Lightroom CC, Lightroom 6 and Capture One Pro

Lightroom CC and Lightroom 6 released

Today, 21st April 2015, Adobe released Lightroom CC – the long-awaited replacement for Lightroom 5. It’s also available as a stand-alone application, called Lightroom 6, which doesn’t require a subscription to the Adobe Photography Programme or the full Creative Cloud suite.


It’s faster, partly because it uses the graphics processing units (GPUs) inside modern computers to accelerate functions in the Develop module – something that Photoshop has done for a few years. Applying distortion correction, for example, used to slow down work in the Develop module, particularly on laptops – it feels quite a bit snappier now. (Check your settings in the new ‘Performance’ tab of Lightroom’s preferences.) There have also been some rewrites to make other parts of Lightroom feel a little quicker.

Merge to HDR and merge to panorama

Lightroom CC’s raw processing appears unchanged but it does offer the ability to merge photographs to HDR (ctrl-H) and to merge photographs to a panorama (ctrl-M). Earlier versions of Lightroom worked together with Photoshop to achieve similar results but Lightroom now has both functions built in and my early tests suggest that they work quite well.

Other improvements

You now have the ability to fine-tune the effect of a graduated filter by by using a brush, something that has been present in recent versions of Adobe Camera Raw (‘ACR’), the Photoshop plugin that does Photoshop’s raw conversion. Along with that comes an overlay for the graduated filter, which is good for newcomers to that tool – it helps show the direction of the graduated filter’s effect. There’s also an improved slideshow (very welcome) and face recognition, which I haven’t yet tried – I suspect it’ll be a while before we can rely on that feature.

Versions: Lightroom 6 vs Lightroom CC

You can still buy Lightroom as a standalone product (called Lightroom 6) but, despite the misguided ‘cloud’ naming, Lightroom is best purchased as part of the Adobe Photography Plan, which includes Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC 2014. There are still things that only Photoshop can do and, for less than £9 a month, you get full current versions of both Lightroom and Photoshop – that’s excellent value. I call the naming misguided because I still speak with photographers who believe that the Creative Cloud versions of Lightroom and Photoshop somehow run from the cloud or in a web browser. They don’t – they are installed on and run from your computer, just like any previous versions. Amazon has a one-year, cross-platform subscription to the Adobe Photography Plan here one-year, cross-platform subscription to the Adobe Photography Plan here that includes Lightroom and Photoshop. (At the time of writing, £99 including VAT for a year.)

Speaking of misguided naming, Lightroom’s official name became ‘Adobe Photoshop Lightroom’ some time after its initial beta test period but its filename, at least, has now reverted to just ‘Adobe Lightroom’ – a definite improvement.

The rise of Capture One

Over the last few months, we’ve received more requests for Capture One Pro training than for Lightroom training. On one hand, we’re a small company so treat this as anecdotal information and not a large-scale survey; on the other hand, we’ve been using Capture One since version 3, have offered Capture One training since version 7 was released and have seen very little mainstream interest till recently – all our bookings were for training on Lightroom, Photoshop, printing and colour management. The quality of Capture One Pro 8, the current major release, is responsible for much of the new interest. It’s a very well written application that feels complete and solid, providing the strongest ever competition to Lightroom while being very different in its approach and interface.

Is it worth switching your raw converter?

Don’t make the decision to switch between applications based purely on reviews – that should go without saying. If you are an expert user of either Lightroom or Capture One Pro, you’ll likely get better results than most users of the competing application – expertise will almost always be more important than your choice of raw conversion software. (The same goes for expertise vs. new cameras and lenses.) But it is certainly worth downloading and trying the alternative app to see if its approach and interface suit you better. In our experience, photographers often have a very strong preference for one over the other (particularly easy to see when you’re working with a large group of students being shown both applications). If you’re using an application you really enjoy, you’ll get better results with it. Currently, that’s really the best reason to switch.

Training: Lightroom CC, Lightroom 6 and Capture One Pro 8

There are books, online video and ebooks aplenty from the usual sources to help you with all these applications. Some have probably been released already covering Lightroom 6 and CC. One-to-one tuition at your own pace is a different way of learning and also a good way to supplement books and online courses to make some real progress. We’d love to hear from you: call 01303 249386 or write to We’re based in London but travel throughout the UK to provide tuition at your studio, home or office. Professionals, novices and keen amateurs all welcome!

