Adobe Lightroom

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Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC logo.svg
Developer(s)Adobe Systems
Initial releaseSeptember 19, 2017; 3 years ago (2017-09-19)
Stable release
Lightroom 4.1.1 / December 15, 2020; 7 months ago (2020-12-15)
Operating systemWindows 10 version 1803 (x64) and later, macOS 10.14 Mojave and later, iOS, Android, tvOS[1]
TypeImage organizer, image manipulation
Adobe Lightroom Classic
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC icon.svg
Developer(s)Adobe Systems
Initial releaseFebruary 19, 2007; 14 years ago (2007-02-19)
Stable release
Lightroom Classic (10.3)[2] / June 8, 2021; 44 days ago (2021-06-08)
Written inC++, Lua[3]
Operating systemWindows 7 (x64), Windows 10 version 1703 (x64) and later, macOS 10.14 Mojave and later[4]
TypeImage organizer, image manipulation

Adobe Lightroom (officially Adobe Photoshop Lightroom) is a creative image organization and image manipulation software developed by Adobe Inc. as part of the Creative Cloud subscription family. It is supported on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and tvOS (Apple TV). Its primary uses include importing/saving, viewing, organizing, tagging, editing, and sharing large numbers of digital images.[5] Lightroom's editing functions include white balance, tone, presence, tone curve, HSL, color grading, detail, lens corrections, and calibration manipulation, as well as transformation, spot removal, red eye correction, graduated filters, radial filters, and adjustment brushing.


Unlike Photoshop, Lightroom is a non-destructive editing software that keeps the original image separate from any in-program edits, saving the edited image as a new file. While Photoshop includes doctoring functions like adding, removing or altering the appearance of individual image items, rendering text or 3D objects on images, or modifying individual video frames, Lightroom is a library and development software. Lightroom can store and organize photos once imported into the platform database, and is currently compatible with TIFF, JPEG, PSD(Photoshop), PNG, CMYK (edited in RGB color space) and raw image formats.[6]

Initially, Adobe Lightroom was only available on desktop operating systems. However, in 2017, it was expanded to support mobile operating systems with the release of Lightroom Mobile. Later in 2017, Adobe released a brand new variant of Lightroom called Lightroom CC to be more cohesive with their mobile software. The existing version of Lightroom was renamed Lightroom Classic CC, and Lightroom Mobile was renamed to Lightroom CC to have the same name as this new desktop version. While similar in some ways, all three Lightroom variations have significant differences in how they store images and interact with Adobe's cloud storage offering and in feature parity. Lightroom CC stores all uploaded photos and raw files on a cloud server, while Lightroom Classic CC stores files locally and has a more comprehensive set of features.[7][8] Both CC platforms and Lightroom Mobile also allow users to create, upload, and export Lightroom presets, a batch copy of an image's in-program edits.

There is currently a large market for Lightroom presets as a tool for both mobile and digital photographers looking for an easy way to apply a stylized look to their images.[9]

Lightroom Classic CC[10] and Lightroom CC feature the following workflow steps:


Similar in concept to the 'Organizer' in Adobe Photoshop Elements and other image organizers, this module imports and exports images, creates image collections, organizes images by their metadata, and allows for users to flag, rate, tag, and color code images. Library is the gateway into Lightroom. Library is home to Lightroom extensions, extras, and plug-ins like focus finder.


Supports non-destructive editing of images in batch form. This module is more for retouching and manipulations, such as enhancing and improving digital photographs by changing color balance, improving tone, sharpening, reducing noise, cropping, straightening, and converting to black-and-white. Lightroom cannot create or edit non-photographic images, such as drawings, symbols, line arts or diagrams or maps, or render text or 3D objects. It has very limited photo doctoring features, including spot removal, brush adjustments, radial and graduated filters, and red eye removal. Another often used feature in the Develop module is the ability to synchronize edits from one selected photo to the whole selection.
Upon download, Lightroom provides users with several standard presets for color correction and effects, and supports sharing custom presets online. There is currently a large market for both desktop and mobile image manipulation packages. Photographers and creators with large followings on Instagram and Facebook sell Lightroom Presets to their audience, marketing to their ease and versatility after download. Presets are attached to .XMP and .LRTEMPLATE files that can be imported to Lightroom via the presets pane and include all adjustment settings from the originally doctored photo. Presets are around 4 Kilobytes in size and can range in price from free to upwards of $200.[11]


Added in Lightroom 4, this module facilitates geographically organizing photos based on embedded or manually added geolocation data (since end of 2018 this is no longer supported for up to Lightroom CC 2015.x / Lightroom 6.x).[12]


Added in Lightroom 4, this module allows users to create and format photo books. Books can be exported to the self publishing vendor Blurb or printed at any local press as a PDF.


