5 Changes Adobe Needs to Make to Lightroom Before They Start Bleeding Customers

5 Changes Adobe Needs to Make to Lightroom Before They Start Bleeding Customers

While Adobe continues to spend its time and resources on useless updates such as the texture slider and the fragmented Lightroom CC vs CC Classic, there remains to be an abundant amount of changes that users actually want to see.  

Being a long-time user of Adobe Lightroom, I find it difficult to even consider the possibility of changing to a competing software. But being as difficult as it may seem, I recently downloaded a trial version of Capture One Pro 12 to see what the fuss was all about. While I haven't made a full-fledged change, the trial has made me realize just how far behind Lightroom really is. Below are five features that I feel Lightroom needs to implement before their customers start fleeing their dreaded software rental for much greener pastures.  

Customizable Workspace

Like most editing software, not every user is going to need or want the same things. While Adobe has done what they can to organize things in a meaningful way, there is just no way to please every single person. In recent updates, they have even given you the ability to reorganize the order of the editing panels if you see fit. But this simple customization is a drop in the ocean when compared to the customization options of Capture One Pro. Similar to Adobe Photoshop, users have the ability to hide, show, and move almost every aspect of the software.

If a tool is grouped into a certain panel and you want to move it to another panel, you can. You want a tool to float in a constant location and be ever-present, you can do that too. Want to completely remove everything you don't use, you got it! You can even set up, customize, and save your workspace for different situations. Save a workspace specifically designed for culling and then have a totally different workspace for editing. Seeing as this ability is very similar to that found in Adobe Photoshop, it makes you wonder why after all these years, there is nothing like this available for Lightroom.

The only thing you can do with Lightroom is change the order for the main panels

In Capture One, you can move panels from one tab to another, have panels float, remove tools and panels you don't need, and even change where on the screen the filmstrip is.


When I first saw the ability to have layers with masks, I didn't think it would offer much more then what was already possible with the local adjustments in Lightroom. After all, in Lightroom, I can already use one of three local adjustments to selectively apply certain adjustments similar to what you can do with layers. I can limit these adjustments based on tone or color. I can even use the brush tool to fine-tune a gradient and I can add and erase parts of the masks that control these adjustments. 

The reality though, is the difference between the local adjustments of Lightroom and the layers of Capture One Pro are night and day. Where Lightroom gives you a small subset of adjustments to choose from, Capture one gives you everything. From curves adjustments to color adjustments. You can selectively apply a hue, saturation, and luminance adjustment to a small portion of an image or you can have different curves adjustments for different parts of the frame. Something that is 100% impossible to do in Lightroom. 

Not only do you get more adjustments when using Layers in Capture One, but you also get more masking options. From luminance masks to color masks and even an option for refine edge. Applying adjustments to an image in Capture One Pro is like using a chefs knife compared to the sledgehammer that is Lightroom. Accept Capture One gives you the option to use the Sledgehammer option if you still want it.       


In Lightroom, you have the ability to control hue/saturation/luminance for a set of specific colors. You can also globally and locally adjust things like white balance and saturation. We already talked about not being able to locally adjust the hue/saturation/luminance for a specific part of an image with Lightroom, but you also cant adjust hue/saturation/luminance of a specific color outside of the predefined colors that Lightroom has given you. With Capture One Pro, you can basically adjust the hue/saturation/luminance of any color independently from every other color. Not only that, but you can even adjust the highlights, mid-tones, and shadows of any color independently from one another. This means that you can change the hue and saturation of a green leaf in sunlight without effecting the green of the grass in the shade.    

The options you get with Lightroom

Numerous options for adjusting colors in Capture One Pro

Skin Color

While the ability to adjust and manipulate color in Capture One Pro is obviously superior to anything possible in Lightroom, they take things a step further when it comes to skin tones. Outside the normal color editor, there is a tab specifically designated for skin tone. Here you can sample a persons skin tone and then use a set of sliders to make the hue/saturation/luminance more uniform. This gives you an easy way to get perfect and uniform skin tones without going near any complex and time-consuming retouching options. This is something not even on the Lightroom map.   

Shortcut Keys

I recently wrote a review for the Loupedeck+ and talked about how bad the customization options in Lightroom really are. With Capture One Pro, you get a significant upgrade in your ability to customize shortcuts. Again, this comes back around to not every user being the same. If I have a set of shortcuts I constantly want to use, it only makes sense that I should be able to assign those shortcuts to the easiest keyboard keys for me to use. Even these keys can vary from user to user. Some people may want to use keys on the left side of the keyboard while others on the right. If you have the option for keyboard shortcuts, it should be common sense that they should be editable. 

Unfortunately, Capture One Pro does share one fault with Lightroom when it comes to shortcuts. Neither gives you the option to assign a shortcut key to a preset (or style if you are in Capture One). Thankfully you have the ability to work around this with the use of the Loupedeck+, but I think this should be a must-have option for both pieces of software. 

Capture One Pro also seems to be missing the option to use some keyboard shortcuts that can be found in Lightroom. Things like "reset crop" don't seem to be present and there is no way to "Paste from previous" as you can in Lightroom. Instead, you have to first copy the settings and then paste those settings to the next image. If I do make the switch to Capture One, this "paste from previous" button would be sorely missed. 


