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What’s New in the Lightroom World – Huge Announcements at Adobe MAX – Read This Summary

Today is a big day for Lightroom, as Adobe is making several large announcements at its MAX conference. Read below for what’s new.

Lightroom Classic

Lightroom Classic LogoLightroom as we know it has been renamed “Lightroom Classic“. Version 7.0 of Lightroom Classic is now available. However, it’s only available to Creative Cloud subscribers – there will be no more perpetual / stand-alone versions. For current Creative Cloud Photography Program subscribers this is a free upgrade.

The new version includes:

  • An impressive and powerful new “Range Mask” feature in the adjustment brush, graduated filter and radial filter that allows users to make selections based on a specified range of colors or a range of tones.
Lightroom Classic range mask feature

A Color Range Mask with a selection of yellows in the photo (white is on, black is off. Underlying photo © David Cox.)

  • A new “Embedded Preview” workflow that allows users to use previews created by your camera during the initial culling phase (rating/flagging) so that you don’t have to wait for standard and 1:1 previews to be built and to load as you move from one photo to the next.
  • Many performance improvements.
  • A few other minor additions to smart collections, export, etc.

For a video tour of what’s new, detailed video tutorials on the new features, complete release details and installation instructions, read my What’s New in Lightroom Classic 7.0 article. NOTE: while I don’t have any indication that this will be a rocky release, I would recommend that most of you let other users kick the tires and test it out for a week or so before upgrading. Because this release is focused on performance, you never know what unintended consequences may result. I’ll email newsletter subscribers a week from now to let you know how it’s going.

Note that Lightroom 6 perpetual-version users who now subscribe to CC to get this new version will also pick up all the features added to CC during the Lightroom 6 cycle that you missed out on – dehaze, guided upright, local blacks and whites, and boundary warp.

There are many myths out there about how Adobe’s cloud subscriptions work, what happens when you cancel, etc. Read my Adobe Lightroom’s Subscription Programs: Frequently Asked Questions article for the facts.

Note that  Adobe will continue to sell the perpetual non-subscription Lightroom 6. It will receive 1-2 small updates over the next few months with support for new cameras (including the Nikon D850), lens profiles and bug fixes, and then it will receive no further updates. Update 6.13 will be released soon.

Other resources:

Video Tutorial: How to Upgrade to Lightroom Classic 7.0

All New Lightroom CC

Today Adobe released a brand-new program that they are calling “Lightroom CC“. Yes, they stole the name from what is now Lightroom Classic, and YES, this is going to create tremendous confusion for all of us! (See my “Some Thoughts” section at the end of this article.)

The new Lightroom CC is an easier-to-use cloud-based solution – all your photos reside in the cloud and are available everywhere, i.e. across the entire “Lightroom CC ecosystem” – on all your mobile devices, Lightroom Web, and in the Lightroom CC Desktop application (that you can use on two computers).

Lightroom CC Ecosystem - Desktop, iOS, Android, Web

File management is done by Lightroom CC rather than by the user, so those of you who have struggled with file and catalog management in Lightroom Classic will find this to be much easier to use.  However, as a version 1.0 application the program is light on features in comparison to Lightroom Classic, so for many of you now won’t be the time to switch from Lightroom Classic. (Lightroom CC does have most of Lightroom Classic’s tools for editing single photos, and it will get the ones it is missing.)  Lightroom CC is not intended to be a “Lightroom-Lite” or “Lightroom Elements” application – instead it’s positioned as a more modern, cloud-based solution.

Despite the introduction of this new application, Adobe says that they are fully staffed to support both Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic, and that they are committed to Lightroom Classic and to its user-base.

NOTE: Adobe is not forcing users to switch to this new cloud-based Lightroom CC. If you need more features than Lightroom CC has, you don’t have good internet for syncing your entire catalog of raw files to the cloud, you don’t want all your photos in the cloud, you have multiple terrabytes of files and Lightroom CC is just too expensive, or you aren’t interested in it for any other reason, then just keep using Lightroom Classic. Nothing has changed about Lightroom Classic, other than the name and that to get updates you need to be on a CC subscription. You can still sync collections of photos to/from Lightroom mobile and web, as before (but don’t use the new keywording and folder capabilities on Lightroom mobile – those won’t sync to Classic.)

 

Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC Pricing Plans

Whether you subscribe to Lightroom CC by itself or with Lightroom Classic and Photoshop, having all your photos with you everywhere and being able to work on them everywhere will cost you an additional $10/month per terrabyte. (Current CC subscribers do get a $5/month discount for the first year.)