This module creates slideshows from any number of photos, to which music or a background can be added.


Allows users to print images and adjusts printing parameters such as layout and orientation.


Allows website owners or editors to create simple or sophisticated HTML5 web galleries from their uploaded images. This module has several templates available to users that create layout suggestions. The design and HTML can be exported locally to the device or directly to a site's server.[13]


Lightroom release timeline

In 1999, veteran Photoshop developer Mark Hamburg began a new project, code-named Shadowland (a reference to the 1988 KD Lang music album of same name[14]). Hamburg contacted Andrei Herasimchuk, former interface designer for the Adobe Creative Suite, to start the project.[15] It was an intentional departure from many of Adobe's established conventions. Forty percent of Photoshop Lightroom is written in the scripting language Lua. In 2002, Hamburg left the Photoshop project and in fall of the same year he sent a first experimental software sample, name PixelToy, to his former teammate Jeff Schewe for review; in 2003, Hamburg presented Schewe a first version of Shadowland in a very early UI version.[14] After a few years of research by Hamburg, Herasimchuk, Sandy Alves (the former interface designer on the Photoshop team), and Grace Kim (a product researcher at Adobe), the Shadowland project accelerated around 2004. However, Herasimchuk chose to leave Adobe Systems at that time to start a Silicon Valley design company. Hamburg then chose Phil Clevenger, a former associate of Kai Krause, to design a new look for the application.[15]

Photoshop Lightroom's developers work mostly in Minnesota, comprising the team that had already created the program Adobe ImageReady. Troy Gaul, Melissa Gaul, and the rest of their crew (reportedly known as the "Minnesota Phats"[16]), with Hamburg, developed the architecture behind the application. George Jardine was the product manager.[15]

Beta development[edit]

On January 9, 2006, an early version of Photoshop Lightroom, formerly named only Lightroom, was released to the public as a Macintosh-only public beta, on the Adobe Labs website. This was the first Adobe product released to the general public for feedback during its development. This method was later used in developing Adobe Photoshop CS3.

On June 26, 2006, Adobe announced that it had acquired the technology of Pixmantec, developers of the Rawshooter image processing software.[17]

Further beta releases followed. Notable releases included Beta 3 on July 18, 2006, which added support for Microsoft Windows systems. On September 25, 2006, Beta 4 was released, which saw the program merged into the Photoshop product range, followed by a minor update on October 19, which was released as Beta 4.1.

Version 1.0[edit]

On January 29, 2007, Adobe announced that Lightroom would ship on February 19, 2007, list priced at $299 US, £199 UK.

Lightroom v1.x is not updated when an upgrade to v2 is installed; a new serial number is needed.

Version 2.0[edit]

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 Beta was advertised in official emails from Adobe in April 2008. New features included:

  • Localized corrections: edit specific parts of an image
  • Improved organization tools
  • Multiple monitor support
  • Flexible printing options
  • 64-bit support

The official release of Lightroom v2 was on July 29, 2008, along with the release of Adobe Camera Raw v4.5 and DNG Converter 4.5. Adobe Camera Raw allows importing the proprietary raw data images of various camera manufacturers.[18]

Adobe added DNG Camera Profiling to both releases. This technology allows custom camera color profiles, or looks, to be created and saved by users. It also allows profiles matching the creative styles built into cameras to be replicated. At the same time as the Lightroom v2 release, Adobe [through Adobe Labs] released a full set of such Camera Profiles for Nikon and Canon models, along with basic Standard Profiles for all supported makes and models. This technology is open to all programs compliant with the DNG file format standard.[citation needed]

Version 3.0[edit]

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.0 beta was released on October 22, 2009. New features included:[19]

  • New chroma noise reduction
  • Improved sharpening tool
  • New import pseudo module
  • Watermarking
  • Grain
  • Publish services
  • Custom package for print

On March 23, 2010, Adobe released a second beta, which added the following features:

  • New luminance noise reduction
  • Tethered shooting for selected Nikon and Canon cameras
  • Basic video file support
  • Point curve

Although not included in any beta release, version 3 also contains built-in lens correction and perspective control.[20]

The final version was released on June 8, 2010 with no major new functions added. It had all the features included in the betas, added the lens corrections and perspective transformations, and a few more improvements and performance optimizations.

