Since drinking the Adobe Kool-Aid and succumbing to their monthly subscription for Lightroom CC Mobile, I’ve discovered that it is, in fact, a pretty good deal. It may be that I’m trying to self-justify my decision, but the skeptic in me is beginning to see the value in this purchase.
Lightroom CC Mobile – NOT Lightroom CC and NOT Lightroom Classic
To be clear, I purchased the CAD 6.49/month (USD 4.99) subscription to Lightroom CC Mobile (LrM) – essentially Lightroom for iPad and iPhone. This is different from what Adobe shows on their website. They have the…
- Lightroom plan (USD 9.99/mo) which is an emasculated version of Lightroom Classic with 1TB of storage. This allows you to do everything in the cloud, but with a stripped-down version of Lr;
- Photography Plan (USD 9.99/mo) – the full version of Lr Classic (or Lightroom CC) with the full version of Photoshop, but with only 20GB of storage. (Note: This might actually be worth it if it came with 100GB of storage instead of the paltry 20GB); and
- Photography Plan with 1TB of storage (USD 19.99/mo) – a bit too rich for my blood as that translates to over $25/month Canadian!
At half the base price, I think I’m getting a deal with Lr CC Mobile when combined with my old standalone version of Lightroom 6 (more on that below). As you may have seen from my photographs of Ethiopia, using the raw and hdr-raw capture built into LrM results in nothing short of excellent photographs. Being able to edit those raw files on the fly using iPhone or iPad is a tremendous advantage when travelling. LrM on iPad is also a very comfortable and productive way of editing photos sitting in my living room. Although not quite as fast as working on my laptop and not as precise when using the sliders, holding an iPad and using my finger or an Apple Pencil is simply more comfortable.
As somewhat of a bonus, along with my subscription came Adobe Portfolio and 100GB of cloud storage, neither of which I thought much of when I first signed up. Over the last few weekends, I have been working with Portfolio. Through trial and error, a few trips to the Help site and a few minutes of Terry White’s YouTube videos (give me print that I can skim read, not videos that I have to wade through!!), I’ve managed to create a Portfolio website I’m proud of. Creating and editing the pages not as ‘intuitive’ as they indicate, but once I got the hang of it, I can now create pages confidently and creatively, even if I do forget where ‘this toggle’ and ‘that setting’ are.
The 100GB? I thought, “Ya right, as if I’d need all that.” Well, I’m now at 86GB of my 100 with about 2,500 raw photos. It has allowed me to put my best photos into the cloud for easy access at any time. I find it much more intuitive than Flickr or SmugMug, especially as they are full-resolution files served to my iPad and online as Smart Previews. This is key as my iPad is only 64GB; the Smart Previews stored locally only take up 1.3GB.
It’s actually pretty amazing. The photos I shoot on my iPhone using LrM are automatically loaded to the Cloud. Almost instantly, they are available in my LrM catalogue served to iPad and online on my Lightroom site (different from my Portfolio).
How does all this work with my old and out-of-date standalone version of Lr – Lightroom 6?
This is the $64,000 question (or $6.49/month question!) The answer: surprisingly well! I say surprisingly, because I didn’t think there would be any integration at all. However, all the iPhone photos I shoot with LrM show up in my Lightroom 6 standalone app on my laptop in a Folder called ‘TerryMcDonald’s iPhone’. Wow – it couldn’t be simpler!
Where the integration shines, though, is in Collections. I can designate any “Collection” to “Synch with Lightroom mobile”. Note: this cannot be done for Smart Collections or Collection Sets – but that’s fine because I don’t want everything on Lightroom Mobile, only the best of the best. Since my standalone Lr 6 desktop app has access to all 60,000+ digital photos in my Lightroom Catalogue, I used it to prepare content for my Portfolio site by creating a series of Collections of only my best photographs.
While scanning through photos from years gone by took a bit of time, it was actually a great review of many hundreds of my best photographs. The Lr Library module, as a digital asset management tool, makes finding photos quick and easy. I can set the Attribute to ‘Flagged’ and/or ‘3 stars and higher’, add in come keywords and voila, I have a set of my best photos to choose from. As I selected photos, it gave me chance to update the processing and editing of a number of older photographs that now look better than ever. It’s important to remember, a portfolio website is not a catch-all of thousands of photos, it is meant to showcase the best of the best, so it’s good to be picky.
Creating a Portfolio website
With individual Collections automatically showing up in LrM (on my iPad and iPhone), importing individual Collections as Galleries into my Portfolio is easy as clicking on a few buttons. I can also Import all the photos in the Collection or choose the ones I want shown in my Portfolio. Also, within each Gallery page, I can re-order and re-title photographs or, I can make the updates permanent by going back to LrM, making the necessary corrections to the order and titles, then simply choose “Reset to Lightroom” from within Portfolio. This is easy! I can also toggle off and on individual Gallery Pages.
There is also integration with Behance – Adobe’s ‘free’ clearing house for ‘Creatives’ who wish to share/display their work online. I added a few multimedia projects to Behance (my Ethiopia video, Spark photo essay and a folio) that were supposed to automatically populate my Portfolio site but, frustratingly, that didn’t seem to work. Instead, I put them onto Portfolio directly and can share them to Behance. As Behance is really not important to me, perhaps this is the better way of doing it.
Suffice it to say, there is still much for me to discover within Portfolio. I’m sure there are more creative ways for me to display by work online, but this simple, straightforward approach seems to be time-saver compared to SmugMug and Flickr. Now, that being said, I’ve sold a number of photographs to people who saw my work on SmugMug and Flickr, so I’m not quite ready to ditch them. Time will tell if Portfolio is a better site for visibility. One further integration I noticed was with Adobe Stock. I can add my photos from Portfolio to Adobe Stock and potentially earn income. However, after reading a few reviews of Adobe Stock, I’ve learned that the pennies they pay may not be worth it. We’ll see.
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