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Using the New Lightroom CC

Lightroom is a large chunk of my photographic workflow so I wanted to force myself to get familiar with the newest version as soon as it came.  Heading to Mexico, I downloaded Lightroom CC (now called Photoshop Lightroom CC  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯), skipped on updating Lightroom Classic and left my external hard drive at home. This way, I figured, I'd be forced to give it a fair shake not just my usual 30 second look around before scampering back to the familiar. After a week and a half of using it consistently, here are my initial thoughts. 

Upside 

Automatic syncing

With the newest Lightroom CC version, when you upload your photos they sync to the Adobe cloud and then across all of your devices. I was able to upload photos and have them available on my phone a few minutes later. Plus each time I made an edit or an adjustment, it also synced across my devices so I never had to export a photo multiple times. It almost cut dropbox from my workflow. My one lament about this is that you get 100GB of space but have to upgrade to get 1TB of space. 

Below is the Lightroom CC on my laptop on the left and then the photos synced to my phone on the right.

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No external hard drive

Traveling with gear is a pain. Figuring out what to pack and then remembering every necessary cable and accessory is also a pain. Early on, I would always forget some small but vital thing. Tip: you can ship stuff via amazon to your hotel and it is amazing. Not having to pack an external hard drive was nice. Additionally, I often experience this odd "what if" anxiety when I'm traveling. What if my stuff gets stolen and all my photos are gone? What if my external glitches? Knowing that all my photos were synced to the Adobe cloud and even if something went wrong, I had everything backed up was deeply comforting. 

Downside

Presets 

I’m a fan of presets, they speed up my editing. Technically none of the presets I usually use seem to be formatted for the new Lightroom yet and so I quickly ran into a number of odd glitches. Some of the presets looked off. Sometimes they looked accurate on my laptop but then they synced weirdly to my phone. For example, below, the photo on the left was when I exported to dropbox and then saved and the photo on the right was how it synced. Normally presets save me a chunk of time but with the new Lightroom they added time as I had to double check every photo and adjust all the settings. This might be fixed with preset updates or new versions so I'll definitely revisit this in a few months.

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Stripped down

Lightroom CC feels like a stripped down version of Lightroom Classic that expects you to jump over to Photoshop if you want additional editing control. It now even seems to have been renamed to Photoshop Lightroom CC. Missing: curves, split toning, history, sync, slideshow and control over the files when exporting. Those are just the things I noticed and it made me feel like the program is meant for photography enthusiasts more so than professional photographers. While the sync allowed me to skip dropbox (most of the time), the stripped down controls added more editing time with a lot more jumps into Photoshop. 

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Final Thoughts

While I enjoyed using Lightroom CC during my trip, it definitely won’t replace Lightroom Classic in it’s current iteration. As soon as I got home, I imported all of the photos from my trip into my usual Lightroom catalogue. Ideally I could have the syncing aspect of Photoshop Lightroom CC but with the ability to selectively choose which things to sync and all of the features of the Lightroom Classic. In the meantime, I'll be using Lightroom CC on trips but jumping back to Classic as soon as I get home.

Update January 2018

There have been some updates to Lightroom CC and it's getting closer and closer to a point of taking over Lightroom Classic for me. Curves are now available and they're a lot easier to work with in this version. If presets synced across all devices and split toning was introduced, I would probably make the jump to Lightroom CC even with the annoying extra charge for adobe cloud storage space.