Version 4.0[edit]

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.0 was officially released on March 5, 2012 after being available in beta format since January 10, 2012.[21] It does not support Windows XP. New features included:

  • Highlight and shadow recovery to bring out detail in dark shadows and bright highlights
  • Photo book creation with templates[22]
  • Location-based organization to find and group images by location, assign locations to images, and display data from GPS-enabled cameras
  • white balance brush to refine and adjust white balance in specific areas of images
  • Added local editing controls to adjust noise reduction and remove moiré in targeted areas
  • Extended video support to organize, view, and make adjustments and edits to video clips
  • Video publishing tools to edit and share video clips on Facebook and Flickr
  • Soft proofing to preview images when printed with color-managed printers
  • Email from within Lightroom

Version 5.0[edit]

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.0 was officially released on June 9, 2013 after being available in beta format since April 15, 2013.[23] The program needs Mac OS X 10.7 or later, or Windows 7 or 8. Some of the changes include:

  • Radial gradient to highlight an elliptical area
  • Advanced healing-cloning brush to brush the spot removal tool over an area
  • Smart previews to allow working with offline images
  • The ability to save custom layouts in the Book module
  • Support of PNG files
  • Support of video files in slideshows
  • Various other updates, including automatic perspective correction and enhancements to smart collections

An update to Version 5, 5.4 allows syncing a collection to Lightroom Mobile App released for iPad on April 8, 2014.

Version 6.0[edit]

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC 2015 (version 6.0) was officially released on April 21, 2015.[24] The program needs OS X 10.8 or later, or Windows 7 or 8. It is the first release of Lightroom to only support 64-bit operating systems. New features include:

  • HDR Merge
  • Panorama Merge
  • Performance improvements, GPU acceleration
  • Facial recognition
  • Advanced video slideshows
  • Filter Brush

Lightroom 6.7 increased the minimum version of macOS required to OS X 10.10.[25]

Apple TV[edit]

On July 26, 2016, Adobe launched Lightroom on Apple TV, a means of displaying photographs on a large screen using Apple's network appliance and entertainment device.[26]

Development branches[edit]

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC (unofficially: version 7.0) was officially released on October 18, 2017. It is the first version of Lightroom that is not available with a perpetual license (one-time purchase price); instead, it must be licensed through a monthly subscription model, with the fee initially set at US$9.99/month. Once the user stops paying the monthly fee, the program will be limited to viewing existing catalogs, without the ability to apply further changes to images.

Adobe Lightroom CC is the new online cloud-based version of Adobe's Lightroom application and can be installed alongside Lightroom Classic CC. It is included in the same US$9.99/month photography plan, but has limited editing features in comparison to Lightroom Classic CC. It can be installed on desktops, laptops, iPad and mobile. Lightroom CC has the ability to sync developed photos easily between a laptop, iPad and mobile devices, which is the major difference between both applications.[27] Its user interface is also more similar to that of Adobe's mobile version of the applications.

Adobe Lightroom Classic CC (version 8.0+)[edit]

