What Features Would You Like to See in Lightroom?

Lightroom has evolved into a tremendously versatile and powerful program, capable of tackling many things that one used to have to switch to Photoshop for. Nonetheless, there is always room to grow. This great video essay features a seasoned Lightroom educator discussing five things he would still like to see Adobe add to the program.

Coming to you from Anthony Morganti, this interesting video essay discusses five features he would like to see added to Lightroom. Morganti is one of the most well-known Lightroom veterans out there and knows the application inside and out, so it is well worth hearing his take on what could make it better. Of the five he mentions, I would most like to see the full availability of adjustments added to the new masking panel. Lightroom's masking capabilities have advanced by leaps and bounds, and they have fundamentally changed the way I edit my photos, both in terms of efficiency and the adjustments I make. Nonetheless, unlike Photoshop, there are quite a few adjustments missing. For example, I would love to be able to take advantage of the HSL panel and the automated sky selection to add a quick color grade to the sky and make the blues pop. Hopefully, we'll see those options added in a future upgrade. Check out the video above for Morganti's full thoughts. 

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Bert Nase's picture

I don't need new functions. I need better IQ which means better RAW engine and better noise reduction. Nothing happens here the last five years and others are miles ahead meanwhile.

Kevin Barre's picture

1. Allow complete manual organization of the Presets module. This one is HUGE. The current method of having to name everything alphabetically to get one preset to the top is needlessly absurd. The whole panel needs a ground-up redesign, with customizable Folders, Locations, Separators, Nested Levels, and Colors.

2. AI editing that learns your edit style, and has AI “Style Presets,” so you can choose multiple versions.

3. AI Leveling, Culling, and Noise Reduction.

4. The ability to assign Custom Keyboard Shortcuts to every single button in the interface, or at least the ability to record scripts (Actions), like you can in Photoshop. For example, I can cycle through the different Upright Transformations by pressing CTRL+Tab (on Mac), but it certainly would be great if I could assign a keystroke to “Level” for example, rather than having to hit CTRL+Tab 3 times, or hit the “R” button for the Crop tool, and then choose Auto.

Jon Kellett's picture

Only three things:
1. More GPU everywhere.
2. Faster generation of 1:1 previews.
3. Grid view, with thumbnails enabled - make the damn thumbnails update faster. Keyboard is faster than mouse, but it's still slow enough that if you rate/mark an image and move on, the thumbnail (and thus affected image) could still be historical. I like thumbnails. Don't make me turn them off for speed - An RTX3060 has more than enough grunt to keep up.

Andrew Pick's picture

I don't need new features. I need a version of Lightroom with a perpetual licence, that I only have to pay for once and is mine to keep. If that's not possible, then perhaps an 'Elements' version, a bit like photoshop Elements, with all the essential features at a lower price (perpetual licence only). For a professional who edits thousands of photos per month the subscription model might be cost effective. I cannot justify paying £10 per month for the current version, as I only edit photos occasionally. If I only edit 1 photo in a month, then the photo has cost me £10. For the time being i have to make do with version 6. This is really annoying, as it does not support recent camera models.

Andrew Pick's picture

I disagree. That is not what I am saying at all. I paid for my Lightroom version 6, but I know for a fact there are no high skilled engineers working on bug fixes and updates. If Adobe were to sell me an updated version with perpetual licence, I would gladly pay for it. They used to do this in the past without any problems: Lightroom versions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 were all sold with a perpetual licence. Users accepted that at some point they might need to pay for an update, but they were able to decide if, and when that would be. The only reason Adobe has switched to a subscription only model is because it increases their profits. It's not for our benefit. It is still possible for them to sell software with perpetual licence. They do this with Photoshop Elements or example.

Colin Robertson's picture

This is a great list! I had to think about it for a bit—the new masking tools have really improved LR and I've been fairly happy with it. That said, I am using a custom profile created with a color checker. I really would like to see better default profiles (for what it's worth, I am using Canon). I would agree with your thoughts on the noise and sharpening tools and along that, I would also like to see better demosaicing. I get less noise in a clean sky in Capture One, for example. Speaking of C1, their skin tone tools are so good I would switch to C1 if I primarily shot portraiture... I hadn't thought of it before in the context of LR, but I think I would use 'sessions' if LR added that feature.

Finally, I really wish they'd re-think the integration between Lightroom Classic and the cloud version of Lightroom (formerly CC). It drives me nuts that my synced collections don't have the same structure that they do in non-classic LR. More than that though, I find that editing smart previews is not very useful. It would be nice if you could selectively sync collections with original raw files for when you want to not only edit on the go, but export and share on the go too. I refuse to export smart previews!

