this issue is fixed, you not delete the originals – just make a note to yourself of what folders on your hard drive(s) and what memory cards you have added to Lightroom CC so you can go back and delete them after this issue is fixed.

Why It’s So Easy to Delete Photos Accidentally

From my experience teaching Lightroom Classic, people often delete photos accidentally because they think they only have one selected when they go to delete, but in fact they have many selected because clicking on a single photo often doesn’t break apart any prior selection. This situation is even more likely in Lightroom CC because:

1. It can be difficult to see what you have selected.

Lightroom CC - Which Are Selected?

A thin white border around a photo means that the photo is selected. However, I have used the vignette function to add borders to the three dog photos, so it’s impossible to tell which if any of them are selected here. Even without photos that are white around the edges, the white border is too easy to overlook.

2. It’s often surprisingly hard to deselect images.

If you have selected all your images, maybe to add them to an album, the only ways to deselect them are to go down to the very bottom of the grid and click on the empty space there, or type Cmd/Ctl-D to deselect, or go to Edit>Deselect All. Clicking in a single image will not deselect any prior selection you had, and this might prove to be your downfall.

Advice: Read Carefully!

Lightroom CC - Read Delete Dialog Carefully

In this dialog that comes up after you go to Edit>Delete Photos, don’t just hit the Enter/Return key to dismiss it!  Read how many photos you’ll be deleting before you confirm the deletion.  (As far as everything else it says, here’s the translation: the photo(s) will be removed from YOUR ENTIRE LIFE (except from Lightroom Classic if you also have them there.)

Lightroom Classic Users 

Lightroom Classic LogoIf you’re a user of Lightroom Classic (the Lightroom program that has been around for years), it’s easy to delete photos, but they should be in your Trash/Recycle bin. Restore them to where they were,  and then either reimport them into Lightroom (you will have lost your work) or revert to your most recent catalog backup before it happened. Next time you want to select photos to delete, click in the gray border around the image thumbnail – this will break apart any prior selection.

Have you deleted or almost deleted more photos than you intended to? Please tell your story in the comments below.

2019-01-06T14:32:22+00:00October 3rd, 2017|9 Comments


  1. Jim Kendall October 18, 2017 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    You stated the LightRoom CC will make its own copy, is that absolutely necessary & automatic? While I may install LR CC, must I allow LR CC to make cloud copies, if I only intend to keep them locally? I have no intentions, or desire, to store photos in the cloud.

  2. Jim Kendall October 18, 2017 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Hi again Laura;
    OK, you can probably ignore my previous question about cloud storage. I jumped the gun, I didn’t take the time to get as far as the point where you stated that LR Classic would still be available, although now it will be only be as a subscription. I (& probably a few others) jumped the gun, but you have to admit that Adobe has done some pretty surprising things, particularly lately.
    Thanks again;

    • Laura Shoe October 18, 2017 at 2:53 pm - Reply

      You’re correct, Jim – stay with Lightroom Classic if you don’t want your photos in the cloud!

  3. Mark Goldberg October 19, 2017 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    Irecently downloaded and am using Lightroom Classic. All of my pictures and videos were imported from original Lightroom CC, BUT my videos will not play. They show up in my thumbnails and pictures will move when cursor is moved over thumbnail, but video wll NOT play. Has anyone had this problem?

  4. Gegi October 25, 2017 at 3:57 am - Reply

    I had this problem when I somehow lost Quicktime app on my Windows PC. Many of my videos were Quicktime extension mov or even if not mov according to LR required the Quicktime codec or app (I don’t really understand video that well, sorry) to play inside Lightroom. So you might check if this the problem. I hope this helps somehow.

  5. Veronica November 3, 2017 at 10:41 am - Reply

    I hope someone can help. I Downloaded the new Lightroom CC. I Culled and edited a wedding on it. Problem is I usually use a thrid party plug in on Lightroom Classic to publish direct to Pixieset. I can not figure out how to get my images to Pixieset from the new Lightroom CC Directly …You know, without the long way of having to Save another copy of all of the files on my hard drive first. Any Suggestions?

    • Laura Shoe November 3, 2017 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      There isn’t a direct route, Veronica. You could open Classic and turn on sync and the photos will sync from Lightroom CC to Classic and then you can send them from there. However, unless they are already in Classic this will make a new copy of them. Otherwise you can only export JPEGs and originals+settings.

      I’d suggest reading through my Definitive List of What You Can’t Do in Lightroom CC Compared to Classic (which I plan to keep up-to-date) so that you know going in what you can and can’t do in LR CC.

  6. Dissapointed December 11, 2018 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    Literally in the blink of an eye, with one quick click of erase from disk I lost all of the high-resolution versions of my images from a professional shoot. Brutal. I was just starting to setup the project library before duplicating a backup — and thought to remove the album to re-import with earlier photos first. Ended up losing it completely — and, trying for several hours to determine why they weren’t in a trash of some kind.

    I am amazed that Adobe CC did not create a safe-net of some kind within the program of a recycle bin, or even a timer that waits 24 hrs before fully removing.

    If for some reason you’ve found a work around, PLEASE let me know.


    • Laura Shoe December 11, 2018 at 8:00 pm - Reply

      I’m sorry to hear it, Dissapointed! I have forwarded your experience to Adobe. When you import into Lightroom CC it makes a copy of the images. Any chance that the originals are still around, on memory cards or elsewhere? Hindsight is 20/20, but I think it’s a good idea, in Preferences>Local Storage, to store a copy of the files on your computer (or external hard drive), and to use a backup program (Mac Time Machine, Windows Back Up, etc) to back them up.

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