The Differences Between Adobe Lightroom and Lightroom Classic

When Adobe Lightroom separated into two clients, there was a lot of confusion over which was the right one for each person. In this video, we get some insight into the differences between the two.

When I first opened the shiny new Lightroom some years back, I immediately balked at the change. I generally embrace change, but when it pulls the rug out from under my workflow, things get messier. I wanted to "nope" straight out of the new client and go back to the version I could use in my sleep. And that's actually what I did, but for better reasons.

The difference between the two clients is both profound and minimal depending on what you're looking at. The primary difference is that Lightroom Classic works as it always has with regards to the catalog of your images: it's locally stored. Whereas Lightroom is primarily aimed at being cloud-based. That is, if you have huge volumes of work — as I do — Lightroom will likely not be the best option for you. However, if you tend to work in smaller batches, Lightroom offers remote access to your images automatically, as well as backups, and a few other useful tools. If, like Pye Jirsa and I, you regularly conduct shoots with anywhere from hundreds to thousands of images each time, you're most likely going to want to stick to Classic.

Which version of Lightroom do you use and why?

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5 Comments

Tony Northrup's picture

Lightroom is AMAZING in that I can import pictures from my camera to my phone do some editing in my downtime between shoots, and then when I get back to my desk everything is just sync'd to my laptop. BUT it lacks stuff I REALLY need like side-by-side comparisons and virtual copies. Also accessing the cloud is really slow sometimes. Like, exporting a picture can take 45 minutes for no good reason I can ascertain. Also I have like 25 TB of pictures, so even if I was willing to pay $250/mo for storage to Adobe (I'm not) they don't sell enough storage for me to move everything to the cloud.

Brian Rodgers Jr.'s picture

And if you need to do any further work in Photoshop, there's not really a good way to get your photos into PS from LR. Whereas, LR Classic offers you the ability to open files as Smart Objects, layers stacks etc. All features that I use as a commercial photographer on a daily basis. Where I personally think Lightroom's cloud features shine being able to access LR in a browser in order to make client proof galleries from your synced collections with the added bonus of text fields for production notes is incredibly useful.

Jon Conyers's picture

I prefer Lightroom classic. I am not a fan of the automatic sync. I just like to feel like I have absolute control on where all my images are. It is easier in my mind to maintain that kind of sainty I suppose.

Doriano Ciardo's picture

When they want to overdo it without settling for what they have produced so far. The classic version is better all around, both as a workflow and as a saving of settings across multiple photos. The other version can safely trash it. Then this cloud story is a big joke, with what you spend you can easily buy external HDs and hardly anyone accesses from another machine to resume pending jobs or to show catalogs. In the cloud there are many other versions, more capacious and cheaper. Then let's not talk about the use of the software, at the end of the year with all that you spend you can buy the license of many other similar software. All of this is an incentive for piracy.

Joel Harris's picture

I use Lightroom classic because of the volume of photos I take... I also overcome the whole syncing non capability by syncing my catalogue to onedrive and accessing it off my different laptops and PC's. It seems to work quite well but I do have to relink photos some times. The other reason I predominantly use Lightroom classic is that it has the tethered capture ability whereas I don't think LR has that? I may be wrong though.
In saying that, I really appreciate Lightroom for the mobile app, so I regularly edit photos I've taken on my phone right then and there for things like social media updates e.g. Whatsapp statuses, insta stories etc.