This post is following up from last week’s look at the cloud-based Lightroom desktop app. Today I want to explore the editing workflow to see how similar, yet different it is from Lightroom Classic.

I’m also super excited to announce that the update to my Lightroom Classic for Dummies book is finally out! To celebrate I’ve got two copies of the book to give away (the book giveaway is now concluded and the books have been delivered, thanks to all!), and all you need to do is leave a comment on this post to be entered to win (make sure you use a working email address so I can follow up with you for shipping).

Editing Workflow

While the engine under the hood (so to speak) is the same in the cloud-based Lightroom as in Lightroom Classic (or Camera Raw), the interface and overall experience is slightly different. Adobe has made great gains in getting closer to feature parity with Lightroom Classic’s Develop module, though it still lacks some tools (like Range Mask in local adjustments), and I suspect it is just a matter of time before it is a full equal. Let’s walk through an edit of a landscape photo to see how similar, yet different the experience can be.

STEP ONE: Starting in Grid view (G) or Detail view (D), press the E key or click the Edit icon in the top-right panel to gain access to the editing tools. Note, a Filmstrip will appear along the bottom, which is helpful for moving between photos, but can be closed by clicking the Filmstrip icon (bottom of interface) or pressing the forward slash key (/).

STEP TWO: Click the three-dot menu (under the Edit icon on the right-edge) to see the options it contains. I recommend making the Histogram visible and turning on Single-Panel Mode (like Solo Mode) so that only one panel is expanded at a time. Note that you’ll also find the commands for copy and pasting settings, showing the original image, resetting edits, editing in Photoshop, and all of the associated keyboard shortcuts.

STEP THREE: (Optional) Click Auto to start your edit from the recently tweaked Auto settings and choose your desired profile. I clicked Auto and chose Adobe Landscape for my photo.

STEP FOUR: Expand the Light panel to access the tonal value controls (no Basic panel here) and adjust as needed. Click the Tone Curve icon in the upper-right of the Light panel to open the Tone Curve panel for additional control over brightness and contrast.

STEP FIVE: Expand the Color panel and adjust White Balance, Vibrance, and Saturation as needed. Click the Color Mixer icon in the upper-right of the Color panel to open the Color Mixer panel (think HSL panel in Lightroom Classic) to fine tune color adjustments. Note the Target Adjustment tool (cross hair icon) allows you to adjust Hue, Saturation, and Luminance by clicking and dragging within in the photo.

STEP SIX: Expand the Effects panel to adjust Texture, Clarity, Dehaze, Vignette, and Grain. Click on the photo to zoom into to 1:1 view or click the 1:1 icon (bottom of interface) when adjusting Texture or Clarity. Note that the Split Toning icon also lives in the top-right of this panel.

STEP SEVEN: Expand the Detail panel to access controls for Sharpening and Noise Reduction. You’ll want to remain zoomed into 1:1 for this, and then click the disclosure triangle next to Sharpening to find the familiar controls for Radius, Detail, and Masking. Just like in Lightroom Classic, you can hold the Option key (PC: Alt) while moving any of the sharpening sliders to see an alternative (and helpful) view of how that adjustment affects the photo.

STEP EIGHT: Expand the Optics panel to automatically remove Chromatic Aberration and Enable Lens Correction. If the checkbox alone did not remove the green or purple fringe, you can click the Defringe icon (upper-right) to access additional controls for removing color fringing.

STEP TEN: Expand the Geometry panel to access the perspective distortion correction tools in the form of the Upright options or Manual Transforms adjustments.

STEP ELEVEN: Locate the Crop Tool, Healing Brush, Brush (Adjustment Brush), Linear Gradient (Graduated Filter), and Radial Gradient (Radial Filter) controls under the Edit icon along the right-edge. These function the same as their counter-parts in Lightroom Classic with a few minor exceptions to be aware of at this time. I noted the current lack of Range Mask in the Brush, Linear Gradient, and Radial Gradient, but you should also know that the Crop Tool currently lacks an option to enter a custom aspect ratio (though you can click the Constrain Aspect Ratio icon and manually adjust the crop rectangle as desired).

