Seven Features Adobe Could Add To Lightroom Classic That Would Make a Big Difference

OK, I’m going to take the most obvious feature, (a Layers feature) off the table for this list, because I think it would be the least likely to be added. If they did add Layers to Lightroom, the need for Photoshop would drop like a rock, and I don’t see Adobe letting that happening any time soon, so I came up with a more realistic list — all stuff that Adobe could do — it’s all within reach — but would take Lightroom Classic to the next level quick. Here goes:

 

(1) Add a High-Res Cloud Storage Option
I don’t want to switch to a different program. I love Lightroom Classic. But at the same time, I would love the option to back up my most important images to Adobe’s cloud, and I’d gladly pay a monthly subscription fee for it, (and I’d like to keep using Classic without having to switch to a different program). We can already send Smart Previews to Mobile via Lightroom Classic so the technology is already there in Classic — just turn on a switch that would let us sync selected full RAW or high-res final images to the cloud (for a monthly subscription fee), and I’d be all over it. I’d love an option to make a backup copy of my catalog there too. You already have a sync preferences tab (see below), it’s just missing one button.

(2) Give us “Photo Mechanic” style speed
Lightroom Classic keeps getting faster at importing and previewing recently imported images, but it’s still not nearly as fast as Photo Mechanic (see the video above). I know that Adobe knows exactly how PM does it, but for some reason, they stop short of giving us that speed. It’s time to take the governor off and give us that type of speed.

(3) Improve the Slideshow Module
It’s just so, so bad. It’s essentially the same as it was in Lightroom 1.0. Adobe just revisited the Book Module and made some really great improvements there, making it better and more relevant than ever. The Slideshow needs some love, too. Make the slideshow module great (and it wouldn’t take all that much).

(4) Give us a Capture One Style RAW Profile
You’ll read people online going on and on about how your RAW images look better in Capture One than they do in Lightroom. Capture One isn’t using some special secret sauce — it’s just that their default setting for RAW images applies a bunch of settings to the image (instead of giving you the flat, more realistic rendering that Lightroom provides). We know from Martin Evening’s excellent cover story in Lightroom magazine (which compared the RAW conversions from both) that default settings for Capture One’s RAW conversion add a “look” to your RAW images, with Clarity applied, and more contrast and vibrance, and so on. He also showed that you can get a very similar look in Lightroom by tweaking Lightroom’s settings to look like Capture One’s default setting. So…I’d love to see Adobe give us the option of choosing a real RAW profile that matches the default look of Capture One. Not a Develop Module preset — an actual RAW Color profile (and no, none of the new batch of Adobe’s RAW profiles comes even close to the look of Capture One).

(5) Give Us Some Decent Type Features
This should be a no-brainer — just add the Type features from the Book Module to the Print Module and Slideshow module. You already have these features in Lightroom Classic (see that panel right above there? That’s the one). It’s already there in the Book module. Just duplicate it over into those other two modules. Boom. Done.

(6) Give us customizable keyboard shortcuts
There are certainly some that could be easier but beyond that there a bunch of things in Lightroom Classic that don’t have keyboard shortcuts at all. This would speed our work big time! Most (if not all) other Adobe applications already have this feature (including Photoshop) – it would be awesome to add this one.

(7) Give us Photoshop’s Healing Brush
It’s been in Photoshop since 2002 (16 years now) — and yet the ‘Spot Removal’ tool in Lightroom Classic is…well…I’m sorry Adobe — it’s awful. AWFUL!!! It’s only good for removing actual spots, and then only sometimes. On the other hand, Photoshop’s Healing Brush is absolutely awesome! Always has been. For 16 long years. Just copy a version of it over to Lightroom Classic and you’ll have really done something big.

I could come up with a list of smaller little tweaks and enhancements for Lightroom that would last all day, but these items are a little bigger, but still all seemingly within reach.

Let me know which ones are on your list down in the comments section.  Which are you pet features?  What are the ones that would change the way you work in Lightroom Classic forever? I’d love to hear ’em.

Have a great Monday, everybody! 🙂

Best,

-Scott

Author: Scott Kelby

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Editor of "Lightroom magazine"; Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books. You can learn more about Scott at http://scottkelby.com

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54 Comments

  1. Skin tone correction tool, please!
    And why is layers such a tall order, Capture has it, it’s a strong feature, I’m paying a subscription for both apps, it’s not that I’m not buying one because of the other.

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  2. I´d love to be able to post directly to Instagram without a third party plugin.

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  3. I’d like Content Aware Fill and the ability to enlarge the curves panel so we can see the histogram in detail.

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    • I agree. Enlarging the curves panel ought to give us the ability to adjust with a lot less coarseness. Like when we enlarge the whole right side panel to allow the sliders to be less coarse.

