Hey there everyone. I’m teaching at Adobe Max this week, which is always a great event. It’s actually become one of my favorite events in the industry, and I’m really looking forward to leading one of the very first “hands on” labs in the world (holy crap… that just hit me) on a brand new Lightroom. So if you’re here make sure you stop by and say hi if you see me roaming around (or at the craps table) 😉

Anyway, Adobe Max is always the hub for big Adobe announcements, and this year is no different – especially if you’re a photographer using Lightroom.

Among some of those big announcements is one that hits home for me, and probably most people reading this… Adobe has renamed Lightroom to Lightroom Classic and introduced a new product that now bears the name Lightroom CC.

SIDE NOTE: This article talks about the changes in naming for Lightroom. However, Lightroom did get some new features and enhancements. If you scroll to the very bottom you’ll see a video that covers all those new features. 

Huh? Lightroom Classic? And a New Lightroom CC?

Yep…In a nutshell, Adobe has renamed Lightroom (the Lightroom that we know at least) to Lightroom Classic. And they’ve introduced a new program called Lightroom CC. Lightroom Classic is a totally separate program from Lightroom CC, and not something you would use together as they don’t talk back and forth to each other.

The new Lightroom Classic (the Lightroom you and I have been using) will continue to get updated, and all the usual stuff that happens with software. The main difference is that there is now another Lightroom program out there called Lightroom CC (Adobe actually previewed Lightroom CC last year – It was called Project Nimbus at the time).

Why Did Adobe Rename Lightroom to Lightroom Classic?

I’m going to quote Techcrunch.com here because I think they wrote it best.

…The general idea behind this move is to allow Lightroom to adapt to the new reality of photography, where users tend to take a lot of their photos on their phones — and take a lot more images in general. (Adobe’s Tom Hogarty) “We’ve seen a big shift where everybody has a high-quality camera in their pocket,” he told me and noted that what users want today is a powerful tool that allows them to communicate but doesn’t require them to spend a lot of time to learn.

So if I’ve been using Lightroom 4, 5, 6, or CC, the newest version of that program is now called Lightroom Classic?

Yes. Technically there is no Lightroom 7. Lightroom Classic is the newest version of Lightroom and will be included in Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography Bundle.

Is there a new standalone/perpetual version of Lightroom that you can buy?

No. Adobe has not announced another perpetual licensed version of Lightroom. Lightroom 6 is the most recent non-Creative Cloud version of Lightroom available.

So who is the new Lightroom CC for?

The best I can do is give you my opinion. I think the new Lightroom CC is best suited for people that want a mobile/cloud based workflow. I’d say it’s more for people that mostly use their cell phones to take photos. And maybe some photos with another camera that they occasionally store on their laptop/desktop or hard drives. They want an easy way to share those photos across devices (and the laptop/desktop) and they want them everywhere at all times.

Sure, most Operating Systems have something for this (Apple Photos, etc…). But the editing tools are really limited. Lightroom CC has the same tools that Lightroom (Classic) has. So think of it as a hybrid of sorts… it’s for people who like to take photos but probably aren’t using a DSLR most of the time. And they want some more powerful editing controls, as well as the ability to have those photos on any device (laptop, tablet, phone, desktop).

Should I Use this if I have a folder/hard drive based workflow?

No. If you store your photos in a folder based system, on hard drives, and backups and all that, then this isn’t for you. You should continue to use the same program you’ve been using. But now, that program is called Lightroom Classic. Also Lightroom Classic did get some updates today so make sure you check out my video here.

That said, my guess is you probably know someone who is kind of interested in photography. And maybe they use their phone a lot. In that case, this may be great for them.

Has Lightroom (now Lightroom Classic) been updated?

