March 6, 2012

My initial experience with Adobe LightRoom 4 … I’m not impressed so far

With Lightroom 4 being released today, I paid for the upgrade and shortly after, I received my confirmation email, as well as the download link. Yay! I install it, and am then asked for the serial nr. Okay, none of the previous serial numbers work. I check the email again, and it says:

For your records, we have included your serial numbers below.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 (Mac/Win,English)
Contact Customer Service

A phone call later to Adobe Tech Support, during which I had to punch in numbers for the various options, the automated phone service of Adobe hangs up on me because they are apparently overwhelmed with tech service calls. The recorded voice says I should use the chat feature on Adobe’s site.

So here we go. I log into my Adobe account, and start the chat thingy with Adobe Support. I enter the details of my problem, including my Adobe account email address; my Lightroom 4 order number. All the necessities. Eventually, someone from Adobe pops up on the chat screen.

A few minutes later, with the Adobe person asking me the same stuff again with slow, automated responses, we end up here:


Soni: I understand that you are trying to locate the serial number. Am I right?

Neil van Niekerk: are you actually asking a real question, or stalling for time because you are handling 50 chat screens ?

Soni: Yes.
Soni: I will be glad to help you with this issue.

Neil van Niekerk: I asked a two-part question .. and your reply is yes ?

Neil van Niekerk: yes, you are just stalling and working on 50 different screens ?

Soni: Yes you are right.

Yup, that’s the copy and paste from the chat window.

The upshot of this all is I have to wait another 24-48 hrs for the serial number to appear in my Adobe account.

When I asked why I would have to wait when it appears that other photographers who I know that downloaded it immediately got their serial number, the chat conversation ended with this gem:

Soni: We are facing some technical issues in accessing the records and data and I am sorry to say that I am unable to servce you at this moment.

Shit, I already got *that* message, Adobe.

But there is some light relief at the end of this tunnel:

Soni: I am sure you will be able to view the serial number after 24 hours.
Soni: Are we still connected?
Neil van Niekerk: of course.
Neil van Niekerk: I am waiting 24 to 48 hours.
Soni: Thank you.
Soni: If you are not able to get the serial number within 24 hours please contact back to us.
Neil van Niekerk: it’s okay. I’ll wait. I’ve already invested 2 hours in this. I may as well wait another 22.
Soni: Neil, However, if you do not respond soon, this chat session gets terminated automatically.
Neil van Niekerk: I did respond!
Soni: Yes.

So, that’s my Lightroom 4 experience so far. FML

(And yes, I know I can already use LR4 now with the 30-day trial.)


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{ 30 comments. } Add a Comment

1 Neil vN March 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm

And since the Tech Support was going to “disclose” the chat window, I guess then that it is okay for me too to disclose it to the world.


2 Cindy Shaver March 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I guess I’m one of the lucky ones who got theirs right away. I can totally understand your issue though. Sometimes customer service is the worst. Especially if a company has a “monopoly” on the industry.


3 Jill Lauren March 6, 2012 at 6:40 pm

You seem a little bit tense…Deep breaths…it’ll all work out….

Although I love the guys honesty about the 50 windows…that’s awesome.

From what I’ve seen of Lightroom 4 – it’s amazing. I think it’ll be worth the wait.
Jill Smith, Therapist in training

PS – I LOVED your lighting class at WPPI. It was great to meet you briefly.


4 Neil vN March 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm

Jill .. oh no, if you knew me, you’d know I was having some fun there with the automated something at Adobe. It’s just my dry sense of humor.

But I did want to punch the person who did the automated phone service there. Automated phone services might just be the most annoying invention in the past few decades. One more way to distance an uninvolved corporation from its client base. Actually, now I am tense.

Anyway, thank you for the kind comment. Glad you loved the lighting class. :)


5 Tim R March 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Now that is funny. You and my son would get along smashingly. I believe when he puts something on Craigs List he secretly hopes a scammer will contact him so he can mess with them. Well done.


6 Sang March 6, 2012 at 7:01 pm

It seems like Adobe just have really bad licensing system..

I purchased upgrade license for Flash Builder for work. Instead of getting the license right away, it took them few hours to generate the license number. I still have no idea why it takes them so long to generate a number…..
Once I got the license, I couldn’t get it to work (I had a corporate license with personal upgrade license which aren’t compatible). I went through their online chat support system, which only took about an hour, they instructed me to go to my activation screen, do “CMD + SHIFT+ double click,” which opened a secret, backdoor override screen…….


7 Chris March 6, 2012 at 7:29 pm

HAHAHA. Gold! Thanks for the laugh Neil.


8 Tina Ashley March 6, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I’m going to have to borrow that ‘stalling for time’ line next time I use an online chat and want to catch them out. Knowing my luck though, they’ll be more alert and catch me out instead! :o)


9 Stephen March 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Offshore support is frustrating in most situations where I encounter them.

You did a good job on calling them on their less then stellar support.


10 brett March 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Count your blessings, Niel. Like an idiot, I bought LR3 ten days ago, before I was even aware LR4 was forthcoming. I have a tendency to ignore the adobe rumor mill when my workflow isn’t broken. Anyway, I too spent the better part of the morning chatting with India, courtesy of adobe’s customer service operation, and all I was able to extract from the canned replies is that I may qualify for a complimentary upgrade.

It will take two to five business days to tell me if I get it.


11 Dan Rode March 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm

I liked what I saw in the LR4 beta, especially the revamping of the basic panel. I was expecting another beta and maybe a release around June. It seems a little rushed. Possibly a timing issue related to CS6. Maybe I’ll just wait for the dust to settle and upgrade when they release 4.01.


12 Carlos A March 7, 2012 at 12:29 am

Wow, that transcript was soooo funny… sure it wasn’t for you though.

