Lightroom CC vs. Lightroom Classic: Which one do you need?

Adobe Lightroom is one of the most popular apps among photographers, designers and influencers. If you are also considering using this app, you will notice that it comes in two versions – Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic. The question is, which version should you choose?

Whether it’s processing an entire batch of photos from a photoshoot or enhancing a selfie for Instagram, Lightroom is a powerful app that makes the whole process of editing and processing photos so much easier.

Depending on what you plan to achieve with the app, it is important to choose the right version of Lightroom for your work. Because they have different features with different audiences in mind.

In this quick comparison, we will examine the pros and cons of both versions of Adobe Lightroom to help you figure out which version is best for you.

Let’s get started.

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What is Adobe Lightroom?

lightroom website

Adobe Lightroom is a photo-organizing and editing app that lets you edit images in a non-destructive environment. It is used to make adjustments to images, such as color enhancement, white balance, exposure enhancement, and basic photo retouching.

Lightroom is especially a must-have tool for photographers, as it makes things much easier for organizing large collections of photos from photo shoots as well as for fast editing of images in batches.

The original version of Adobe Lightroom, called Photoshop Lightroom, was released as an extension to Photoshop to help users manage their photo library.

The app was so popular with users that Adobe slowly turned it into a standalone app called Adobe Lightroom. In 2017, Adobe introduced a mobile version of the app as well as a brand new version of the app called Lightroom CC.

The older version of the app was renamed Lightroom Classic. Over the years, Adobe kept updating both versions of the app, but prioritized Lightroom CC to introduce new features.

Nevertheless, Lightroom Classic is still the favorite app among professionals.

Main differences between Lightroom CC vs Classic

Although they share the same name, Lightroom CC and Classic have different features. Here are some of the pros and cons of each version of the app.

Ease of use and convenience

The biggest difference you will notice between Lightroom CC and Classic is the user interface. They are completely different from each other.

lightroom cc adjustments

At first glance, Lightroom CC is designed with a cleaner and minimal interface. Especially to make it more convenient and easy to learn for any type of user.

Lightroom Classic, on the other hand, has a more sophisticated interface with many options, tools and adjustment panels to tinker with.

Lightroom Classic also involves a bit of a learning curve, but it’s not as difficult to figure out as some other photo editing apps.

By comparison, the Lightroom CC clearly takes the win in terms of ease of use and convenience.

Advanced editing tools

When it comes to editing photos, most users have a simple philosophy – the more options, the better. If this is you, you will appreciate Lightroom Classic a little more.

lightroom classic ui

The interface in Lightroom classic is complex for a reason. It gives you a complete overview of all the adjustments and tools you need to make all kinds of changes to your images. Whether it’s a small light adjustment or making a complete color balance, the app has you covered.

Lightroom CC is capable of handling just about anything you can do with Classic, but has a much simpler approach in its adjustments and toolbar. It looks and feels a lot like a mobile interface, even on the desktop app.

If you are an advanced user, you will prefer Lightroom Classic.

Photo Organization

Most photographers work with hundreds of images at a time. That’s part of the reason they use Lightroom to keep their photos organized.

lightroom organize photos

When it comes to organizing photos, Lightroom CC is a few steps ahead of Classic. For example, the Adobe Sensei AI integration allows you to find images instantly by simply entering keywords for things on the image itself.

For example, if you want to find a photo of a beach with a coconut tree, just search for the keywords beach and coconut tree and Sensei will find the pictures for you.

On Lightroom Classic, however, you have to tag your photos manually. We do not have to tell you how painful a process it is.

Thanks for the Sensei integration, Lightroom CC wins in this category.

Cloud-based backups and synchronization

Imagine this scenario. You take a picture with your iPhone and make a few edits using the Lightroom mobile app. But it is not enough and you need to make adjustments using the desktop app. When you open Lightroom on your laptop, the image is already available in the app, ready for further editing.

Cloud synchronization makes this an option. This is quite useful when switching between multiple devices. Or even to keep your photos backed up in the cloud.

Unfortunately, this cloud sync is not available in Lightroom Classic. It only stores images on your local hard drive.

Export settings

With Lightroom Classic you get many different ways to export your photos. For example, you can export images in multiple batches.

lightroom cc export options

Lightroom CC lags behind in this feature by offering only limited options for exporting files. While not a must-have feature for most users, it can be a huge time saver for professionals.

Switch between mobile and desktop apps

If you are an influencer or blogger on social media, you will find plenty of use out of the Lightroom mobile app. It is available on both Android and iOS platforms.

The best part is that you can easily switch between the mobile app and the desktop app when editing photos, and your adjustments and changes will be synced across the devices.

However, this feature is only available in Lightroom CC.

Plugins, presets and extension options

Lightroom also supports integration with third-party apps and presets. These third-party add-ons and presets allow you to create a better workflow within the app to get things done faster.

lightroom presets

Lightroom Classic offers the best support for third-party extensions. For example, Lumina, the popular Lightroom plugin, is only available on Lightroom Classic.

The classic version also offers easier ways to use Lightroom presets and LUTs than Lightroom CC.

Pricing plans

The good news is that you can access both Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic from the same pricing plan. You do not have to buy them separately.

Adobe Creative Cloud offers two plans for accessing Lightroom. The primary photography plan allows you to use Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic and Photoshop for $ 9.99 per photo. month (paid annually). This plan gives you 20 GB of cloud storage for syncing and storing photos online.

If you want more storage space in the cloud, you can use the second version of the photography plan, which gives you 1 TB of storage for $ 19.99 per month (paid annually).

However, you can use the mobile version of Lightroom for free.

Lightroom Classic vs CC: Which version is best?

Choosing between the two versions is a difficult decision to make. But we tend to lean towards Lightroom Classic, primarily for the sake of nostalgia and for its flexible options.

Lightroom Classic is the best version for users who prefer a more advanced approach to photo editing. And for those of you who like to tinker with the features, add your own custom presets, use LUTs and enjoy experimenting.

Lightroom CC is suitable for all types of photo editing work. It’s perfect for influencers to edit their photos for social media, sync photos between mobile and desktop devices, as well as for photographers to take their photos with them wherever they go.

Since Lightroom Classic and CC are available under a single pricing plan, you should explore both apps and choose one that suits your needs. So we leave it up to you to decide the winner.

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