Yep. I did a video that goes over the updates right here. And if you’ve purchased my Lightroom System (aka Ultimate Lightroom Course), we’re sending out a free course update to everyone who purchased… even if it was a year ago, you’ll still get the update. I’ve always wanted me big Lightroom System to be the last big training system you had to buy for Lightroom, and I don’t want you to have to go out and spend more money every time Lightroom gets updated.

So what does this really mean for us Lightroom users?

Okay… let’s break this up in to 2 groups:

Group 1: You’re on the existing Creative Cloud Photography Plan
Nothing really changes other than the name of the program you use (from Lightroom CC to Lightroom Classic). But everything else remains the same. You pay the same. As of today you’ll see an update available for your version of Lightroom and it’ll get the usual updates going forward when Adobe releases them, etc… You also get the new Lightroom CC as part of your plan. But remember, this is a program for cloud based workflows and probably not for you, though you can always try it now.

Also, your Creative Cloud Photo plan comes with 20GB of storage. I don’t know about you, but my Sony A7Rii eats 32GB cards for breakfast. So 20GB probably wouldn’t even get me past uploading photos from a weekend trip. So using it would be prohibitive in that case. But that’s okay… because if you’re reading this, you’re probably a folder/hard drive based photographer. And the new Lightroom CC really isn’t for you.

Group 2: You have an older version of Lightroom (Lightroom 6, 5, 4…)
For those of you on an older version of Lightroom, your Lightroom will continue to work as is. Nothing changes for you. Your version will still work and act just like it did when you purchased it. That said, I believe Lightroom 6 will see an update or two for new camera compatibility so keep an eye out for that.

If I do go to the new Lightroom CC, is there a way to get more storage?

Yep. Adobe is offering a Creative Cloud Photography Plan that gets you the same plan you have today, but includes 1TB of storage. The cost is $19.99/month, but there is an offer for existing customers to get it for $14.99/month for the first year.

What I Will Be Using?

My workflow will remain exactly the same. I have the $9.99/month Photography plan. I’ll continue to use Lightroom (now Lightroom Classic) and Photoshop CC mostly for things LR can’t do and some final stylizing and finishing effects on my photos.

But, as you may have noticed with my training videos lately, I’ve been doing them using Lightroom/Photoshop, ON1, and Affinity. I’ve said this before, and I’ll repeat it here. I believe photo editing has pretty much become commoditized. I think it’s much more about the “art of the edit”, than it is about whose sliders are better. For me, I can achieve my look and style in just about any of the programs mentioned above, so I’ve decided to let you pick your software and I’ll just teach you the art behind how to edit photos.

Will the new Lightroom CC let existing Lightroom users upgrade their catalog?

Yes, there’s an option for this. Just keep in mind the two programs don’t work together. They don’t share info back and forth.

Got Storage and Photo Location Questions About the New Lightroom CC?

If you’ve got questions about the new Lightroom CC. Questions like “How will I show photos to my clients”, “How can people proof photos if they’re online”, “Where are my photos stored?”, “Where are my changes stored”, “How do I backup?”, “Can I use a NAS system and integrate it with Lightroom CC”, or anything similar, then Lightroom CC is probably not for you.

Final Thoughts

One thing to remember here, and this is different than we’ve usually seen in the past with software…

Newer is not necessarily better in this case.

The newer Lightroom CC doesn’t mean that it’s better or a better program for you if you’re a Lightroom user. It doesn’t mean your version of Lightroom is now not as good – and that you should switch because the other one is new. It’s a different program. One that was created for a different audience (the mobile/cloud based workflow). There is an audience out there for it, even if that’s not you (and right now, it’s not me by the way).

If you’re a DSLR photographer, who heavily bases their workflow and organization on folders and hard drives (like me), Lightroom CC is not the program for you. Your existing Lightroom (now Lightroom Classic) is the program you should continue to use.

New Features in Lightroom

I wrote a whole separate article on this one, but I figured I’d put the video here as well so you don’t have to switch pages. The video below covers the new features in Lightroom (yes, the Lightroom that you and I use) 🙂


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