Lightroom 6 - IS It Worth Getting?

Lightroom 6 - Worth Getting?
Alan Ranger Photography(44)

Adobe Lightroom 6 - What's New?

It's been just over a month since Adobe released the new version of Lightroom (Photo editing software).  The upgrade from version 5 to 6 (aka Lightroom CC) has had some great new features added and changes made to the engine room that powers it.

alan ranger photography

I have been testing the new Lightroom since its release at the end of April and have been asked on numerous occasions if it is worth upgrading to or purchasing.  This post summarises the main improvements made in version 6 and the options for purchasing it.

What are the main improvements in Lightroom 6?

In no particular order but starting with what I think is the biggest improvement for my use of the editing tools here are my top 3 picks from what's new.

Filter Brush

The Graduated Filter, Radial Filter and Adjustment Brush all now have an "erase brush" added so that you can remove the effects of adjustments on subjects in the image.  For example - if you used a Graduated Filter to bring in extra detail in the sky but the top of a tree, mountain or building was protruding into the sky there was not a quick and easy way to unmask or make a selection around the protruding object to stop the effect being applied over that too.

alan ranger photography

Result was naturally dark tops to objects in the sky and a second adjustment using the adjustment brush was needed to re-lighten  the object.  

You can now just use an erase brush inside the tool to mask out the object - this has been made easier with "Mask Overlays" on all the adjustment tools.  Press the letter O on the keyboard and you will see the area masked in red that the adjustments will be applied too.


GPU Enhancements

Lightroom now provides a new preference that lets you use your computer's graphics processing unit (GPU). For optimal performance, many Develop module operations can now make use of the GPU.

Select Preferences > Performance. Now, select Use Graphics Processor.

alan ranger photography

There are some known compatibility issues with this on some ATI and AMD graphics cards so if after turning it on in your Performance Preferences it doesn't work then it may be worth you reading the following thread.  Open GL Failure in Lightroom

I have tested the performance of Lightroom with this feature on and off and it does make a difference when turned on.

Merge Bracketed Shots

This one has been long overdue!  You can now merge your bracketed exposures directly in Lightroom 6 without using a 3rd party plug-in like LREnfuse.  I haven't done extensive testing and comparisons between LREnfuse which I have used happily for years and Adobe's new HDR Merge feature - I am just pleased its now been added as an option which means it should continue to improve over time.  There is also a panoramic merge option in version 6 that I haven't used yet.

Other Features added and improved.

Facial Recognition & Tagging - Find photos of family and friends in your library.

Improved Slideshows - Add more than 1 music track, better syncing of photos to music.

Touch Screen Compatibility - for those who use touch enabled computers

Web Module Improvements - Pet Eye Fix - iPhone/iPad Integration Improvements - plus...

Adobe Lightroom 6 Enhancements

What's missing still?

Plenty! - I have moaned and groaned for a long time about this one, those who have attended my Lightroom Course will be all to aware of it.  The order of the "Panels" in the Develop Module is not logical or consistent with a good workflow.  When we will see the ability to drag and drop the panels into a different order so that "Lens Correction" panel is not stuck at the bottom!

My second biggest wish for improvement is really based on teaching Lightroom to students and watching them make the same mistake - The list of sliders and commands you have in Graduated Filter, Radial Filter, Adjustment Brush and the Basic panel look very similar and indeed share some of the same sliders - I have witnessed students getting themselves confused and in knots on many occasions because they had inadvertently clicked into or out of an adjustment tool and were moving sliders that they thought were inside that tool.

Basic Panel - global adjustments

Basic Panel - global adjustments

adjustment brush

adjustment brush

EG The exposure slider in Adjustment Brush but they moved the exposure slider in the Basic panel.   There is a subtle change of colour from light grey to dark greyon the panel background but this is to subtle for newbies into Lightroom - simply give users the option to change the colour of the panel background when in a "local adjustment" verses a "global adjustment".

So it is worth upgrading or purchasing -  the answer to that is simple, yes - the performance increases alone make it worthwhile and you will save even more time now with the enhanced editing tools.

What are the options to purchase Lightroom?

There are 3 basic options:

  • If you already own a "stand-a-lone" version of Lightroom you can upgrade to Lightroom 6 for £59.

Note: the stand-a-lone version does not support cloud sync between mobile devices and other features - see the list of what's not included with the stand-a-lone version.

  • Purchase a full new license. £103 - You can also start a 30 day free trial before buying.

  • Sign up for a Creative Cloud Subscription: Photographers Package £8.75 per month for LR CC & Photoshop CC

If you decide to go for the Creative Cloud subscription you are effectively just renting the software for a 12 month minimum period.  So in total you will pay 12 x £8.75 = £105.  This is the same cost as buying LR CC outright but remember you are also getting Photoshop CC too and any upgrades to both products whilst your subscription is active.

If you end your subscription after 12 months you won't loose your photos and will still be able to access LR but in a restricted way.  From the mouths of Adobe.

With Lightroom, at the end of a membership, the desktop application will continue to launch and provide access to the photographs managed within Lightroom as well as the Slideshow, Web, Book or Print creations that we know many photographers painstakingly create. The Develop and Map modules have been disabled in order to signal the end of the membership and the need to renew in order to receive Adobe’s continuous innovation in those areas. Access to Lightroom mobile workflows will also cease to function. We hope this meets the expectations of our customers and we look forward to an ongoing dialog.

Click graphic to go to purchase screen

Click graphic to go to purchase screen

What are the options for Lightroom Training?

Lightroom Course

Lightroom Course



1-2-1 Private tuition

1-2-1 Private tuition

You can of course use the on-line video tutorials that are available on YouTube and various other forums.  However this may take you sometime to work through everything you really need to know and probably won't give you a good workflow to editing photos. 

I have been using Lightroom since early 2007 when it was first launched so have 8 years of experience, heavy usage and knowledge that I have packaged together into a course for Lightroom to enable beginners to get the most from it in the quickest time possible.  

The course is a series of four consecutive weekly evening classes each lasting 3hrs that will teach you how to:

  • Import, organise and manage your photos on your computer and in Lightroom

  • Implement an effective and efficient workflow for editing photos

  • Learn how to use the editing tools in Lightroom

  • Enhanced editing of photos to give them a professional finish

  • Exporting photos for the web or printing

Plus loads more - see the Adobe Lightroom Course Content Here.

Alternatively you could attend a one-off 3hr MasterClass in the evening where the lesson is focused on just the editing tools and how to use them effectively.  Photography MasterClasses.

Or if you want something specific or prefer daytime learning then book a 4hr private photography tuition lesson where I can tailor the session to your needs and cover additional photo editing methods like Black & White Conversion, Photoshop or anything specific you want to learn more about.

All photography courses are taught in Warwickshire and the West Midlands and generally as evening classes only - if you cannot attend evenings or live to far away from the Midlands then contact me to discuss your requirements for a 1-2-1 photography lesson where I can provide you a quote for delivering the lesson in your home or at mine.