Creative Cloud Photography Program Pricing

Creative Cloud Photography Program

  • Lightroom Classic

  • Lightroom CC – with 20 GB storage so you can try it out with a limited number of photos

  • Photoshop CC

$9.99 USD / mo (with annual plan)

$19.99/mo with 1 TB cloud storage; exclusive offer for current CC subscribers: $14.99/mo, first year only.

$10/TB for each additional TB.

Lightroom CC Logo

Lightroom CC

  • Lightroom CC with 1 TB cloud storage

$9.99 USD / mo (with annual plan)

$10/TB for each additional TB – available only as 2 TB, 5 TB and 10 TB.

Lightroom CC iOS for iPads and iPhones

Lightroom mobile for iPads and iPhones will now be known as Lightroom CC iOS.  It is the same mobile application that we have been using for quite some time. Version 3.0 was released today with many new features. Here are the top three new capabilities (in my opinion):

  • Add keywords to photos. However these will only sync to Lightroom CC; they will NOT sync to Lightroom Classic. Lightroom CC and mobile keywords are flat – hierarchies are not supported.
  • Put albums (collections)  into folders (collection sets). These also will only sync to and from Lightroom CC, they will not sync to and from Lightroom Classic.
  • Pause and resume sync.

Read my What’s New in Lightroom iOS 3.0 and Android 3.1 article for a complete list of new features and improvements, and for Adobe’s explanation for why they are not adding keyword and folder syncing to Lightroom Classic.

Lightroom CC Android

Lightroom mobile for Android will be referred to as Lightroom CC Android. Version 3.1 is available with many new features. Here are the top three:

  • Search for photos based on image content using Adobe’s “Sensei” technology (already in Lightroom iOS, Web and CC.) Find all images with trees or the color blue in them, for example. Must be online to use.
  • Brush tool for local adjustments
  • Keywording Keywords will sync to/from Lightroom CC, but not to/from Lightroom Classic.
  • Folders and subfolders for storing albums (collections) in. These will sync to/from Lightroom CC but not to/from Lightroom Classic. 

Read my What’s New in Lightroom iOS 3.0 and Android 3.1 article for a complete list of what’s new.

Lightroom CC Web

The interface in Lightroom CC Web has been made more compatible with iOS, Android and Lightroom CC Desktop, and several new features have been added. Here are the top three:

  • Folders – store your albums in up to 5 levels of nested folders. These will not sync to Lightroom Classic (see note above under iOS folders).
  • Search has graduated from a Technology Preview to a fully-available feature, now available throughout the Lightroom CC ecosystem. See my explanation above in the Android section.
  • Best Photos. This new automated-curation feature is available as a technology preview. It analyzes image aesthetics, image content and any work you have done to produce a recommended group of best photos.
  • Galleries: add multiple albums to a gallery so you can share a single gallery URL.

Some Thoughts

I’m really excited about the future of Lightroom CC – having all my photos with me always and being able to do any and all work on them wherever I happen to be (and in applications with modern interfaces) is exactly what I want. Adobe’s brilliant development and application of “smart previews”, small compressed versions of our raw files, enables all this – otherwise there’s no way we’d be able to work with entire libraries of raw files on our mobile devices or in a web browser.

After working for years with so many students who struggle with missing file and catalog issues in Lightroom Classic, I’m excited also that Lightroom CC takes this out of users’ hands – you don’t even need to know that Lightroom CC works with a catalog, and your files are in a packaged library so you (hopefully) know to stay out of them. With Lightroom Classic I’d say to students, “Once you understand the catalog and get your files cleaned up, the rest of Lightroom will be fun.” Lightroom CC, on the other hand, can be fun right off the bat.

However, at this point Lightroom CC is missing some key features that I’d need for it to be my go-to program, and I’m really not that sophisticated of a user. I imagine that for now this will be the case  for most Lightroom Classic users except those who are just starting out and have basic needs. (Do read my article, “Which Should I Use, Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic or Lightroom 6?” for considerations in this decision.) This isn’t a complaint though – the application has to start somewhere, and it’s better that it’s in your hands now so that you can influence future development of it.

