What is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (Lr)?

By Timothy Brauning on November 30, 2021

Adobe Lightroom is a photography editing software that also helps you import, manage and organize RAW digital images. Adobe Lightroom is part of the Creative Cloud. Adobe Lightroom is the perfect editing app for beginner to expert photographers! It offers you a suite of powerful photography tools, all on your computer or mobile device (Android or iPhone). 

Whether you're looking to put the finishing touches on a photo or need to get all of your photos organized for book layouts, interiors projects, and more, Adobe Lightroom has you covered.

Table Of Contents

Who uses Adobe Lightroom?

Many professional photographers and hobbyists use Adobe Lightroom. It's an efficient way to edit and manage large photo libraries, especially in a shared environment and when dealing with multiple versions and iterations of the same photos.

Although Adobe Lightroom can be used by any individual who requires digital photography management, there are some types of photographers for whom Lr is particularly handy. For example:

- Professional photographers who create finished images for client delivery (portrait, editorial, fashion, commercial...).

- Photographers who are shooting in RAW or digital mediums and want to post-produce rather than scan.

- Adventurers or travelers with lots of albums to manage.

- Photographers seeking to take better pictures through workflow software.

- Amateur photographers who want to learn about their cameras and photography.

- Hobbyists who use more than one camera and need a centralized resource for storing, editing, and organizing.

Adobe Lightroom Phone App

What can you do with Adobe Lightroom?

Adobe Lightroom is a creative image organization and editing software that aims to help you manage, edit, enhance and share your RAW photos. Its editing tools are powerful but easy to use, even for the beginner.

Adobe Lightroom allows you to manage and process RAW files. Why is working with RAW files important? 

RAW files in photography refers to shooting images in an uncompressed format called RAW. You may also hear this referred to as camera raw which means the image is unprocessed or minimally processed by your camera, so all the original image data remains intact. This format is the most ideal for post-processing, as you have more “digital information” to work with in comparison to editing a compressed file like a JPEG.

 Here is how Lightroom helps you manage those RAW files:

  • Import a large volume of photos.
  • Edit your photos in a non-destructive way, with powerful and easy-to-use tools.
  • Automatically apply settings to your images based on rules you create.
  • Organize photos into collections or folders that can be shared with family or friends, making the process of sharing images simpler.
  • Easily search and find images through your Lightroom Library.
  • Preserve your original files while creating derivative works (edits).
  • Directly export edited photos to show online or print from within the software.

Adobe Lightroom provides an efficient environment for photographers to manage their images from import to archive.

Adobe Lightroom features

Lightroom is beginner-friendly photo editing software and comes with a complete set of features that allow you to edit, enhance and share your photos. 

The Adobe Lightroom workflow is based on three modules: the Library, the Develop, and the Publish.

The Library module in Adobe Lightroom

The Library in Adobe Lightroom is an intuitive panel that allows you to import, organize and search your images. Here are some of the things you can do in your Library:

  • Import photos from a memory card, hard drive, CDs, DVDs, or a folder on your computer.
  • Organize photos into folders and collections, with search capabilities. You can use the Library to view images in map mode or grid view, compare versions of the same photo, and view slideshows.
  • Filter the items displayed in the Library, for example, by selecting flag status or metadata (keywords, ratings...).
  • Group items together through stacking.

The Develop module in Adobe Lightroom

This is where you can apply edits to your photos. You have a full range of standard and advanced editing tools available in Lightroom, including:

  • Basic tools to adjust exposure, correct colors, optimize noise reduction, customize white balance, and process shadows and highlights. With Lightroom, your photos are edited in a non-destructive way that means you can go back later and make changes or revert to the original by browsing through your editing history
  • Spot Removal tool to remove minor blemishes from your photos.
  • Slideshow tool to create slideshows with music and transitions. You have full control over the timing of your photos and can preview your slideshow before exporting it to share online.
  • Create presets to save time when working with similar photos.
  • Selectively mask areas of an image for local edits - such as dodging and burning.
  • Take photos with personalized filters with your mobile camera (Android only).
  • View any adjustments made to your images as you work so you can see the changes in real-time before applying or discarding them.

The Publish module in Adobe Lightroom

The Publish module in Adobe Lightroom allows you to share your photos in a few clicks. There are many different ways you can do it, depending on the desired outcome:

  • Publish your photos directly to Flickr, 500ox, or social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or Behance.
  • Export your photographs. You can export your photos in various file formats, including JPEG, TIFF, and PSD. Lightroom allows you to easily share your files with colleagues or family, upload them online, or burn them onto DVDs.
  • Print selected images or all of them together. You can easily create professional prints of your photos via Lightroom, with a wide range of print templates to choose from.
  • Create a web gallery of your images through Lightroom with built-in templates to upload directly or export in HTML format for hosting elsewhere.

