On a forum I answered a question about how Lightroom uses Adobe’s cloud storage, and then thought I’d cut and paste the reply here. An hour later….

With the Adobe subscription you get a certain amount of cloud storage space. Depending on what you pay, this might be terabytes and you might not care about how much you’re using, but it’s more relevant with the standard 20gb.

So, your 20gb consists of two main elements.

  • The first is originals that you synced from any Lightroom app. This doesn’t mean Lightroom Classic which syncs photos as “smart previews”, not as originals, and therefore lets you sync as many photos as you want. The limit only applies to the so-called “Lightroom CC” and the other various Lightroom Mobile apps which you might use to take pictures on your phone or to import files directly from a flash card onto your tablet.
  • The CC storage space also includes things like Libraries which let you use things like custom brushes or logos on different computers. These usually don’t use much space,

    The second group is anything that you have stored in the Creative Cloud folders.People often forget that they have these Dropbox-like folders, syncing to and from their hard drives, and they usually don’t notice that their 20gb also contains files that they deleted.

While one might not want deleted files to use up one’s cloud space, as a Lightroom user with a couple of computers I find it quite valuable. I’ll often come home, import files onto the Mac laptop into the CC folders and edit them during the evening, maybe watching TV or having a glass of wine. I’ll use Cmd S or Ctrl S to save my metadata back to the folders too, and the next day I’ll import everything from the CC folders into my desktop PC and move the photos to their permanent locations.

So if that’s my ultimate aim, why haven’t I got “Lightroom CC” on my laptop and just import the new photos into it? Wouldn’t the photos then automatically appear in Lightroom Classic on my PC? OK, let’s ignore “Lightroom CC”‘s editing and metadata features, which are too weak for me. Just imagine that I make a mistake and delete a photo or two, or just change my mind about what I should keep. Adobe stores photos from “Lightroom CC” safely in its cloud, but if the user deletes them Adobe does the same and provides no way to get them back. So if the original is only in the Lightroom part of Adobe’s cloud, deletion means deletion.

But Adobe handle CC folders differently. If you delete something, it’s kept in its deleted files – and it never hurts to have another layer of backup! So I just leave stuff there until I feel like permanently deleting it – and I try to remember that it’s using my cloud storage allowance. In fact, it’s the biggest chunk of cloud storage that I use.

So what uses your total cloud storage usage is:

  • Files in your Creative Cloud folders on your hard drive
  • Files which were in your Creative Cloud folders on your hard drive but haven’t been permanently deleted
  • Originals uploaded from LRCC Mac or PC
  • Originals taken with the LRiOS or LrAndroid camera
  • Pictures imported into LRiOS or LrAndroi
  • Nothing synced from Lightroom Classic as it only syncs smart previews