Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic

Adobe released Lightroom back in 2007 under the name Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Now it has two variants: “Lightroom (formerly known as Lightroom CC) and Lightroom Classic, each have their advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we will discuss Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic in detail.

Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic


Lightroom is powerful editing software that contains cloud-based storage and various editing tools to enhance your digital photos. It has various unique features, such as non-destructive editing and a simple interface. It is primarily used by beginners because of its ease of use. It is available on Android.

Lightroom Classic

Adobe Lightroom has a desktop version that is mainly used by professional photographers because of its advanced features, such as integration with Adobe Creative Cloud and Raw File support, which can bring your images to life. It is also known as PC Lightroom app.

Comparison Table

FeatureLightroomLightroom Classic
User InterfaceStreamlined interface, simplified controlsTraditional interface with more advanced features
Cloud StorageIntegrated cloud storage with syncingNo integrated cloud storage, local storage only
PerformanceFaster performance on lower-end devicesSlower performance but better for high-volume workflows
Editing ToolsSimplified editing toolsFull suite of advanced editing tools
Local AdjustmentsLimited local adjustment capabilitiesExtensive local adjustment options
File ManagementSimplified file managementAdvanced file management options
PresetsLimited preset optionsFull range of preset options
Export OptionsLimited export optionsExtensive export options
Batch ProcessingLimited batch processing capabilitiesExtensive batch processing capabilities
IntegrationTight integration with mobile devicesLimited integration with mobile devices
PriceSubscription-based modelSubscription-based model

Major Differences between Lightroom and Lightroom Classic

There are various key differences between Lightroom and Lightroom Classic

User-friendly Interface

Lightroom interface has a modern and minimalistic design that focuses on ease of use. Complex features are presented in such a way that they become easily accessible; which makes them helpful for new users. The interface contains different tabs, such as the light tab, which is used for adjusting exposure, contrast, shadows, etc. The color tab helps in applying color correction and adjusting tint vibrance and saturation.

Effects and detail tabs are used for applying different artistic effects and detailing purposes, while optics and geometry tabs are used for lens distortion and correcting horizontal and vertical lines. Certain tools in Lightroom are not displayed on the main interface; they can be easily accessed through the optional panel on the right side of the interface, and various presets are also available in the Edit Panel.

Lightroom Classic has a very traditional interface, and its functionality is almost the same as that of other Adobe products such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, which makes it more familiar to old Adobe users. This can make the transition easy for users, and they do not have to relearn anything.

Editing tools in Lightroom Classic are separated into different modules, like the Develop module which has the basic and tone curve panels, which allow users to work with exposure contrast and shadows and have precise control over the tonal range of images, while the effects and transform panels add creative effects and correct distortion in images. In short Lightroom Classic preserves a classic user experience.

Smart Image Management and Search

Lightroom has an AI-powered feature known as Adobe Sensei for powerful image organization and management. Face recognition and automatic keyword tagging are made possible by using this feature. This means you do not have to manually tag each image; instead, you can quickly find photos by searching for keywords or People’s faces. Let’s say you search for the keyword “flower“. Lightroom will automatically show you a picture containing a flower.
On the other hand, Lightroom Classic doesn’t have any features like Adobe Sensei so you have to manually tag keywords to your photos which can be time-consuming and hectic.

Local Storage vs Cloud Storage

Lightroom contains cloud storage, which means photos are stored on Adobe servers. If you have an internet connection, you can access these photos through multiple devices, like tablets, computers, and phones. Cloud storage contains catalog management, which means you can easily access and edit pictures on different devices and save the required changes to them. This feature offers flexibility for users to work on multiple devices, share their work, and receive feedback.

While Lightroom Classic contains local storage, which means that your photos are stored on the computer’s hard drive, So you cannot access these photos from multiple devices and take feedback about them, which makes it less flexible as compared to Lightroom cloud storage. However, you can access your photos offline on your computer’s hard drive whenever you want.

