The first release of Lightroom, 1.0, was released on February 19, 2007, after a long public beta period. It evolved over the years, with mobile apps being added in 2015. The original desktop app has now been renamed as Lightroom Classic.
On October 18, 2017 Adobe released an additional Lightroom desktop app to appeal to photographers who wanted a cloud-based version. This removed the need for local file management and integrates fully with the mobile apps. Then known as Lightroom CC 1.0 (now just Lightroom) it was lacking a lot of features of Lightroom Classic, so some considered it a dumbed-down version.
Lightroom Classic has continued to receive new features (here’s what has been added to Lightroom Classic since Lightroom 6 was released). So how have the Lightroom (cloud-based) apps evolved with the desktop now on version 3.3 and mobile on 5.3?
Nearly three years have passed, so let’s look at some of the highlights that have been added since 1.0! If you want to see everything that’s changed, here are all the release blog posts.
Editing with Lightroom
Initially there were a lot of comments on how many editing tools were missing. Yes, there were the usual sliders, but for anything beyond it seemed lacking. Lightroom (cloud-based) now has most of the editing tools available in Lightroom Classic. So, what’s been added to editing?
- Tone Curve was added just two months later, this is essential for many serious users of Lightroom.
- Split Toning was another good addition, again added two months after initial launch.
- Camera matching and creating profiles added in April 2018.
- HDR merge was added in February 2019.
- Panorama was added in February 2019, then further improved in November with Fill Edges (like Photoshop Content-Fill Aware tool).
- TAT Tool, which was always popular in Classic, enables dragging directly on a photo to adjust the Tone Curve and HSL sliders. This was also added in February 2019.
- The Texture Slider was added at the same time as in Lightroom Classic in May 2019. This has become a much loved and essential part of many photographer’s workflows.
- Versions were added in June 2020, which allows storing multiple different edits of the same photo.
- Copyright can now be automatically applied when importing new photos. Added in February 2018, this is essential for anyone using Lightroom professionally or when sharing photos.
- Set Default edit settings for new photos, including the ability to automatically apply camera-matching profiles, was added in June 2020.
- Web sharing options were greatly expanded in May 2019, including the ability to limit access to specific people and set permission levels.
- Contribute to other people’s accounts came in December 2019 and is great for sharing things like family events and weddings so everyone’s photos can be seen in one place.
- Activity view was added in June 2020, to easily see people’s likes and comments on Shared Albums.
- Extensive Export options added, including file format, resizing, sharpening and color space options in November 2019.
- Connection to other websites, such as Blurb and WHCC, was also added in November 2019.
- Text Watermarking was added in June 2020.
- Preset & Profile syncing was a welcome addition in June 2018, and so important with multiple devices able to import and edit photos.
- People view came in October 2018, so you can identify people and filter photos with them in.
- Migration tools have been added for Elements 2019/2020 and Apple Photos.
- Deleted photos was an essential addition to the cloud ecosystem in May 2019. Initially if you deleted a photo it was simply gone, which was no comfort anyone! Now deleted photos can be restored within 60 days.
- Improved metadata search capability was added in 2019.
- In-app tutorials were added in November 2019, to assist with learning how to edit.
- Many of the new tools listed above are also now available on mobile, making phones and tablets an intrinsic part of the Lightroom workflow.
- iOS and Android development has slowly been brought into sync with new features often being added across the whole ecosystem at the same time.
- Additional Editing tools have been added and it’s now possible to do most editing on mobile devices.
- Since December 2019 you can import direct from cameras and memory cards into Lightroom on supported operating systems.
How can I learn more?
The book Adobe Lightroom – Edit Like a Pro covers the whole Lightroom cloud eco-system (cloud-based desktop, mobile and web). It also looks at the approach professionals take to editing their photos, explaining the various sliders and how they affect the photo. The eBook can be downloaded immediately after purchasing.
Also included in your purchase is one year’s Premium Membership for Edit Like a Pro. This gives access to all the eBook updates during that time (each time Adobe updates Lightroom), and access to the authors should you hit a question you can’t find the answer to in the book. After the complimentary year, the benefits can be extended for another year at low cost so you always have the latest information. If you already have a current Lightroom Cloud Premium Membership, the latest updated eBooks are available for download in your Members Area.