Last Updated: March 24, 2021
- Free plan: Yes (limited mobile version)
- Free trial: Yes, 7 days
- Ease of use: 4.5/5
- Face recognition: Yes
- Keyword tagging: Yes
- Value for money: 4/5
- Editing capabilities: 4/5
- Exporting capabilities: 2/5
Photographers looking for comprehensive and easy-to-use photo editing software.
- Free trial
- Automatic cloud storage
- Clean and simple interface
- Seamless integration with mobile app
- No support for plug-ins
- Web-version glitches and is slow
- Limited sharing and exporting options
Free mobile version
$9.99/Month for 20GB
$19.99/month for 1TB
Creative Cloud All Apps Plan
What Is Lightroom?
Adobe Lightroom CC is a photo manipulation and image organization software developed by Adobe Inc. This program was created in 2007 and is a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud family. It comes with essential image editing tools like cropping, rotating, and presets, along with advanced features like local adjustments.
Lightroom is supported by iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows devices.
The software comes with a ton of fantastic features, including:
Image Editing Tools
Lightroom CC has almost all the editing tools you’ll find on Lightroom Classic. For your basic image editing, you can use the profile, color, light, effects, details, optics, and geometry tools. You’ll also find a rotation and cropping tool to change the aspect ratio of your images, as well as a healing brush tool to correct imperfections.
The program also provides three local adjustment options that give additional control. According to Lightroom reviews, the brush, linear-gradient, and radial gradient tools allow for advanced photo manipulation.
This image processing software supports Photoshop as an external editor. If you want to use any editing tools available on Photoshop, you can do that within Lightroom. Unfortunately, this program does not support any other external editor or plug-ins, unlike its Classic counterpart. Some users feel limited in their editing capabilities due to this lack.
Photo Organization and Management
You can import your pictures from an external storage device into Adobe Lightroom CC, and they’ll be automatically stored in the Adobe Creative Cloud servers. If you import RAW files, this program allows you to choose default processing: camera setting, or a preset of your choice.
You can organize your photos into folders and albums. It’s possible to manage your image library from any device, and any changes are automatically updated. Lightroom also uses non-destructive edits, which means that it saves the edited version alongside the original image.
The software’s artificial intelligence-based search tool “Sensei” is another highlight in this Lightroom review. Because your Lightroom photos are stored on Adobe’s online cloud servers, Sensei can analyze them. This tool can detect and identify objects in images without tagging them with keywords, making it easy for you to find the right photo.
Another way to organize your photos is by giving a star rating to your images.
Presets are like filters and can take your photos’ appearance to the next level. While Lightroom CC includes 40 stunning presets with your subscription, you can create your own or import any presets you bought online or share with friends.
When you apply a Lightroom preset, all adjustments are exposed. If you want to improve your editing skills, this information is incredibly beneficial as it shows you how to achieve a specific look. Alternatively, you can tweak settings to adjust the preset to your wishes.
Automatic Image Adjustment
The Lightroom software is suitable for entry-level and professional photographers. If you’re new to image editing, we recommend using the platform’s image auto-adjustment tool.
This feature automatically improves pictures, showing what settings have been edited to create the new look. It works best at fixing underexposed images. But even after using the tool, you can play with the settings to fine-tune it to your wishes.
Lightroom’s Sensei does more than just search for images. The Lightroom Adobe AI is also able to detect faces in your photos. These faces then show up in circles in the ‘My Photos’ panel. Shots of what Sensei considers to be the same person are grouped by default. You can add names for better organization.
Lightroom Learn, Discover, and Community
One of the best things about the Adobe Lightroom software is that it allows users to learn and improve their image editing skills from within the interface.
It features detailed guided tutorials to work on supplied images and learn about the different editing tools. Alternatively, you can check out the interactive edits, which are step-by-step animations showing you how professional photographers work with Adobe Lightroom.
You can follow any photographer in the Lightroom community. The software suggests tutorials and interactive edits based on posts you’ve liked, recent editing activity, and people you follow.
Sharing and Output
Using the Lightroom program, you can also upload your photos to the Adobe Portfolio web galleries. The Lightroom online galleries display your pictures and allow you to share them via a link. You can add multiple contributors and permit or disallow location viewing, EXIF viewing, and downloading.
A watermarking feature was recently added. You can customize it by font, style, rotation, color, and drop shadow.
Lightroom makes it easy to send your pictures to Blurb for book printing or White House Custom Color (WHCC) for wall art. Alternatively, you can export your image and upload it to a photo printing service or print them yourself.
But Lightroom’s sharing and exporting options remain limited. Looking at Lightroom reviews, it is evident that the lack of social media sharing is disappointing to many users.
Lightroom System Requirements
The Adobe Lightroom system requirements are as follows:
- PC: Windows 10 (64-bit), 2-GHz processor, 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended), 2GB hard disk space.
- macOS: macOS v.10.13, 4GB of RAM (8GB recommended), 2GB of available hard-disk space.
- Android: Android 5.x (Lollipop), 1.5GHz Quad-Core CPU, 1GB RAM (4GB or more recommended), 8GB hard disk space.
- iOS: Any iPhone or iPad that runs iOS 12.3 or later.
The Lightroom photo editor is available as a mobile app on Android and iOS. You can access your entire cloud-based library from the app, allowing you to edit from your phone or tablet.
The mobile version comes with similar features, tools, and functions as the Lightroom desktop application. While most of them are free to use on the app, the paid subscription unlocks additional editing tools.
You can change the settings so that any images on your phone are automatically uploaded to cloud storage. You can also search, filter, and tag your pictures.