These are five things I feel Adobe Lightroom needs to change before they start drastically losing customers. More and more Lightroom users are making the switch to Capture One Pro because these changes are not new requests. These holdbacks along with the forced subscription model are causing users to explore new options. As companies like DVLOP also get ready to launch support for Capture One Pro, making the change will only become easier and easier. 

What changes would you like to see made to Adobe Lightroom?  


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Michael Holst's picture

The process of applying global adjustments across an entire set of images is the only thing I dislike about Capture One. Otherwise, I think it processes my images a bit cleaner than Lightroom but that's just my personal eye test. Lightroom seems to muddy everything up when I try to add even a little contrast.

Marcus Joyce's picture

It's clunky in spots for sure.

HDR/panorama would be nice too

Jason Vinson's picture

Do the copy paste functions not work for what you are looking for?

Michael Holst's picture

Just not as smooth as it is in LR.

Jason Vinson's picture

Ya if I make the switch, I would definitely will the "paste from previous" function!

It sounds like you want Capture One Pro. Just buy it.

David Love's picture

Before they add any of that have them fix the basics. On their own website the request you edit in a certain order with their tools to keep the program from crawling. How stupid is that? Every new update is some new tool that they recommend you not use too much or the program will start crawling. Huh? They say if you need to do more, use Photoshop, which Capture one and others don't have so that I agree on. I start in Lightroom, make a few adjustments, send it to Photoshop, retouch and composite and then back to Lightroom for color grading.

They need to stop building bloatware and just rebuild the program from scratch. If the new announcement was "Now it's finally fast" I'd be more excited than a new adjustment tool they recommend I don't use.

LR CC is their attempt to rewrite it.

Jason Vinson's picture

Then why is Lightroom CC so much less then Lightroom classic? What does Lightroom CC do that is an improvement over classic?

Because that’s how software developed these days :)

Maybe in … um, CH??

Anywhere in software development you start with simpler version, then add features. That’s what happens with LR CC. As soon as it is ready to replace Classic in terms of features - it will.

Different target audience.

Years ago, Adobe decided they needed to rewrite the Premiere code base. The rewrite was called Premiere Pro and it was a step backward in terms of the feature set, at least at first. It eventually moved past the capabilities of Premiere. The same thing will happen with LR CC. The difference is that LR Classic is available concurrently in the interim.

Different thing and audience. Premiere and Premiere Pro both market video editing on a desktop computer or workstation. LR CC is targeted at mobile users, compared to Classic which, of course, is for desktop use.

Are you from Adobe, LR development team?

No. But I've been using Adobe software, et al. for over thirty years and have never seen the development strategy you describe. They don't even make an attempt to develop CC for desktop use.

As Timothy Linn said above: "Years ago, Adobe decided they needed to rewrite the Premiere code base. The rewrite was called Premiere Pro and it was a step backward in terms of the feature set, at least at first."

I replied to that comment with my rebuttal.

David Love's picture

No I think CC is a way for them to try and push everyone to the cloud so they have all your files there so you can pay or get locked out of your own pics.

Rob Mitchell's picture

Not bothered about all those things really. LR does all I need and more. If not, I just r-click - edit in - PS.
Failing that, I send it to my photo editor.

Exactly. There is nothing broken in Adobe software in terms of features (I do find it a little slow, as do most) These repetitive "things that Adobe need to fix" articles are written by people who need a different tool than LR/PS combo. It is like buying a small hatchback car and writing to the manufacturer that they need to fix the fact it doesn't drive offroad very well.

Just use the right tool for your work.

Lightroom is artificially kept stupid to sell more Photoshop. Or you could argue Photoshop is artificially kept stupid to create one more product called Lightroom. Frankly you can do anything much better and faster in Photoshop than Lightroom — Except for the management part. So there you go. Btw even with C1 I still use Photoshop for much better gradiant effects due to the simplicity of masking subjects very quickly using the RGB Channels. How little photographers use the Channels as a form to create more subtle masks is mind boggling...

The newest luminosity masking panels from Lumenzia, ADP Pro, and TK Actions are even more flexible than using channels and the end result is not just a more sophisticated mask but a smaller file size as well.

Interesting. Do they allow for Automated Actions and have Droplets for mass processing or do you have to go through image by image? I can run through hundreds of actions in Photoshop per image and have hundreds of images running through those while I’m out shooting — and so far I haven’t found a single piece of software that allows me to do that ... but admittedly last time I checked was a few years back

One more thing in Photoshop you can fine tune the channels with calculations - multiply, screen, overlay etc. and of course you can re-calculate these again as many times as you want. I wonder if the result really is much different if you know photoshop well or if it’s simply just personal preference. However if those software you mention do have automations and droplets I will take a closer look

I would welcome customizable workspaces as I could then setup Lightroom like Bridge. I just have the hardest time getting used to Lightroom as I'm so used to Bridge.

Reginald Walton's picture

Well, I'm sure the people that aren't satisfied with LR have left by now. If they haven't, then it's their own fault. Frankly, LR is serving me well, so I'm good. And if CP1 is your choice for editing, then more power to ya.

Having LrCC and Lr Classic is confusing and stupid. If LrCC isn't ready for primetime, call it beta until it can replace Lr Classic. Lightroom Classic reminds me of Coca-cola Classic.

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