I just bought a new MacBook Air, to replace my older, and failing, MacBook Pro. That in itself was a mixed blessing: Apple is doing everything to make life for its users miserable. No more connectors: no Thunderbolt, no Lightning, no HDMI, no SD card slot, no USB, even… a dongle is now needed for, well, everything. I cannot even use the new laptop to connect to a second screen or to a projector—which is what I do for a living!

So I have had to order two dongles. Which I will lose an hour after they arrive, I know myself. Also, no more magnetic power connector. New and different passwords required for, well, everything. And a lot more inconveniences. Apple is dead, l as far as I am concerned: this will probably be my last Apple product. SMH.

But this post is about a subject for photographers: Adobe. Lightroom, in particular. Lightroom licensing, even more specifically.

Lightroom version names are a mess. See my previous posts about this—just the search field. Confusing, and they change mid-stream.

But anyway, onward and upward.

I use the perpetual Lightroom 6 license. Because I do not want to give Adobe the power to shut down my business any time they desire; and I do not want to pay Adobe $10, $20, or whatever it is or will be, every single month for the rest of my life. So I use the perpetual license, not the “Creative Cloud” version for which you must pay every month.

This perpetual (“stand alone”) license is still available, but it is very, very difficult to find. Precisely because Adobe wants me to pay them money every single month for the rest of my life (as said, the “creative cloud” version), and if I don’t, they will shut down my business, because that is what shutting down Lightroom would do.

So anyway—I need to install LR 6. Fortunately, I kept an install file (a “DMG”). So I install that. Next step, I need to enter my serial number. But there is no way you can read that from an existing installation. So I contact Adobe support, and they send me the serial number.

Then the install fails because “no qualifying product is found”. It turns out I also need the serial number I was provided for a previous version of Lightroom—and I need to remember what v version that was. 5? 4? 3? 2?1? How the hell would I remember that? I have used (and paid for) every version since 1.0.

In the end, I figure this out with the support department. So now I enter two serial numbers and two version numbers. But then the install fails, for unknown reasons. So I reboot and re-install, once again entering both serial numbers. This time it works. Then I need to update the freshly installed version.

Finally, I am done. Whew. That took over an hour, for something that should have taken one minute. This is why I cannot wholeheartedly recommend Adobe products to my students. Life is too short to spend it Kowtowing to Adobe’s need to make infinite money.

Ny all means use Lightroom, it is excellent—but be careful, you will end up either spending too many hours, or spending too many dollars. And in the process, you will lose too much control.

Incidentally, talking about control: a new laptop, and so I have had to enter various passwords (mainly Apple passwords) over 90 times so far. All without being allowed to see what I type, so I get them, wrong half the time than I even remember them, which its rare.

When I was young, IT was about making life easier and about empowering end users. Now, it seems that all too often, it is the complete opposite. Oh, how the pendulum swings.

“I want to adjust a bunch of pictures by increasing their ISO by a stop”. Is that something you often want to do?

In that case, you have probably run into a problem. Yes, you can adjust one, then mark the rest in the DEVELOP module’s negative strip and SYNC them:


Ah. But now they are all set to exactly +1 stop – not “whatever they were plus 1 stop”. And that, depending on how you got here, could be a problem. If you have previously adjusted some individually, you will lose those individual tweaks.

The solution?

Do it in the LIBRARY module. Mark them all and in “Tone Control”, adjust the exposure (or clarity, or vibrance) to the relative amount you would like to add. It will be added to the prior value, instead of replacing it.



That’s it. Just one of those little nice-to-knows!



As you all know, Apple Aperture is end-of-life. And with that, end-of-competition: Lightroom is the only game in town.

And with that, Adobe is flexing its muscle; it is trying to get everyone to use their “Cloud” subscription model. That way, they get a fee (like $9.99) every month, instead of one payment of $150 for Lightroom forever. Clearly, they are interested in this.

Clearly, I am not interested.

