TL;DR: Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic are both powerful tools from Adobe’s photography suite. While CC is cloud-based and streamlined for a modern workflow, Classic offers a robust desktop experience with advanced editing tools. Depending on your needs as a photographer, one might suit you better than the other. Dive in to discover the nuances and make an informed choice.

Feature/AspectLightroom ClassicLightroom CC
Editing ToolsComprehensive suite of tools catering to both beginners and professionals. Features like tone curves, split toning, and detailed color grading available.Streamlined set of essential tools designed for quick edits and simplicity.
StoragePrimarily local storage. Option to sync selected collections to Creative Cloud.Cloud-based. Automatic upload to Adobe Creative Cloud upon import. Standard plan offers 1TB of storage.
InterfaceModular interface divided into specific tasks (e.g., Library, Develop, Map, Book, etc.).Modern, streamlined interface with intuitively organized tools and panels.
Integration with Adobe ProductsSeamless integration with Photoshop. Easy to switch between the two for advanced edits.Emphasizes cloud-based collaboration. Real-time edits across devices and straightforward sharing.

Photoshop cs6 cs7 auto draft.
Lightroom CC
The logo for an lrc company.
Lightroom Classic

Introduction: The Adobe Lightroom Family

Adobe, a name synonymous with photo editing, offers two main versions of Lightroom in their Creative Cloud suite: Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic. But what’s the difference between Lightroom Classic and CC? And which version of Lightroom is right for you? Let’s break it down!

1. Lightroom Classic: The Desktop Powerhouse

Lightroom Classic is the version of Lightroom that many professional photographers have come to know and love. It’s a desktop version, meaning it’s primarily designed for use on a computer, not mobile devices.

  • Modules & Workflow: Classic operates with different modules (like Library and Develop) to streamline your workflow. You can import raw files, edit them using a plethora of editing tools, and then export them in various formats.
  • Storage: Unlike CC, Classic doesn’t primarily rely on cloud storage. Instead, photos are stored on your local drive, though you can sync selected collections to the Creative Cloud if desired.
  • Advanced Features: Lightroom Classic offers advanced features like slideshows, print module, and detailed keywording capabilities. It’s the choice for those who need a comprehensive toolset at their fingertips.

2. Lightroom CC: The Cloud-Based Innovator

Lightroom CC is Adobe’s newer, cloud-based version of Lightroom. It’s designed to be more streamlined and user-friendly, especially for those new to photography.

  • Cloud Integration: One of the main differences between Lightroom Classic and CC is storage. With CC, your photos are stored in the cloud, giving you access from any device, including mobile devices. The standard plan comes with 1TB of storage, which is a boon for photographers with vast collections.
  • Simplified Interface: CC offers a more straightforward interface, focusing on essential editing tools. It’s perfect for photographers looking to quickly edit and share their work without diving deep into advanced settings.
  • Sync & Mobile: With Lightroom CC, everything is about sync. Your edits, presets, and photos are available across devices, including the Lightroom mobile app. It’s a game-changer for photographers on the move.

3. Key Differences At A Glance

Editing Tools:

  • Lightroom Classic: This version is a powerhouse when it comes to editing tools. It offers a comprehensive suite of tools that cater to both beginners and professionals. From basic adjustments like exposure and contrast to advanced features like tone curves, split toning, and detailed color grading, Classic has it all. Additionally, the ability to use smart previews allows photographers to edit without having the original file on hand, making it efficient for those with limited storage.
  • Lightroom CC: While CC also offers a robust set of editing tools, its interface is designed for speed and simplicity. It provides essential tools in a more streamlined layout, making it easier for quick edits. The emphasis here is on intuitive use, especially beneficial for those just starting their photography journey or looking for a faster editing process.


  • Lightroom Classic: Classic is primarily built for local storage. Photographers store their raw files, edited images, and catalogs on their desktop or external drives. While there’s an option to sync selected collections to the Creative Cloud, it’s not the primary mode of storage. This setup appeals to those who prefer having physical control over their data and might not always have reliable internet access.
  • Lightroom CC: The essence of CC is its cloud-based storage. When you import photos into CC, they’re automatically uploaded to the Adobe Creative Cloud. This setup ensures that photographers can access their images from any device, anywhere, as long as they have internet access. The standard plan offers 1TB of storage, but additional storage can be purchased if needed.


  • Lightroom Classic: Classic’s interface is divided into modules, each dedicated to a specific task, such as Library, Develop, Map, Book, Slideshow, Print, and Web. This modular approach allows photographers to focus on specific parts of their workflow, making it ideal for detailed and organized projects.
  • Lightroom CC: CC adopts a more modern and streamlined interface. Instead of modules, tools and panels are organized intuitively, ensuring that the most commonly used tools are easily accessible. This design promotes a faster and more efficient editing process, especially beneficial for quick edits and sharing on the go.

Integration with Other Adobe Products:

  • Lightroom Classic: Classic integrates seamlessly with other Adobe products, especially Photoshop. With just a click, photographers can send an image from Lightroom Classic to Photoshop for more advanced edits and then return it to Lightroom Classic, all without losing any adjustments. This tight integration is perfect for those who frequently switch between the two programs in their workflow.
  • Lightroom CC: While CC also integrates with Photoshop, its integration emphasizes cloud-based collaboration. Edits made in CC can be viewed in real-time across devices, and sharing with clients or team members is more straightforward. This setup is ideal for photographers who prioritize mobility and collaborative work.

A photo of a road with a sunset.
A photo of a road with a sunset being edited in Lightroom CC
Comparison between Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Adobe Photoshop CS7.
A photo of a road with a sunset being edited in Lightroom Classic

4. Which One Is Right For You?

Choosing between Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC boils down to your individual needs and workflow:

  • Professional & Detailed Work: If you’re a seasoned photographer who values a detailed editing process, local storage, and a modular interface, Lightroom Classic is your go-to. It’s tailored for those who want granular control over every aspect of their work.
  • Mobility & Collaboration: If you’re always on the move, value cloud storage, and prefer a more streamlined editing process, Lightroom CC is your match. It’s designed for the modern photographer who prioritizes accessibility and collaboration.

Remember, it’s not about which version is better overall, but which one aligns with your specific needs. Both versions are powerful in their own right; it’s all about finding the right fit for your photography journey.

5. The Future of Lightroom

As we step towards 2024, the landscape of digital photography continues to evolve, and so does Adobe’s commitment to its Lightroom products:

  • Lightroom Classic: Adobe recognizes the value of this desktop-centric tool for many professional photographers. While it may see fewer flashy updates, expect continued refinements, performance improvements, and features that cater to in-depth photo editing.
  • Lightroom CC: With the rise of cloud computing and mobile photography, Lightroom CC is poised for more innovative updates. Adobe is likely to push boundaries here, integrating more AI-driven features, enhancing cloud collaboration, and expanding its mobile capabilities.

In essence, while the two versions cater to different needs today, Adobe’s vision ensures both remain relevant and cutting-edge in the ever-changing world of photography.


In the battle of Lightroom Classic vs. Lightroom CC, there’s no clear winner. It all boils down to your needs as a photographer. Whether you choose the robust desktop experience of Classic or the cloud-based flexibility of CC, Adobe’s got you covered.

Remember, photography isn’t just about the tools you use but how you use them. So, pick the version of Lightroom that aligns with your workflow and get snapping!

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