7 Lightroom Features I Wish Existed

7 Lightroom Features I Wish Existed

I'm an Adobe Lightroom user, and although I love the way Lightroom Classic works, I think there's still a lot to be improved on. From historical hangups to advanced features designed for busy professionals, here are some Lightroom features I wish existed.

I use Lightroom Classic over CC because I'm a full-time photographer and CC just doesn't have enough editing options for my intensive workload. Lightroom Classic is my go-to image editor, because it's fast, intuitive, and non-destructive, but there's still a way to go until it's perfect. Here are my two cents worth of updates I'd like to see in the future.

Match Up the Crop Tool Aspect Ratio

For some reason, amidst all the updating of software over the past few years, Adobe seems to have left an inconsistency along the way. Go into Lightroom and crop your photo. You'll see that the crop is unlocked, meaning you can make it any size you like without holding down the shift key. Now, go into Photoshop and do the same thing. Yep, that's right, it's locked: wherever you move your crop anchors, the aspect ratio remains the same.

Photoshop's crop tool automatically locks the aspect ratio when resizing, whereas in Lightroom Classic, users have to hold down the shift key.

Photoshop CC got this update a little while ago, but it seems Lightroom Classic (at the time of writing) has yet to follow suit. It's a real bugbear of mine because I regularly export edits from Lightroom into Photoshop and forget that I have to switch gears and use the shift key. Why not just homogenize this feature? Most photographers I know have the Photography Creative Cloud plan, which includes both pieces of software, so it doesn't make sense why this feature isn't the same across editors.

Auto Mask on Graduated Filters

The adjustment brush has a cool feature called "Auto Mask," which constrains the brush footprint to similar colors and tones so that you can affect only one part of an image, like the sky, for example. I'd like to see this extended to the Graduated Filter, because most of the time, I'm trying to darken skies against an uneven horizon and I don't want to darken my landscape.

Lightroom's Adjustment Brush has the Auto Mask feature, allowing more accurate selection of painted areas, but I'd like to see this extended to the Graduated Filter as well.

Adobe could call it a Smart Graduated Filter or simply add the Auto Mask button to the tool and give options for size and feathering as they do on the brush so I can decide whether the filter is harsh against the horizon line or softer.

Vibrance Slider on Adjustment Brush

There's a saturation slider on the adjustment Brush, but why no vibrance? I can't think of why. Lightroom Classic just got an update to include hue adjustment, so why can't vibrance be added? For those not quite sure of the difference between saturation and vibrance, a basic explanation is that saturation boosts overall color intensity, regardless of hue or tone. That means you can whack it up high and clip all the colors until the point of posterization. Whereas vibrance will enhance weaker colors and never clip them. For the most part, I use vibrance when editing my photos due to the clipping from the saturation slider.

I'd like to see the addition of a vibrance slider on the Adjustment Brush, just as there is a saturation slider.

Bandwidth Selector for HSL/Color

I liken the Hue/Saturation/Luminance/Color panel in Lightroom to an audio equalizer on your Hi-Fi. Each color is represented by a single slider, which can boost and reduce its respective color. Now, there are two kinds of equalizers I'm referring to here: a graphic equalizer and a parametric equalizer, the latter of which is vastly more powerful.

The HSL/Color panel acts like a graphic equalizer for audio, boosting and attenuating specific small bandwidths of color and tone.

A graphic equalizer boosts or reduces signal on a small bandwidth of one specific frequency (with a slight slope on either side because of physics), and that's what the HSL sliders appears to do. The parametric equalizer can be tuned to a specific frequency and bandwidth (or Q) adjusted so that you can affect the surrounding frequencies as well. I'd like to see the option for bandwidth selection in the HSL panel, much like a parametric equalizer, because I don't always want just one type of blue to be boosted. 

The best way I can do this currently is to use the dropper tool in the HSL/Color panel and click on the part of the image I want to alter, but there's no fine-tuning, and you're stuck with the pixels you just happen to select.

More Luminance and Detail Control on Adjustment Brush

Great, so I can use the sharpness and noise sliders in the Adjustment Brush to control their respective variables, but that's it. I'd like to see the same kind of control I have under the Detail panel, which includes sliders for luminance, detail, contrast, and color noise reduction. It'd be especially helpful when sharpening eyes on portraits or on macro photographs. At the moment, I export to Photoshop for this.

I'd like to see more detail control over sharpness and noise in the Adjustment Brush to match the scope of control available in the detail panel.

Syncing Smart Collections

What I'd like to do is set up a Smart Collection with some rules that automatically sync with eligible catalog images and then sync those to the Creative Cloud. That way, I could use my 20 GB storage (I'm on the Photography CC plan) just to keep an up-to-date portfolio in which I can show others/clients without having to manually update every time I finish a new photograph.

Lightroom Classic synchronizes normal collections with the Creative Cloud, but not Smart Collections.

Yes, there's a workaround where you can make Smart Collections and then highlight those images and drag them into the normal collection to sync, but it's another manual step that could be avoided if Smart Collections were allowed to sync to the cloud. I'm not sure why this doesn't exist already. Perhaps if Adobe is reading this, they could explain more?

Start-Up Tutorial Showing How to Speed up Lightroom

There are so many people out there dissatisfied with the speed of their Lightroom Classic; I know, I was one of them. There are a few good tweaks you can make based on your specs to speed up the workflow, but I'd like to see this as a first-time start-up tutorial where after you finish learning where the basic tools are, Lightroom runs a diagnostic to analyze your computer specs and helps you set up cache size, previews, and more to make things super speedy.