Lightroom is known for its robust features that enable photographers to manage their workflow efficiently.

The Evolution of Adobe Lightroom

Shadowland was Lightroom's original name given by Mark Humburg, the software developer who initially started conceptualizing Lightroom in 1999.

In 2006, Adobe Inc. launched an early beta version of Lightroom so the general public could give constructive feedback while the software is still being developed. Lightroom 1.0 was officially released in 2007.

Adobe Lightroom now has more than 20 versions. Indeed, the software evolved over the years, constantly adding and optimizing new features.

Lightroom is now part of the Creative Cloud (CC) as a subscription-based software. The latest version is Lightroom Version 4.1 on desktop and Lightroom Version 6.1 on mobile.

Requirements to install Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Pro CC is a Creative Cloud that requires a high-performance computer to run and support the constant software updates. It requires at least 8GB of RAM and a 1,280-by-800 display. 

  • Mac systems: macOS 10.14 or later.
  • Windows systems: version 10.1803 or later.

Lightroom is compatible with most RAW formats, including the popular Canon CR2 and Nikon NEF.

Adobe Lightroom or Adobe Photoshop?

Lightroom is fully compatible with Photoshop, allowing you to use these two tools in combination to get even better results. If you want to take Adobe Lightroom a step further, you can always look into Adobe Photoshop. Here are a few things that differentiate the two:

- Adobe Lightroom is for photographers, while Designers mainly use Adobe Photoshop.

- Lightroom’s editing tools are easy to use, while Photoshop requires medium-level knowledge.

- Adobe Lightroom helps you manage and organize your library, while Photoshop offers creative editing tools like Curves and Layers to enhance the creative side of your images. It is also more advanced when it comes to layer-based composites and brush tools.

- Photoshop has better text and vector editing tools. Adobe Lightroom does not have these features.

- You can use RAW files with Photoshop, whereas you’d need to import RAW files as DNGs with Adobe Lightroom.

- Adobe Photoshop offers 3D Painting, Web, and Video Editing modules that are not included in Adobe Lightroom.

adobe lightroom or adobe photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop vs. Adobe Lightroom: which one is better for you?

If your workflow mainly involves organizing, editing, and sharing photos, you’d opt for Adobe Lightroom. If you are more of a designer who needs editing tools beyond just exposure, color, Adobe, and cropping, you should go for Adobe Photoshop.

How much does Adobe Lightroom cost?

Adobe Lightroom CC offers a 7-days free trial, so you can try it first and decide if this is the software you need. However, it has limited features until you purchase a subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud and unlock the full version.

Adobe Lightroom is only available as a subscription, with a monthly or yearly fee. The subscription fee for Adobe Lightroom is $9.99 per month or $59.88 per year. The new CC plans include a complete set of Adobe desktop and mobile apps, services, and cloud storage for one single monthly fee.

You can also subscribe to Lightroom and Photoshop for $19.99 per month or get the complete Adobe Creative Cloud for $74.99 per month ($52.99 if you pay yearly).

Where can I download Adobe Lightroom?

Adobe Lightroom CC can be downloaded from Adobe’s official website

You can also download Adobe Lightroom presets from websites like Creative Market, Exposure 7, and Flickr.

Learning how to use Adobe Lightroom

Lightroom can be overwhelming for beginners, but once you get the hang of it, editing photos using Adobe Lightroom will be easy. Here are some basic steps to get you started:

There are many ways you can upgrade your Lightroom skills with the internet at your fingertips:

1- Watch educational videos online

Many video tutorials online can help you learn how to use Lightroom, from the basics to more advanced editing techniques. Youtube is a good source of educational videos.

2- Read online articles

Just like videos, online articles can teach you a lot about Lightroom and editing your photos using this software. FMC Training has many articles that will help you work better and faster with Lightroom. Check out our blog page!

3- Download presets

There are many presets you can find on the internet and install on your Lightroom software. Downloading the Lightroom presets will help you save time when editing your images and learn faster how to use Lightroom.

4- Subscribe to online training

You can enroll in one of our Lightroom classes with FMC Training and upgrade your editing skills. Our online classes are created by professional photographers who use Lightroom every day.


As you can read, Adobe Lightroom is a powerful photo editing software that provides many tools to edit and share your photos.

What are you waiting for? Try Adobe Lightroom for free today!

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Topics: adobe photoshop, Adobe, photography, photo editing, photo retouching

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