Adam Chandler's picture

I'd like to see more portrait retouching and neural filters like what Photoshop has but better (akin to Portrait Pro). I like the options that the new masking tools have made super easy such as eye brightening, teeth whitening etc but the skin softening isn't great and I'd love a good shine-reduction filter and a blemish-removal filter.

Artur Nunes's picture

Basically, he suggests to Adobe, with all it's might and wealth, to acquire ON1 for sky replacement, DxO for Pureraw noise reduction, TopazLabs for sharpening and maybe CO1 for sessions. Done deal!
Now, more seriously, I'd add: a more modern, less modular and flexible interface, a better export function, and possibly a merger of the 2 versions of Lightroom into one that does local, cloud and mobile in a simpler and more user friendly way.
I leave out more Photoshop functions and resources, like layers or neural filters, because that is something that Adobe will never do. Or perhaps just until some competitor does...
Cheers, happy shooting and editing!

David Terry's picture

The biggest timesaver for me would be to automatically detect out of focus / blurred images. I hate when the eyes aren't sharp. But sometimes I have to go all the way to 1:1 viewing to find out and that takes time. If an image could simply be flagged as potentially out of focus or blurred, I could ignore it but maybe come back to it if there were no better options. Taking things a step further, automatically detecting closed/partially closed eyes. Again if I could just ignore most of these images (unless there are no better choices) it would speed up the culling time remendously. And I agree, adding HSL to masking would be awesome.

Jon Kellett's picture

OMG! This is one thing I should add to my list too!

I do a lot of wildlife. Really frustrating that I have to check the eyes on every single image before I check the pose and framing. If you're shooting a foraging bird, you have little choice but to shoot many frames because they move their heads so much and so fast.

We need AI that is good at eye detection on all animals.

Adrian Lyons's picture

My #1 and only real wish is to add a session-style workflow like CaptureOne and support network-accessible projects.

Perényi Gábor's picture

it would be enough if they optimized it, because it is slow

Darren Whitley's picture

I would like the option to disable modules and presets. I want a cleaner interface. I also feel like sharpening in LR is NOT the same as sharpening a photo in Photoshop. In the past when I used LR sharpening, it created undesirable texture artifacts.

Adam Chandler's picture

Adobe should buy Topaz and implement their incredible sharpening, resizing and noise algorithms, all of which blow LR out of the water.

Jon Kellett's picture

I'm a Topaz user, but wouldn't like this.

I doubt that Adobe would push the development of the product very hard. On top of that, I find that you need to do a lot of work in Sharpen/Denoise with a fair bit of trial and error and usually, need to run both but sometimes in different orders.

If Adobe integrated Topaz, say goodbye to the granular control of different models and (fairly) decent masking...

Tyler Thomas's picture

I quit using LR but I always wanted better curve tools. I feel like the tiny ass curves they give you are so coarse.

Chris Rogers's picture

All I want is speed. It would be super nice if LR ran without slowing way down after editing a few images. I've used LR on 7 different computers. Business laptops, gaming laptops, every day desktops and high powered gaming desktops. LR ran like molasses on all of them after editing just a few images. Just trying to scrub through your reel of images gets maddeningly slow. It really bogs down workflow. It would also be super cool if they made their app launcher waaaay less bloated. I moved to Capture One and have been a happy camper since.

bill bane's picture

1. Massively better use of cpu cores and GPU memory. I have 220,000 images and LR Classic is a dog.Then, after a long session, I get hit by memory leaks and the program stops. Adobe right now "owns" DAM functionality, but will lose it (and most other things) unless the fix this. I note they have improved over the last year. I fear they plan to eventually do this, but in LR CC, which I refuse to use unless I can store locally like with Classic.
2. Dan Margulis is the alpha and the omega regarding color and tone (albeit requiring an investment in learning most are not willing to pay). One of his most fundamental tenants is separating "color" and "luminosity" when curving, which you can do in Photoshop blend modes. LR/ACR must eventually allow a "mode" of "normal", "color" or "luminosity" in their "tone courves". Dan's work shows that there is nothing else that can so quickly and easily make gigantic changes in the set of images that are poorly taken. (eg. most of my 220,000 images!).

bill bane's picture

PS. I have a 24 core CPU and 128GB of Ram, and app, catalog, and images split over 5 big, fast SSDs, all with lots of unused space. Sigh.