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.
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.
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.
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.
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?