Adobe’s migration towards more cloud-based services is unsurprising given the general trend of cloudifying everything from Microsoft Office to Apple Keynote. The benefit of having all your data accessible from anywhere is incredibly appealing in a world where many people use multiple devices and are constantly on-the-move. But dealing with a 45MP RAW file isn’t the same as editing a Word document.
My foray into Adobe’s new Lightroom CC – a completely cloud-based version of their popular batch-editing and catalog tool – didn’t start well. In trying to upload a representative sample of images, I immediately hit the 100GB limit imposed by my $54/month Creative Cloud membership. Storage upgrades for Full CC Suite users are as follows:
- $65.31/month for 1TB
- $76.20/month for 2TB
- $108.86/month for 5TB
- $163.30/month for 10TB
I often use Lightroom presets to speed up my editing workflow, but no such support exists in the new version. You can copy edit settings, but there is no option to paste in batch (nor any keyboard shortcut for either operation). While my workflow doesn’t represent the sole use case for LR, batch editing is certainly a common workflow for many types of photographers (e.g. event, wedding, sports, etc).
Not all photographers have use for the entire CC Suite, but more and more photographers are dealing with multimedia, so it’s not unusual for the modern photographer to need access to Adobe Premiere and Audition. For the exorbitant price of $783.72/year, you too can have 1TB of storage with your Creative Suite. (PhotoShelter doesn’t have image editing features, but we do offer unlimited storage in our Pro account for $39/month).
Contrast this to Google Photos. My alma mater provides free Google accounts to all alumni which includes unlimited photo storage, which means I can store all my RAWs for free. The online editing controls aren’t as sophisticated as LR, but they’re still pretty good. And the computational tagging (my colleague Peter Krogh’s term for automated machine learning/AI-based object tagging) works better and faster than LR CC.
I have no doubt that desktop-based storage/editing will be the exception in the future, but for the present, most pro photographers still prefer to edit their RAW files, output a high quality JPG/TIFF and upload their edited selects into the cloud. As other pundits have commented, Lightroom CC is more of a consumer-based tool with the promise of being something more in the future. So early adopters, stick your Pixel Buds in your ears and start editing your Nikon D850 RAW files on your iPhone X. This Luddite will be dragging a mouse across my 27″ screen to edit the files sitting on my hard drive.