100 billion images. 100 BILLION. That is Adobe’s estimate for how many photos Lightroom manages on computers around the world. About a third of those live on my computer, by the way.

I predict that Adobe’s announcement today is going to increase this number exponentially. Why? Lightroom is now available for iPhones, in addition to their previous desktop and iPad versions. I personally take about 47 jillion iPhone photos annually, and I am thrilled to now have a seamless and automatic method for importing iPhone photos into my desktop installation of Lightroom.

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And that’s not all that came out in Adobe’s big release today. The other news relates to Photoshop CC. Which brings me to something that I’ve been thinking about for a while now. As part of their Creative Cloud, Adobe offers the Photography Program. For $9.99 a month, you get:

  • Photoshop CC (this is full Photoshop, not Elements)
  • Lightroom
  • Lightroom mobile
  • Photoshop Mix (a new iPad app that provides edits previously only available on desktop – compositing, transformative, masking, layers etc.)

$9.99 a month is a great price. I personally pay about that much for some just-for-fun apps, not to mention Amazon Prime, Spotify and several others. But to get full desktop Photoshop & Lightroom plus the mobile apps for the cost of buying Lightroom once a year is really something.

I’ve hesitated in making an “official recommendation” for my readers to switch from Elements to the CC subscription for several reasons. First, I know that lots of folks have concerns about long-term subscriptions. Second, many users don’t upgrade either Elements or Lightroom annually.

This subscription still isn’t right for everyone, and I suspect that it never will be. Luckily, as Adobe mentioned in the press conference that I attended last week, they have no plans to make Lightroom a subscription-only product. Full Photoshop is just the opposite – it is only available by subscription.

However, for those of you who are upgrade junkies or who are professional photographers or going that way, you don’t have much to lose by subscribing. If you know Elements, learning full Photoshop is much easier. Plus, you get to use those tools like Curves and CYMK and Color Balance that you hear so much about.

I will always use Elements. There is a lot to be said for its price, relative simplicity and design targeted to hobbyist users. I also use full Photoshop. And now, I’m going to start telling some of you that Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography Program is right for you.

Ok, so now that those musings are out of the way, let’s talk about the new features in full Photoshop, plus the new Photoshop Mix app.

Photoshop CC now includes:

  • Focus Mask  lets Photoshop CC create the first steps of a mask by selecting the in-focus areas of an image. This tool will be great for editing the subject of photos with background blur or shallow depth of field.
  • Content Aware improvements to make spot healing and patching more realistic
  • Blur gallery motion effects to add the appearance of motion to an image. Think about a red car speeding down the highway with motion blur behind it.
  • Font previews so that we no longer have to actually apply a font before seeing what it will look like.

Photoshop Mix, the iPad editor, is really exciting. With it, you can:

  • Open PSDs
  • Access yours images stored in Adobe’s Creative Cloud or Facebook
  • Create advanced selections and masks
  • Use Upright, Content-Aware fill and Camera shake reduction
  • Export layers and masks to desktop Photoshop
  • Apply filters selectively in a touch-optimized interface. Not even Instagram has this capability!
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The real benefit of Adobe’s Creative Cloud technology is that you can edit your photos from anywhere. If you’re on the go, you have access to a wide range of editing tools and can seamlessly take your photos back to your desktop for further refining. I’m thinking that I might have this summer’s vacation photos edited before I ever get home!