While Adobe has said that they are fully committed to Lightroom Classic, it is clear that Classic has been moved over to the side as the new cloud-based program takes on the flagship “Lightroom CC” name. It looks like with Lightroom CC they are first going after a very large audience of casual point-and-shoot / mobile-phone users who don’t need the power of Lightroom Classic, who want all their photos everywhere, and who expect to not have to be rocket scientists to use a photo editing program. We’ll have to see how high Adobe’s commitment continues to be to its user base of professional photographers and serious amateurs who need a high-powered program (whether Classic or a souped-up Lightroom CC). That they have focused on improving Lightroom Classic performance, a MAJOR headache for users, suggests that they are committed (though with fewer resources dedicated to it, judging by what’s new in Classic 7) – so I remain optimistic. Either way, time will ultimately tell. In the meantime, in this moment, I have tools that serve me well.

I think I understand Adobe’s decision to co-opt the “Lightroom CC” name – why invest in an expensive endeavor to build a new brand when you already have a successful one?  However, users of both applications are going to be impacted for quite some time by this decision, and I regret that Adobe didn’t place a higher priority on these impacts. Until things shake out over the next few years, every Google search you do for “How to do X in Lightroom” or “How to do X in Lightroom CC” will return results and instructions for the program you use AND for the program you don’t use, and you will have to be informed enough about both to be able to distinguish relevant content from irrevelant, misleading content. Aside from Google, any time you hear “Lightroom”, you’ll have to investigate to determine which application the user of the word means. Anytime you purchase a book or video training course, you’ll have to know to be careful. This horse has left the barn, so all we can do is adopt the two new names as quickly as possible and do the best we can.

A decision that I hope Adobe will reconsider is the one to not have keywords and folders added in Lightroom mobile sync to keywords and collection sets in Lightroom Classic . I and other Classic users have been asking for keywording in Lightroom mobile from day one – I’m much more interested in keywording my photos during dead time in the air or in a doctor’s waiting room than I am editing those photos – and users who stick with Classic going forward will be those who value hands-on file management, of which keywording is one tool. When there’s a new product replacing an old one it’s perfectly reasonable for companies to expect customers to get with the new one or suffer (or leave), but at this point Lightroom CC can’t meet our needs, so we can’t get with the new program AND we suffer. True, Adobe hasn’t taken anything away from us – except that we trusted they were working on keywording for us. 

Those are my thoughts for now. I would love to hear yours –  leave a comment below.

Adobe also wants your feedback – you can give them Lightroom-related feedback directly on Adobe’s site.

2017-10-22T11:36:48-07:00 October 18th, 2017|35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Michael October 18, 2017 at 6:33 am - Reply

    D850 support?

    • Laura Shoe October 18, 2017 at 6:42 am - Reply

      Yes, in Classic 7 and coming soon to 6.13.

  2. Harvey Sapir October 18, 2017 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura
    Thanks again for all your work for our community.
    DESPERATE – just installed LR CLASSIC CC as upgrade to LR CC via the CC application.
    When I open the new LR, the catalog update crashes (several times).
    So I am absolutely without LR.
    Is this a know issue, if not, how do I go back to the previous version?
    Any help really appreciated – thanks!

    • Laura Shoe October 18, 2017 at 3:19 pm - Reply

      I’m afraid I don’t know how to resolve it, Harvey – try uninstalling and reinstalling, contacting Customer Service, or posting here. (I don’t see others reporting this.)

      • Harvey Sapir October 19, 2017 at 5:04 am - Reply

        Thanks, posted in the Adobe forum as you suggested. Number of other people have this or similar problems with LR Classic crashing when converting the catalog, suggest to hold off on installing till these issue are resolved.

        • Laura Shoe October 19, 2017 at 11:17 am - Reply

          Thanks for reporting in, Harvey – I’ll keep an eye on that.

  3. Abrianna October 18, 2017 at 12:39 pm - Reply

    This now confirms that I am finished with LR. May 2013 ” Adobe Product Manager Tom Hogarty stressed that Adobe has, ‘no plans to make Lightroom subscription-only at any point in the future.’ ” from

    https://www.dpreview.com/articles/0476255060/adobe-lightroom-5-beta-google-hangout

    I have 5 and that will be the last version I get. They lied, but I am not surprised. Still disappointed but not surprised.

  4. Bill Langford October 18, 2017 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    So now I have to plan to end my use of Lightroom. I’m an amateur photographer, and I’ve found Lightroom very useful, particularly for cataloging my pictures. But it’s by no means irreplaceable – there are several arguably superior post-processing programs out there, and some bright intellect will soon develop a comparable keywording and cataloging system. I’m annoyed that I shall have to give up Lightroom, but I simply refuse to satisfy Adobe’s lust for money by subscribing. I bought LR6 – I own it. Once you’re into the subscription model you’re shackled forever – cost increases will come, and you’re locked in, because you’ve handed your photographic records over to the Adobe cloud. As for the new ‘portability’ and syncing between computers and cellphones – given the enormous problems of internet hacking and privacy risks, does anyone REALLY want to have their entire photo collection available wherever they are?