Importing and Exporting

Lightroom automatically syncs your photos across all devices, which means that you can directly import your images to the cloud from your computer. It organizes imported photos into albums and also provides options for adding titles, captions, etc. It offers different sharing options for exporting your photos to social media, emails, and cloud storage devices. Lightroom doesn’t offer output sharpening options during export.

Lightroom Classic contains an import dialogue where you can easily import photos from sources, like folders on a hard drive or memory card. It also has an option for preview, where metadata presets can be applied before initiating the import process. For exporting, an export dialogue is present where you can specify export settings like file format, watermarks, etc. It also provides an option for output sharpening.

Tethered Shooting

Tethered shooting is a method in which a camera is connected to a computer and the pictures taken from the camera are directly displayed on the computer screen.

Lightroom offers basic tethered functions and it is not fully featured in Lightroom as it is in Lightroom Classic.

For tethered shooting on Lightroom Classic, you need to follow these steps:

  • Firstly, plug your camera into your computer through a USB cable.
  • Open Lightroom Classic for tethered shooting Go to file and select tethered capture.
  • After selecting tethered capture, a dialogue will pop up where you can set the import settings for your entire session
  • Click OK to start shooting.


Adobe has a Lightroom Plan with 1TB of cloud storage, which is available for $10 per month. If you think 1TB is not enough for you, you can pay an additional $10 for an extra terabyte of cloud storage.

For Lightroom Classic, Adobe has a Creative Cloud Photography plan with 1TB of cloud storage for $20 per month. This package also contains Photoshop for iPad and desktop.

If you want all Adobe Apps then there is a Plan named Creative Cloud all apps with 100GB of storage 55$ per month.

To explore how Lightroom stacks up against other Adobe products, read our comprehensive guides on Lightroom vs Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom vs Picsart.

Pros and Cons of Lightroom


  • Easy and Simple Interface
  • Integration with Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Effortless sharing of images with anyone
  • Automatic backup of Photos
  • An ai-powered feature known as Adobe Sensei
  • Highly secure app.
  • No Paid Subscription Required.


  • Don’t offer advanced editing tools.
  • Need an Internet Connection for accessing photos
  • Limited Cloud Storage

Pros and Cons of Lightroom Classic


  • Advanced editing tools
  • It supports tethered shooting
  • Supports the use of customizable presets
  • Non-destructive Photo editing
  • Can be integrated with Photoshop


  • Complex Interface making it difficult for newbies.
  • Continues updates leading to new bugs and issues
  • Manual Catalogue Management

Which One You Should Choose?? Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic

If you are looking for a simpler and more user-friendly interface and work on smaller files with basic image adjustments, then Lightroom is the best choice for you. It is easy to use and has many features for basic-level editing, which can be helpful for newbies.

If you are a professional photographer who works on larger files and wants advanced features for more comprehensive editing, then Lightroom Classic is the best choice for you.

Can I use Lightroom and Lightroom Classic together?

Yes, you can use Lightroom and Lightroom Classic together while they offer different workflows that somehow complement each other.

Can I migrate my photos from Lightroom Classic to Lightroom?

 Yes, Adobe provides various tools for migrating your photos metadata and edits from Lightroom Classic to Lightroom.

What File formats does Lightroom Support?

Lightroom and Lightroom Classic support various formats such as RAW, TIFF, JPEG, and many more.

Is Lightroom Classic good for beginners?

 It can be beneficial for beginners to learn advanced features related to image editing but if you are just starting then Lightroom is a better option.

Can I use Lightroom Classic for free?

No, Lightroom Classic cannot be used for free Adobe provides a subscription plan for Lightroom Classic which is 20$ per month.


In conclusion, Lightroom offers a simplified interface and cloud storage integration, making it ideal for beginners and users on lower-end devices. On the other hand, Lightroom Classic provides advanced editing tools and extensive workflow capabilities suited for professionals and those with high-volume photo editing needs.

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