I think you’ll find that overall the editing experience is powerful and familiar to Lightroom Classic, but give yourself time to get acquainted with the subtle differences in names, panel groupings, and shortcuts to avoid the frustration of things not working the way we assume.

As the cloud-based Lightroom ecosystem continues to evolve and improve, I am sure we will see our favorite features and functions appear to complete our personal workflows. That said, I am impressed with how much I can do from either of my computers without having to worry about which computer the source photos are stored on, and then pick up where I left off in my iPhone or iPad.

Lightroom Classic for Dummies Giveaway!

The first book I had ever written was Lightroom 2 for Dummies, which came out in 2008. It is safe to say a lot has changed since then, and I finally got the chance to update it to the current version (as of early 2019). I wrote that book and this current update with the goal of helping Lightroom Classic users get started on the right foot and avoid the pitfalls and problems that I so often encountered in the Help Desk questions that I saw every day.

This book was a huge effort, and I tried to pack in everything I thought a person using Lightroom Classic would need to know to work smarter, faster, and more confidently than they would have without it. As evidenced by the start of this blog post we also have this new cloud-based version of Lightroom too, so I dedicated 3 chapters exclusively to helping a Lightroom Classic user get started with using the cloud-based Lightroom on the mobile platform (which is an excellent addition to the Lightroom Classic workflow). I also did my best to help clear up the confusion around these different versions of Lightroom (no small thing). I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to update the book, and I hope readers find it useful. If you’d like to be entered to win a copy for yourself, just leave a comment here. Thanks!



  1. Jerry Jividen 14 April, 2020 at 16:02 Reply

    Just watched your video on “Your Lightroom Library” and have learned a lot even when I thought I knew a lot! Have sent links to friends who need your expertise now. Would love to win a book too.

  2. Chuck Coffman 13 August, 2019 at 13:34 Reply

    I am having some difficulty working with Lightroom and I think your write up is going to help a lot. Probably with Lightroom classic as well.

  3. Dorcas 9 August, 2019 at 19:45 Reply

    Tһat puts e-commerce sites on a significant level pⅼaying field.
    It could Ƅe the differеnce insiɗe amount of traffic, that mаay ultimmately determine the standard of perfօrmance inside a real Ьusіness.
    Keeping tabs on how customers view your company, and reacting ith it with time, may аlkso be not

  4. William Macko 17 July, 2019 at 07:57 Reply

    I have yet to take advantage of the mobile part of lightroom as I’m not convinced that I would want to edit on my phone or tablet. Maybe this book will change my mind. 🙂

    • Rob Sylvan 17 July, 2019 at 09:28 Reply

      Well, keep in mind that the edits you make on mobile or in Classic are kept in sync, so you can always start on mobile and finish in Classic. Or, you could just use mobile as a mobile sharing workflow or portable portfolio. Editing is only one piece of what you can do.

  5. Suresh Matt 12 July, 2019 at 04:26 Reply

    Great. Contents of the book are great. I’m keen to unlearn my hold habits and eagerly waiting to pick up new concepts and work flow.

  6. Manzur alam 11 July, 2019 at 22:40 Reply

    I always prefer editing with light room . I think I should know more about how to get and light room control panel better use …

  7. Phillip Thompson 11 July, 2019 at 21:23 Reply

    Working on a finicky 6D Mark II, Lightroom is an absolute must to handle a lot of what the camera should be better at. I’m going to take your steps and put them to good use.

  8. Lewis Johnston 11 July, 2019 at 19:47 Reply

    Looking forward to seeing what tidbits of knowledge that I can gain from our years on the Lightroom Helpdesk.