    • Laura Shoe October 19, 2017 at 11:24 am - Reply

      I understand where you’re coming from, Bill, and I know some will leave rather than be forced onto a subscription. I’ll just point out that LR Classic+Photoshop has been at $9.99 since the beginning and still is, and that you aren’t locked in. With Classic, your photos continue to be on your computer (and you can choose to continue using Classic indefinitely for free to manage them if you wish to – you just can’t make further edits – or you can just move on). With Lightroom CC, you have up to a year after cancelling your subscription to download all assets from the cloud, and it’s the same in that you can continue to use it for free, locked out of editing.

  5. Rick October 18, 2017 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Let me also add my thanks for all you’ve done and do for the LR community. Similar to Abrianna I have no interest in a subscription model of LR. I understand the marketing guys at Adobe wanting a steady and predictable revenue stream but I’m not interested in that coming from my pockets.

    I currently use 6.12 and will upgrade to 6.13 when available, but I’m finding ON1 software more and more meeting my needs especially as they continue to add features and improve performance.

    Thanks for the ride Adobe – it’s been nice knowing you.

    • Laura Shoe October 19, 2017 at 12:11 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome, Rick! Sorry to hear you’ll be moving on, but so it goes.

  6. Steve M October 18, 2017 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    I will just add that I too have no interest in ceding my assets and work to Adobe. I have no need for Adobe to “manage” my files, thank you very much! I truly love what LR has allowed me to do, but now MUST find an alternative.

    • Laura Shoe October 19, 2017 at 11:18 am - Reply

      You could just keep using Lightroom Classic, Steve. We’ll see if Adobe continues to further develop it.

  7. Abrianna October 19, 2017 at 6:44 am - Reply

    There are also a couple of other issues with the new versions: ” I am deeply concerned about the lack of selective syncing. EVERYTHING goes into the cloud. All of your client photos, including images that aren’t yet cleared for publishing. Any personal photos, etc.”

    And if you have bought third party plug ins they no longer work: “No plug-ins. That’s right. NONE of your third-party plugins will work in Lightroom CC, and I’ve been told not to hold my breath waiting.” both quotes from

    https://photofocus.com/2017/10/18/what-the-heck-is-the-new-lightroom-cc/

    I have bought and used third party plug ins for many years. I stopped buying them a few years back because I thought LR would go to a subscription based model and am now glad I did not purchase any new ones. There are now a lot of businesses that will be in serious trouble as plugins were their bread and butter.

    • Laura Shoe October 19, 2017 at 11:17 am - Reply

      True, Abrianna – I need to add “no support for plugins or third party peripherals” to my Definitive List of what’s missing in Lightroom CC.

  8. John French October 19, 2017 at 7:11 am - Reply

    I thought you might like to know of my experience updating to Classic. Everything is very much faster – app loading time, switching between Library, Develop, Print, etc, adjustments, preview render, etc. The increasing slowness of successive releases of the old CC was getting extremely frustrating, so this is a very welcome update. I have found no downside (yet!). It does seem to be a bit heavier on CPU and memory use – it releases it nicely though.

    I have a late 2011 iMac, 2.8 GHz Intel core i7, 16Gb memory, AMD Radeon HD graphics.

    Your advice to wait a week or so before updating is still a good idea though and I would recommend downloading Classic alongside the old CC rather than overwrite it.

    • Laura Shoe October 19, 2017 at 11:15 am - Reply

      That’s great to hear, John – thank you for reporting in!

  9. Paul Yarnall October 19, 2017 at 7:35 am - Reply

    LR CC (new), is NEVER going to work for me. With approximately 2TB of images and connection upload speeds of 2mb it would take many months before my images are in the cloud. A days shoot could take a week! Then there is my recent commitment to using external control hardware, (X Touch Compact), to help mitigate the repetitive stress the mouse is causing my right hand. LR CC (2015) supports this type of control, and I pray LR Classic (7) will too. (Laura, any chance you can confirm that?) My LR mobile sync recently stopped working and research suggests a very messy process for making it work again. A problem Adobe created for me BTW… I did nothing to instigate it. Can’t imagine the horror stories we are going to hear from people trying to go totally cloud. A new “ecosystem” that is driven by the need to appeal to folks who can’t manage files is one I have no interest in.