I was quite fortunate to upgrade on line with no issues. Hope you get this issue resolved soon.



13 Carol March 7, 2012 at 2:16 am

I downloaded the upgrade today as well. Put in my serial number and got a big red X beside it. Like an idiot I tried the serial number many, many times trying to figure out what the heck was going on….what other number could they possibly want.
Called Adobe support and ended up leaving a call back number because the wait was over an hour. When a real person called back he kept asking me the same question over and over -a tad distracted… he spent 25 minutes “checking with someone else” ( maybe doing the online support at the same time ??)only to tell me that I would have to wait 24 hours. The answer to my question of why that would be since it is a download was “a lot of people have to wait”. Yay Adobe-great support…..
Having said that, I do look forward to using LR4


14 james March 7, 2012 at 3:56 am

Is anyone experiencing sluggishness with the software? I was using the beta version and it was happening there too – I just figured it was a bug so didn’t think twice about it, now that i installed the full release it’s the same thing! Sliders are not moving smoothly, adjustment’s take a couple of seconds to apply in some cases – in LR3 it was pretty much instant and quite precise.

I can’t be the only one – can i? BTW my machine isn’t the issue – quad core mac w/ 6gb RAM – which plows through HD video like a fat kid through halloween candy, so still pix should NOT be problematic!


15 Klaus March 7, 2012 at 4:19 am

Service and support !
I ordered LR4 as a Package, with CD or DVD and i know why. Such companies with such behavior are so bad and they are NOT interested in you only in your money. As soon they have it, they cut all lines to you and switch over to computer based automatic roboter Q&A to save costs… scandalous ….. customer contemptuous !
Thy understood nothing and they will never do ! But they will ask themself why they did not achieve their finacial goals …. you told them the answer !!

Good luck


16 Lois March 7, 2012 at 5:54 am

I downloaded my upgrade today and received the email. The serial number is not clearly labeled as such. It is immediately below the title of the software “Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 (Mac/Win, English). It could easily be mistaken for a product number rather than the serial number. Install worked smoothly on both computers, desktop and laptop. Sure glad I didn’t need tech support.


17 SEAN SHIMMEL March 7, 2012 at 7:16 am

Mine came instantly (I think they sent Neal’s :)


18 Mark March 7, 2012 at 7:19 am

Yes to the sluggishness. I noticed this on the beta version and was hoping it was fixed.

I haven’t purchased the upgrade yet and I may wait based on this experience. I’ve had both good and bad experience with Adobe support. Basically they helped me upgrade a non-upgradeable version of PS. I purchased a Creative Suite, and later purchase only the PS upgrade I didn’t know you couldn’t do this. The tech guy on the phone gave me the magic key # to activate the upgrade.


19 Klaus March 7, 2012 at 10:25 am

Still waiting for the parcel service


20 Shane March 7, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Neil, I would be glad to be helping you with this issue. Have you checked your Junk Mail folder?

Have you tried resetting your router? If so, please to be unplugging it and awaiting 30 seconds before replugging it. Is there anything else Id like to be helping you with?


21 Joe S March 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I remember another photographer saying on his blog that these companies hate their customers. All they want to do is get your money and be done with you. It doesn’t matter if it’s Adobe or the phone company, they hate us. I remember having a problem purchasing CS5. I found an Adobe phone number in New York. The women at that number was very helpful. She put me in touch with someone in Canada who was really able to help. I think she has something to do with customer service, like maybe being in charge of it. She took care of my problem in no time. So, I would suggest doing a little research and getting to the top. We need to do some hard core complaining to these companies. They have to bring these jobs back to the USA. These off shore people can’t even speak english. I’m sick of them asking me if I’m having a nice day.


22 Amanda March 7, 2012 at 4:04 pm

That’s just plain awesome… thanks for the best laugh of the day!


23 Bashar A. March 7, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Neil, I love your blog and I follow it regularly… you cracked me up on this one :) Sorry about your misfortune but kudos to you for posting this and sharing some your frustration for our humor.


24 Mike M March 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Neil, dont be in a hurry to upgrade. I did and none of my NIK plug ins are working. Nor external editing. It may be worthwhile to wait until the first patch bundle is released.


25 Neil vN March 7, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Just to let everyone know, I did get my serial number today via my Adobe account.


26 Carol March 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I just tried out LR (after receiving my serial number…. finally), and wow is it ever sluggish…My beta was not like this.


27 Jeff Hill March 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Neil, I’m sorry for your frustrations, this is probably the funniest thing I have read all week, thanks for posting this and for your awesome sense of humor, great writing as always!


28 rafiayub March 16, 2012 at 7:35 am

I too, upgraded to LR 4 by direct download from Adobe and everything has worked fine.
Mr Neil is a brilliant Photography teacher and a very good photographer. He is well known to this world with his two outstanding books. HIs words are valuable and people around the world listen to him blindly. I think, Neil should not disclose it roughly and he should send a personal mail to Adobe to make it better their after sale service. I believe, the ‘start trafficking’ is more recognizable to Mr Neil than a common person.


29 Matt Carr March 23, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I’m just waiting for all those who bought D800’s to do their first import into LR4, and hear the crying as they sit there waiting for hours as their computer screams like a turbine. At least, that’s how I imagine it will be. :-)


30 Trev March 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm


I think you may be right, when I open it, it takes a long time to see the ‘Loading’ go away and that’s on a folder of images already imported and cached, and the ‘Loading’ of my last image I worked on. Very slow compared to v3 initially.

Once the image ‘loads’ I can then work normally, and flicking between images seems to be around the same, it is just that initial start up regardless of which image I was last working on. This is on a fairly new system with loads of ooomph!



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