  9. David Broderick 11 July, 2019 at 11:53 Reply

    Thanks for the article on Lightroom Desktop – I learned a lot and it’s more powerful than I realised!

    Would like to learn even more about Lightroom Classic and would love to win this new book.

    All the best to Rob from the UK!

  10. Craig Beyers 11 July, 2019 at 11:11 Reply

    I haven’t used this version of LR, just Classic and Mobile (on my phone). This article has encouraged me to look at LR Desktop. Thanks.

  11. Stephanie McCoil 11 July, 2019 at 09:18 Reply

    I seriously need this book-As much as I love Lightroom, I don’t feel like I really “get it” to really make a big difference in my photos. Help me Rob!

  12. Sherra Maneri 11 July, 2019 at 08:41 Reply

    While I love learning visually, having instructions in print really helps me to understand when I can follow steps. This book would be invaluable for a newbie such as myself!

    • Tony 11 July, 2019 at 05:22 Reply

      Sounds like a good book for me as I am just starting to edit using light room and would love a copy. Well done.

    • Dinah Beaton 11 July, 2019 at 02:43 Reply

      I am always in awe of photographers/writers who have that capacity to write in detail help blogs and books of this kind. It has to take an enormous amount of their time and unfaulting dedication to do so in order to help us “dummies” and struggling learners out there. As I definitely am.
      Rob, thank you so much – one way or another I will get a copy. I have always favoured Photoshop but of late tending towards Lightroom in seeing how much more it has to offer.

  13. Sidharth 10 July, 2019 at 23:57 Reply

    You are a next level person! I like to read your blogs! Thanks for the book and more over thanks for the help

  14. R J Brinley 10 July, 2019 at 16:16 Reply

    Rob, excellent job in a correct, clear and consise layed out manner when you have to get an answer for a specific application.

  15. Silvio Marchei 10 July, 2019 at 15:27 Reply

    Thanks Rob for the informative posts. I enjoy discovering new ways of doing things in Lightroom. Keep up the great work.

  16. Denise 10 July, 2019 at 15:05 Reply

    This book would be amazing if it’s anything like the article. I finally have the time to get into my passion of photography and hopefully travel writing and hope to supplement retirement in a few short years doing both of those.

  17. Koni Ritch 10 July, 2019 at 14:59 Reply

    As a relative newbie to photography and PP, I’d love to get my hands on this new edition. Thanks for the opportunity.

  18. Robin Lemons 10 July, 2019 at 14:47 Reply

    Its awesome that someone that knows and understands how to use this option for editing has broke it all down for us not so smart ones.I LOVE to photograph anything and just learned about light room so your book is right on time!Robin

  19. John H. 10 July, 2019 at 14:42 Reply

    I use Lightroom Classic a ton, and your blog has been very helpful so I know the book will be as well! Thanks

  20. Rich Buckner 10 July, 2019 at 14:27 Reply

    I really like your tutorials Rob and look forward to getting this book. Of course I would love to win a copy! Thank you for all your great work and easy to understand instructions.

  21. Marc Pilon 10 July, 2019 at 12:58 Reply

    I wish I could develop an efficient workflow using Lightroom. Also would like to know which plug ins are worth it. I hope this book can help.

  22. Amanda Hinkle 10 July, 2019 at 12:50 Reply

    I’m always looking for new resources to learn about Lightroom so this book would be very helpful.

  23. Keith Harris 10 July, 2019 at 12:36 Reply

    Just getting started in photography editing and would love to win a copy so that I can have a starting platform to begin with. Thanks

  24. Denise 10 July, 2019 at 12:25 Reply

    Im a noob in photography but family has me doing photo shoots for them. I edit in Lightroom but do I know what Im doing?… Ever heard of button smashing on video games? Yea, same with Lightroom lol.

  25. Susie 10 July, 2019 at 11:53 Reply

    Thanks Robb. I also teach Photoshop and Lightroom and I’m always a student because there’s always more to learn and share. Sometimes one little thing we learned can make a big difference. I’d love to win a copy of your new book. Thanks again.

