I keep hearing the question, can I use plugins with the new Lightroom (aka Lightroom CC). While Lightroom Classic CC (formerly Lightroom CC) fully supports third-party plugins like Perfectly Clear Complete or Macphun Luminar, the new Lightroom CC is a bit different.

NOTE: We’ve got 3 specials for plugins

No Direct Plugin Support (for Now)

By design, Lightroom CC is a simplified version of Lightroom Classic.  It currently does not match Lightroom Classic feature for feature.  Adobe says they will keep adding missing features, but that it will take time.  They expressed that they prioritized features based on customer needs.

A big missing feature for many users is the ability to use third-party plugins.  That feature may eventually return but is currently missing.  Fortunately, if you have a version of Photoshop on your computer, you can make plugins work.  Tools like Luminar, Aurora HDR, and Perfectly Clear all include photoshop plugins as well as standalone apps.

Take a Round Trip

Lightroom CC supports sending to Photoshop so you can easily edit them.  Unfortunately, the raw files are converted to 16-bit TIFFs (instead of the advanced option that Lightroom Classic offers of opening them as a smart object in Photoshop).  But the workflow is still quite easy and mostly non-destructive.

  1. Adjust a photo to taste in Lightroom CC
  2. With the photo selected in the Library, click the Edit button in the right-hand toolbar.
  3. Choose Edit in Photoshop.
    Photoshop launches and the image opens as a 16-bit TIFF file.
  4. In Photoshop, select the image layer.
  5. Choose Filter > Convert for Smart Filters to make any applied filters re-editable.
  6. Choose the Photoshop filter you want to run.
  7. Adjust the image to taste then click OK to apply the filter.
  8. Close and save your document, the fie is returned to Lightroom and stacked with the original in your Lightroom CC library.
  9. If you need to return and edit with the plugin, just repeat steps 1 through 3.
    The smart object remains editable and you can modify the filter by double-clicking.


Need Lightroom Plugins? Time Limited Offers:

  • Perfectly Clear. (with Free Upgrade to version 3.5) for only $79 (a Photofocus exclusive). This is almost half off!
  • Aurora HDR. Add detail and depth to every photo or work with HDR brackets for maximum impact. Save $10
  • Luminar. A great set of tools for Lightroom users including Filters, Layers, and Blending Modes. Includes a free upgrade to Lumninar 2018 Save $10