My digital asset manager is Adobe Lightroom Classic CC. I’m going to discuss the issues I’ve heard about Adobe and then make some general comments about Adobe Lightroom.
I’ve heard three main complaints about the software:
I am comfortable with the subscription model . Adobe regularly updates Lightroom and Photoshop. I don’t feel I need to wait for an annual update to see significant improvements. I understand that subscriptions add up. I subscribe to other software including Microsoft Office, Setapp, ToDoist and iCloud among other services. Either you see the value for the subscription or you don’t given your values and pocket book.
Skylum Luminar now includes some digital asset management and the company has a roadmap to build upon what it has. But so far there are no smart collections, which I use extensively. Luminar also does not support keywords, captions, IPTC, geo-tags, versions, stacks, or smart albums. Matt Suess has a good review.
Having said that I like the editing capability of Luminar and use it as an export plugin from Lightroom when I think I need it. AI Sky Enchancer and Accent AI are very powerful. I use them but most of the time Lightroom is all I need.
I agree that speed on import is not Lightroom’s strength but for me it is pretty good. I have a license for Photo Mechanic which is much faster at importing photos but I don’t often use it because I feel my photos need a home and I keep all my photos in one Lightroom Catalog with more than 40,000 photos and videos. I import and go do other things and let Lightroom build previews and then I can review and process. I am not a sports photographer on deadline. If I had an editor waiting for my photos I wold probably use PhotoMechanic so I could start editing almost immediately. But I am not in a hurry and like having all my photos in one place. In my experience, search within Lightroom is very fast.
I almost always shoot RAW. I like the flexibility and find I can do what I need to in Lightroom quickly. I have tried Capture One for both Fuji and Sony and to my eye there isn’t a meaningful difference. I have also tried Irident Developer, especially for Fuji files. It is excellent software with lots of options and great results. However, the process is time consuming. Lightroom is so much faster. When I use Irident I end up storing the developed file in Lightroom. I rarely use it but am glad I tried it.
Lightroom just gets better and better. When I reprocess RAW images from five or so years ago using the current version of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), I immediately see a significant improvement.
The Automatic button in development is often a great place to start. It seems to analyze the photo to bring to improve the highlights and shadows. From there I tweak. Dehaze and Clarity are very powerful.
The Transform section in the Develop model will automatically correct perspective and is very powerful. I use it often for buildings. If Automatic doesn’t do a good job I can do it manually pretty quickly.
There are lots of instructional videos for Lightroom. I have a subscription to Lynda.com and that gives me everything I need.
I also use Lightroom CC (the non-Classic) version as an adjunct to Lightroom Classic. I love being able to rate and edit photos from my iPad and iPhone. I upload previews from my MacBook to the cloud and then can do what I need on my iPhone and iPad and it all syncs back to my MacBook. This is a big timesaver.
I have Photoshop for when I need it and there is a nice workflow from Lightroom to Photoshop and back to Lightroom. But I don’t often need to use it.
So count me as a happy Adobe customer.