Editor's note: My new email course The Creative Image is open for enrollment. Make 2022 your most creative year yet! Enrollment open for a limited time only (closes midnight December 31) on my other website The Creative Photographer. Thanks for reading, Andrew.
Most of you are aware that your Lightroom Classic subscription includes Photoshop and the Lightroom (formerly known as Lightroom CC) desktop and mobile apps.
But what you might not know is that your subscription includes lots of hidden extras. Adobe doesn’t widely publicize them and as a result they’re easy to overlook.
Some of these hidden extras are truly useful and have the potential to save you money.
For example, Canva.com is a great service if you need create graphics for websites, flyers, brochures or social media accounts. But to get the most out of Canva you need to subscribe to the premium service. The cost of this is more or less the same as subscribing to Adobe’s Creative Photography Plan.
If you have a Lightroom Classic subscription you might be surprised to learn that it gives you full use of Adobe Spark, Adobe’s Canva rival. And it’s included in your subscription, at no extra cost to you.
That’s right, for around $10 (or £10) a month you can subscribe to Lightroom Classic, and get Photoshop, Adobe Spark and other extras thrown in.
Or you can subscribe to Canva.
Lightroom 6 users
By the way, if you’re a Lightroom 6 user who hasn’t upgraded to Lightroom Classic because of the ongoing subscription cost, you might change your mind when you learn more about the hidden features that come with it. At the very least you’ll be able to make a more informed decision about whether to upgrade.
Lightroom Classic subscription hidden feature #1: Adobe Portfolio
If you’re a pro photographer you need a website that showcases your best photos.
If you’re a hobbyist then you might like to have a website with a unique url that you can give to people so they can view your best work.
But if you don’t have a website then I recommend you think about putting one together, no matter what your level of expertise or ambition.
That’s because the process of organizing your photos by subject or theme and selecting the best ones is good learning process. It teaches you to evaluate your work and present it in an interesting way.
The biggest obstacles that stop photographers creating portfolio websites are knowledge and cost.
If you wanted to create your own portfolio website using WordPress, for example, then by the time you pay for a domain name, a year’s hosting and a premium theme you’ve probably spent at least $130.
Or you could sign up to SquareSpace, which costs the same as your Lightroom Classic subscription.
Using Adobe Portfolio
If you’ve never built a website before then the learning curve and time involved are probably daunting prospects.
That’s where Adobe Portfolio comes in.
With Adobe Portfolio you can create up to five portfolio style websites (yes, five!) using synced Collections. Adobe provides the hosting plus the software needed to create your website. You can use a url provided by Adobe (in the form https://yourwebsitename.myportfolio.com) or buy your own domain name instead.
You can check out a sample portfolio website here to get an idea of Adobe Portfolio’s potential: https://andrewsgibson.myportfolio.com/
Lightroom Classic subscribers can check out the interface at https://portfolio.adobe.com/ You need to log in with your Adobe ID to get started.
To be clear, there’s a learning curve with Adobe Portfolio. But as website builders go it’s about as simple as you could hope for.
And if you want to set up an ecommerce website or a blog then Adobe Portfolio isn’t for you. WordPress or SquareSpace are better options.
Lightroom Classic subscription hidden feature #2: Adobe Spark
We’ve already touched on Adobe Spark, but I’d like to show you some of the things you can do with it.
If you have any interest in graphic design you’ll love Adobe Spark. You can have a lot of fun designing graphics for websites, social media, flyers, brochures and posters.
Here are a couple of examples of what you can create with Adobe Spark. Remember, it’s all about getting more out of your photography. For example, if you’re stuck at home and trying food photography or close-up photography for the first time, then why not turn those photos into graphics? It’s fun and a more fulfilling use of your time than binge-watching TV.
If you have a color printer it’s a great way to create art for your home. Or you can get a print made online if you don’t.
Adobe Spark integrates with Lightroom Classic using synced Collections. That makes it easy to use your own photos in your designs. You’ll appreciate this if you need to create postcards or flyers for your business.
Videos and web pages
You can even make short videos and web pages with Adobe Spark. It’s easy to do and ideal for creating short visual stories to show people. Click here to see an example.
You can use Adobe Spark through the Adobe Spark website or the Spark Post, Spark Video or Spark Page mobile apps.
Get started by going to https://spark.adobe.com/ Just sign in using your Adobe ID to get access to the full range of premium features.
Lightroom Classic subscription hidden feature #3: Adobe Fonts
If you’re a graphic designer or you simply like to add text to photos or graphics then you’ll have encountered the problem of finding the most appropriate fonts for your projects.
