Why Upgrade to Adobe Creative Cloud as a Photographer?

Why Upgrade to Adobe Creative Cloud as a Photographer? - Mastin Labs

When Adobe moved from a standalone software model to subscription-based model, I was PISSED OFF. Why should I have to keep paying for something I own? It was the principle of the matter.

But as the lead product developer here at Mastin Labs (as well as the founder) I need to stay up to date with the newest versions of Lightroom, and so I caved, and bought into the subscription model.

And you know what? I couldn't imagine it any other way. And I'll tell you why.

But let's start with the reasoning behind the Adobe decision (at least the reason *I* think they did this.) As the founder of a software company, I am all too familiar with software piracy. Software piracy is insidious, and although we have a team of people that crack down on it 24/7, it is really damaging to our company and to future development. I think the main reason Adobe went to a subscription model was to stop piracy and retain revenue.

The secondary aim was to make their products more affordable in the short term for those wanting to use Adobe's pro-level creative software. It's much easier for someone to scrounge up $10 a month than a few hundred dollars to get up and running legally with a great photo editing platform like Lightroom.

So now that that's out of the way, I wanted to share 6 reasons why I think upgrading to Lightroom CC and Lightroom CC Classic is the way to go.

There are MANY upgrades from Lightroom 6 to Lightroom Classic, and a simple Google search will take you down that rabbit hole. But as a working professional who edits many images at a time, with the aim of getting an accurate film look, there are significant changes I find valuable enough to justify the upgrade.

6 Reasons To Upgrade to Lightroom CC and Lightroom CC Classic


Universal Camera Profiles in Lightroom CC is the biggest reason to subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud. As one of a few companies that were invited to test Lightroom Classic 7.3 during development, the most significant change we saw was the introduction of a dynamic Adobe Standard Profile that standardizes all cameras to a single starting point regarding color and contrast. This is going to make editing faster when you are using two different camera bodies. 

Universal Camera Profile allows us to create new products faster without having to test multiple cameras. We no longer have to create unique presets for each brand. With our latest preset pack, Kodak® Everyday Original, users will get a consistent look across ANY camera they own with one universal preset starting point. This huge change will allow us to get to more than 2 preset packs each year and finally get to all the requested packs from the community! 


With the introduction of Lightroom Classic 7.4, Lightroom will now sync your presets to Lightroom Mobile on your phone. This is incredible. You now have the power of Mastin Labs for your mobile images or raws imported from your camera to your phone or tablet. 


I generally advise against using Photoshop when editing a large number of images, but sometimes you need it for frequency separation skin smoothing, advanced object removal, stitching pano shots, etc. Photoshop is powerful and when you have both included for just $10 a month its really a no-brainer. 


I have a love/hate feeling with this feature, but I know that for some of you this is a game changer. Just by hovering over the name of the preset you will see a live preview of that preset. This is a great way to quickly try a bunch of looks without having to go back through your edit history to undo all the looks you don't want. If this feature is annoying (it can be annoying for me when I make my live edit screencasts), you can turn it off under Preferences (you must have Lightroom 7.4 installed to do this.)


Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic is significantly faster than Lightroom 6. I know this reason is going to give me a LOT of negative comments, but it is TRUE. Yes, Lightroom is slooooow compared to some other editing programs, but it has gotten faster with the latest update. How much faster? To render 1:1 preview images, the increase is up to 86% faster than Lightroom 6. Importing images is only slightly faster than before at an 8% increase in speed. But to me, it was the preview image rendering speed that made me want to tear my hair out, and now it is not so bad. See for yourself!


With Lightroom 6 being a standalone program, you miss out on new features as they are rolled out to Lightroom subscription customers. If another groundbreaking feature like the Guided Upright Panel (introduced in Lightroom 6.6) you will miss out on it if you are still using Lightroom 6. Personally, I'm hoping for more grain control, as well as better content aware fill and patching tools in future versions of Lightroom.

“...after spending thousands if not tens of thousands on cameras, lenses, and accessories, why skimp on your editing software?” - Kirk Mastin

Some have argued that it feels wrong to 'rent' Lightroom Classic/CC and Photoshop CC at $10 a month. But think of it this way, $10 a month is equivalent to buying two coffees a month. These two programs are at the CENTER of your image creation process. And after spending thousands if not tens of thousands on cameras, lenses, and accessories, why skimp on your editing software? It makes absolutely no sense.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on it! Let me know if I'm full of it, or if you see some value in the points above. Were you against upgrading, but upgraded at some point anyway? I'd especially love to hear your opinions!