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  4. Number 7 gets my vote (and since it is election day in the US it is good to vote) 🙂
    For me this would save jumping over to Photoshop to get the job done effectively.

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  5. I can always find the need for speed! HEALING BRUSH! And at least make the keyboard shortcuts the same….Classic “P” for pick…CC “Z” for pick? come on.

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  6. #5 Would be an amazing improvement to LR Classic.

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  7. A version of Auto Tone that understands I got the exposure right in camera and just want the Highlights, Shadows, Blacks and Whites optimised. I’d find that a more useful starting point than the current “you got everything wrong in camera” Auto Tone that we currently have.

    Graham.

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    • You know to do SHIFT-double-click on the word for each of those in Develop module and it’ll set a reasonable value based on what’s in the crop of the image… I think you can do that for Vibrance too – good starting points from solid images to begin with.

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      • While you can shift/double click each of them to get a better value, what I’m really missing is a way that means that I don’t have to manually trigger each auto setting.

        I’m a firm believer that you should be able to automate to a “good starting point”. You can apply Auto Tone when you import and I’d love to be able to apply my “Auto Tone But Don’t Touch the Exposure” in the same way. Or even individual “Auto-Black”, “Auto-White”, “Auto-Shadows” and “Auto-Highlights” that can at least bundle into a preset that I apply during import. I can genuinely say that I would do that to every single image I import, something that is not true for the current Auto Tone.

        I’m quite sure that shift/double clicking each of these is a common task carried out by a large percentage of LR users. Assuming that is the case, having shift/double click as the only way to carry out the task is not good UX.

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        • I don’t disagree – I’d also like a macro facility where you can string together things like this and tie it to your own shortcut or invoke it from a personal menu – I mentioned that elsewhere.

          (I was just sharing how to do it for readers who might not know, btw).

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    • Oh, that’s the good one! My biggest issue in LR ever!

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  8. Hi Scott,
    – about keyboard shortcut, i have recently found translate string-us trick on google to have before/after and change size and feather of brush on my belgian keyboard with english version because “\” and “[” don’t work. it would be nice to make such tool easier to manage.
    – display all presets of a category full screen to better compare with a slider to chose number of thumbnails. see ON1
    – create sets of LUT and presets like Mattk, Kelby,Ramelli, photonify,lutify,… because i have tons of presets and luts and it becomes tedious to browse
    – local HSL. i see some tricks using gradient outside image to use range color or luminance. the idea is nice but could do better like DXO photolab2
    – dynamic contrast like ON1, topaz to address small, medium, large details in local adjustments
    – a blur tool (field, gaussian,motion,…) because sharpness at -100 is not nice
    – blend mode. i ama aware it is not a bitmap soft but you can write “multiply” in the catalog !
    – improve luminosity masks with two sliders like ON1 and possibility to refine mask with brush and gradient

    marc

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  9. Number 4 addresses the only real complaint I’ve had with Adobe Lightroom (and Photoshop too, for that matter). Like most photographers I am a big believer in getting it as close to right in the camera as possible. For me that includes adjusting settings in my camera profiles like contrast, saturation, etc. Then Adobe wipes all of that out on import. I want Lightroom to read all of those settings and apply them on import. Not globally for a batch of images, but individually as they were shot. I’ve never used Capture One, but Nikon’s Capture NX2 does this, so I know it can be done. It even reads my custom profiles.

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    • Capture NX2 can do it because it is a Nikon product, and so it can read Nikon settings and use the same rendering engine as in the Nikon camera. There’s no way Adobe can do all of that. Perhaps, there could be some way for Adobe (and other non-Nikon software) could “read” the in-camera settings and apply the closest approximation it can make (using a different rendering engine), but that’s one for the wish list.

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  10. Any chance of applying input sharpening with a brush so that you could separate your high frequency and your low frequency information and not have to compromise?

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    • hello David,
      This is something i have never understood !
      what a stupid idea from Adobe to re-use capture sharpening settings in the local adjustment sharpness settings.
      this is why all the time i need to use clarity instead of sharpeness or launch ON1 dynamic contrast or topaz clarity+detail

      marc

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  11. Make the “auto-stack by capture time” actually useful. As is, this makes so many errors that it is simply not usable.

    I would love to be able to use on days when I do a number of exposure brackets. However, if I also do some rapid shooting of a quickly changing subject (a twirling dancing couple for example) the Auto-stack grabs those too, which I do not want (since I need to see each frame to decide which to keep and which to toss).

