Adobe Lightroom CC's greatest feature in my opinion: "Non-destructive editing".
Written by Mark Hemmings on November 26th 2018
Have you ever heard of the term "non-destructive editing"? 

A simplified explanation is that when you make an editing change to your photo, whether it be color balance, saturation, or anything else, you can always safely go back to your original unedited photo.

Two of the most well-known editing apps that make use of non-destructive editing (henceforth called 'NDE') are Adobe Lightroom (both the Classic & CC versions) and Apple's Photos app.

When you import your photos into either of these programs, the original will stay safely untouched even if you edit your photo hundreds of times and throughout multiple years.

This is a good thing, as the older method was to make duplicate versions of your photos so that you could save your original photo, and edit a copy. This added a lot of space to photographer's hard drives.

As with anything in life, there is a downside to NDE. Once you invest in a workflow solution like Apple's Photos or Adobe's Lightroom, for many technical reasons it's difficult to switch your photo collection from one editing platform to another editing platform.

I personally make use of NDE's for all of my photos. My family pictures and fun-shots (non artistic) get imported into Apple Photos. My artistic images plus every photo from all of my photography clients get imported into Lightroom CC.

Take a look at this wintery photo from my home town of Saint John that I took in 2004:
Adobe Lightroom CC non-destructive editing
North End of Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, 2004 by Mark Hemmings 
Back then I was using a Nikon D70 that didn't allow for RAW capture, and NDE software didn't exist. So I made A LOT of copies for various usages from the original TIFF file, which ate up a lot of hard drive space.

When I imported this old TIFF file into Lightroom CC last year I was able to delete all of those extra copies and versions. I didn't need them anymore, as Lightroom CC only needs to have the master file uploaded.

Just before I began to write this tutorial I did some cropping changes to the above photo. I felt the satisfaction of breathing new life into this older image, as I could now alter it countless times and still come back to the original if so desired.

One final word . . . many people ask me if they should use Lightroom Classic or Lightroom CC. If you are new to Lightroom and/or have used the Apple Photos app in the past, you will be far more comfortable using Lightroom CC. I use Lightroom CC everyday and I appreciate that Adobe continually updates the software to make my workflow easier.

Any comments or questions? Please reach out to me:

Have fun with your photo editing!
Mark Hemmings
From Mark Hemmings:
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