As an introduction to Adobe Lightroom CC and Classic, my aim is to demonstrate the power and utility of this software for post-processing your photographs. Post-processing often has negative connotations. Many feel their image should be presented as it came out of the camera with “no edits”. There are times a photograph will look great without any changes. My position is to view the photograph as some of the old masters did. The techniques they used in the darkroom were not much different than what you can do digitally. Today you can adjust the exposure, dodge shadows, burn highlights, crop, straighten and much more just as film photographers did. Working digitally has more versatility and can take that good photograph and make it a better if not great photograph.
The Power of Lightroom
I chose the image below of the Barred Owl because it was an example of difficult lighting. The owl was cast in dappled light and deep shadows with a bright background. Preferably, and I was able to get a better exposure metering on the bird which I did keep in my portfolio of birds. We have all taken photographs with a good subject, composition, and sharpness, but seemed lackluster for one reason or another.
The same photograph as above was post-processed in Lightroom. There I was able to adjust the exposure, crop the image, lift some shadows, decrease some highlights, add vibrancy, color and sharpen. It took me about 5 minutes. As you can see it looks much better and became more interesting. Imagine what you could do with that favorite vacation photo or a family photograph!
Adobe Lightroom Classic CC
I’ve been using Adobe Lightroom for the past 10 years. Initially, this was a stand-alone software with new versions ending with Adobe Lightroom 6. The software would generally cost about 150 dollars or more. Since I started using it, I have seen this software go through many changes and the addition of many tools that made the program even better. This undoubtedly is one of the best, full-featured photo editing programs in my opinion.
Today Adobe Lightroom Classic CC is available only by subscription to Adobe’s software plans. First released in October 2017, unofficially as Lightroom 7, I was reluctant at first to subscribe. The subscription was about 10 dollars a month, but I determined I might spend that much on the software alone and would have to buy the new version every few years. What sold me was that this came bundled with Photoshop, which was always cost prohibitive for me in the past as it could cost hundreds of dollars alone. All of the other benefits were also a big plus; Lightroom CC, 20 GB Cloud Storage enabling to edit on the go.
The Lightroom Classic version resides on your desktop or laptop as your primary editor and you can only edit from that device. The program includes all the organization tools for your photographs like libraries, catalogs and the ability to store them by date. This is all done in the Library Module. In the Develop Module, you can start processing your photograph. It also includes the Slideshow, Print and Web modules. The Classic version is where all of your photographs will reside.
Included in the subscription is Lightroom Creative Cloud (CC). This has most of the editing features you have in the Lightroom Classic version. The interface will look different for editing, but it’s intuitive and easy to adjust to. The biggest difference you will notice is there is no library and all of your photographs are not seen. What Lightroom CC allows you to do is to install it on a laptop or tablet and synchronize photographs you select from your desktop Lightroom Classic version and edit them on the go. With synchronization between both programs any changes you make in Lightroom CC will be saved in Lightroom Classic.
Subscribing to Adobe Lightroom
As of this writing subscription cost for Lightroom is still 9.99/month for the Lightroom Photography Plan. This includes Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Spark and 20 gigabytes of cloud storage (about 4,000 JPG files). To me, this is a good deal for everything included and it is my library and editor for all of my photography. There are several other plans and you can look at them and see which one suits you.
If you frequently check back with my blog, you will find new tutorials that will progress to help you get the best out of this software and become a Lightroom master.