    If the Auto-Stack would just check the exposure compensation on the series of images, then it could very easily group bracketed images while not sucking up others. (oh yeah, if I exposure bracket at night and the exposure is long than one second, the current AS does NOT group them)

    This seems like a pretty easy enhancement, but I have been waiting over a decade and no dice yet. 🙁

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  12. #7 might be hard to pull off since they’re not really changing bits.

    What I’d like to see them add there though is a way when you’re cloning to rotate the piece you’re dropping in so you can get detail/lines etc aligned without going into PS.

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    • But the having a “healing-like” tool already – why can’t they just make it good?

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      • other than it grabbing stupid areas for it’s 1st attempts at a source, it does ok for me – but I mostly just spot off my dust bunnies. 🙂

        So much they could improve – resources, roadmaps and … interests I guess.

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  13. Tear off (and individually resizable ?) menus so you can put your sequence of operations one right after the other in some area of your choice, like a second monitor. Solo mode is nice, hiding things you don’t need is handy – but putting them somewhere else and in your own order would be nicer.

    Custom menu – where you can drag specific functions into a shortened set so you’re not popping around the screen endlessly. Include drag presets there too.

    In a print template cell – Ability to zoom and slide around an image (effectively changing the crop…) so you don’t have to make VCs to fine tune – it’s really a slow process if you’re trying to line a bunch up in some way… Should be able to drag an image into the cell and for example – SHIFT-scroll to zoom it or spacebar-hold drag it around from either corners or center. If you can do any of this today with a sequence I don’t know, glad to learn it here…

    Print to File to have the option to automatically import those created files into the catalog, and maybe a subfolder/collection as well… (maybe same option in the Export function too)

    A paint / gradient mask to block or specify areas for global sharpening, known to the ALT slider preview. Using negative values on the brush sharpening is along the right idea, but it doesn’t feel quite right in result IMO (after much trying..)

    When my mouse is in the develop image window, I’d like the scroll wheel to continuously zoom in/out in smooth fashion – or do the steps available on the zoom slider. btw I like the click (or z) to see it all, or zoom to the ratio I’ve selected at the top of the navigator window.

    I’d like the help to include ALL keyboard shortcuts and a special section added to explain the special hidden menu changes from holding ALT etc., at least tell us what all those special keys or tricks are. We’re paying for a product, we shouldn’t have to scour the net for all the helper industry people who compile this stuff; it should be documented in what I pay for straight up.

    I wish there was a tutor mode where when you click menu items, it would display somewhere what the shortcut for it is – maybe a colored highlight somwhere that’s obvious.

    You know how you can increment wb, exposure, clarity and vibrance etc by fixed 1/3 stops in the Library module instead of in .01 or .10 units ? Please make it so the develop module can at least optionally have the same simple feature – I know it’s GUI/U/UX heaven to have scrubby sliders but if you want to move in steps that actually match your lens’ stop variability… it’s … well I’m getting old and it’s annoying, to me. They could work together too…

    As you move your mouse over the histogram, have those values in the image window highlight in some granularity – maybe nearest 5% to the value … or maybe 10 zones along it’s bottom so you can see what’s in zone 4 or 7 at a glance as you roll across them . Something like the nik bw module has. I use the L*a*b color setting on the histogram to give me decimal L readouts as a substitute but it’s a bit tedious…

    Instead of just blown highlights or blown darks – a parameter where you can set your own % for each. It would come in handy when you’re prepping for print and you know the limitations on each end on the printer.

    I have about a 100 of these but I’ll stop there.

    If this was too much, feel free to delete it Scott et al.

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    • Great. list. Ever! I love the custom menu idea (or panel) a lot! 🙂 – not deleting one bit – that’s a great list! 🙂

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  14. Great Ideas, keep after Adobe I think they listen to you

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  15. At this point I’d be happy with one item: “Give us Photo Mechanic style speed” PLEASE.

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  16. I would like an invert feature to the brush.

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  17. A simple change, albeit one that requires the camera manufacturers to do their bit:

    I consistently hold my camera 1 to 2 degrees clockwise, and I know that I’m not the only one. I’ve spoken to many photographers who admit “been a professional for 16 years and still can’t hold the camera straight”.

    With many cameras now containing electronic spirit levels, I’d like to see the angle of rotation recorded into the EXIF. I’d then like to see an “auto-rotate” function in LR that does its auto rotation purely based upon that value and not through any image analysis.

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  18. Here are my additions to your list:

    1. Spell check. How hard would it be to add it?

    2. We all have large type collections. Selecting them is painful and slow at best.Scroll up, scroll down.

    3. Type samples not just names.

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  19. #2 is definitely a big one. Yes, please!
    Also LR’s handling of previews is still not optimal. It frequently doesn’t realize that things have changed externally and you have to switch to the develop module (sometimes multiple times) for it to finally show what’s really in the photo.