On the whole, I'm extremely happy with Lightroom Classic. I like the way it handles and organizes my files, and I've yet to find better software to do this. I'm not entirely convinced the subscription-based payment is for me, but I understand that this is the way the world is moving — there's even a company in the USA that is offering subscription electric cars. But these are seven features I'd like to see implemented to Lightroom Classic to make it even better.

Jason Parnell-Brookes's picture

Jason is an internationally award-winning photographer with more than 10 years of experience. A qualified teacher and Master’s graduate, he has been widely published in both print and online. He won Gold in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 and was named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014.

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Those all seem easily doable. I want content based search like google photos has.

Can we PLEASE have an option to work remotely? Upload to my main computer, then edit from my laptop without having to use a Remote Desktop.

What's wrong with setting up a remote desktop?

I switched to Capture One for the enhanced control, and real layers. BUT!. Yes a big but. When the CO catalog increased in size performance fell like a rock. The answer was to split the catalog into several smaller ones. I didn't want that, and now I'm back with LR Classic. It's a pity that the different teams within Adobe don't talk to one another. Keybord shortcut 'C' for crop in PS and LR (and most other editors), but 'R' like in 'cRop in LrC. Inconsistency should be a registered trademark for Adobe.

C1 Pro cannot deal with large catalogs. Struggled for a month and then dropped it.

that why you use Sessions and not catalog.. useing a catalog is why to slow!

I am primarily into wildlife. Cannot do sessions since I need all the images to search through...

Agree with all of this. One has to assume that Adobe feels like some of these features are already in Photoshop and folks should just be using PS if they want those features. Just my assumption.
For my product photography there's really only 1 killer feature I'd LOVE to have (I'd even pay for a plugin that can do that) - fix white backgrounds. This shouldn't be so hard to do. I already shoot on white backdrops with good lighting. Due to the size of the object and some lighting restrictions, sometimes the white isn't perfectly white in all parts of the picture. This is a fairly easy manual fix, but I'd save hours every month if LR could do this automatically.

What about layers????

That's a step too far. There's Photoshop for that one!

they allready have photoshop for that... so Lighroom will never get layers..

They also have photoshop for pretty much everything else LR can do in terms of image editing.

Not a functionality issue, but I don't get the relatively recent nomenclature change. It's a petty niggle, I know, but why rename it Lightroom Classic? It sounds as if Adobe is preparing to sideline it, I mean, why not name the new cloud app Lightroom Cloud or something that more represents how it varies from Lightroom (original), and keep Lightroom (original) as Lightroom?

Simple request: dear Adobe, please allow to sync collection set at LR Classic with folders at LR
More complicated request: some kind of warping toolset like pupped warp or warp brushes will be nice addition

The first one's easy - In the Develop module, select a photo then open the Crop Overlay tool and choose Settings | Constrain Aspect Ratio.

Correct. Lock it once and it stays locked.

Jason - Actually 2 of the five requests are already there! As for Lock or Unlock crop it is based on what you did last BEFORE you actually used the crop tool. So lick on the crop, then click on lock, then crop. Next time you use it it will be locked. As for luminance and color they are also already there. Mask an area first then you'll be able to use the sliders at the bottom called "Range Mask" sliders of narrow the mask for Luminance, Color or Depth (the the image has depth info). Often when I use the brush in LR I double click on the word EVENT at the top to zero all the setting, press "O" so I can see the mask, set the mask to the general area, adjust the mask area with luninance then press "O" again to turn off the showing the mask, then make the adjustments to the masked area only.

I’d just like to see better syncing all round with the cloud. If you add photos via the cloud and let them sync automatically to Classic, it becomes rather challenging working out what synced at smart preview only and what’s full resolution original.

On the other hand, I’d also like an option to set a collection sync status to upload full resolution rather than smart previews.

I’ve discovered that having LRCC open as well as a classic can help you identify originals from smart previews, and replace the latter with the former. But it is a royal PITA. It would be far better if Classic let us manage how we want to sync files.

Please please please..... keyboard sortcut freedom. I use a Spanish keyboard but I also work in four different languages in various parts of my online life..... in nearly every software I use I can set up a system with shortcuts without having to change because of language. PS is a breeze, but LR.... it drives me nuts.

I agree with you about the vibrance and details that are needed on the local adjustments.

However for the automask on the graduated filter, you can use the range mask and target specific hues or luminosity to accomplish the same thing.

Automask is already there for grad filters in Lightroom. But it's more attuned to what grad filters are used for.

Here's a photo without grad, with masked grad and unmasked grad. Using luminance masking.
IIRC the first version has already had a masked grad applied to taste in the raw edit. But finished tiff was first shot I came across to use for this demo.

When using a target adjustment, Saturation + is Vibrance. - is Saturation.
Would love to search/filter Collections on import.

I really just want to get rid of that stupid button on the far right that hides the panel every time I try to grab the scroll bar :/

Mice have had scroll wheels for most of this century so rarely any need to click on scroll bars anymore.
Besides, even on a high res screen with small UI, it's not a problem to hit scroll bar without hiding panel, which is way bigger than many other parts of the the LR interface.
Not to mention many people want to hide panels with a quick click.

I would really like to have radial filters available in squares and rectangles.

Focus Stacking. We already have Panorama and HDR. Why not that too? Maybe even that Super Resolution too which some camera have built in.