Pro Photo Editing... In A Web Browser?

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Pro Photo Editing... In A Web Browser?

It'd be understandable if you didn't know you can access Lightroom from your web browser. And I'm not talking about some watered-down version either. I'm talking about a web-based version of Lightroom that provides access to your entire cloud-synced photo library AND a near-replica of the editing panel from Lightroom Desktop. That, in and of itself, is a marvel because I never dreamed I could apply a power-edit treatment to a photo from a browser tab. Accessing Lightroom Web is as simple as typing in:

A photo I edited from start to finish using Lightroom Web. Check out the video below to see my workflow.

Now that you know Lightroom Web exists, you may ask yourself why you'd ever want or need that. In fact, after I made a post on Instagram about how impressed I was with Lightroom Web, I received somewhat of a snarky reply to the effect of, "Yes, but why?" I took that as condescension, as if the commenter asked, "Why would anyone ever want to edit their photos in a web browser?" The commenter explained that he was asking why Adobe would invest resources into it.

Ultimately, it doesn't matter to me what his actual motivation was, but it does bring up an important question: Does Lightroom need a web client? The answer is a resounding "YES" for several reasons.

Focusing beyond ourselves

It's easy to write off Lightroom Web. In fact, the only reason I ever launched it was to create a lesson about it in my Lightroom Everywhere course. Until then, I never paid attention to it, even though I knew it was there. That's because I had no need for it. I am blessed with the means to own a ridiculously powerful 16" Macbook Pro M2 Max with 64 GB of RAM that can run all of my apps without breaking a sweat. I also have all the internal storage space I need to install and manage those apps. In other words, I'm good to go with running Lightroom Desktop.

But I don't represent the vast majority of the world, do I? In many cases, people own computers that aren't powerful enough to run Lightroom. Also, there are A LOT of people who can only afford, or only have access to, Google Chromebooks, for example. You can't install Lightroom Desktop on a Chromebook. And, of course, many people don't own a computer and must rely on public computers available at libraries, schools, etc. So, you can see how it'd be easy to write off Lightroom Web when you don't need it.

Lightroom Web is the answer for those people who don't have the means to run the Desktop (or Mobile) versions of Lightroom but want to manage, edit, and share their photos using a pro-grade application. With Lightroom Web, you can add photos you've taken to your Lightroom cloud library, edit them using virtually all of the tools available in Lightroom Desktop, and export them as JPEGs (or get the original RAW files) to share with anyone, anywhere, and anytime. It's also an invaluable tool in a pinch when I don't have my computer or iPad but need to edit a photo using desktop-grade tools (some of which aren't even yet available in Lightroom Mobile, such as Point Color). I can access my library from any internet-connected computer and am off to the races.

In my book, Adobe should be applauded for going to these lengths to develop a web-based pro-grade photo editor that is a virtual facsimile of its desktop sibling. And when I say that Lightroom Web is nearly identical to Lightroom Desktop, I mean it. Here's a screenshot of a photo I edited in Lightroom Desktop.

And here is a screenshot of Lightroom Web.

A web-based powerhouse

It amazes me that I can edit my photos from a web browser using some of Lightroom's most powerful tools, including Point Color, Lens Blur, and Adaptive Masks. And the best part is that all my edits are synced to all my devices! I can even use Versions to save different treatments and crops; they'll sync everywhere, too! But don't just take my word for it. Check out this video to see Lightroom Web in action, and I think you'll walk away with a newfound appreciation for what you can do in a browser tab.


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