With every passing day, we’re approaching winter. For us photographers it also means the traditional downtime is slowly creeping up on us. It’s always been a slower part of the year, with clients waiting for the budgets of the new year, events and festivals a faraway echo of a warm summer that has passed.
It also means that it’s time to analyse workflows, and how we can improve it. Last year I penned an article “what I’m looking for in Lightroom.”. Since then, a whole lot has happened, with a brand new cloud version of Lightroom CC. It’s a more streamlined mobile experience, and much, much more. Adobe has been working wonders in the past years, but as always, there is room for improvement.
So, how can it be improved it even more? How can this software that has been built on upon years revolutionised, yet still satisfy their core users. Lightroom is the one of those tools that is the core of the workflow for so many photographers worldwide.
AI & Machine Learning for Project Management
While Lightroom is an excellent editor, it’s also one hell of an organiser. Last year, Adobe has introduced Sensei, which can automatically detect objects, and more. But, what if we could take that technology and push it to 11?
Imagine, if you will.
It all starts with the import the contents of your memory card. As any photographer does, you shoot multiple frames of the same shot, like the jump of a guitarist or a couple’s first kiss at the altar. Lightroom could recognise it’s the same series, based on metadata timing, and image contents. Creating stacks of images, it suggest the best version of a frame, like when everyone has their eyes open in a group shot, or the highest part of that earlier mentioned jump. Apple already does this in their camera app, so why shouldn’t Lightroom be able to do this.
But, for big projects, things can get confusing, or hard to find. Improved search, or project based working could make this easier. For example, in a recent project shooting a TV series I had 30 days of photography, including several promotional shoots, the set-photography itself, and everything in-between. Some are in-universe shots, some behind the scenes. We could color coordinate those ten-thousand shots, but those colours would mean something else in a different setting.
For some theme park attractions, I have collections and tags of characters , scenes, and more. But this is all hacked together through keywords and smart collections, making it hard to remember the exact keyword FataMorganaStorm or SymbolicaFantasydepot. However, I took photos from the Efteling character Roodkapje at Antwerp Central Station. However, they should not show up at Roodkapje’s House in the Fairytale forest.
Based on photos with GPS locations in the same series (like those with a GPS enabled camera, or iPhone shots), it can suggest locations as well.
If I take a photo of an attraction like Star Tours in Disneyland Paris, it could detect the GPS location and put correct tags and keywords.
I’d love to mark shoots, and have them mark as imported, sorted, proofed, edited, exported, delivered. Just show me all the work that I have left, and not just all underneath each other. Sometimes a project spans multiple shoots, so a whole lot of work.
Last year, I was hoping for a way to access and edit my photos in the cloud. It now has come to that, but it’s still too limiting for the real power users. With a maximum of 10 TB (at the cost of 10 euro per month, per terrabyte), it’s already impossible for me to use. With the amount of power-users with massive libraries being very limited fringe cases, I would gladly pay 30-40 euro per month for an unlimited photo storage in Lightroom CC. If Backblaze can give you unlimited cloud backups for 50 euro per year, it seems like a doable offer that Adobe can offer on top of their already expansive pricing.
I’d love to go full-cloud, but at 1200 euro per year extra, that’s a high price to pay for something I already maxed out before I even begin uploading.
Sometimes, you need the input from clients. Selecting the shots they want, adding comments. When shooting tethered with my Hasselblad we use Phocus, which enables the client to locally rate images on an iPad. But sometimes, there isn’t time for that, or the client isn’t on set.
You can already share images to an online gallery, giving people with an Adobe account the ability to like and comment. But if you could give clients the permissions to rate and flag images from the web interface, it could speed things up a whole lot. Now they can just like and comment, which is another cobbled together solution which can be improved upon.
Having looks and profiles sync, I still miss the syncing of Camera profiles. I can’t edit my edited Hasselblad files that use the Embedded Camera profile on my iPad Pro.
Higher fidelity Smart Previews
With Adobe Portfolio using online Smart Previews, it sometimes lack colour information that results in banding. Especially photos made with my Hasselblad. Files that have been edited in Photoshop (and saved as a PSD or TIFF) don’t seem to have the problem.
Stop eating my memory
I love Lightroom, but running Lightroom Classic can crash my system. The same system that can steadily eat simultaneous 4K video files just derps around. I upgraded my 6 core Mac Pro to 64 GB, and now it finally starts to be workable. But still, that’s a whole lot of RAM to make a program workable.
Finale & End Credits
Lightroom has been a great tool, enabling me to get me the most of my photos. It holds every photo that I still have. But with every tool or gear that I use, I have a whole lot of demands, some big, some small that would improve my workflow and make my life as a creator easier. So, this is my Wishlist. See you next year to see what came true? :)