Lightroom Classic - The new version of Lightroom - Digital Darkroom Academy

Lightroom Classic – The new version of Lightroom

The Adobe MAX conference is happening in Las Vegas and there’s a lot of new announcements made about Lightroom. I just wanted to take the time to update you guys about some of the major developments in that. So, here are some of the highlights.

Lightroom as we knew it is now Lightroom Classic

Adobe has renamed the folder-based Lightroom that we knew to Lightroom Classic. Lightroom CC is now another cloud-based product that they’ve launched, for which you can read the heading below this one. Lightroom Classic works on the same folder-based system that we’ve seen in previous versions. This new version of the desktop-based system includes improvements in performance and there are some cool new editing features, which we discuss later in the post.

A New Cloud-Based Lightroom CC

The photographic workflow has changed a lot over the past decade. People are using smartphones more and more to take their pictures. Their photos are now between multiple devices and it was now becoming more and more of a requirement that these devices can communicate with each other about the photographic workflow.

This is where the new cloud-based Lightroom CC comes in. Mind you, it’s a different product than the regular Lightroom we know, which is now Lightroom Classic (yes, it’s all a little confusing). But, with this all new Lightroom CC, all your photographs and edits are synced to the cloud and they are available on all your devices. So, it’s a lot easier now to go between your desktop, laptop and mobile.

It’s still in it’s early versions, so Lightroom CC doesn’t yet have all the features of Lightroom Classic, but since this is where the photographic workflow is headed, Adobe would be keen to develop it quickly.

My take on this is that, this is aimed more at people who do a lot of mobile photography and want to have those images in between devices. For a pro or semi-pro photographer, who shoots with a DSLR or mirrorless camera and whose workflow is based on folders & hard drives, Lightroom CC may not be the program for you. The Lightroom we have been using, which is now called Lightroom Classic is what you should continue with.

The Standalone Version doesn’t have a long future

Adobe has not announced a new standalone version of Lightroom. There is no Lightroom 7. Lightroom 6 is going to be the last standalone version of Lightroom. You can update to Lightroom Classic only on the Creative Cloud plan. The Lightroom 6 standalone version will continue to be sold, but there will only be a few more updates to it till the end of this year to provide support for new cameras, lens profiles and bug fixes. After that, no more updates.

What’s New in Lightroom Classic?

While there are plenty to new and improved things, the top most being the speed improvement, I just want to give you a preview of the two major additions.

Embedded Previews

Now, you don’t have to wait for Lightroom to create previews. You can use the ones created by your camera. This will allow you to go through your shoots much faster. If your camera embeds full size previews then you can even zoom in to see it full size. The way to use these would be to select ‘Embedded & Sidecar’ in the Import dialog. Yes, that option has always been there, which is why I have to say that it’s not really a new feature, it just works a little bit differently.

Range Mask

With the local adjustment tools (Adjustment Brush, Graduated Filter, Radial Filter), you were somewhat limited by how you apply your local adjustments. The new Range Mask feature allows you make these adjustments based on a specific range of colors. So, if you want to target only one set of tones for your adjustment, you can do that.

lightroom classic range mask
A Color Range Mask targeting only the cyans in the photo.

Other Upgrades

The overall focus of Adobe with this new version was performance. So, there have been many improvements to enhance performance. Along with that, there have been minor updates in Smart Collections, the Import dialog, Export dialog. New camera support and new lens profiles have been added.


Now, this new version of Lightroom may seem all new and shiny, and it may seem like a good idea to upgrade right away, but I would recommend waiting out for a few weeks and let the early adapters get their hands dirty. Once they’ve used it, tested it and seen how it fits into their workflow, then you can upgrade!

Shajee Aijazi

Shajee Aijazi is the founder of Digital Darkroom Academy. He helps people speed up their post-processing workflow and organize their photos in a way that they don't have to waste time managing it and they can focus on creating great looking images.

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