Jack Baty

Director of Unspecified Services

How I'm using Lightroom

Recent versions of the new Lightroom (Desktop, not "Classic") have added features making it feasible for me to use.

Lightroom it is. After a long period using Capture One, then a shorter period using Lightroom Classic (LrC), I'm once again trying the new Lightroom.

I left Capture One for LrC partly because Capture One's catalog features feel weak compared to LrC. LrC has everything and does it all pretty well. Its ecosystem is unmatched. Capture One is powerful and awesome, but the company is leaning hard into its Professional Photographer In a Studio market. I'm not one of those. C1 is also rather expensive. Instead, I've been using LrC with a single catalog containing every image I have. It works fine, and for $10/month I get both versions of Lightroom on the desktop, the mobile app, and Photoshop. Yes, it's a subscription, but one that is hard to beat.

So why bother switching to the new Lightroom? Fair question. It's mostly because I want to use Lightroom. It's just nicer in most ways. It looks good, it's clean, it's faster, and (regardless of claims otherwise by Adobe), it's the future.

Earlier attempts to switch failed. This is because Lightroom has always depended 100% on cloud storage. That bothers me just enough that I get turned off by it and go back to something that's local-first. Well, recent versions of Lightroom let me edit files directly from folders on disk, just the way I like it. This is even nicer than LrC because there's no need to import anything first. Just browse to the folder and start editing.

Sending edits to "The Cloud"

Once I'm done culling and editing, I select the "keepers" and press "Upload NN photos to cloud". This does just what it says. From that point on, I abandon the local file and continue any edits using the cloud version. It's nice being able to import photos from a card at my desk, do some basic culling, then move to the couch with an iPad or laptop and take it from there. My original files are where I left them, untouched, in nice, tidy, organized folders.

I still export any photos with significant edits to my "Digital Print Archive", just in case. This is a nice way of working.