    I too rely on quite a few plugins. It is one of the core elements of the LR environment that I have always used and appreciated. If that goes away, God forbid, I may have to look elsewhere too. Something I would dread.

    • Laura Shoe October 19, 2017 at 11:15 am - Reply

      You can just stick with Lightroom Classic, Paul (which hopefully will remain strong).

      • Paul Yarnall October 19, 2017 at 1:12 pm - Reply

        Thanks, Laura… I fully intend to remain with Classic. At this point my only real concern is the continued support of external hardware commands. I can’t imagine why they would remove this capability from 7 (Classic), but it is now essential to me.

  10. Darsh October 19, 2017 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    I finally bought the bullet and upgraded to LR 6 stand alone version last night. It won’t even open, says not responding. I’ve uninstalled, reinstalled, re-downloaded everything and it won’t work. Beyond disgusted with Adobe. Thank God I did not install it on the machine that had my photo catalog on it or I’d be insanely more angry. Adobe has no help and when I ask for a refund, they disconnect the chat session. . I don’t think much of the subscription based system either. I don’t want to have to login, so forced updates or otherwise give adobe further control of my computer. I’m sticking with CS6 and LR5, and when I’m ready to update will find an alternative.

    • Laura Shoe October 19, 2017 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      What did they say during the chat, Darsh? Did they not try to resolve the installation issue?

  11. Luis de Freitas October 19, 2017 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    It seems that lightroom CC will not support plugins, I repeat no third partie plugins…!!!

    • Laura Shoe October 19, 2017 at 4:52 pm - Reply

      Very true, Luis. This morning I added this to my Definitive List of what LR Classic has/does that LR CC doesn’t.

  12. Kayla Stevenson October 19, 2017 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    Thanks for all the good information Laura. I have the Photography Bundle which gives me 1TB of cloud space and had been wondering how much Adobe would charge for more storage space that exceeds the 1TB limit. I am sure that many serious photographers have more than 1TB of photos in their original size. I noticed your note about each additional TB costing $10/month and then asked Adobe to confirm that. Sure enough, if I switch to Lightroom CC cloud-based and need 5TB of storage for all my photos in the cloud, that would mean a total cost of $59.99 per month. Thanks for including that info. I plan on continuing with LR Classic for some time to come. For me, that’s a much more affordable option.

    • Laura Shoe October 19, 2017 at 4:51 pm - Reply

      I hear you on that, Kayla – that’s quite expensive!

  13. keith October 19, 2017 at 4:50 pm - Reply

    I haven’t purchased LR6 yet, but probably will. I’ll have to use the next few years to decide what to replace it with. If I update LR every three years, that’s $50/year. The current subscription rate is $120/year. I can’t justify paying a price that’s two to three times higher.

    • Laura Shoe October 19, 2017 at 4:56 pm - Reply

      I hear you on that, Keith. I personally justify it with the added benefit of having photos with me on Lightroom mobile, plus Photoshop, but those just won’t have the same value for everyone else.

  14. Joe Beard October 25, 2017 at 5:54 am - Reply

    I did find the upgrade process easy once I went to Adobe’s online helpdesk. They ‘walked’ me through the process, and all seems to be set up. And of course the Photography Plan includes Bridge still.

  15. George Hartnett October 29, 2017 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    I think this is outrageous (and wrong) to have to pay a subscription for the rest of out lives! (think about this) to use Lightroom. I have invested a lot of time into LR and now it turns out to all be a waste. Please help us find a suitable replacement for LR that is reasonably priced and does not require a subscription but can import the LR photo adjustments (hopefully that is possible).

    • Laura Shoe October 30, 2017 at 10:32 am - Reply

      I’m afraid I have my hands full right now, George, so I most likely won’t be looking into competitors this year.

  16. Marsha Levine October 30, 2017 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    Hi Laura, I just want to say how grateful I am for all your postings about Lightroom and especially about the recent developments. You have made it all manageable.

    • Laura Shoe November 1, 2017 at 5:14 pm - Reply

      You’re welcome, Marsha – I’m happy that you have found them helpful, and thank you for taking the time to leave me a note!

  17. samuel grau November 8, 2017 at 11:28 am - Reply

    I upgraded prematurely to L/R 6 (?) by paying A$129.00 just as the bad news arrived from all and sundry. I tried, desperately to cancel and get my subscription back from Adobe.. Not a chance. It is as bad and confusing to update my forever license.However, I have seen the light and will consider On 1, Luminar or any other that may suit my needs.

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