The mobile app also includes an in-app camera, which is excellent at exposure compensation, thanks to its white balance tool. Additionally, the camera has an HDR feature and saves images as RAW files.
Some Lightroom reviews even show that the app is more impressive than its computer-based counterpart, as it’s much more accessible.
Lightroom Ease of Use
Lightroom’s user interface is sleek, streamlined, and straightforward. The screen has four sections: Home, My Photos, Learn, and Discover.
Home includes a summary of your edits, and My Photos displays all uploaded pictures. You’re able to create albums and folders for better photo management.
Learn and Discover are dedicated to teaching users how to improve their skills. You’ll find tutorials, interactive edits, and a community of other photographers and artists to follow.
Editing on the Lightroom photo editor is very simple. The majority of the editing tools are controlled by sliders, allowing you to adjust the exposure, focus, color, optics, geometry, and effects.
Lightroom also comes with tools for editing sections of your image. For example, the Adobe healing brush removes imperfections or unwanted objects. Although you may require some photo editing experience to make the most of these advanced tools, they are easy to learn.
Adobe offers a monthly subscription for the Lightroom photo editing software separately. It also offers a photography plan that includes Lightroom, Photoshop, and a Creative Cloud plan for all the creative Adobe applications.
- Free app version: The mobile app has a limited free version.
- Lightroom plan ($9.99/month): 1TB of cloud storage, Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Spark, and social media tools.
- Photography plan ($9.99/month for 20GB of storage or $19.99 for 1TB of storage): Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, Adobe Photoshop on desktop, Photoshop on iPad, Adobe Spark, Adobe Portfolio, and Cloud photo storage.
- Creative Cloud All Apps Plan ($52.99/month): 20+ desktop and mobile apps including Lightroom, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Premiere Pro, portfolio website, premium fonts, and 100GB of cloud storage.
All paid plans come with a seven-day free trial.
Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic
Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic are image editing software offered by Adobe. As they share a name, it may be confusing to know which one is which. That’s why we decided to compare the two below.
The Lightroom photo editing software is superior to Classic when it comes to accessibility. While you can typically only store files locally with Classic, the new Lightroom version lets you save images on the cloud. Using the cloud, you can access your photos from any device and don’t have to worry about cataloging your files.
Lightroom also automatically backs up photos, while Classic asks for manual backups. When it comes to finding your pictures on the platforms, CC uses Adobe Sensei and Classic relies on keywords and metadata.
Where CC only supports Photoshop as an external plug-in, Classic lets you add several other external editors and plug-ins alongside Photoshop.
It’s also safe to say that Classic is far ahead of CC in terms of editing capabilities. The Classic software comes with comprehensive tools such as red-eye removal and color and luminance masking. Although CC is quickly catching up, Classic remains the software for seasoned and professional photographers with long-term editing experience.
Lightroom vs DxO PhotoLab
Lightroom and DxO PhotoLab are similar in many ways, so we look at both programs in this Lightroom review.
DxO PhotoLab offers two one-time payment plans: Essential for $129 and Elite for $199. It comes with a 30-day free trial. On the other hand, Lightroom is only available as a subscription for $9.99/month and only gives seven days to try the tool for free.
Lightroom and DxO have sleek and straightforward user interfaces. But DxO presents all its editing tools in one place, whereas Lightroom features several icons and panels for performing edits.
Both platforms allow users to import their photos from their computers and external storage devices. Lightroom goes the extra mile by providing up to 1TB of cloud storage.
Lightroom’s accessibility is superior to DxO PhotoLab. DxO can only be used on a desktop, and Lightroom allows for easy editing on the go on a variety of platforms. Users also get access to a Lightroom community, which puts Lightroom on top on the social front.
Lightroom Review – Verdict
The Lightroom photo management software is a very impressive program. There are many things that Adobe got right: its editing tools are outstanding, and the convenient sliders allow for easy and quick edits.
Lightroom offers free cloud storage, making it simple for users to access their images from anywhere. The artificial intelligence, Sensei, is perhaps one of the best features of this application. The organizational functionalities and the Learn and Discover segments are also noteworthy.
But Lightroom is not without its limitations. A big issue is that the software doesn’t support external editing or plug-ins except for Photoshop, unlike Classic. Many external editing platforms come with editing capabilities that Lightroom lacks, so it limits how users can edit without the option to add plug-ins.
Lightroom could also improve in terms of sharing and exporting. For a platform that is available as a mobile app, the fact that it doesn’t support sharing of files to social media platforms is strange.
Hopefully, Adobe works towards fixing these Lightroom issues, as the software is a very efficient and effective image editing application.
The Adobe Lightroom software is ideal for beginner-level photographers. It features a wide variety of editing tools and offers guided tutorials and interactive edits that encourage continuous learning.
Adobe Lightroom is very safe to use. This application includes online cloud storage that automatically saves your imported images to the cloud.
The Lightroom mobile app is free but comes with limited features. To unlock all tools and use the software on a desktop, you have to get a $9.99/month subscription. It does offer a seven-day free trial that allows you to test out the program before making a financial commitment.
Adobe offers a Lightroom plan that costs $9.99/month. Alternatively, you can opt for the Photography Plan that includes Lightroom and Photoshop, which costs $9.99/month for 20GB storage and $19.99/month for 1TB storage. You can use the mobile app for free, but it comes with limited features. To learn more about what the software offers, check out our Lightroom review.
Unfortunately, you cannot buy Lightroom permanently, but you have to subscribe to a monthly plan. If your subscription ends, you’ll lose access to the software and your images on the Lightroom cloud storage.