    Also untie the book module from Blurb. Why Blurb. Just give us free page formats and be done. I don’t think there’s much overlap or competition to InDesign so there’s no harm in opening up the book module.

    #4 … I’m not so sure it’s that easy (long time C1 user here). C1 actually does have some “secret sauce” in its image processing – their treatment of colors, highlights and shadows is pretty different from LR IMO.
    But I feel that LR’s new Adobe Color profile is pretty good and it comes way closer to a C1 look.

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    • You need to read Martin’s article. It’s not ‘secret’ sauce. It’s just sauce.

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  20. Hi, Scott. I just recently upgraded to the 1TB option in the Adobe Cloud. After ‘synching’ over 11,000 photos I had used up a whopping…4.3GB. So…I would hope that storing some of the actual Raw files could just be part of that package…not something that has to be added.

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    • Randy,

      If you are syncing from Lightroom Classic, then that only uploads smart previews of your photos, and smart previews don’t count against your cloud storage. If that is all you intend to do you don’t need 1TB of storage as Classic has no means to get the full resolution file to the could. That 4.3 GB is probably something else you have stored in the Adobe cloud (there are lots of other Adobe apps that can store stuff in that cloud too).

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      • Thanks. I agree with Scott’s list where we could upload the actual Raw Files. I didn’t know the the Smart Previews didn’t count! Guess I have a year to see if I can use that storage for something else!

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        • Randy, you might contact Adobe support and see if they can give you a refund, or maybe apply the amount toward another year of the Photography Plan.

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  21. I’d love to see custom watermark position for each image (and sync between images too).
    Just let us click on an image to mark THAT place where watermark should be.

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  22. Focus stacking. It’s literally all I use photoshop for… so I guess I’ll never get it ‍♂️

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    • I didn’t put that one in my tome, but have brought it up in other discussions before. There’s really no reason it can’t be on the same panel as the pano/hdr stuff, unless their concerned with it’s accuracy producing a less than acceptable result without mask refinements in PS.

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    • That gets a 2nd vote from me, but I’m with you – I don’t think we’ll ever get it.

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      • They could just buy Helicon Focus. Really nice workflow (except for having to close the program to finish) and you get back a RAW file. That combined with focus shifting on my D850 has totally changed the way I work with focus stacking.

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        • And it saves back into LR as a DNG so you can get the focus stack done before doing LR adjustments. No need for PS unless you want to do masking.

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        • can you compare it and zerene ? and what type of subjects are you using stacking on ? thx

          Might be a good blog post Scott – someone who works in the focus stack technique and their experiences pros/cons of the different techniques and tools… (it’s not me…)

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  23. I’d love to see the ability to apply a preset at less-than-full strength.

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  24. Will Lightroom Classic CC exist more than one-two years from now? Adobe has stopped developing syncing features in Lightroom Classic CC. I guess your number one wish will remain a wish.

    I think Adobe will announce the retirement of Lightroom Classic CC in late 2019.

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    • I don’t see that happening. There is simply too much that Classic can do that CC cannot. Not to mention that there is a huge percentage of the existing Classic customer base that just won’t store their entire libraries in the cloud (or can’t afford to), and they won’t follow.

      Just like the Camera Raw plug-in is still going strong 11 years after Lightroom came on the scene because it fills the needs of people who don’t use Lightroom, I have no trouble seeing Classic continue to exist well into the future. Time will tell.

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    • If they discontinue LR Classic I will discontinue using Adobe.
      The new LR CC cloud version is useless to me

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    • I have no doubt that Classic is going away. Some recent Adobe surveys reinforce that in my mind. When Classic was rebranded in 2018 I was thinking that with the 2020 update cycle we’d get the announcement that Classic is being deprecated. I wonder if that will be pushed to 2022.

      I’d really like to sync full size images from Classic and be able to access them in Mobile, Web and the LR CC I have on my laptop. I like how Adobe is building the ecosystem, but I still want my desktop to be the hub.

      I’ve been taking a more serious look at LR CC to see if I can fully migrate since I could live with the 1TB plan by simply managing what I have in the LR library at any given time (my finished work doesn’t live in my LR catalogue). However, I definitely need to have some sort of batch renaming. Preferably upon export since I hate to have gaps in my numeric sequence. I’ve also grown quite dependent on the range masking tool. I’d also miss the TAT tool for HSL.

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      • Classic isn’t going away – certainly not anytime soon. Read Rob’s comments above, which I wholeheartedly agree with. They keep adding more and more features to Classic every few months.

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    • I agree with Rob – it’s not going away any time soon – it will definitely be here two years from now.

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