Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC

Say hello to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC – an update many photographers have been waiting a long time for, and possibly an update that will cause others to cringe. Amongst many smaller additions, this update introduces HDR and panorama processing, two tasks that traditionally required either Photoshop or a 3rd-party plugin to execute.


Whether you love it or hate it, HDR is here to stay, and now built directly into Lightroom CC. For those unfamiliar, HDR, which stands for “High Dynamic Range”, is the process of combining multiple exposures of the same scene to produce an image that is more ‘true’ to what the human eye sees. At least, that’s the idea. Too often do we see HDR images that are way overdone.

Note: HDR DNGs in Lightroom are 16-bit images, not 32-bit.


Slightly less controversial, panoramas are also possible in Lightroom CC. Panoramic images are a series of shots that are stitched together to appear as one large image, that couldn’t be captured with a single shot. Typically, a photographer will take one image, turn slightly, take another, and so on.

Headless Mode

Headless what?! If you find yourself using the same settles for your photo merges, whether it’s HDR or Panoramas, Headless mode will allow you to bypass the Photo Merge dialogue and immediately start processing the merge.

HDR: Shift + Control + H
Panoramas: Shift + Control + M

Face Tagging

Facial recognition is now available in Lightroom, providing a quick and simple way to filter all your photos that may contain people. When dealing with libraries that may contain a large variety of images, being able to isolate shots of people can be crucial.

To get started, click on the People view, or press O on your keyboard.


If you’re just getting started with Lightroom CC, you’ll be prompted to build the initial face index, which could take some time. Grab a coffee and relax!


As Lightroom starts to detect faces, it’ll sort them into stacks, and do its best to group the same people together, which you can then give names to.


If Lightroom creates multiple stacks with the same person, simply assign the same name to merge them together. Lightroom will also become smarter as time goes on, asking you if a detected face is a person you’ve already named.


The Draw Face Tool is also available within Loupe view, if you haven’t named all subjects in a photo, or didn’t build the face index for the entire catalogue.


Activity Center

With the addition of HDR, panoramas, and face tagging, Lightroom is going to be much busier than it has been in the past. To help you keep track of everything that may be running in the background, Lightroom CC now sports an Activity Center which can be accessed by clicking on your ID plate.


The Activity Center also allows you to sign into Lightroom Mobile, and  pause/cancel background processes.

Import to Collections

File this under the “I can’t believe you couldn’t do this before” category! In Lightroom CC, you can now import your photos directly into new or existing collections! You’ll find this new option during the import process, under the File Handling section.


Keyword Painter

The Keyword Painter has been updated in Lightroom CC. In addition to manually entering in the keywords that you wish to ‘paint’ on your images, you can now select your keyword sets or previously used keywords by holding down Shift while the Painter is active.


Pet Eye

Correcting red eyes on humans has been a very simple process – in many cases, all it takes is one click. Correcting pet ‘red eye’, on the other hand, isn’t always a one-click solution, leaving unnatural results.

In Lightroom CC, the new Pet Eye option, found under the Red Eye Correction tool, will help fix green, yellow, and other discoloration.


Odds and Ends

Lightroom CC includes a ton of smaller additions to improve your workflow and boost productivity. Here are a few of the more exciting ones!

Library Module

  • Windows users now have access to 250% UI scaling
  • You can now reset app preferences by holding down Option+Shift (Mac) or Alt+Shift (Windows) when launching Lightroom CC
  • You can shift+click in Quick Develop for smaller adjustment increments
  • “Flag” and “Rating” categories have been added to the Metadata filters
  • Convert to DNG on import is now a separate background task that runs after import
  • Import speed on Mac has been improved
  • Camera + Lens and Camera + Lens Setting have been added to the Loupe Info options in the View Options dialog
  • Moving photos to a different folder is faster than in Lr5

Develop Module

  • Lightroom can use the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to speed up interactive image editing
  • The GPU is particularly helpful when using high-resolution screens, such as 4K and 5K displays
  • GPU support is enabled by default. To disable, go to the new “Performance” tab in the Lightroom preferences, and uncheck the “Use Graphics Processor” checkbox

Filter Brush

  • Add to your existing gradient or radial masks using a brush. You can also remove from the mask
  • Use Shift+T to toggle between filter edit mode and brush mode, or click “Brush” in the “Mask” area above the control sliders

Go Get It!

Lightroom CC is available right now! If you’re a Creative Cloud member, fire up your client and download the update! You may need to restart the client for the update to show up.

What about Lightroom 6?! Adobe is still offering a perpetual license of Lightroom for $149, but does not include mobile syncing, as that requires a Creative Cloud membership.

About the Author

Howard Pinsky

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Howard Pinsky, an Adobe Community Professional, has been creating Photoshop video tutorials on YouTube for over 8 years, and has been using Photoshop for over 13. Through, Howard provides written and video Photoshop tutorials, as well as similar applications.