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Lightroom CC vs Lightroom Classic: Should You Switch?

Since last October, when we published our first post introducing Lightroom CC, some of the questions asked most by our clients are: What should I do? Should I keep Classic or switch to the new Lightroom CC? The only answer we can offer is: it depends!

Lightroom CC vs Lightroom Classic: Should You Switch?

Photo Illustration © 2018 D.A.Wagner, Lightroom® Logos are registered trademarks of Adobe, Inc.

Besides asking us if they should switch, another oft asked question is: what’s up with the name?? Yes, it is confusing but, so far it hasn’t caused too much trouble in our estimation. The trick is to just be clear when you are talking about CC vs Classic. Classic is the same Lightroom we have grown to love oh these many years (think Coke Classic), and CC is Classic’s new little cousin who’s doing everything differently and, achieving a lot of success in the process.

Lightroom CC is the New Lightroom

Lightroom CC is a brand new program which Adobe has designed from the ground up to address several challenges that digital photographers face today. Adobe Lightroom Classic is the full featured and robust application that is the Lightroom we have been using since it was first released, way back in 2007. However, because Classic is full of features and specialized tools, it can often be too much for users who have simple and straightforward needs.

Lightroom CC’s new design and feature set were created to make viewing and developing your photos a much more streamlined process. To do this, Adobe choose not to include many of the features and options that makes Lightroom Classic such a powerhouse application. As well, Lightroom CC addresses the issue of being able to access your photos from any device, anywhere, anytime. Their new cloud based “ecosystem” let’s you make a change to a photo on your desktop and then see it almost instantly on your phone or tablet. To be sure, this is no small feat and it seems like Adobe has done a very good job tackling some of the complexities of keeping photos synchronized across multiple devices.

So, to answer the Lightroom CC vs Lightroom Classic conundrum, you should ask yourself these 3 simple questions:

1. Do I use any of the other Lightroom Classic modules, other than Library and Develop? Or, do I use any of the extended metadata features, like Maps or keyword sets?

If the answer is Yes, then you should not switch at this time! Keep using Classic the way you are doing now and trust that Adobe will keep rolling out feature updates and performance improvements. Adobe has been clear on their commitment to Classic users that Classic is here to stay. In fact, the next update of Lightroom Classic is coming in April with even more improvements and features!

2. Is Classic too much program for my purposes? Am I struggling to stay organized with imported files and folders or not using any of the Lightroom modules beyond Library and Develop?

If the answer is Yes, then you should consider switching. Lightroom Classic can be a headache and the new program is a dream to use since the program has been designed from the ground up to be fast and easy to use.

3. Do I need the power of Classic but really, really want to take advantage of the easy sharing features as well as mobile access?

If the answer is Yes, then you may be that rare bird who should use BOTH of the applications, simultaneously. Technically, the two programs aren’t yet playing well with each other. However, we have found some simple workarounds that let you harness the power of Classic while taking advantage of the new CC features.

To recap:

  • If you use any advanced features in Classic, stay with classic.
  • If Classic is too much for your needs, then switch.
  • And, if you need the power of Classic but need the features of CC then use both!

And, if you’re looking to see, in-depth, the differences between Lightroom CC vs Lightroom Classic, Adobe has online manuals for both Lightroom applications here.

Shameless plug: We here at Lightroom Guy specialize in teaching users how to get the most out of any version of Lightroom. And, we’re also experts at migrating third party catalogs into Lightroom, including discontinued programs like Aperture and Picasa. Hundreds of photographers have successfully moved their photos into both versions of Lightroom with our help.

Drop us a note if you have a question or want to learn more about our services! And, feel free to comment or ask questions below. We’d love to hear how you are using either application, especially if you are using both!!

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Joe Campana
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Thanks for your no nonsense clarification between LRC and LRCC. I have owned LRC since its introduction but have stopped updating with LR 6. I would dearly love to update to the latest LR6.14 which I thought was the last perpetual update to be issued? and perhaps to the next one being issued in April as you say, if I understand correctly. Have tried and tried to update since LR6.7 without success, despite trying several experts’ suggestions. The latest being I need to uninstall and reinstall my LR Catalog. No chance Josè, I say, too much of a risk! lol… Read more »

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