  • Version 8.0 (October 15, 2018; 2 years ago (2018-10-15))[28]
    • HDR panoramas
    • Depth Map Masking
    • Support for the HEIC file format
    • Better tethered camera support
    • Support for Process Engine 5.0
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 8.1 (December 11, 2018; 2 years ago (2018-12-11))[29]
    • Ability to customize the develop panel order
    • "Snap to Grid" in the Book module
    • Ability to show partially compatible presets
    • Photo Merge improvements
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 8.2 (February 12, 2019; 2 years ago (2019-02-12))[30]
    • Enhance Details tool which extracts additional detail from raw files during initial processing
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 8.2.1 (April 2, 2019; 2 years ago (2019-04-02))
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 8.3 (May 14, 2019; 2 years ago (2019-05-14))[31]
    • Flat-Field Correction tool to reduce shading or lens cast
    • New Texture slider
    • Ability to import photos from devices using the Files section
    • Improved performance of the Auto setting
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 8.3.1 (May 29, 2019; 2 years ago (2019-05-29))[32]
    • Bug fixes for issues exporting photos to a network drive
  • Version 8.4 (August 13, 2019; 23 months ago (2019-08-13))[33]
    • Advanced GPU improvements
    • Batch HDR and panorama merges
    • Book Auto-Create Cell feature
    • Export as PNG
    • Color labels for collections
    • Filmstrip index numbers
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 8.4.1 (September 20, 2019; 22 months ago (2019-09-20))[32]
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 9.0 (November 4, 2019; 20 months ago (2019-11-04))[34]
    • Updated system requirements on both Windows and macOS
    • Fill edges for panorama merge
    • New export presets
    • Additional filter options
    • Improved keyword performance
    • Removed photos shortcut
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 9.1 (December 10, 2019; 19 months ago (2019-12-10))[35]
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 9.2 (February 11, 2020; 17 months ago (2020-02-11))[36]
    • Custom preset defaults per camera upon import
    • PSB file support
    • Auto Sync button
    • Better multiple monitor support
    • Export dialog updates
    • GPU updates
    • Catalog migration from Photoshop Elements 2020
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 9.2.1 (April 14, 2020; 15 months ago (2020-04-14))[37]
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 9.3 (June 16, 2020; 13 months ago (2020-06-16))[38]
    • New icons
    • Local HSL adjustment
    • New presets for defaults
    • ISO adaptive presets
    • New tone curve user interface
    • Improved sync activity
    • Improved performance
    • HEVC video file format support
    • New user tutorials
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 9.4 (August 18, 2020; 11 months ago (2020-08-18))[39]
    • "Done" button in import dialog
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 10.0 (October 19, 2020; 9 months ago (2020-10-19))[40]
    • Updated system requirements
    • Improved split toning which gives control over midtones in addition to shadows and highlights (renamed tool to Color Grading)
    • Zoom enhancements
    • Major GPU performance improvements
    • Updated font
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 10.1 (December 8, 2020; 7 months ago (2020-12-08))[41]
    • Performance improvements
    • Bug fixes related to macOS Big Sur
    • New camera and lens support
    • Support for other Creative Cloud ecosystem updates
  • Version 10.1.1 (January 12, 2021; 6 months ago (2021-01-12))[42]
    • Bug fix for missing lens metadata which caused Creative Cloud sync to fail.
  • Version 10.2 (March 16, 2021; 4 months ago (2021-03-16))[43]
    • Performance improvements, bug fixes and new camera/lens support.
    • Improved macOS Big Sur compatibility.
    • The entire Lightroom Cloud ecosystem has also been updated.
  • Version 10.3 (June 11, 2021; 41 days ago (2021-06-11))[44]
    • Apple M1 Chip Compatibility.
    • Super Resolution.
    • Preset Changes.
    • Scrolling by Page (Library Grid view).
    • Performance Improvements.
    • New camera support.
    • Tethering for new cameras.
    • New lens correction support.
    • Some Bug fixes.

Adobe Lightroom CC (version 3.0+ on desktop; 5.0+ on mobile)[edit]

  • Version 3.0 on desktop; 5.0 on mobile (November 4, 2019; 20 months ago (2019-11-04))
    • Initial release
  • Version 3.1 on desktop; 5.1 on mobile (December 10, 2019; 19 months ago (2019-12-10))[45]
    • Contribute photos to Lightroom shared albums
    • Directly import photos from a camera or SD card*
    • Export photos in format of your choice*
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 3.2 on desktop; 5.2 on mobile (February 11, 2020; 17 months ago (2020-02-11))[46]
    • Export photos as DNG**
    • Import presets and profiles from Google Drive*
    • New camera and lens support
    • New keyboard shortcuts**
  • Version 3.2.1 on desktop; 5.2.1 on mobile (April 14, 2020; 15 months ago (2020-04-14))[citation needed]
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 3.3 on desktop; 5.3 on mobile (June 16, 2020; 13 months ago (2020-06-16))[47]
    • Share photos to Discover section
    • Local HSL adjustment
    • Create edit versions
    • Customize default settings for raw photos
    • Add text watermarks to photos**
    • Send photos to Photoshop for iPad*
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 3.4 on desktop; 5.4 on mobile (August 18, 2020; 11 months ago (2020-08-18))[39]
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 4.0 on desktop; 6.0 on mobile (October 19, 2020; 9 months ago (2020-10-19))[48]
    • Improved split toning which gives control over midtones in addition to shadows and highlights (renamed tool to Color Grading)
    • Support for graphical watermarks upon export
    • New "For you" tab in Discover section
    • "Choose Best Photos" feature
    • More precise zoom control
    • Reorganized Photos panel**
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes
  • Version 4.1 on desktop; 6.1 on mobile (December 7, 2020; 7 months ago (2020-12-07))[49]
    • Native Apple M1 support**
    • New camera and lens support
    • Bug fixes

