What I’d Love To See Next in Lightroom…Part 1

Howdy folks. OK, I’m starting a new series on things I’d love to see Adobe add to Lightroom (especially now that Lightroom is a full part of the Creative Cloud, theoretically Adobe could add features anytime, like they have with Photoshop CC).

But didn’t Adobe did just a big release of Lightroom? Yes they did, and that’s why I want to share these now, before they’re too far along on the next version. So, without further ado (yes, that was ado), here’s the first in my wishlist of things I’d love to see added to Lightroom:

#1: A Drop Shadow feature added to the Print module

Look at the screen capture above. They already have a drop shadow panel — it’s in the Slideshow module.  It’s just one module over from where we want it — they’ve already got a great user interface for it, and it works just lovely — if we could just have them copy that same panel over, just as it is, to the Print module, we’d be set. Boom! Done.

Q. Now, do I really have a pressing need to add drop shadows to things in the Print module?
A. Me personally, not very often.

Q. Have people been asking me for this at my seminars and workshops for since 2007?
A. Absolutely. I get asked about this on a regular basis

Well, I get asked “How do I add a drop shadow to an image in the Print module”, and of course the answer is, “You don’t inside of Lightroom — you have to go to Photoshop, add it there, then bring it back to Lightroom, or create a drop shadow all by itself in Photoshop, save it as a JPEG, and bring that into Lightroom as an Identity plate. Whew! That’s a lot of work. Wouldn’t just having that feature copied to the Print module be just a whole lot easier?

This seems like “low hanging fruit”…
…but of course in the past many times I learned from Adobe engineers or Product Managers that something that seems so simple and obvious, is actually way more complex than it looks because of the underlying architecture, or resolution issue, or whatever, but I do know this. The Lightroom engineers have performed some real miracles over the years, so I know if they decided to add it, they could probably do it in their sleep.

OK, that’s just one to get us rolling. Of course, I always encourage you to share your thoughts here in the comments (we read every one, even if we don’t get to respond to them all), and just a friendly reminder — please stay on topic, which is “new features you’d like to see added.”

That’s it for me today. I’m on my way to Spain today for some photography and fun with my brother Jeff (the trip is a Christmas present from my awesome wife), but I’ll still be online and sharing stuff during the week.

Hope you have an awesome Monday (I know, that’s asking a lot), and we’ll see you back here tomorrow for the second in my series.



P.S. Heads up about a new online class you should watch on copyright, model releases, and all sorts of legal issues for photographers. We just released it last week at KelbyOne.com — it’s by Intellectual Property Rights Attorney Ed Greenberg and Photographer’s Rights Advocate Jack Reznicki. Here’s a link to the online class (it sounds like a boring topic, but these guys make it really fun and interesting. Fascinating stories and examples, and VERY eye-opening).



  1. Keith Z 27 May, 2015 at 16:53 Reply

    What I’d like to see in Lightroom is “content aware” fill to go along with photo merge for panoramas.

  2. Carol Parker 26 May, 2015 at 08:33 Reply

    Two small easy (?) tweaks – I would like to be able to highlight folders or collections with a colored label – just to make one stand out to get to it quicker. But the big one is a ‘Cancel’ button when I inadvertently ask Lightroom to close! There’s no way out when you get to the window that lets you backup or skip the backup and quit. I’ve been using LR since version 1 but I still accidentally close it constantly and it drive me crazy that I can’t just back out and go back to work.

  3. Goran 22 May, 2015 at 22:29 Reply

    A function for easily and efficiently renaming files. The present possibilities are extremely limited. There are some 3rd party programs that can be used but they are still too limited.

    I still keep an old copy of ACDSee, only for renaming before I import to LR. In ACDSee it is extremely easy to change names, incorporate EXIF data or do almost anything you can think of.

  4. Ronald Meyer 22 May, 2015 at 13:34 Reply

    Improved brush edge detection (Command/ Control “T”) for the Adjustment, Graduated and Radial filters including the erase brush.

