In my latest review of Adobe’s Lightroom Classic CC, I talked a little about the fact that I only access the Library and Develop Modules. A reader asked me to discuss why I don’t use the other Lightroom Modules and what, if any, software platforms I use instead of these Lightroom Modules. I have even gone to the extent of hiding the Lightroom Modules that I no longer use.
Lightroom Modules Out
So what Lightroom Modules have I canned? That’s a pretty simple answer – everything but Library and Develop! Now, while I say that I have canned them, they are still an active part of the software. I just choose to hide them from my menu bar and not use them in my workflow at this point.
LIGHTROOM MODULES – MAP
Seeing your photos on a map may be useful to many photographers. However, for me to see photos, I either have to attach a special GPS device to my current camera or create a secondary photo with my iPhone to have coordinates for my location. I actually have the Canon GPS accessory, but I never attach it to my camera. Probably because it makes a huge camera body, gigantic. Then the effort to take a secondary photo is a separate pain in the ass.
So what’s my replacement? Nothing! I don’t really need to see my photos on a map to search for them. I have more than enough metadata added to my photos to find just about any one in a matter of minutes. In addition, I haven’t needed GPS coordinates for any project in the 30 years that I have been taking photos. I use maps to find locations, not to see where I have actually photographed. My goto map software is Google Earth. I love the fact that I can get 3D views of all locations.
LIGHTROOM MODULES – BOOK
Many generations ago Adobe introduced the Book Module along with connectivity to Blurb.com. I have to say this is one of the best Lightroom Modules for the photographer who wants to see their work in print. Blurb will print one-off books of your photographs and the Book Module allows you to create them from scratch. While this process is super simple and very well thought out, it does have some limitations. This module is using a template system so you have to follow the pre-made layouts to some extent. You can make some adjustments though. It’s just not customizable enough for me.
So what’s my replacement? Adobe InDesign. It is by far the best software for being able to design any multi-page layout of anything. It works pretty seamlessly with Photoshop and Illustrator too. This means if I find a dust spot on a random photo in a book. I can open the file in Photoshop, clone out the spot and that photo is automatically updated in my InDesign file.
LIGHTROOM MODULES – SLIDESHOW
The Slideshow Module in Lightroom is pretty cool in theory. However, I find it to be hard to work with and full of limitations. Yes, you can have title and ending slides. You can automatically pull up photo metadata. Even pick a fade transition for your photos. Again though, this simplistic built-in slide show is pretty hard to navigate.
So what’s my replacement? Apple Keynote. Apple’s Keynote has the simple user interface that Apple is known for, in an unbelievably powerful platform. Keynote is one step away from a powerful movie editor. In fact, I would say it is very similar to Apple’s iMovie software. Keynote has tons of built-in transitions, plus all of them are customizable. There a bunch of templates that you can begin using with a single mouse click. You can also drag and drop an entire folder of photos into a Keynote presentation and it will auto generate a slide for each. Keynote also allows you to insert video and it will automatically transition in and out of that video slide during present mode.
I have built 200 slide Keynote presentations in as little time as an hour. You can easily copy slides between Keynotes. This allows you to have the same title and credit slides across everything you create. In addition to all this, you can also export your Keynote as a PDF (think ebook) or auto play it (think video)!
LIGHTROOM MODULES – PRINT
The Print Module is another great Lightroom Module. It gives you a visualization of what you are about to send to your printer. You can also adjust your photos specifically for print in this module and those adjustments won’t be seen on your file in other Lightroom Modules. You can also export your file if you choose to send it to an outside print company.
So what’s my replacement? Adobe Photoshop. I learned Photoshop first, so I guess this old dog is sticking to his old tricks. In addition, Photoshop is significantly more powerful. I can sharpen in multiple ways. I can also mask out my sharpening to only effect a single area of a photo. The beauty of using Lightroom in conjunction with Photoshop is that my adjusted photo comes back into my Lightroom Library so I can use it again if someone else wants that photo as a print.
The bottomline is that you really aren’t operating outside of Lightroom by using Photoshop because of Adobe’s connectivity. Capture One Pro also functions the same way here too. Now you have more options!
LIGHTROOM MODULES – WEB
The Web Module is the most outdated of the Lightroom Modules at this point. I used to use it to build a private galleries for clients to look at photos. That changed when companies like Photoshelter emerged. Then changed again, when the web became even more powerful with software platforms like WordPress. Yes, the Web Module will allow you to quickly build a functioning web gallery from a collection of photos, it is just too simplistic for most photographer’s needs at this point.
So what’s my replacement? WordPress. More than a third of the websites out there are built on the WordPress platform. It is a FREE software platform that can be customized by its user. It can be used for a website as complex as those for Apple or Time Magazine. In addition, WordPress can be used for the photographer just looking for a simple portfolio website with just a contact page. At this point, you don’t even need to know code to produce an amazing website through WordPress either. There are plugins that add just about any functionality that you can dream up too. This includes creating a web gallery with just about ANY design style on the planet.
MODULES AND SPEED
Like I mentioned earlier, turning off your unused Lightroom Modules doesn’t help to speed things up. However, I strongly believe that all of these modules included within Lightroom does slow it down. I feel like Adobe is trying to put ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. I wish they would allow photographers to turn off the modules that they didn’t need and it actually would change performance. A photographer can only hope.
I don’t think any one software can handle it all. Nor would we really want that software if it could. Lightroom is really good a great many things. It has its flaws just like anything. While I truly love Capture One Pro for most editing situations it is not Lightroom. And Lightroom is not Capture One Pro. I typically make software and workflow decisions in regards to performance first, then function second. Everything listed in this article works pretty flawlessly for me. Enjoy.
Get your very own – GAME CHANGER. It is quite possibly the best camera on the market for the money.
Jay, thanks for the good information from your experience with these software products. I’ve never thought of Lightroom as 10 lbs. of excreta overflowing a 5 lb. bag, but yeah, I’ve noticed that software overload!
Have you tried Adobe Portfolio instead of WordPress to create a website? Portfolio comes free with your CC subscription there is a seemless integration with Lightroom. https://www.myportfolio.com
I have. It’s a great service but it’s not for me. I have been using WordPress for over a decade so I can build just about anything with it at this point.