I’ve used every version of Lightroom. I can’t imagine how I could have built a business without it. I spend more time with Lightroom than I do with my wife.
I love it.
I hate it.
Whether you use Lightroom or Lightroom Classic, both tools do so much for your workflow. It helps you organize what would otherwise be an endless chain of nested folders and numerical filenames.
Without it, you’d be stuck using Photoshop to open each picture individually to perform even basic edits. On the plus side, you’d probably shoot fewer frames because editing and culling them would be such a pain.
It compiles brackets into HDRs and stitches panoramas. You can finish portraits, products and landscapes, and apply vignettes to your heart’s content. You can even run your printer, make books and web layouts, and find recognized faces (which I have never ever even once used).
I’d swear that Lightroom is slower now than it used to be, but I don’t have any data to prove that. Cruise through a Google search and you’ll many many people complaining about Lightroom’s speed.
Now, there are many things you can do to maximize Lightroom’s performance for your computer and your workflow to help it go faster. For instance, you can edit in a different sequence for more speed (do spot removal last).
Lightroom isn’t ever going to win a blue ribbon for loading the next image and making culling your images fast enough for the sidelines at an NFL game.
But, it’s actually consistently not too fast. And it’s still much faster than the majority of tools. Actually, I don’t think any tool I’ve used is as fast overall — importing, culling, finishing — as Lightroom.
Lightroom is a Toyota minivan
Lightroom isn’t a zippy convertible. But it can haul a sheet of plywood or seven kids and still get 27 miles per gallon. It rarely has significant problems, and it works predictably. It’s actually quite reliable and incredibly powerful.
For instance, I just used it to stitch 49 images into an HDR panorama and it worked. No issues. It didn’t crash. Heck, I was even importing pictures at the same time, and both operations were completed without issue.
Lightroom does almost everything you’ll need. It does it reliably and consistently and affordably. When you need to do something else, it manages the round trip to other apps and re-imports.
Lightroom is basically a Toyota minivan. I may complain that it’s not a Tesla, sometimes, but I’ve never hauled a 4-by-8 foot sheet of plywood at 65mph to a mountain road and then slept in the back of a Tesla, either. Although it’s not always sexy, Lightroom always gets the job done.