Tuesday, 2 July 2019


Someone recently asked me about the online storage capacity for Adobe Lightroom and my research showed me that there are new subscription options from when I first started using the program. I thought it might be useful to learn the basics of Lightroom and how one might use it for their photos when scrapbooking. This month, we’ll have an overview of both programs and then for the next two months we’ll look at each program individually.

There are now two versions of Adobe Lightroom available for subscription – Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC.

Lightroom Classic – This is the original version that we are accustomed to using. The Adobe Creative Cloud Photography subscription for $9.99 per month includes Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic. With a subscription, each program is updated regularly providing instant access to new features as opposed to waiting for annual or longer upgrades.

Classic is designed for desktop based workflows and the original images are stored on YOUR COMPUTER’s hard drive. The subscription does come with 20GB of online storage that you can use with Lightroom CC as well.

It is in the (1) Library module that we import and access our photos. On the left hand side of the screen, you’ll see the photos you’ve imported and stored in the (2) Folder structure on your computer.

You can use the (3) Library filters at the top center to filter your images with selected text, ratings/attributes, keywords, dates, colors or any number of 20+ other choices to select the photos you want to scrapbook or print.

You can assign multiple (4) keywords for your images and filter based upon them.

The (5) filmstrip at the bottom is another way to scroll through the photos in a folder or in a search.

You can add keywords, metadata and photo editing presets while importing batches of images from your camera or from online storage.

You have the ability to back up your Lightroom catalog (the program will remind you). You would back up your actual images as part of your personal backup strategy. The CATALOG is a database that relates the location of the photos as well as the information you’ve added about them like keywords, ratings and photo edits, etc without actually touching the original image. Backing up the catalog regularly ensures that Lightroom can always “find” your images on your hard drive when you want them.

In Classic, you have the ability to create SMART COLLECTIONS. They are “smart” because the collection of photos will change when new photos are added that meet the rules you set while creating it. For example, I have a smart collection that gathers all photos that I designate as 2 star and above of each one of my family members. So when I’m looking for a great photo of my son to scrapbook I can go there first.

You can synchronize specific collections (not smart collections at this time) between Lightroom Classic, CC and Lightroom mobile so that you can access specific edited photos across multiple devices, but it does share a low res smart preview and not the original image.

Classic has the widest assortment of photo editing tools. The (1) Develop module shows you the standard Lightroom presets along the left. You can also download purchased (2) presets for photo editing and create your own and they will also be included there. On the right hand side, you can tweak exposure, contrast, color, curves, sharpness etc for each image. You also have access to spot removal, a multitude of filter and adjustment brushes to use for editing.

Lightroom CC – This is the new Lightroom option. The Adobe Lightroom subscription is $9.99 per month and includes 1 TB of online storage instead of the 20 GB that comes with Classic. This option does not include Adobe Photoshop. There is also a third option for $19.99 per month which includes all three programs along with the 1 TB of online storage.

CC is designed for a cloud/mobile oriented workflow so that you can edit your images on the go. It’s designed to work seamlessly between mobile devices and your desktop (IF you have Classic as well).

Because it’s cloud based, you can access photos from any device and keep the edits you’ve already made. So you could edit your phone photos on the larger screen of your tablet and the originals, your edits AND the metadata you’ve added are synced to the cloud. The Lightroom mobile app is also a nice option for editing images on your phone.

The 1 TB of online storage could handle approximately 200,000 jpgs so you can back up both your original files and your edits if you so choose. Speaking of backups, because it’s cloud based the backups are automatic. And automatic beats manual all the time!

CC is designed to be easy to learn and optimized for Chromebooks and other mobile devices. The interface is much more streamlined. Along the left (1), you can add images, see your photos and share with others. You’ll notice the familiar (2) filmstrip along the bottom.

Your images are automatically sorted by date. You can create (3) multiple albums to organize your photos and you can easily share those albums with others.

You also have the ability to edit exposure, contrast, shadows etc with sliders (but sized to easily use with your finger) like with Classic and you can use downloaded presets for photo editing. You can access presets installed on your desktop Classic version to CC on a mobile device if you have a subscription for both programs.

It does not have the ability to create smart collections… at least not at this point. But CC has the ability to search with artificial intelligence keywords like beach or mountains which can come in very handy. There are some limits to CC as compared to Classic like no image watermarks, plugin accessibility or a history panel but it does have quicker import speed.

The gap between the two options of Classic and CC seems to get smaller as Adobe keeps updating. You can learn more about the Lightroom subscription models https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/photography/compare-plans.html?.

I hope this overview was helpful if you’re new to Adobe Lightroom. Next month, I’ll share how I use Lightroom Classic in my digital scrapbooking process.


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