Adobe just announced that there are now TWO VERSIONS of Lightroom. There is the previous Lightroom (now called Lightroom Classic CC) and a new product called Lightroom CC. Let’s try to make sense of the new application.

What is Lightroom CC

Lightroom CC is a whole new app that is built on the same imaging technology that powers Photoshop and Lightroom Classic.  It offers a streamlined interface that’s meant to be easier to use.  Its approach to sliders is different, and it offers quick adjustment tools. It looks more modern and reminds me a lot of the experience of using Photos for macOS.

Before you panic… this tool is OPTIONAL.  Meaning that Photographers can keep using Lightroom Classic.

Adobe’s official statement: “Adobe will continue to develop Lightroom Classic CC alongside Lightroom CC.”

This is meant to be a NEW tool designed for a different type of photographer.

  • Lightroom CC is a photography service (more like a backup and editing service than an application)
  • As such its prices scale based on your storage (currently $10 per terabyte per month).
  • It includes desktop, mobile, and web apps
  • Lightroom automatically backs up all your photographs to the cloud
  • It lets you access and work with your photos from any desktop or mobile device

Here are the system requirements page and the Lightroom GPU FAQ.

Lightroom CC is designed to work seamlessly with

TRANSLATION: This is a useful service for people with smaller photo libraries.  You’ll end up paying more per month to use this if you have a larger library.

OPINION: That cloud storage option sure adds up, and I confirmed with Adobe that it’s ONLY their Cloud storage, no one else’s.

Key Features

Lightroom CC seeks to deliver on the promise to edit anywhere.  Full resolution images can be edited on mobile devices, desktop, or the web. Edits made on one device are automatically synced across devices for anywhere access.

  • Back-up and cloud storage (including Raw Files)
  • Artifical intelligence to automatically applies searchable keywords to objects in photographs
  • Built-in sharing tools to share photos directly via social media and to create custom Lightroom web galleries that can be shared via a link.
  • One library can be seen on all devices.

TRANSLATION: This is a modern approach to image management.  That’s a win.  But there are a lot of gotchas.

OPINION: 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.  I have many images that privacy and client issues.  Lightroom CC syncs everything to all devices including easy to lose mobile devices.

Can I Use Them Both?

You can subscribe to just Lightroom CC or add Lightroom CC to a Photography plan

Here is a detailed article on how to migrate

But I’ve confirmed that the migration tools aren’t meant for frequent back and forth handoffs.  Migrate a library in and go forward (not go back).  Plus the tagging and keyword system is different too. But any edits you make will go back as long as you turn on syncing.

Anything Else Missing?

A lot of stuff is missing, but much of that is by design.  The app has been streamlined to be less cluttered.  Modules like the Print and Web module are gone too.

The BIG one for me. 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.

You CAN use Photoshop as an external editor.

How Much Does it Cost?

This is a bit confusing.  Three plans and two apps with similar names.

Lightroom CC plan
  • Includes the all-new Lightroom CC
  • 1TB of cloud storage
  • US$9.99/month
  • Additional TB is $9.99 each per month
Photography plan
  • Same as before
  • Includes the all-new Lightroom CC
  • Includes 20GB of cloud storage
  • Lightroom Classic CC
  • Photoshop CC.
  • US$9.99/month
Photography plan with 1TB cloud storage
  • Includes the all-new Lightroom CC
  • 1TB of cloud storage
  • Lightroom Classic CC
  • Photoshop CC
  • US$19.99/month
  • US $14.99 for the first year for existing subscribers

FAQs

  1. Does Lightroom CC support raw files?
    • Yes, Lightroom CC supports all the raw file types that Lightroom Classic CC and Adobe Camera Raw supports.
  2. Can I have multiple catalogs in Lightroom CC?
    • No
  3. Where are my photos stored? Can I keep them locally on my computer?
    • Lightroom CCbmanages your photos for you, so that your photos don’t fill up your hard drive space.
    • This allows you to keep and work with many photos, even if there’s not enough room for all the photos on your hard drive.
    • You can always view all your photos in Lightroom CC, even if the original file is not stored on your hard drive.
    • When you are working with a photo, and the original is not already present on your computer, Lightroom CC automatically downloads it from the cloud.
    • You can also selectively store images locally
    • You cannot selectively sync to the cloud (its all or nothing)
  4. Can I sync just some of my photos to the cloud?
    • No; Lightroom CC safely backs up all your photos to the cloud.
  5. How do I retrieve my photos if I cancel?
    • You can use the Image Downloader Utility to download your photos from Creative Cloud after your membership expires. This utility will be available soon.