    Clone and Healing brushes like available in Photoshop.

  5. Bette 20 May, 2015 at 09:33 Reply

    I would like to see Adobe retain a non CC version of lightroom as when it becomes the only means of using LR I will have to stop using it. I am a retired hobbyist and cannot afford all of the program subscriptions in CC.

  6. John 20 May, 2015 at 06:28 Reply

    First off the guys at Adobe are doing a great job. I would however like to see the following:

    The ability to add frames and artistic edges in the print module.

    Better text editing for adding titles etc.
    The ability to add key lines in the book module.
    More transitions in the slide module
    A book template to suit panos.

    Be able to change the shape of the of the brush tool.

    That’s it. I know there are workarounds for some of the above but it would be good just to have it there.

  7. Tom Reich 19 May, 2015 at 17:55 Reply

    I would like to be able to bring one of my previously edited images into the Develop module as a side-by-side reference at the same time I’m editing another image. When I’m putting together groups of finals that were maybe shot at different times and different conditions, it’s a hassle always having to go back to Survey or Compare to see if they harmonize with each other. Need a “Compare” mode happening within the Develop module.

  8. Tom O'Connor 19 May, 2015 at 16:14 Reply

    I would like to see two improvements.

    First is to file naming. I love the way file naming is done in Bridge vs in Lr. If that cannot be done I would at least like to see the file name of the image you want to rename be populated in the renaming window. As it is now you cannot even change one digit or add one digit without retyping the complete file name.

    Second is the search engine for Text. If I put in a search for: Filename/Starts With/”an” it will display every image that has any word within the file name that starts with “an”, not just the first word.

  9. Tony 19 May, 2015 at 15:49 Reply

    The ability to add notes to a photo to cater for thoughts on options for editing. e.g try this as B&W, create a 6×4 copy for John, option for the next yearbook, etc. Not the sort of thing I’d like to add to metadata, more a sort of to-do list for the photo.

    • Kathleen 23 May, 2015 at 10:57 Reply

      I completely agree with Tony. I’d like a place to put the comments he suggests and maybe something about the situation of the photo. And if I used a filter on the camera or did something special not in the metadata. I also agree with John’s requests, especially space for better (and more) text editing.

  10. Dieter 12 May, 2015 at 15:55 Reply

    I’d like to set the crop tool to a fixed size, e.g. to 2560×1600 for my screen. When I restrict the crop tool to a ratio like 16:10, most of the time I end up with a few pixel above or below my target.

  11. Jeremy 12 May, 2015 at 00:44 Reply

    How about some performance improvements when importing creating previews converting to dng and exporting. I’m fine with existing features but speed is the key

    • Jerry 19 May, 2015 at 15:43 Reply

      Agreed!!! Importing and building previews is painfully slow. I would add that I don’t see how importing is even helpful – it only adds confusion when I can’t find photos that haven’t been imported. Just let me use my directories to organize my photos.

  12. Han 12 May, 2015 at 00:35 Reply

    To be honest, I’m quite satisfied with LR and all its features, but I’d like to see a focus mask in a next release. A focus mask like CaptureOne, so you can exactly see whether or not the image is crispy sharp at the position you want it.

  13. Snappy 11 May, 2015 at 23:11 Reply

    I’d like to see an adjustment brush that could be different shapes. Round is okay but for a building I’d love to have a square shaped brush to get tight in corners.

  14. Edward 11 May, 2015 at 23:09 Reply

    I think that adding features to Lightroom is the wrong way to improve it. After all, the whole point of Lightroom is to speed up the photographer’s workflow.

    One place where the workflow is slow is in the connection to photoshop. The process of exporting photos, then reimporting them is clunky.

    A way to address this problem is to reinvent Lightroom as a photoshop plug-in.