  • First, I would pay much more (In five years I’d pay $600, as opposed to $150 for the app, and even with upgrades perhaps double that over that period).
  • Second, I want nothing with auto upgrades. This is mission critical. I am still using CS3 (very occasionally). If it ain’t broke…
  • The price is $9.99 per product per month, I think. But that is today’s price… subject to change.
  • Third, I want nothing to do with a product that has to go online occasionally to check if I am allowed to use it. No way. What if I lose my password? What if their authentication system fails? What if my Internet connectivity fails, e.g. because I am travelling? No, that just will not do. This is company critical: I need an app that is mine to run without authentication, permission, whatever.

Adobe is making it almost impossible to buy Lightroom today. But the key is “almost”. After a long while online with support, I was today given the “BUY AS A PRODUCT” links:

Normal Users:

Educational Users:

For as long as possible, I shall go on using Lightroom as  a normal license rather than a monthly subscription, and you all may want to do the same.


The Creative Cloud

You may have read that Adobe products are now available as part of the “Creative Cloud”. That mainly means a rental price instead of a “buy once” (really, “license once”) model. Under this model, instead of paying $1,000 for Photoshop, you pay $50 per month. The software still resides on your computer, but it is updated regularly, and the computer checks regularly via the Internet to ensure you have been paying.

What do I think?

There are advantages to CC (namely the number of included apps; the constant updates; and the fact there is no capital outlay required), but on the whole, I am not a fan:

  1. Adobe is forcing this change on their clients. Photoshop is no longer available as a stand-alone app (mercifully, Lightroom still is – but for how long?). Adobe has a virtual monopoly, and monopolists should be held against a higher standard than smaller players. Adobe says “jump!”, we say “how high?”. We have no choice.
  2. For most, this will be a price hike. The $50 is an annual commitment (so the minimum is $600!) and it recurs month after month after month – forever. I still use Photoshop CS3 when I use photoshop, which is not often: I do 99% of my work in Lightroom. I do not need most apps.
  3. I have the feeling that when I buy an app, I buy that app, not the right to use it. I know, I know, it is licensing, but is sure feels like buying.
  4. Having to get permission to run my app. What if something goes wrong? or I am not online that once a month (e.g. I am traveling)? Software is mission critical to a photographer. Oh, nothing ever goes wrong? The other day, Facebook would not let me log in, giving me an “incorrect password” error. It was a facebook problem, and there is nothing I was able to do. The day after that, Netflix was down. Again, nothing I could do. Later that week, Tumblr was down for hours. And Adobe will somehow never malfunction? And I will always be online where Adobe can get through (e.g. in hotels, only browsing is allowed).

Of course, CC has already been pirated, so it will make little difference in practice. I do wish that the customer’s interest was paramount, though, not the need for corporations like Adobe to squeeze every penny out of that customer. I am glad Lightroom is still a paid app, and I hope it stays that way for a while.


Lightroom file setup suggestion

A quick post today.

Adobe Lightroom has taken over most photographers’ post-production work. Myself included. Although Lightroom, an application for managing and editing and post-producing your images, takes a few days to learn, this is time well spent. Your post-production time (the time spent on your pictures after you get home) will be cut in half – or better. I recommend it.

When I teach Lightroom, people often ask me “how do you set it up?” – especially with regard to backups. Safety is everything.

So I thought that I might share my suggested file locations and backup methods with you here. Here’s how I do it.

  1. Catalog: The main Lightroom Catalog (which I renamed to something including my name, i.e. MVWPhoto.lrcat) lives on my main computer (in my case, a Mac). That’s standard.
  2. Photos: The actual images (raw) live on an external USB drive, in a folder called “PHOTOGRAPHY” (and within that, per year and then per date). New images go there too. That’s better than on my Mac.
  3. Catalog backups: I make a copy of the catalog every day (you can set up Lightroom that way, in Preferences). That copy also goes to the external drive (in a folder called “LR backups”).
  4. Photo backup: The external drive gets backed up to another external drive.I do this manually every day, or after every import.

To back up the first external disk (Iomega-1TB-1)  to the second (Iomega-1TB-2), I run the following little script:

#Photo disk sync
rsync -a –verbose –progress –stats –delete /Volumes/Iomega-1TB-1/PHOTOGRAPHY/ /Volumes/Iomega-1TB-2/PHOTOGRAPHY/

If you don’t know how to create or run a command line script, just get a computer person to help you with it. It’s that simple!