I am frequently asked what is the best program to edit your images. There are quite a few choices out there, but the one choice that seems to stand out above the rest is Adobe’s Lightroom. Unfortunately I am hesitant to offer up this advice due to My Love-Hate Relationship with Lightroom. For the most part I like Lightroom, but there are some things that just drive me nuts.
Lately it has been the speed performance (specifically the lack of speed). I have timed my Lightroom to start up on my Mid-2011 27″ Imac at 90-120 seconds. Secondly, the ongoing cost of Lightroom at $10/month (yes, that includes Photoshop, too).
When Adobe announced the subscription model, like many photographers my initial knee-jerk reaction was to dump Adobe and find something else. I tried a few programs, specifically the Apple Photos app and a few other ones, but in the end none of them were as powerful as Lightroom. Darn it! which is why I have a love-hate relationship with Adobe. One real frustration is that I use 5 computers (4 physical machines: 1 PC at home, 1 PC at my office, my 27″ Imac and a 13″ Macbook Pro that runs windows on bootcamp as well).
under the Adobe license I am only allowed to use the program on 2 machines at one time. I then have to launch the program on one of the 2 that are running the app, sign out and then sign in. Alternatively I do have the option to kick myself out of both machines, but then every time I do that I have to sign back in again. Microsoft gives me 5 licenses on my Office 365 subscription, I wish Adobe would as well.
What I like about Lightroom
One of the things I like about Lightroom is that I can store the images in a DAM system I like. with Apple Photos, all of my photos are imported into the library but I have no way to access the individual images outside of Photos.
But probably the biggest advantage to Lightroom is the power of the editing system. Lens corrections, HDR and Panoramic stitching are all built in to Lightroom, whereas these are not available in Photos.
Check out the before and after shots of an image I recently captured of Spiral Jetty in Northern Utah:
In Apple Photos I could have made most of the adjustments, but the lens corrections (distortion and chromatic aberration correction) are not available. These adjustments do make a significant difference in the final image.
So what would turn my love-hate relationship with Lightroom into a Love-Love relationship?
First of all would be to fix the performance issues. Thankfully Adobe recently put out a survey about the performance issues and they are looking into that.
Secondly, I would love to see them bump the license to 5 computers instead of 2. I might be an exception, but I do like to use more than 2 computers.
Finally, I would really like to see Adobe embrace cloud storage and improve the mobile experience. unfortunately you can only get 20gb of cloud storage with no option to increase that. My Office subscription includes 1tb of cloud storage. This would really open up the mobile photographer to be able to store their images online and then really be able to access your library from multiple computers. Lightroom on my iPad is kinda nice, but very limiting to what I can do with it due to the limited storage.
Bonus fix: come up with a way to import the full size raw images from my card on my iPad to the cloud storage so I don’t have to import them at home and then add the images to my mobile collection. Hey, it’s 2017 – we use mobile devices more than dexktops and laptops.
I sure hope Adobe is listening. 🙂