    Another way would be to integrate Lightroom into Photoshop. This way a photographer could send photos from collections to ACR as easily as one presently sends items from the Bridge to Photoshop.

    My suggestions may seem radical, but they are very doable for Adobe.

    All the best to you Scott

  15. Rob Edgcumbe 11 May, 2015 at 22:19 Reply

    If video can be added to the catalog and trimmed for export in the catalog, why can’t it be opened in to Photoshop like a still? Editing video in Photoshop would be a lot easier if you could trim the clips in Lightroom and then select them all to Open As Layers in Photoshop like you can with stills. Then the finished edit would be reimported. The current video implentation is half-hearted.

    Also, when exporting to outside platforms, the Export dialog includes drop downs for galleries/folders etc. Currently, if you have a long list, you have to click repeatedly down the list to get to where you want to go. A scrolling function would save a ton of time here.

  16. Bill Macko 11 May, 2015 at 22:12 Reply

    Lightroom CC is wayyyyyy toooo slowwwww!!! Adobe needs to put this at the top of their priority list. What good is having all the cool features when you can’t make changes in the develop module without having to wait too long to see the effect of the changes. Moreover, you don’t get any indication (like the cursor changing to a watch) to indicate that Lightroom is busy. I have an i7 processor with 16 GB ram and a nVidia 970 graphics card. I’m surprised by the poor performance with my system.

  17. Marty Cohen 11 May, 2015 at 20:50 Reply

    The ability to organize Develop Module Presets into a hierarchical organization with multi-level folders displayed in the Develop Module Presets list. It would be a huge time-saver and it just makes good sense to Just Do It. Please…..

  18. David 11 May, 2015 at 19:12 Reply

    What about Letting Smart collections go to LR Mobile that would be so useful. I don’t want to send a whole collection, or create special collections every time I want to send something to my tablet. I’m not a pro but seems like a need for everyone.

  19. Jim Cutler 11 May, 2015 at 16:55 Reply

    Scott, seems like Facial Recognition this time was such a big feature that they banked heavily on it for a new full version. I would like to see: 1) Lightroom is great, but there are better programs flying thru and making selects because of the second it takes to render even the 1:1 previews. Other programs excel in instant previews of the raws for quick selection. Lightroom should nail this. 2) Minor one but needed: Metadata for when we submit to copyright ECO site. A Flag for Published image, a flag for un-published, and for whether it was successfully submitted to copyright office. Yes you can use colors but your head spins with all the non-verbal flags. Be nice to have the words. I guess you could use keywords for this.

  20. Paul 11 May, 2015 at 14:37 Reply

    1. Just give us some sample point readouts which are already available in ACR.
    2. Masking for noise reduction (just the inverse mask that’s available in sharpening).

  21. Jerry W 11 May, 2015 at 14:30 Reply

    I’d like to see LR standardize behavior when dealing with a modified file. Sometimes the LR modified file goes to the end of the line of all the photos in a folder, sometimes in the front of a group of files with similar images and sometimes behind the original image.

    When a 3rd party plug-in copies a file from a LR folder of images, and then modifies it and it goes back into LR, I don’t know if it’s going in front of the original file, behind it, or somewhere else in the group of photos. Seems each plug-in has its own behavior as to where it drops off the modified file back into the LR group of photos.

  22. lyle 11 May, 2015 at 12:08 Reply

    Not LR, but it would be nice if the comment section allowed readers to up-vote comments and the original post. Then we could see how common the topics and issues are between viewer/readers and you’d have some weighting on topics for future shows.

  23. thomas 11 May, 2015 at 11:55 Reply

    Ability to make selections and limit the local adjustments to them (or inverted).

    Content aware fill.

  24. tooshy 11 May, 2015 at 10:50 Reply

    The option for the print module to output to fixed pixel count dimensions if you’re printing to jpg file. This would allow you to more optimally control perceptual/relative color mapping on conversion and leverage other print features for files destined to be used on the web. Export is part of the way there, but it can be better.