Because of this you may end up buying fonts that you need. But that’s more complex than it should be because fonts often come with licensing terms that are difficult to interpret. For example, you may be able to use a particular font for a personal or commercial project, but be expected to pay an extra licensing fee if you want to use it on a larger scale. This isn’t a problem for personal projects, but it’s bit of a headache for commercial ones.
Adobe Fonts is different. It has thousands of professionally designed fonts that you can use in apps like Photoshop, InDesign and Adobe Spark. Better still, you are licensed to use them for any personal or commercial project, without restrictions.
You can visit the Adobe Fonts website (https://fonts.adobe.com/) to get a taste of what’s available. It’s worth spending some time exploring it’s contents as there are lots of helpful articles about fonts and graphic design.
Once you’ve found a font (or set of fonts) you like in Adobe fonts you can activate them (you need to be signed in to your Adobe account for this to work). Once activated, fonts automatically appear in Photoshop, Adobe Spark and any other Adobe apps you use.
Lightroom Classic subscription hidden feature #4: Lightroom for web
Adobe Portfolio is a great service, but what if you want to put a gallery of photos, rather than a full website, online? That’s what Lightroom for web is for.
For example, let’s say that you took some photos at a family barbecue. Now you’d like to put them online so the people who were there can see them, and even download the ones they’d like to keep.
Or you just want to put a gallery of photos online because somebody you know has expressed interest in them.
Lightroom for web is the perfect solution. This is what a gallery looks like.
Professional photographers will also find Lightroom for web useful. A portrait photographer, for example, could put a gallery of the best photos from a shoot online for a client to view and mark certain images as favorites.
A commercial or editorial photographer might also like to share galleries with clients this way for review and feedback.
Just like Adobe’s other web based services you use synced Collections to create your galleries. There’s no extra cost to you as Adobe provides the hosting for your web pages.
If you’ve ever tried to set up a web gallery on your own website then you’ll appreciate how quick and easy Lightroom for web is to use.
There are instructions on how to use it in my tutorial Is Lightroom Classic’s Web Module Obsolete?
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Accessing your photos with Lightroom for web
By the way, there’s another feature of Lightroom for web you should know about.
You can log into your Adobe account from anywhere in the world and get instant access to your synced Collections. You can organize, flag, develop and even download photos (with a maximum pixel size of 2560 pixels) through this web portal.
Lightroom Classic subscription hidden feature #5: Adobe Lightroom app for tablets and phones
Most of you are probably already familiar with the Lightroom app for mobile. In presentation mode it’s a great way of showing people your photos.
There are purpose made portfolio apps you can buy for your phone or tablet, but the Lightroom app is free (saving you money) and easier to use.
For example, let’s say you’re a wedding photographer. If you ever meet a potential client then hopefully you have a business card to give them.
But with the Lightroom app for mobile you can take out your phone and show them a slideshow of your best images right away. Unlike a website you don’t need an internet connection as long as you’ve preloaded the photos.
The app integrates with Lightroom Classic. All you have to do is create a synced Collection in Lightroom Classic containing your portfolio images. Then you can download them to the mobile app ready to display.
If you’re a hobbyist then you can use the same feature to show photos to friends and family. Imagine that you take photos on a family day out. Perhaps you create a Lightroom for web gallery so that the people who were there can see the best photos. Your photos are immediately available in the Lightroom app for mobile as well.
Or perhaps you created an Adobe Portfolio website using synced Collections. Once again, those Collections are available in the Lightroom app for mobile. Just download those photos into the app and you’ve got a ready made portfolio ready to show to anyone who’s interested, even without an internet connection.
Just like Lightroom for web you can organize, flag and develop your photos in the Lightroom for mobile app.
Lightroom Classic subscription hidden feature #6: Custom brushes
We touched on custom brushes in an earlier tutorial (link below). If you create artwork on your computer or tablet you’ll love this feature.
Once again, your Lightroom Classic subscription saves you money. That’s because your subscription includes over a thousand premium brushes created by illustrator Kyle T Webster. The only way to get quality brushes like these if you’re not a subscriber is to buy them.
How do I subscribe to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan?
If you don’t have a Lightroom Classic subscription yet you can sign up for one on Adobe’s website. Sign up to the Photography plan (the one with Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, Lightroom and 20GB storage) to get all the benefits listed here. My tutorial How To Upgrade to Lightroom Classic has more details.
Mastering Lightroom Classic ebooks
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