For people wondering about using Lightroom rather than Elements to manage photos, there has been only one area in the past in which Elements was better than Lightroom: Elements had facial recognition, Lightroom didn’t. Lightroom has always done everything else better as far as importing, culling & organizing images.

Guess what, friends? The new Lightroom 6 Library module will now recognize faces and tag your photos accordingly.

Lr6_FacialRecognition_ChannelimgCan you tell I’m excited? The feature works a lot like tagging photos on Facebook. You can see from the screenshot above that there are facial boxes with both suggested and accepted name tags on them.

Today, Adobe released Lightroom 6 as a standalone product, and the corresponding update to Lightroom CC for those that subscribe to Adobe’s Photography Plan. Beyond facial recognition in the Library module, it has several other new features that I am super excited about:

  • You can now easily upgrade from Elements, Aperture or iPhoto to Lightroom 6 or Lightroom CC.
  • Both the Graduated Filter and Radial filters now have brushes built in, so that you can erase the filter effect from parts of your photo that overlap. This is great for those that like to use the Graduated Filter to darken skies but hate the way the filter overlaps mountains, trees or people in the foreground.
  • Merge HDR bracketed exposure photos from within LightroomLr6_HDRMerge_Channelimg
  • Merge panorama photos from within Lightroom.Lr6_PanoMerge_Channelimg
  • Faster response time – you might have noticed in the past a delay between moving a slider in Lightroom and seeing its effect on your photo. Performance enhancements in the new version of Lightroom show a 725% decrease in the time it takes to adjust Exposure, for example – and that metric was from testing on a 4 year old Macbook Pro. Image the difference on a newer computer.

Those are the changes to Lightroom that I’m most excited about this go round. My software will update automatically because I subscribe to the Creative Cloud Photography Plan. Even if I didn’t, I’d purchase the standalone upgrade. The facial recognition alone is worth the price.

And speaking of price, the upgrade cost for the standalone Lightroom 6 is $79. If you’re purchasing for the first time, the cost is $149.

If you’re curious about the Creative Cloud Photography Plan, I highly recommend it. For $9.99 a month, you get:

  • Photoshop CC. Yep, that’s full Photoshop, not Elements.
  • Lightroom CC. The current versions of both Photoshop & Lightroom are automatically delivered to your computer.
  • Lightroom Mobile
  • Photoshop Mix for iPad and iPhone.

Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan

Subscribing to the Photography Plan costs less than upgrading Lightroom every year, and you get so much more. And for those that aren’t into subscription plans, Lightroom 6 and Elements make an excellent team.

Are you guys as excited about LR6 as I am? Who is going to upgrade?