Two-day course: colour management for photographers, 27th & 28th March 2014


[UPDATE, 29 March 2014: we had an excellent group of attendees who asked all the right questions. Most were photographers but there were also people from animation, broadcasting and picture editing. Visit the DMIC page to sign up for information on future courses – there are several that might be of interest to photographers. I’ll leave the information below in place for future reference. BP.]

Next week, I’ll once again be delivering a free, two-day course on colour management for photographers in London. It was well received when we introduced it in September 2013, with very positive feedback from the attendees. Most of the people I worked with last time were photographers but one or two were also designers who regularly worked with images from various sources and wanted to know more about a colour-managed workflow.

The course is free for London-based freelancers and SMEs and will be held at the Ravensbourne campus, right next to the O2 Arena on the Greenwich Peninsula. You can find more details and apply for a place by visiting the DMIC website.

Some notes

This isn’t a course on advanced colour science – it’s a practical, two-day programme that focusses on a colour-managed workflow, how to improve your results and how to avoid common problems (e.g. publishing online images that look desaturated when your clients view them on iPads and other tablets, or making prints that look too dark and murky). Among other things, we’ll cover colour spaces, camera settings, the colour settings in applications like Photoshop and Lightroom, how to profile and calibrate a display, how to work with soft proofs (which are a little like on-screen simulations of your print) and how to work with colour profiles when you print.

There will be iMac workstations for you to use; you will print using an Epson 3880 Stylus Pro printer, on baryta-based paper. You’re encouraged to bring your own images and even a laptop if you have one.

Click here to apply. I look forward to seeing some of you there.

Adobe Photography Program closes 8 December 2013

As we’ve become busier, the site has become much quieter and I can see that it has been more than a year since I last wrote an update. In that time, we have continued to work with photographers at all levels on workflow, colour management and print making; we’ve made ‘digital’ prints for exhibitions (the last being Sir John Ramsden’s excellent exhibitions of photographs from 1980s Vietnam in London and Hanoi in 2013) and helped many others to make their own prints, organise their collections, process photographs and get their images online. Business as usual, in other words.

Photoshop Photography Program

Today, I’d like to remind readers and subscribers that the deadline for joining what Adobe calls its Photoshop Photography Program has been extended to Sunday, 8 December 2013. This offer gets you Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC plus any updates released during the year for £8.78 a month, including VAT; this offer was once open only to those who owned Photoshop CS 3 or later but is temporarily (I assume) open to those who own neither Lightroom nor Photoshop. At this price, if you are currently making do with an old version of Lightroom and perhaps Adobe Photoshop Elements or something similar, this is an excellent offer. As an owner of both Lr 5 and Photoshop CS 6, I upgraded to Photoshop CC on its release but was automatically switched to this plan when it became available; the cloud activation and licensing have worked faultlessly so far.

Not entirely cloudy

The Creative Cloud versions of the Adobe apps don’t run ‘from the cloud’ in some mysterious way — they’re installed locally on your machine, just like their predecessors, and run in exactly the same way. They work online and offline. (Almost every photographer I’ve spoken to has been confused by the name ‘Creative Cloud’.) The idea of a CC app like Photoshop CC is just that all updates released during your subscription term are included and that there will be no major version releases going forward (like Photoshop CS 4, CS 5, etc.). Instead, new features will be added via installable updates when they’re ready. In addition, you get some cloud storage options for your documents.

The downside of this scheme is that when you stop paying, you lose all Adobe Photoshop functionality and not just the right to future upgrades. At this price, though, I don’t see that being a problem for any serious users of the software — it makes sense even if, like me, you owned a copy of Lr 5 already.

Capture One Training

All the hullabaloo earlier this year about the initial Creative Cloud pricing (which saw Adobe’s marketing and sales departments at their worst) has been good for the competition. Phase One’s Capture One Pro is newly revitalised in its current release (version 7) and I like it much better than previous releases. As part of the work I do at Ravensbourne as a sessional lecturer, I qualified as a Phase One Certified Professional this summer and now offer training and support on Capture One, in addition to Photoshop and Lightroom. If you’re trying to decide between all these options, write or call and we can offer some independent advice. (We don’t sell any of this software or hardware and are not associated with either of the publishers.)

That’s it for now. As always, one-to-one training and phone support is available on all the above.

Next post: January 2015, by my calculations.