Lightroom and DAM

My Lightroom History

I was among the early adopters of Lightroom as my Digital Asset Management (DAM) tool. I jumped in when LR was still a beta product. It was far from perfect. Far from feature complete. But hey – it was an Adobe product; it had the same raw processor as Photoshop, that would be Adobe Camera Raw (ACR); it was a new approach to photo editing – non-destructive edits – if you don’t like the result, just undo.

Prior to LR, I was using iView Media Pro which became Microsoft Expression Media and then spun over to Phase One as iView Media again. When Microsoft began futzing about with it, I moved my assets into a product called IMatch. IMatch was made by a German outfit, Photools, the company, is owned by Mario Westphal. He had a good product, but… Mario is not Adobe.

For ten years, since 2007, LR has been able to meet my needs for managing my photographs. As an enthusiast, self-taught photographer, it has met my needs.


Like in all things, things change.

The rise of the phone-camera (or should that be camera-phone) has killed all of the low end point and shoot products.

We expect to be able to access our files at anytime, anywhere through the internet.

We want to be able to process our images on those camera-phones and publish them right away.

Adobe has adapted to the current environment. First they branded their products as Creative Cloud or CC. Adobe Photoshop CC; Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC and such. Then they rebranded Lightroom as Lightroom Classic CC, coming out with a new product – Lightroom CC – confused? You’re not alone.

So… The stage is set for another change. Where are we going?

Camera Phones and the Cloud

LR was born in the time when easy internet access was not available. The concept of the cloud was still a concept. To keep things simple, LR was designed as a single user system. The database lives on your computer’s local hard drive and don’t think of putting it anywhere else.

Now, we have easy access to the internet.

Amazon took their learnings when they built their store, and sold it as a product, Amazon Web Services. Microsoft followed with Azure. Google is tagging along as well.

Data storage on cloud servers is CHEAP!

Apple put a camera into their iPhone. Then they made it better. Everyone else followed because people use that handy feature for lots of things including capturing photos to remember their trips and friends. We all know that the camera phone has killed off the low end point and shoot camera market.

What does this mean for LR. It means that it needs to adapt. It needs to adapt radically from its past into a new product. This is what the new Lightroom Creative Cloud is about.

Jumping Onto the New Train

Adobe has, as one would expect, provided an easy route from LR to LRCC. Unfortunately, the decision to jump is not an easy one.


My less than ruthless editing has left me with an image collection that exceeds 1TB. Now that I am dabbling in Video, that usage is going to grow even faster. This is important to consider as it is really the cost driver.

My current plan costs $10.92 each month. This buys me Photoshop, LRCC and LR Classic as well as 20GB on their cloud service.

I can abandon LR Classic and Photoshop for LR CC only. This plan will provide 1TB of cloud services for the same $10.92.

I can continue with Photoshop, LRCC and LR Classic, upping my cloud service quota to 1TB for $20.00 per month (the first year is only $16 – woohoo!) 2TB of cloud service quota is only $32.78 each month. Let’s see, $32.78 * 12 = $393.36 each year. Yeah I can afford that… NOT!


Ok, let’s say I want to make the jump. Let’s say I want to invest my time in editing down my photo collection down to a reasonable 500GB, what else do I have to do to make the trip?

Victoria Brampton, The Lightroom Queen, has published an excellent book that explains most of the details on how to make the journey. There are a significant number of changes to adapt to, and it is a one way ticket.

Am I going for the ride?

I don’t think so. I am adapting video into my work. Video adds new challenges. LR, both flavors, recognize video, but they don’t do anything with it. Add to that, audio files. In the short time I have been working with video, I have learned that the best audio is captured with an audio recorder. This introduces more files that LR doesn’t know about.

LR as a DAM is no longer working for me.

A different Path

There are a number of companies providing raw image processors. Their feature sets are growing and are able to compete quite well with Adobe Camera Raw. I don’t think this is going to be a problem. Besides, I will continue with my current Adobe plan for a while longer so there is no immediate need here.

There is an immediate need for a more full featured DAM solution. It needs to be able to incorporate more than just photographs. It needs to be able to manage all of my Digital Assets.

As part of this journey, I will need to define my workflow much better than I have. I will need to get more disciplined in my work before I press the shutter, and after.

Tech Talk

As I record my ramblings here, I am going to categorize them as Tech Talk. If you prefer to view the results of my labors, then please enjoy my collections, and follow my regular blog articles.

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