Lightroom Classic CC is a staple in photo editing. It has been around for many years and some consider it to be the best, most powerful option when it comes to getting the most out of your photos. Let’s look at how to install Lightroom Classic CC, how to access some key features within the app, and then talk about some alternatives to Lightroom Classic CC.
There are a few aspects of Lightroom Classic CC that worth noting: Lightroom is focused on a desktop-based image editing flow and includes an arsenal of tools to help you power through your photo editing. Along with letting you organize and develop your photos, it also integrates the ability to view the GPS location of your photos, view a slideshow, put together a photo book, print your photos, and build an HTML5-based photo website. And as it’s been around for many years, there’s a strong community built up around it – if you have a question, chances are high that someone’s already answered it.
However, it’s also important to consider that, as a professional photo-editing app, there’s a fairly high learning curve associated with using Lightroom. And as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, Lightroom is only available through a subscription-pricing model.
How do I install Lightroom Classic CC on my Mac?
To install Lightroom, first go to the MacUpdate listing. Once you have arrived on MacUpdate.com you can click the “Download” button to get started.
You can download and install Lightroom from the MacUpdate listing. Click the “Download” button to get started – once Lightroom Classic CC has finished download, you’ll find the file in your Downloads folder (which you can access from the left hand column of your Finder window) – from here, you can launch the Lightroom Classic CC dmg file and begin the installation process.
During the installation process, you’ll be prompted to open the application for the first time, and then you’ll be asked for your admin password. You’ll also be prompted to create a free Adobe account (you can do this with your email address, Facebook or Gmail accounts) – this will give you access to the “Adobe Creative Cloud” and all its associated apps.
After the installation has been completed, the app will launch itself automatically.
At this point, you’re all set to get started importing and editing photos. This is what you’ll see when the app launches for the first time. This might be a good time to check out some of the tutorials that Adobe has made available on on their site – they’ll walk you through some of Lightroom’s key functionality.
How to important photos into Lightroom Classic CC from your Mac
If you’re using Lightroom for the first time, you’ll probably want to know how to import your photos into the app. This is easy to do – you’ll be editing your photos in no time.
First, make sure you’ve got Lightroom Classic CC open and running. Go up to the “File” tab in the upper-lefthand-corner, then select “Import Photos and Video”.
For my example here, I put a screenshot on the Desktop and we’re going to import that into Lightroom Classic CC.
After clicking on Desktop (or the name of another folder that you choose to use; the process will be the same) you will then be presented with photos that are able to be imported from that location. Select the photos that you would like to import and then you can click “Import” in the bottom right hand corner of the window and the selected photos will be imported into Lightroom Classic CC.
After the import process has finished, you'll see a screen where you can select photos that you have imported for editing. After you click on a photo, you can choose either to stay in your library to make changes to your photo's information, or you can use the tabs above to engage with your photos in other ways:
- Library: view your imported photos
- Develop: edit your photos
- Map: view a map to see the GPS location of where your photos were taken
- Book: create a book out of the photos that you have in Lightroom Classic CC
- Slideshow: create presentations from your photos
- Print: print photos from your library to a personal printer
- Web: create HTML5 web galleries from your photos
Where are Lightroom Classic CC presets on Mac?
Another common question is where are the Lightroom presets stored? This is actually something that is quite easy to get to.
With Lightroom Classic CC launched, press the keys (⌘,) and you will then be taken to the preset options in Lightroom Classic CC. From here you can reset your presets to the default settings or “Show Lightroom Presets Folder...” and make changes.
Taking advantage of plug-ins
Lightroom Classic CC on its own has a lot to offer in terms of tools that you can use and effects that you can add to your photos. Plug-ins allow for you to take advantage of even more power that can be added to Lightroom Classic CC.
To access these plug-ins, you first have to launch Lightroom, and then you can go to the upper left hand side of the screen and choose “File” from the nav bar. After doing so, the menu will drop down and you will want to select “Plug-in Manager...”
From there you will then have access to all of the plug-ins that are installed by default but you can also add more if you would like to. This will give you greater flexibility when it comes to editing in Lightroom Classic CC and can give your photos some cool effects!
Lightroom Classic CC Alternatives for Mac
While Lightroom Classic CC is a very powerful and great app to use for photo editing, there are some aspects of it that may turn you away and cause you to look for an alternative.
- Lightroom Classic CC is subscription-based
- You might not need all the advanced features that it offers
- It has a fairly steep learning curve – you might be looking for something more immediately usable
- Or maybe you just want something different
ON1 Photo RAW: is a great contender when it comes to a feature-packed editing alternative. It can be used as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and even as a host app for other editing apps. Constant updates ensure that you will always be getting the smoothest experience with the newest features, especially with the new 2018 update that came out very recently. With a competitive price and a one time payment, it's definitely worth your attention.
Features that stand out:
- RAW photo editing capabilities
- Plug-in support
- Input on potential future features via feedback to the developer
- Powerful built in effects
- Not a subscription – pay once and you own it
- Non-destructive sidebar workflow
Things to consider:
- While there is only a one time fee, upgrade fees are required to get new features when a major update is released
- Learning curve for ON1 Photo RAW is similar to that of Lightroom Classic CC and can take some time to get used to.
- To learn more about the app, visit the listing on MacUpdate by going here.
Luminar is created by Skylum (the creators of Aurora HDR) and it can be run as a stand-alone app, a Photos extension, or a plug-in for Lightroom or Photoshop. Luminar tends to make the process of photo editing a bit more straightforward thanks to its simple interface.
Things that make this app stand out:
- The lowest-priced of the paid alternatives
- Helps you with filter suggestions upon first editing a photo which is a great way for you to hit the ground running
- Interface is fairly simple to use and doesn't have an overwhelming learning curve
- Allows you to organize your photos
- Allows your to edit and enhance photos
- Create unique looks with Presets, LUTs, and Textures
Things to consider:
- While there is a one time price, this app has upgrade pricing like ON1 Photo RAW does
- Unlike Lightroom Classic CC there isn’t a magical content-aware healing brush
- Only allows you to open one image at a time
darktable is a free open-source photography workflow application and RAW developer. While Darktable doesn’t offer all of the features of the other editors mentioned, it is free, and having access to a free solution that’s still updated regularly is a nice option to have if you don’t want to make the leap to investing in an editor. A great addition to Darktable is that it is developed by photographers for photographers.
Things that stand out:
- It’s free!
- Stores your digital negatives in a database
- You can view your images through a zoomable light table
- Allows you to develop RAW images and enhance them
- GPU-accelerated image processing
- Professional color management
- Hundreds of video tutorials
Things to consider:
- Not a professional editor like Lightroom or ON1 Raw Photo but for being available for free, it has a lot to offer
There are solid options to choose from when it comes to picking a photo editor. While Lightroom still remains as one of the best and most well-known editors out there, the market is definitely seeing some other solid apps that are worth your attention and that may fit your needs.
The apps that we looked at today offer a spot for everyone to get into the editing game. We started with some of the most expensive options and ended at a free editor for those that want to dip their toes into developing their photos. In all honestly, most of the editors above work nearly the same but it comes down to the interface and if you like the way that it operates and deciding what features really matter to you that you can’t live without. Taking into consideration all of the above options, you can’t make a bad decision.