*Mobile versions only

**Desktop version only

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lightroom CC system requirements". Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Lightroom Classic CC system requirements". Retrieved 2019-03-16.
  5. ^ "What is Adobe Lightroom? Photoshop meets iTunes | Mosaic". Archived from the original on 2015-05-15.
  6. ^ "Supported image formats in Lightroom Classic and Lightroom".
  7. ^ "Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic: What's the difference?". Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  8. ^ "Lightroom vs. Lightroom Classic | Adobe". Retrieved 2021-03-18.
  9. ^ "What Are Lightroom Presets? (+ 10 Useful Examples)". Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  10. ^ "Photo editing and organizing software | Adobe Photoshop Lightroom".
  11. ^ "Lightroom presets and filters | Adobe Lightroom". Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  12. ^ "Map is no longer supported in this version of Lightroom".
  13. ^ "Use the Web module panels and tools in Lightroom Classic". Retrieved 2020-10-31.
  14. ^ a b Schewe, Jeff (September 13, 2012). The Digital Negative: Raw Image Processing in Lightroom, Camera Raw, and Photoshop. Peachpit Press. ISBN 9780133064339 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ a b c Jeff Schewe (January 9, 2006). "The Shadowland/Lightroom Development Story". Archived from the original on 11 January 2006. Retrieved 2006-01-09.
  16. ^ Jeff Schewe (January 9, 2006). "Announcing Adobe Lightroom". Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-29.
  17. ^ Adobe (June 26, 2006). "Adobe buys RawShooter engine". Retrieved 2010-08-23.
  18. ^ Hull, Craig. "Adobe Camera Raw Vs Lightroom | Which Should You Choose?". ExpertPhotography. Retrieved 2021-03-28.
  19. ^ "Lightroom 3 Beta announced". October 22, 2009. Retrieved 2013-06-25.
  20. ^ "Adobe Lightroom". Adobe Blog.
  21. ^ "Adobe Lightroom".
  22. ^ "Another lay out for an Amazon Kindle Photo eBook using only Lightroom 4". Blog[permanent dead link]
  23. ^ "Lightroom 5 now available".
  24. ^ "Adobe Lightroom".
  25. ^ "Lightroom CC 2015.7 now available", Adobe Systems, 20 September2016.
  26. ^ Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge. "Adobe launches Lightroom for Apple TV." July 26, 2016. August 8, 2016.
  27. ^ "Difference between Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Lightroom CC". November 17, 2017. Retrieved 2018-01-11.
  28. ^ "Lightroom 8 Classic 2019 New features". PhotoshopCAFE. 2018-10-23. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  29. ^ "What's New in Lightroom Classic CC 8.1 (December 2018)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2018-12-11. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  30. ^ "What's New in Lightroom Classic CC 8.2 (February 2019)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2019-02-12. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  31. ^ "New and enhanced features | May 2019 release of Lightroom Classic". Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  32. ^ a b "Fixed issues in Lightroom Classic". Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  33. ^ "What's New in Lightroom Classic 8.4 (August 2019)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2019-08-13. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  34. ^ "What's New in Lightroom Classic 9.0 (November 2019)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2019-11-04. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  35. ^ "What's New in Lightroom Classic 9.1 (December 2019)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2019-12-10. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  36. ^ "What's New in Lightroom Classic 9.2 (February 2020)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2020-02-11. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  37. ^ "What's New in Lightroom Classic 9.2.1 & Cloud 3.2.1 (April 2020)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2020-04-14. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  38. ^ "What's New in Lightroom Classic 9.3 (June 2020)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2020-06-16. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  39. ^ a b "What's New in Lightroom Classic 9.4 & Cloud 3.4 (August 2020)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2020-08-18. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  40. ^ "What's New in Lightroom Classic 10.0 (October 2020)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2020-10-20. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  41. ^ "What's New in Lightroom Classic 10.1 (December 2020)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2020-12-08. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  42. ^ "What's New in Lightroom Classic 10.1.1 (January 2021)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2021-01-12. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  43. ^ "What's New in Lightroom Classic 10.2 (March 2021)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2021-03-16. Retrieved 2021-03-31.
  44. ^ "What's New in Lightroom Classic 10.3 (June 2021)?". The Lightroom Queen. 2021-06-11. Retrieved 2021-06-11.
  45. ^ "New and enhanced features | December 2019 release of Lightroom". Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  46. ^ "New and enhanced features | February 2020 release of Lightroom". Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  47. ^ "New and enhanced features | June 2020 release of Lightroom". Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  48. ^ "New and enhanced features | October 2020 release of Lightroom". Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  49. ^ "What's New in Lightroom (Cloud Service) December 2020 release?". The Lightroom Queen. 2020-12-08. Retrieved 2021-01-15.

External links[edit]