    Ability to create various sized prints to a directory, then choose “Nest” in print module and have it fit them all on the minimum paper required and spool them out. Useful on roll paper printing and to minimize paper waste on sheet stock too. (Need guillotine style feature layout as an option to speed cutting later).

    For people who print standard sizes to printing providers, get rid of the need to futz with template and printer page size to get bleed files the right size. Have a pick list and just output them based on size x pixel count.

    Printing – the ability to put text anywhere on any picture or boundary area in any of the 3 available print layout variations, single package and custom packages.

    Integrate a “frame” gallery instead of having to out-think the graphical identity plate issues to achieve similar results.

    Keymapper with the ability to record and use macros of repetitive steps. They have the commands under all those key sequences and menu picks, there’s no reason they can’t do that. If you never use a shortcut, you should be able to remap it to something useful.

    Done now.

  25. Dug 11 May, 2015 at 10:45 Reply

    How about taking the masking feature from sharpening, inverting it and applying it to Noise reduction? Less reduction in high detail areas, more reduction in low detail/out of focus areas.

  26. Rudi 11 May, 2015 at 08:47 Reply

    A better raw developer. I’m just checking Capture One because I’m fed up with LR so far and the image quality is just stunning. I wish the user interface would be as simple as the LR one.

    • lyle 15 May, 2015 at 12:03 Reply

      If you want to push the raw files over to Capture One (or some other image processor), there’s a plugin called “Open Directly” available for something like US$20 which will allow that. It doesn’t create a TIFF like other plugins do -t opens the RAW in the other application. Once you’re done in the other processor, you have to sync the folder to import it’s result back into LR for DAM tracking. (Disclosure: Haven’t used it, looked at it about a year ago and just never got to doing it.)

  27. Katherine 11 May, 2015 at 08:23 Reply

    I’d love to see a right click contextual menu to add a photo to a collection. It’s slow and cumbersome to drag a photo down to a collection, especially when you have a large catalog. It’s nice to have the target collection feature but it assumes you only populate one catalog at a time.

  28. Katherine 11 May, 2015 at 07:31 Reply

    I’d love a right click contextual menu to add a photo to a list of my existing collections. It’s a real pain (and very slow) to have to drag it all the way down to a particular collection. Target collection feature is nice but it assumes I work on populating one collection at a a time

  29. Paul C 11 May, 2015 at 07:27 Reply

    1. Text – better text overlays. There is a little that is possible in the Print Module but I’d love to be able to have more flexibility for titles, labels, etc.
    2. Improved SMART filtering for Smart-Collections

  30. PiRX 11 May, 2015 at 04:40 Reply

    Smart collection filter for exported images. Or maybe I just don’t know the right way how to make it with existing filters.

  31. Nils 11 May, 2015 at 04:21 Reply

    Another idea that should be easy to implement:
    I work with collections all the time. And some photos end up in many collections. And in the folder were they “live” I have a lot of virtual copies from the same picture. To see in the folder where the copy is used I put the collection name in the field “Copy Name” and I display the copy name above the thumbnails. Otherwise it’s easy to, lets say, start using a virtual copy thats used somewhere else and destroy cropping or something else.
    So I would love to have a command that 1) creates a virtual copy in the target collection and 2) puts the Collection name inte the field “Copy Name”

  32. Zim 11 May, 2015 at 04:13 Reply

    smart guides in the print module.

    Actually, I’d like them to completely start over with print module. With everything they know from InDesign, the print module really shouldn’t be as clunky as it is. But, in the absence of a complete overhaul, just bringing in smart guides (which seems to be in, and well implemented, in virtually every other app they make) would make a world of difference for me.

    • Paul C 12 May, 2015 at 05:38 Reply

      Agree – for those of us who use keywords & Smart-collections to keep track of multiple themes I would love a bigger suggestions grid. The spray-can can do a bit of this work once set up, but keywording needs a boost.

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