  26. Jose beraza 10 July, 2019 at 11:02 Reply

    Awesome article, i am greatful i ran into it during my lunch break. I have been searching for a book to help me learn lightroom. I have a lot to learn and this book would hopefully help. Thanks

  27. Bob 10 July, 2019 at 10:41 Reply

    I’ve bought your D3300, and D750 books and amazingly in both books you’ve captured my boy playing football!! What are the chances of me winning this lol ?
    PS I’m probably too much of a dummie for even this to work. I use Apple photo app to edit. I know I know.

  28. David S. 10 July, 2019 at 10:36 Reply

    If I knew that it would be updated in a timely manner, this book might be a great choice for the Jr. College level course that I teach, however the jump from Lightroom 2 to Classic does not inspire confidence.

    • Rob Sylvan 10 July, 2019 at 12:21 Reply

      I use the Classroom in a Book series from Peachpit/Adobe Press in my Photoshop class as it gets updated each year. I haven’t read the Lightroom version, but I suspect it is updated as frequently.

  29. Cathy Shaw 10 July, 2019 at 09:58 Reply

    I’ve been thinking of getting Lightroom. Thanks for posting this. by the way… I’ve been beekeeping for 15 years

  30. Jean 10 July, 2019 at 09:57 Reply

    Great article!

    I switch from Lightroom v2 to Lightroom Classic, what a big change.

    I can see a book like this will be a huge help for anyone.

  31. Ryan Lybbert 10 July, 2019 at 09:37 Reply

    Thank you for all the hard work you’ve put into your craft and the book. Being able to learn from a guide such as this would be very benificial.

  32. Lisa T 10 July, 2019 at 09:00 Reply

    I’d love a copy as I’m stuck using PS because I often don’t have time to figure out LR. I’m a geezer (not really LOL but I feel that way) who learned one way and is having difficulty with a better way.

  33. M 10 July, 2019 at 08:43 Reply

    Wondered why there were so many comments then I realized that it is for the book giveaway.

    Too bad Adobe will again change all the product names now that you’ve put it in a book. The constantly changing names makes it challenging to Google for how to do something in LR (previously LR CC but not to be confused with LR Classic, previously LR CC Classic which was known simply as LR for years – exc eat for when it was called Photoshop Lightroom)!

    • Rob Sylvan 10 July, 2019 at 09:40 Reply

      Seriously! I just managed to squeak in the change to drop “CC” from everywhere in the book, and it wasn’t easy to get the publisher to change the title. Here’s hoping we keep the existing names for at least a couple of years. #fingerscrossed

  34. craig 10 July, 2019 at 07:21 Reply

    This is very helpful. Has Adobe given us a way to import photos from an SD card into LR Mobile/CC/Desktop

  35. Jeff Petty 10 July, 2019 at 06:12 Reply

    You seem to get to the nuts and bolts of things. You’ve helped me at the help desk several times and are always punctual.

  36. Gordonn Lorig 10 July, 2019 at 05:51 Reply

    Hi Rob. You have helped me many times thru the Kelby help desk. I would love to win your new book (maybe it will cut down on my Help! messages to you !)

  37. Scott ONeal 10 July, 2019 at 05:35 Reply

    Looking forward to getting a copy Rob! Learned a lot from you at a recent PSW and cant wait to learn even more!

  38. Terry 10 July, 2019 at 04:56 Reply

    I would love this book , always good to go through the Dummies guides for great perspective on a topic, and this one sounds great. Best of luck with your massive efforts in updating this!

  39. Roger Walton 10 July, 2019 at 04:46 Reply

    Rob Sylvan’s columns are a “must read” every week. Even though I’m an experienced LR user (since it was in beta way back when) I never fail to find something useful every time. So thanks and keep them coming please.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *