How to Buy Lightroom in 2020

Lightroom Classic vs CC

It used to be so simple to buy Lightroom. Every 18 months, Adobe would release a new version for photographers to buy outright, or to upgrade their existing copy.

Now things are a bit more complicated…

If you're confused about whether you can still buy Lightroom 6 outright, or whether to buy Lightroom Classic CC as a subscription, this is the guide for you.

shk-fs-table__imageLightroom Photography Plan✓ Great features ✓ Regular Updates ✓ AffordableView Price

If you're looking for one of the last remaining copies of standalone Lightroom, you may be disappointed.

However, all is not lost – keep reading on to see why you may change your mind and end up happily paying for a monthly subscription just like me…

What's the Best Way to Buy Lightroom in January 2020?

Despite all the other software available to edit and organise your photos in 2020, Lightroom and Photoshop are still the industry standards.

Whether you're a professional or an amateur photographer, or simply someone who just wants to make their photos look the best way in the least time, Adobe Lightoom is still number one.

Under the Lightroom Classic CC subscription plan, you can choose between a few different options depending on your needs.

Choosing which Lightroom plan to subscribe to is downright confusing! Hopefully this guide will make the decision simpler for you…

Some of the Creative Cloud subscription options aren't as relevant to photographers (e.g. the All Apps + Adobe Stock plan is suited more for designers), and some just don't make any sense at all (the ‘Lightroom Plan' is the same price as the ‘Lightroom CC Photography Plan', but offers less features!)…

In this guide, I've done my best to simplify the options, so you can choose the most appropriate plan for your needs.

#1 | (Recommended) Photography Plan + 1TB of Cloud Storage

(See latest price here)

This is what I use. It's a great value option if you only need Lightroom with Photoshop, and includes:

  • Lightroom CC
  • Lightroom Classic CC
  • Photoshop CC
  • Full Lightroom Mobile Functionality (including the 8 Premium Features)
  • Your own portfolio website and social media tools
  • 1TB of cloud storage (about 20,000 raw DSLR images or 200,000 JPEGs)
  • One month of free Adobe Stock

#2 |  Photography Plan + 20GB of Cloud Storage

(See latest price here)

This option is for users who don't plan to take full advantage of Lightroom CC and all its cloud syncing features. 20GB allows you to only store approximately 400 RAWs or 4,000 JPEGs.

  • Lightroom CC
  • Lightroom Classic CC
  • Photoshop CC
  • Full Lightroom Mobile Functionality (including the 8 Premium Features)
  • Your own portfolio website and social media tools
  • 20GB of cloud storage (about 400 raw DSLR images or 4,000 JPEGs)
  • One month of free Adobe Stock

(You can also opt for the basic Creative Cloud Photography plan with only 20GB of storage. However, I don't recommend this option since it doesn't allow you to take full advantage of Lightroom CC's cloud syncing features.)

#3 | (Best Value For Power Users) Creative Cloud All Apps

(See latest price here)

This is Adobe's most popular option, and perfect for photographers who also need regular access to other Adobe apps. It includes:

  • The entire collection of 20+ creative desktop and mobile apps including Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, Illustrator CC, and XD CC
  • 100GB of cloud storage, your own portfolio website, premium fonts, and social media tools
  • Up to 10TB of cloud storage
  • One month of free Adobe Stock

(If you're a Student or a Teacher, you can get the CC All Apps plan for up to a 70% discount using this link.)

One way or another, if you're serious about editing and organising your photos easily, you need to buy Lightroom.

Why Buy Lightroom Classic CC as a Subscription?

best way to buy lightroom

Lightroom's new Creative Profiles are one great reason to pay for the subscription version of Lightroom.

As of April 2019, Adobe Lightroom is only available as part of the Creative Cloud subscription. Lightroom 6 standalone is no longer available to purchase.

Initially, I was annoyed about this, but the more I used the subscription version, the more I understood why Adobe had made this decision.

I've been using the Lr Classic CC (and Lr Mobile) for over a year, and I'm confident to recommend it to all photographers.

If you're still using the standalone copy of Lightroom 6, I also strongly recommend you consider upgrading too.

To help you make your decision, here's a quick run down of the pros and cons of the subscription version of Lightroom:

  • Pros of Buying Lightroom Classic CC as a Subscription

There are several significant pros of paying for Lightroom on one of Adobe's subscription plans.

With the extra money generated since Adobe switched to its subscription models, they have invested a lot into making Lightroom much, much better.

1) You get the fastest, most optimized version of Lightroom

This is essential for most people. Lightroom Classic CC launches faster, generates previews faster, imports and exports faster, switches between modules faster, and generally feels much snappier than previous versions of Lightroom.

There's still admittedly a lot of room for improvement, but for the average user, it's plenty fast enough.

2) All of the most recent cameras are supported

If you own any camera released after Dec 2017, you need to buy Lightroom Classic CC to be able to edit your photos.

I bought a Sony a7III earlier this year, and so I had to stop using Lightroom 6 and upgrade to their subscription plan. It's good to know that any new camera I buy will always be supported by Lightroom from now on.

3) You get all the latest Lightroom features

This is a huge benefit. Creative Profiles, Expanded Tone Curve, Profile Management, Coloured Labeling, Folder Search, Range Masking, Boundary Warp… these are all incredibly useful features that you'll use every day, and they simply won't ever be available unless you buy Lightroom Classic CC (see all features here).

Recently, Adobe added a ‘Textures' slider to the Lightroom Develop panel, which allows you to smooth or enhance textures in photos without destroying finer details or adding noise. It's genuinely a really useful tool which I find myself using to clean up noising high ISO images.

More Recent: Lightroom Classic V9.0 (November 2019)

  • Panorama Fill Edges – an automatic tool to help fill in the uneven edges of your panorama photos.
  • Multi-Batch Export – the ability to export multiple jobs for the same set of images all at once.
  • Clear History – reduce clutter and speed up performance by clearing selected edits.
  • Export Presets/Preset Groups – exactly what it says!
  • Filter Collections by Colour Labels – easily navigate through your Collections with colour labels.

Updates to Lightroom CC:

  • Guided Tutorials on Desktop – learn new techniques from other talented professionals.
  • Advanced Export Options – different file types, colour space, output sharpening, etc.
  • Batch Editing for iOS – edits can now be applied to several photos at once on mobile.
  • Fill Edges – an automatic tool to help fill in the uneven edges of your panorama photos.

4) You get Lightroom CC (Lightroom Mobile)

Being able to sync and backup your imported photos to the cloud, then use a mobile device to cull, rate and edit photos is incredibly liberating. You can also use Photoshop CC to perform more fine tuning on your images, all from the cloud – very impressive.

I love the ability to create an online gallery of images to share in just a few clicks, using the Albums feature of Lightroom CC and the included Adobe cloud storage space.

[Update December 2020: Thanks to Apple iOS13, Lightroom Mobile will be able to import photos from your camera direct to the Lightroom app, bypassing the camera roll. This ‘direct import' feature is a huge time saver to what was once a rather clunky process. Also added to the update are multiple export options, including options for file type, pixel dimensions, compression and watermarks,]

The Lightroom Mobile app is 100% free to download and use whether you're a paying Creative Cloud subscriber or not.

However, its functionality is limited, meaning some key features are only available to subscribers (see below), and you can't take advantage of cloud syncing of your images across devices.

5) You get Photoshop CC (Photoshop on iPad)

The latest version of Adobe Photoshop now supports a fully completely mobile workflow, meaning that you can start editing a PSD on your desktop, have it saved to the Adobe cloud automatically, then continue editing on your iPad.

While anyone can download the Photoshop iPad app for free, it's only with a Creative Cloud subscription that users can take advantage of all the cloud syncing benefits, and this is what makes it so powerful.

  • Cons of Buying Lightroom Classic CC as a Subscription

The only real con of purchasing Lightroom Classic CC is the cost involved, but for many photographers, this isn't a con at all.

Personally, I'd much prefer a fully featured, future-proof product that I have to pay for each month than one that may cost less, but is immediately out of date.

I'll discuss this more in detail in the ‘How much does Lightroom Cost‘ section below.

Can you Buy Lightroom 6 Outright?

buy lightroom 6 amazon

You used to be able to buy Lightroom 6 (the non-subscription version) from Amazon… but no longer :-(

As of February 2020, Adobe stopped offering the standalone Lightroom 6. For a few weeks, it was still possible to grab one of the last remaining copies on Amazon, but they all seem to be sold out now.

Aside from that, there may be the odd copy floating around the Internet, or you might even still be using Lr6 on your computer today.

However, as of May 2020, Adobe Creative Cloud no longer offers customers access to most older versions of Lightroom and Photoshop;

I'll admit it – I held off upgrading from my outdated standalone Lightroom 6 software for almost a year.

Along with many other photographers, I felt angry at Adobe for forcing users into their subscription model, and refusing to keep creating Lightroom standalone products.

If you own any of the previous versions of Lightroom, I understand your annoyance too. After all, why should you have to pay a monthly subscription on top of the price you've paid for the original software?!

Just in case you do find one of the last remaining copies of Lr6, just consider the reasons below why subscribing to a Creative Cloud plan might still be the better option for you.

  • Cons of Buying Lightroom 6 Outright/NOT Upgrading Lr6

1) You won't have the fastest, most optimized version of Lightroom

This is a huge con of buying Lightroom 6 in 2020. Why pay for software that's outdated, and will run slower and slower over time?!

2) You'll be stuck using older cameras

Lightroom 6 won't be able to edit any photos taken with cameras released after Nov 2017*. Why limit yourself to old technology – there are so many new and exciting mirrorless cameras being released!

(*You can use the Adobe DNG Converter, but it's a rather clunky workaround for every single time you import images from newer cameras into LR6.)

3) You won't have all the latest features

Perhaps you don't think you need the latest Lightroom features, but trust me, when you see what more you can do to your photos with the latest updates, you'll want them eventually!

4) Limited Lightroom CC/Mobile Functionality

Being able to cull, organise and even edit photos on a tablet is incredibly liberating, not to mention a lot of fun. The cloud storage (backup) is invaluable too.

The premium features that are missing from the free version of Lightroom CC (Mobile) are numerous and considerable:

  • Cloud Storage
  • Sync Presets & profiles
  • Healing
  • Selective Adjustments
  • Sensei Search
  • Geometry
  • Editing Raw Photos
  • Sharing Web Galleries
  • Sort your People Photos

For many photographers, being able to sync photos and edits between your mobile devices and your desktop; edit RAW files directly on your mobile device straight out of your camera; use powerful selective adjustment tools, like being able to ‘dodge & burn' with your finger and an ipad; etc etc., are all invaluable features, and well worth the subscription cost to CC.

5) No Photoshop/Photoshop for iPad Mobile Workflow

You'll have to decide for yourself whether these are issues or not, since not everyone needs this software.

However, even if you think you may not need Photoshop, I must admit that for any image edits that simply aren't possible in Lightroom, it's still a great piece of software.

Just as there are lots of great Lightroom tutorials all over YouTube, the same is true for Photoshop, so getting up to speed isn't too hard.

Also, the ability to work seamlessly across desktop computer to iPad with Photoshop CC really is impressive, and a real game changer for mobile creatives.

How Much does Lightroom Cost?

Lightroom 6 standalone

Useful features such as Range Masks are NOT available in Lightroom 6

Obviously, if you still manage somehow to buy Lightroom outright as a standalone product, there's only one cost.

With the Adobe Lightroom Classic CC cost, things are a little more vague. Obviously you can't predict how long you plan to use it, but let's assume you'll use it for 1 year (then reassess and see what other options have appeared in that time).

On the Photography Plan with 1TB of Cloud Storage, you'll have spent a total of $239.88 after a year. Yes, it's obviously more than a Lightroom 6 purchase (if you even manage to get one), but how relevant is this to you?

Is the cost of Lightroom Classic CC (as a monthly subscription) justifiable to you?

In my opinion, if you're a professional, using the latest version of Lightroom is a necessity. You owe it to yourself and to your clients to use the best version of a software, which will support the latest camera technologies.

In addition, having access to Photoshop for those photos you can't edit properly in Lightroom is also essential as a working pro.

The premium features of Lightroom CC (‘Mobile') are also really useful to me –  the ability to import RAW files straight from my camera into my iPad, then being able to make selective adjustments just by tapping the screen, and have all edits synced back to my main computer are invaluable.

The Adobe Photography Plan is a cost of doing business as a photographer in 2020, and for the huge benefits, I'm happy to deduct is as an expense to my photography business.

But how about if you're an amateur photographer, or even a beginner? Is it still worth paying Adobe each month for the privilege of using their software? Well yes, I think so.

Even if you're not a professional photographer, I strongly recommend you consider subscribing to Lightroom Classic CC. It's still very much a relevant and useful product for everyone from beginners through to pros.

Despite the emergence of several alternatives to Lightroom and a recent Luminar 4 discount, I still believe paying for the subscription version of Lightroom is still the number one option.

If you don't plan to upgrade your camera, don't care for new features, software improvements and speed increases, premium Lightroom CC/Mobile features, and/or don't want Photoshop, then you may be alright sticking with your current copy of Lightroom 6 if you still have it.

How to get a Lightroom Discount

Adobe Student Discount

The Adobe Student Discount is the cheapest way to get all the Adobe Apps.

Occasionally, Adobe decides to give a discount on Lightroom and its Creative Cloud products.

If you don't mind waiting, you can keep checking this link to see if there are any good offers.

Another option is if you're a student or a teacher (check eligibility here). If eligible, you can save up to 70% on Creative Cloud products using this link.

Finally it's worth mentioning that you can download Lightroom to trial from here, and have a play around with the other Adobe products too.

How to get an Adobe Student Discount

As mentioned above, if you're a student or a teacher, you can save a up to 70% on a Creative Cloud All Apps plan using this link.

This can mean a huge reduction of US$52.99 to $19.99 a month! This is a generous offer from Adobe, in an effort to support anyone in full time education and encourage the development of creativity.

[Sneaky Tip: You didn't hear it from me, but there are ways to take advantage of the Adobe Student Discount... even if you're not a student or teacher!]

I don't want to spell it out for you here, but let's just say it's easier than you might think – head over to this link and get a little ‘creative' with your application ;-)

How to get a Creative Cloud All Apps Discount

Photoshop Lightroom discount

If you aren't a student or teacher, you can use this Adobe Photoshop Lightroom discount to save 15%.

Adobe are kindly offering all Shotkit newsletter subscribers an exclusive 15% discount on the first year of the Adobe CC All Apps plan.

If you're a multi-discipline creative, a production agency, or even just someone who requires more than just the Photography Plan, the All Apps Plan is by far the most cost effective way of getting everything you need.

I'm a huge fan of the cross-device video editing app Adobe Premiere Rush CC, so in order to get the most out of it, I needed to upgrade to the All Apps plan (since I already subscribe to the Photography Plan).

There are 20+ Adobe apps that I'll be able to take advantage of, including apps that have nothing to do with photography, e.g. Adobe Acrobat and Dreamweaver.

To get the 15% discount for yourself, just sign up to the free Shotkit weekly newsletter here and you'll gain access to coupon code, as shown in the exclusive member's area.

How to get Lightroom with Photoshop

A source of some confusion is just how users can get Lightroom with Photoshop – it's not immediately apparent that when subscribing to the Creative Cloud Photography plan, you also get Photoshop included.

If you opt for the Photography Plan + 1TB of Cloud Storage like me, you get Lightroom with Photoshop, as well as the other features mentioned previously (see top of article for more info).

Similarly, if you get the Photography Plan + 20GB of Cloud Storage you get the same benefit, just with 1/50 the online storage capacity.

Finally, with the Creative Cloud All Apps, it's pretty self-explanatory – you get Lightroom, Photoshop, and all the other Adobe Creative Cloud apps. This option is for power-users, or agencies which require their employees to have access to everything.

Free Adobe Lightroom Download Warning

I imagine some people reading this post will be searching for ways to get an Adobe Lightroom crack, or trying to uncover a free Lightroom download. I won't lie – many moons ago I tried to do the same thing!

You might find success on certain shadier sites, but I'd strongly recommend you steer clear of anything but the genuine Lightroom from the Adobe website, or a reputable dealer.

Whether you're a professional photographer or an enthusiast, you definitely shouldn't be entrusting all your most precious memories to a dodgy copy of Lightroom. Anything could happen, from a corrupted database to images displaying differently – the latest cameras may not even be supported.

In summary, please do the right thing. Don't download Lightroom from any source other than Adobe.

I know it's nice to get software for free, but it's far better to pay a little money for software that helps you achieve your goals, particularly if that software is frequently updated with useful features.

Adobe Lightroom trial

Adobe Lightroom Trial Download

Adobe offers a free 7 day Lightroom CC Trial

The one official way to get a ‘free' version of Lightroom is via the Adobe Lightroom Free Trial, which is only available on the Adobe website here.

The only drawback is that you only get 7 days to have a play around with the software, but at least it's a fully functional version of Lightroom CC with all the latest updates.

You can convert your free trial to a paid Creative Cloud membership during the 7 day period, or after the trial expires.

The Adobe Lightroom Trial works on both macOS and Windows – I recommend you give it a go if you're in two minds about whether to upgrade your standalone Lightroom 6 copy to the subscription plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Since writing this post, I've had a lot of questions regarding the various options available. Here are some answers to the most common queries:

How much is Adobe Lightroom?

You can purchase Lightroom on its own or as part of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan, with both plans starting at US$9.99/month. Lightroom Classic is available as part of the Creative Cloud Photography plan, starting at US$9.99/month.

What is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom?

Sometimes Lightroom is referred to rather confusingly as ‘Photoshop Lightroom'. It is the same thing.

Can you Just Buy Lightroom?

No you cannot. Amazon and B&H Photo hasve sold the last remaining copies of Lightroom 6, so it's unlikely you'll be able to find it elsewhere.

Can I get Lightroom Free?

Only for 30 days ;-) Click here to download a free trial of Lightroom Classic CC.

Is Lightroom only available by subscription?

Lightroom Classic CC is only available by subscription. Lightroom 6 (the previous version) is no longer available to purchase outright.

Which is better Photoshop or Lightroom?

Lightroom is like a ‘lite' version of Photoshop, but it also offers image organisation features that Photoshop lacks. One is not technically better than the other – they are intended to be used for different purposes, often in unison.

Typically, a Lightroom user will only use Photoshop to edit or manipulate images in a way that Lightroom cannot. Similarly, a Photoshop user will use Lightroom in order to organise, cull and add keywords to a library of images.

What is Adobe Lightroom used for?

Lightroom has two main uses – the first is as an image management software. The second is as an image editing software.

Is Lightroom CC free?

Yes, on mobile it is :-) You can download the app for iOS and Android devices, and use it for free to edit and share your images.

The desktop version of Lightroom CC isn't available as a free, standalone product – it comes bundled with the Photography Plan, which includes Lightroom Classic CC and Photoshop CC.

What's the difference between Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC?

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC is the renamed version of the original Lightroom application. It is optimised for desktop-focused workflows, including local storage of your photos in files and folders on your computer.

Lightroom CC is the new cloud-based photo service that works across desktop, mobile and web. Lightroom Classic CC is the desktop-focused digital photography product. Slightly confusing, right?! ;-)

Is Adobe Lightroom Mobile free?

Yes, it's 100% free to download the Lightroom CC mobile app onto your smartphone. However, there are certain features that are missing:

  • Cloud Storage
  • Sync Presets & profiles
  • Healing
  • Selective Adjustments
  • Sensei Search
  • Geometry
  • Editing Raw Photos
  • Sharing Web Galleries
  • Sort your People Photos

Some of these features are unnecessary for the average photographer, but others are genuinely very useful, e.g. RAW editing, sync presets and cloud storage.

The premium features are only only available to users who subscribe to the Creative Cloud.

What happens to my photos if I cancel my Adobe subscription?

Lightroom CC: Adobe stores your original images for an additional year after your membership lapses. During this time, you can continue to launch Lightroom CC to download your original files from the cloud .

Lightroom Classic CC: You'll still have access to all your photos on your hard drive through Lightroom Classic CC. You can continue to import and organise photos, as well as export your edited photos through Export, Publish, Print, Web, or Slideshow. However, access to the Develop & Map modules and Lightroom Mobile are not available after your membership ends.

Is there a Lightroom 7?

Nope! Lightroom 6 was the last stand-alone (i.e. non-subscription) version of Lightroom that could be purchased outside of a Creative Cloud membership… but now even that has been phased out.

All the advantages of Lightroom lie in the subscription versions, with regular updates, powerful new features and helpful support.

If you have any other questions, please leave them in the comments below so I can consider adding them to this list.

My Recommendations

No one likes the idea of paying each month for a subscription… especially when that product or service used to be available as a one-off payment.

However, once you're committed to buying Lightroom Classic CC, you'll soon realise just how many huge benefits there are by paying for Lightroom in this way… whether you're an amateur or a pro photographer.

Many believe that with the massive revenue Adobe has created by encouraging its users into this model, it is now more able to invest heavily into the improvement of Lightroom, Photoshop and every other creative program we all rely on.

As a Lightroom subscriber, I'm happy to keep paying the subscription fee, as I feel the benefits hugely outweigh anything else.

I hope this article has put some things in perspective for you too. Leave me a comment with your thoughts :-)

shk-fs-table__imageLightroom Photography Plan✓ Great features ✓ Regular Updates ✓ AffordableView Price

Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on actual user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.

Mark Condon is a British wedding photographer based in Australia and the founder of Shotkit.


  1. David Godfrey on January 3, 2020 at 7:45 pm

    Hi Mark, like many I have used Lightroom 6 for a while as an amatuer photographer. However, my new Nikon is not compatable with Lightroom 6. So I am interested in the £9.98 subscription with 1 T storage .
    I have been advised that this option is not desk top but through the web. I am not very IT savvy and ask what are the draw backs, if any.
    Many thanks.

    • Mark Condon on January 4, 2020 at 4:43 am

      Hi David. Whoever told you that is actually wrong – the subscription is for 2 desktop versions of Lightroom – Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC. You can ignore Lr CC unless you intend to use Lr across multiple devices (i.e. ‘online). Hope that clarifies.

  2. Rodney C. Hoskin on December 30, 2019 at 8:13 am

    Can you download your pictures from your camera card with this packet? if not what do you recommend?

  3. Jack on December 24, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Subscribe. $10 is 2 coffees a month – a negligible effect on anyone’s budget. Adobe offers a great product all round – no, I don’t work for Adobe.

    • Mark Condon on December 28, 2019 at 5:51 am

      It’s a good way to look at it, Jack, particular for coffee lovers :-)

    • Greg Matty on December 30, 2019 at 11:23 am


      Like many, I have paid the traditional annual/bi-annual upgrade cost to get the latest version of Photoshop/Lightroom I think I need. The new Nikon D500 I want to buy required LIgthroom 6.5 and since I only have 6.0 it looks like I would need to go to a subscription service.

      So if I do that and then immediately cancel my subscription, does the software still run on my machine and I can continue to use it like I used to? I am not looking to get $1,000 worth of software for a single monthly charge so don’t take it that way. I am only trying to add Nikon D500 processing to Lightroom on software that works fine for everything I want to do. I would be a step backward to pay for one month of subscription, cancel that, and then lose all the prior functionality that I currently have. That will prevent me from getting the new D-500 as well as anything subscription based from Adobe forever. Thanks.

      • Mark Condon on December 31, 2019 at 5:11 am

        Hey Greg, when you cancel the subscription, several of the main features are disabled. Unfortunately, this means that newer cameras will require you to enter the monthly payment plan – this is the cost of using the latest technology, for better or worse.

  4. Steve Ward on December 24, 2019 at 3:06 am

    Hi I am in the same boat I have Lightroom 4 and have an aging laptop and dont do Photography in a proffessional capacity so the £10-12 per month is a waste .. so in looking at Affinity which looks like Lightroom and is standalone for £49. Great deal.
    Also, dont Import your raw files to Lightingroom as it will convert your RAW to DNG and then your stuck with Adobe…
    Thing to do is create 2 files on your computers Hard drive 1 x unprocessed the other is Processed.
    In unprocessed create more files of your choice eg location name or date.. Load up your Raw/Jpeg files.
    Then go to the left side of Lightroom click on your PC Hard drive ‘C’ then find Unprocessed file then in lightroom file scroll down to synchronize you will then sync Lightroom to your PC file …
    Never allow Lightroom to Import ..
    After every session and after loading more images into the unprocessed files just then sync
    Your RAW files will then be saved and you can use any other software you want.

    • Mark Condon on December 28, 2019 at 5:52 am

      “Also, dont Import your raw files to Lightingroom as it will convert your RAW to DNG and then your stuck with Adobe…” – this isn’t true, Steve. You can convert the RAWs to DNG if you want, but it’s not a default setting and I don’t recommend it.

  5. Bob Schatz on December 17, 2019 at 1:26 pm

    Great article. And I am impressed with your patience with some of these posts.

    I have Lightroom v6. Awesome software. Have been using it since v2. Looking at going with a subscription. Have to bite the bullet at some point.

    Question1: I get on a few times a year to do trip/family pics. At this point have no interest in using the cloud service or working across devices. Based on that, it sounds like I should go with “Photography Plan + 20GB of Cloud Storage”?

    Question2: I currently add text pics using the cntl-E option to go to Photoshop and back. Does this work the same way in Lightroom Classic CC? Have they made it any easier like maybe adding text directly in Lightroom?

    Question3: Lightroom v6 has some basic video editing. Have they added any functionality? It would be really nice to be able to split a video in two, so I could pull clips out of a longer video.

    Question4: Your link to “Photography Plan + 20GB of Cloud Storage” says it is $14.29 mo
    incl. GST. If I go to the URL below it says US$9.99/mo. Am I looking at two different products here?!3085!3!399085264460!b!!g!!adobe%20lightroom

    • Mark Condon on December 18, 2019 at 10:33 am

      Thanks Bob, congrats on your long comment too!! ;-)
      1. Yes
      2. Yes and no – still edit in PS.
      3. Nope – for video, try Adobe Rush – search for the Shotkit review.
      4. It’s possibly a currency difference – AUD vs USD. I need to correct that!


      • Bob Schatz on December 25, 2019 at 10:48 am

        Thank You so much. You are awesome!
        Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays.

  6. Kevin Eyewanders on December 5, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    At the end of the day this diatribe leaves me in the same position I was when I arrived here: I want an option to purchase a stand-alone updated Lightroom product (which clearly exists since it’s included in several subscription model plans), but that does not exist and all of the above rumination and product championing really does nothing for me other than show me features that I could use, if I felt like it, but nothing I need.

    I am still happily using LR5. Why? Because it suits my needs as a photographer. Quite literally the only reason I am here is because a handful of plug-ins I enjoy cannot run on LR5 in their latest iterations because the SDK doesn’t support needed access or is otherwise deprecated. I have to upgrade to use them or choose not to. I am now presented no alternative other than paying *drastically* more than I have in past for no other reason than that is what Adobe has chosen for its customer base. Everything else mentioned here is just frosting. I don’t need frosting. I need the cake.

    • Mark Condon on December 6, 2019 at 2:07 pm

      Yeah, fair enough Kevin. I’m sure there are many users in the same boat, and many others who are (begrudgingly?!) paying for Lightroom each month. I’ve written a guide to alternatives to Lightroom that you can find using the search bar above – hope you find the answer!

      • Mike McKenna on December 10, 2019 at 2:50 am

        This is good info, and as a Lightroom user since version 3, I was scared off by the subscription model also. Reading the comments here it seems I’m not alone in my thinking. For me, I would be more willing to come around if Adobe came up with a ‘Hobbyist’ plan (maybe $3.99 or $4.99 USD a month) that just included Lightroom Classic (no storage, no cloud support, no extras) for all of us that use Lightroom, not for careers, but to help manage our family’s photos and are in and out of it maybe a few times a month. I’ve emailed this suggestion to Adobe awhile back and unfortunately nothing really materialized from it. Anyway appreciate your time on writing this article.

        • Mark Condon on December 11, 2019 at 6:04 am

          Thanks for the comment, Mike. I agree with you – would be nice to have a hobbyist plan!

  7. Carla Bran on November 21, 2019 at 3:37 am

    Thanks for your article. I have been paying the monthly subscription for about 18 months now. Photography is my hobby, not my profession. I subscribed to edit the senior photos I took of my two kids, and now I use Lightroom very randomly, maybe to edit 1-2 pictures a month if that. It just seems very expensive for me to pay $10 a month for a product I hardly use but I would like to have the option when I do want to take good family pictures. The creative cloud subscription should be more for photographers or amateur photographers that take pictures regularly. What about the rest of the population like me?

  8. Paul on November 20, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    I have to say most of the ‘advantages’ listed for the subscription version are completely artificial – i.e., it would be trivially easy for Adobe to update standalone software with minor feature updates, compatibility for new cameras, etc.

    It’s very hard not to be cynical and conclude that they deliberately withheld those updates from the standalone versions of LR in order to force people onto the fundamentally unattractive subscription model. So to the extent that the subscription model offers benefits, they are only benefits compared to Adobe’s decision not to support its own software and, now, to kill that software.

    Of course, that behaviour hardly inspires the levels of confidence required to commit to long term use of their subscription service, either. And the pricing is prohibitive for anyone who only uses LR privately.

    • Mark Condon on November 21, 2019 at 1:10 pm

      I guess Adobe’s argument will always be that the subscription model allows them to research and develop better features than they would do otherwise. Whether this is true or not is anyone’s guess, but for those who need the features offered by Lr CC and Lr Classic CC, it’s a price we need to pay at this point.

  9. Maureen OConnell on October 18, 2019 at 12:29 pm

    Great article! Lots of good advice. On that note, is there a particular book you would recommend to help with the learning process of Lightroom? I seem to do better reading and then trying techniques
    Thanks Again

    • Mark Condon on October 18, 2019 at 3:20 pm

      Sure thing, Maureen! This is the one I purchased earlier this year and recommend to anyone wanting to get the most out of Lr Classic.

  10. Jay on October 16, 2019 at 6:54 am

    Hi Mark – Thanks for the helpful guide! I’ve had Lightroom for years, went through 1 upgrade and figured I’d be set for a while. I was looking forward to visiting Europe next week sans laptop until I realized I can’t edit RAW images in mobile Lr. Thanks to your info provided, I was able to save $5/mo through your link and go for the 1 TB plan. I hope you get some sort of credit from Adobe for your work!

    • Mark Condon on October 16, 2019 at 12:53 pm

      Ahhh Jay, I’m so happy to hear that my guide helped you! Have a great time in Europe :-)

  11. Ali on October 14, 2019 at 4:07 am

    Which plan would be best for me? I’m starting out and need more info. I would be doing most of my editing offline if possible?? And I’m still not sure the difference between Lightroom Classic and Lightroom.

    • Mark Condon on October 14, 2019 at 8:07 am

      ‘Classic’ is just the new name for Lightroom – hopefully the FAQ in this article should explain more. The best plan for you is the same one as I’m on – check the recommendation right at the top. Cheers.

  12. Crystal on October 11, 2019 at 5:31 pm

    Hello! So I still have a really old copy of Lightroom 4 on my computer and I’m finally being kicked out of I want to sync my phone with iTunes. So I’m being forced to upgrade my OS and therefore Lightroom 4 won’t work anymore. I have one 20k pictures and I thought to migrate to Apple photos but decided against that. My question is by upgrading to Lightroom CC, will it automatically import everything from Lightroom 4?

    • Mark Condon on October 14, 2019 at 8:10 am

      Hey Crystal, yes it should do – it’ll just read from your original images location and pull the images in to the newest version of Lr.

  13. Mia on September 21, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    You can still buy the stand alone version of Lightroom through B&H Photo for $159.99:

    • Mark Condon on September 23, 2019 at 5:14 am

      Oh wow, that’s news to me Mia! B&H must have a few copies left – last time I updated this article they didn’t have any. Thanks for letting us know!!

      • Theresa on September 29, 2019 at 10:23 pm

        Hi Mark, do you know how to subscribe to this month to month subscription of LR CC?
        Someone mentioned in an article before that the downside of this month to month subscription is that you will have to cancel it manually. I dont mind doing that as Im still a beginner and not sure how will i go with this.
        Thanks heaps, Mark

        • Mark Condon on October 1, 2019 at 3:52 pm

          Hey Theresa, I’m not sure I understand your question – all you need to do is choose the subscription plan (I recommend this one), then you’ll be billed month to month. If you want to cancel, you just need to contact Adobe. Does that help?

  14. Duncan Collar on August 20, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Hey there, nice article however I am confused by the discount you are telling us.
    In the heading “Whats the best way to buy Lightroom”, in #3 you mention there is a 70% discount YET
    In the heading “How to get an Adobe Student Discount” you then mention 60% discount, and even refer to the previous discount value written above yet they aren’t the same.

    Could you please fix the article to tell us what the correct discount value is?
    Thank you

    • Mark Condon on August 21, 2019 at 11:30 am

      Nice spot – the student discount is ‘up to 70%’. Hope you qualify, Duncan!

  15. Brad Tinsley on August 6, 2019 at 5:54 am

    Are you able to keep Lightroom 6 standalone as is on your desktop and start over basically with the new CC version? To avoid any catalog migration? Thanks and great, informative article.

    • Mark Condon on August 7, 2019 at 5:49 am

      Thanks Brad! Yep, there’d be a way to prevent your new version of Lightroom importing your old LR6 catalog. If I were doing it, I’d simply move the original Lr6 catalog (to another folder or an external drive), so that during installation of LrCC, it can’t be ‘found’. I can’t recall if there’s a way to prevent the import from happening manually during the installation process, but doing it this way would work well. Let us know how you go!

  16. Andy Mudd on July 25, 2019 at 7:41 am

    Like many others I now find that my Lightroom 5 will not download RAW files from a new camera. I am inclined to try the DNG converter, which you can download from the Adobe website. The guidance indicates that you should take the files from the memory card onto your PC and then convert them to DNG, but do you know if it is possible to convert them inside your camera and then download the converted files into Lightroom?

    • Mark Condon on July 25, 2019 at 11:41 am

      Hey Andy, I don’t know of any cameras that do an in-camera DNG conversion I’m afraid.

      • Andy Mudd on July 26, 2019 at 6:46 am

        Thanks Mark, I can but try. Good article by the way, although I tend to think Creative Cloud is more attractive to professionals than hobby photographers.

        • Mark Condon on July 26, 2019 at 11:56 am

          Thanks Andy – yes, it’s a shame that Adobe has done this with their pricing. I guess it all boils down to how much you need the extra features that Lightroom offers, and how willing you are to add another subscription to your monthly bills! Maybe some will think of it as the Netflix of photography editing?!

          • Andy Mudd on July 27, 2019 at 7:02 am

            I have found that using the DNG converter to convert the images in my camera (Olympus E-M10 MkII) does work. You simply select the camera as your source and destination. This feels pot-luck since you can’t see any of the images – just select the sub-folder that looks the likely one. It creates a duplicate, so you have both ORF and DNG versions on the card. It takes about 5 seconds to convert each image. Then import from your camera into Lightroom in the usual way.
            Don’t bother with the Adobe helpline. They are primed to sell you Creative Cloud. This is mean, particularly since they make the DNG converter as a free download. The CC way has its pros and cons, but they should tell you of alternatives.

          • Mark Condon on July 28, 2019 at 1:00 pm

            Ah well I stand corrected then, Andy. That does sound like a very slow process, though, and only really suited to a couple of photos before the process gets rather annoying…

  17. Amy on July 2, 2019 at 10:46 pm

    Really useful article. I’m still in that ‘annoyed’ stage where I’m resisting the subscription fee but know I should just suck it up.

    Until now I’ve done all my editing on my desktop. All my raw images that LR reads from are on an external hardrive. I hate thinking that all those images are in a cloud I have no control over… what if something happened to the Cloud?? If I was to keep the original files on a hardrive AND the same files in the Cloud, am I able to point LR to either of those locations and still see the edited image in LR?

    What if I want to keep only SOME of my LR work on my laptop and ALL of my LR work on my desktop or vice versa. This wouldn’t be possible with CC right as it would keep syncing to be the same?

    • Amy on July 2, 2019 at 10:48 pm

      Sorry – I have severe newborn baby brain at the moment. I clearly don’t mean ‘desktop’ but PC.

    • Mark Condon on July 3, 2019 at 2:12 pm

      Hey Amy! The easiest way to think about it is that the online (cloud) element of Lightroom Classic CC is entirely optional, i.e. if you don’t want any of your Lr images online, you don’t need to have them there. I only use the cloud feature occasionally if I want to quickly share a gallery of images, or want to sync some photos from my desktop to edit, or view on iPad, for example. Other than that, the vast majority of my Lr catalog exists ONLY on my desktop (i.e. not online). Does that make more sense?

  18. Alan on June 8, 2019 at 2:14 am

    I’m still trying to get my head around the inside working of Adobe. At present I have the standalone version of Lightroom 5.6 which doesn’t of course support the ORF Raw files from my newly purchased Olympus OM-D-E-5 MkII. That said, I also have the standalone version of Photoshop v6 and recently updated the Camera Raw plug-in to v9.1 which DOES allow me to edit these ORF files. My thoughts, therefore, are that if Adobe can update the Camera Raw plug-in for Photoshop why can’t they do this for Lightroom?

    • Mark Condon on June 8, 2019 at 5:43 am

      It’s because of their new subscription model, Alan – for better or for worse, they want everyone to be using it, which is why newer cameras are only supported (in Lightroom) by using the latest version of Lightroom Classic. The RAW plugin will continue to be updated for Photoshop. as far as I know.

  19. Patrick McAuley on June 6, 2019 at 10:58 pm

    I have Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS6 which were both purchased outright from Adobe by download.
    I find that these are more than adequate for my occasionally use, and as a retiree, not enough to warrant a subscription for a new version.
    If for any reason I have to change or update my computer will I still be able to download what I have already paid for?
    I would appreciate an emailed reply.
    Thank you in anticipation.

    • Mark Condon on June 7, 2019 at 5:50 am

      Just emailed you, Patrick ;-)

      • Bill Myers on June 19, 2019 at 10:16 pm

        Mark – Firstly, Thanks so much for posting this article!!! It’s got the information I’ve tried to find and have been unable to. You’ve helped greatly in figuring out the Adobe products – and their Creative Cloud. Fantastic!!!

        I’m in a similar situation as Patrick. I own a (perpetual – in the Adobe vernacular) copy of Lightroom 6 (and have the 24 digit code for it) and have been using it since 2015 on my iMac. In all honesty, I use it mainly (about 90% of the time) to manage all my photos on my computer in the LIBRARY tab. I use it for processing pictures about the remainder 10% of the time. As such, I am trying to justify the monthly cost of the Creative Cloud subscription – but as of yet, I haven’t. Anyway, my question is when I purchase a new computer (probably in the next year or so) – how can I download Lightroom 6 to that new computer so I can continue using it (at least for File Management)?

        Another question is – you mentioned that the Free version of Lightroom Classic CC – includes the File Management portion. If that is true – this may be a non-issue. Thoughts?

        Lastly, I am familiar with my Files in Lightroom 6. If I decide to move to the Adobe CC version of Lightroom. How can I move my LIBRARY to it? Is it simple to do?

        • Mark Condon on June 20, 2019 at 5:20 am

          Hi Bill! Hope this helps: 1. New computer will mean you’ll need to start a subscription, since you won’t be able to download Lr6. 2. The free version you’re referring to is actually Lightroom Mobile CC (i.e. for your phone or tablet.) 3. Very simple! It’ll recognise the old Lr catalog and import your photos. Good luck, and if you need any more help, join us here:

          • Bill Myers on June 21, 2019 at 1:00 am

            Thanks Mark! I’ll add your FB page and follow.

  20. Zena Levine on May 19, 2019 at 6:33 am

    Question, can you access Lightroom offline? Or is this a strictly online service?

    • Mark Condon on May 19, 2019 at 2:42 pm

      Yes, you definitely can Zena. You work predominantly offline – it’s only when you choose to take advantage of the online element (‘Lightroom CC’), do your photos get synced to the cloud. It’s a little confusing, but just think of it as offline until you decide you want to back things up online, or be able to share the images across your devices. Does that make sense?

  21. Ryan P. on May 13, 2019 at 6:35 am

    “Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on actual user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post contain affiliate links which help support Shotkit.”

    Please, this entire article was bought and paid for by Adobe. I even clicked on your “About” page to try and get more information because I was trying to set aside my skepticism, and I was met with a giant pop-up that says “DO YOU USE ADOBE LIGHTROOM?”

    • Mark Condon on May 13, 2019 at 9:50 am

      Hey Ryan, this article isn’t paid for by Adobe, or I’d say it was. In fact, you can find articles on all Adobe’s competitors elsewhere on this site, including one specifically detailing alternatives to Lightroom – I’m clearly not being paid to be biased.

      I use and pay for Lightroom, and wrote this guide to recommend it to others who appreciate its features, and see use in paying for them. I get an affiliate commission, as explained in the disclaimer your included, which help pay for all the running costs involved in running the site.

      That pop-up – did you sign up? If you did, you’ll find that all I do is send you a set of FREE presets for Lightroom. There’s absolutely no sales element for Lr at all, and certainly nothing paid for by Adobe. Does that clear everything up for you?

  22. Joe Gerardi on May 7, 2019 at 8:13 am

    “It’s hard to put a price/value on Lightroom CC’s mobile functionality/cloud syncing, for example.”

    No it isn’t: It’s zero. I would never use cloud storage at all- I don’t trust anyone’s cloud, (my other job is as a network engineer, so I know how vulnerable they are) and I don’t edit from a mobile device- they’re never calibrated correctly, so the photos always come out a little wanky. These are features I’m paying for that I will never use. That makes the software useless, and hence the reason I now use Raw Therapee.

    Oh: it’s free, too.


    • Mark Condon on May 7, 2019 at 8:22 am

      Fair enough, Joe – every usage case is different. I love Lr CC, and find it very useful. I also trust that Adobe, being a billion dollar company, is investing well into security. As for editing on mobile, it depends on your usage case too. Good luck with Raw Therapee – seems like decent software, if raw processing is all you need.

  23. Marek Radebeul on May 4, 2019 at 12:22 am


    thanks for the article. One thing that seems to be missing from this and similar texts is an actual price comparison between the “old world” and the new subscription model.

    I have been buying every major LR version since 3 up to 6, so actually I am fully willing to pay on a regular basis for an improving product – and yes, each version was worth its money in my opinion.
    However, with each of the standalone releases there always was a discounted upgrade version. If I now compare what I paid per year (buying every upgrade from 3 to 6) to the subscription fees – the cost almost doubles!

    Admittedly, I get Photoshop (which I don’t need) and 20 GB cloud space (which is useless – or with the 1 TB option: hopelessly overpriced).

    For a professional, these few hundred bucks will not be a deal breaker. For hobby photographers like myself this *is* a big deal however. If Adobe were to put out a LR classic subscription for non-commercial use only at half the price – I would not think twice.

    • Mark Condon on May 4, 2019 at 5:51 am

      Thanks for the feedback, Marek. It’s hard to compare the old versions with the subscription version, since the features are so different. It’s hard to put a price/value on Lightroom CC’s mobile functionality/cloud syncing, for example.

  24. Helmi M on April 28, 2019 at 11:04 am

    Thanks for your article. I don’t have any issue with subscribing. Sadly, Adobe do not have my country listed in the database for my subscription. Its been 8 years since I’ve tried to subscribe but nada.

    • Mark Condon on April 30, 2019 at 6:12 am

      How annoying Helmi! What country is that?

  25. Thomas J. Lynch on April 12, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    I am a weathered nerd beginner taking digital pictures since my cyber-shot and sony camcorder with snapshot days in the 1990s. I have about 78,000+ pictures on my mirrored 6 tb NAS boxes using Lightroom standalone.

    The most important feature in Lightroom for me is Galleries. I collect my pics by year and create relevent galleries and then publish them directly to my website. Behind this page: and here is a gallery:

    I see no mention of Galleries in the docs and discussions so far and secondly, pot is not legal where I live so I won’t be able to smoke enough of it to justify HUNDREDS of dollars of subscription for the scant few numbers of usage hours per year or the functionality I used in Lightroom. Its a TOOL and not worth more then what I have been paying. I have Photoshop and Premiere and use them a few times a month…..but that’s it?

    not sure how or if I will see a reply here but here is my email….

    • Mark Condon on April 12, 2019 at 3:33 pm

      Hi Thomas, not sure what you’re actually asking…? Lightroom still has galleries. Shame about the pot!

  26. Mike on April 11, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Hey Mark, along with all the cons pointed out… doens’t work with Windows 7…I’m not about to change my OS just for that.

    I was wondering if you know if there are any versions that support Canon 7D II…I can’t find the correct answer…Thx bud…

    • Mark Condon on April 11, 2019 at 11:13 am

      Lightoom Classic runs fine on Windows 7 – you must be referring to the Cloud-native Lightroom CC app, which requires Windows 10. If you’re receiving an error message using W7 with Lr Classic, make sure you have your Windows Service Parcks up to date. With the Canon 7D Mark II, the latest version of Lr supports that – is that what you were asking?

    • Jon Etkins on September 9, 2019 at 1:08 pm

      Your argument will become moot after the end of this year, when Microsoft discontinues support for Win7.

  27. Dave Mishem on April 8, 2019 at 4:43 am

    I am NOT paying Adobe a monthly subscription. Period. The only reason they forced that on their customers is so they could squeeze them for more money, and prevent them from using the same software for 4-5 years. They are greedy parasites, and that’s putting it kindly. I’ll continue to use Lightroom 5 for as long as I have my camera, and then switch to open source.

    I have saved about $300 so far by saying “no” to their forced subscription model. Thanks but no thanks.

    • Mark Condon on April 8, 2019 at 12:47 pm

      Fair enough, Dave – am sure there are many others that think that way too. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I’m happy to pay since it serves my needs very well, and the benefits of Lightroom CC (mobile) are more than worth the subscription.

  28. Sue on April 5, 2019 at 8:33 am

    Hello and thanks for the info on the Lightroom classic….I am perplexed and here is my issue – I recently bought a new Canon 6D Mark II and did not know until after receiving that my old LR 5 will not upload raw images from it. So looking into upgrading LR and it looks like I would want the LR classic….I guess there is not a version without Photoshop? I really don’t think I would use that. And I am confused with the “cloud based app” – and not sure how to use this vs the “OLD” stand alone way. Also I read where system requirements needed on a MAC is El Capitan version and I have that but having an older iMac (2009) apparently can’t accept the new software? So it looks like I might need to get a new iMac as well! Didn’t think just getting a new camera would start all this but I am learning as I go! Does the new LR classic operate the same way as the older version? And I would just download the software? Sorry for all the questions but it becomes a bit confusing!Thanks in advance for any advice!

    • Mark Condon on April 6, 2019 at 12:24 pm

      Hi Sue! Yes, I agree it is rather confusing. Here’s the short answers to your questions: 1. There’s an option without Photoshop, but confusingly it’s the same price as the one with it! 2. Cloud app (CC) – you don’t have to use it, but it’s nice to have just as an additional bacup for your images (even if you don’t use all the mobile functionality as described here. 3. Your computer – you can try and download a trial version of Lightroom and see if that works, but in general, Lightroom should would, even on older Macs. 4. Yes it operates in pretty much the same way as the older version – you’ll be able to slip right in to your old workflow. 5. Yes you’d just download the software. Here’s the version I’d recommend for you, where you’re paying for the lowest amount of cloud storage (20GB) – you’ll always be able to upgrade if you need more. Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  29. Allison Matthews on April 5, 2019 at 1:50 am

    I want to buy Light room classic but have seen on forums that it does not support the down loading of raw files from Nikon D7500 which I have. Do you know if this is true or if you don’t, is there a free down load of Light room classic that I can try before I buy.

    • Mark Condon on April 6, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      I very much doubt that, Allison, but you can download the trial here just to make sure. Let us know how you go!

  30. John Doe on March 30, 2019 at 2:33 am

    This whole article and the responses to the questions seem like an Adobe ad to me geared more specifically to steering people away from the stand alone version and hyping the cloud based package which I will never buy. Just my $0.02 worth.

    • Mark Condon on April 2, 2019 at 11:17 am

      Fair enough, John, but let me defend myself a minute ;-) If you look up a version of the article from 3 months ago (before Adobe switched to subscription only), you’ll see I was actually recommending the standalone version just as much, since it’s more appropriate for some photographers, as you no doubt know. However, now there’s really only the subscription version (apart from the odd left over copy of LR6 on Amazon, which I link to), hence the article being more about the subscription. So, no – it’s not an ad, despite what you think. I’m a paying customer, and just recommend what I use.

      • Joey on April 2, 2019 at 2:06 pm

        Thanks Mark for sharing a great article. Disappointed to hear that standalone copies are no longer available as this would’ve been cost effective for me. The cheaper Lightroom Photoshop subscription sounds like the way forward. Cheers mate.

        • Mark Condon on April 3, 2019 at 6:41 am

          No problem Joey – also do a quick google for ‘Lightroom Alternatives’ and you should be able to find a Shotkit post there where I run through some options that might help you.

      • em on April 14, 2019 at 1:08 am

        Hi, can you please clarify this question. I can buy this and need to know: ‘Adobe Lightroom CC 2019 with Lifetime volume license’, will one will get updates after you purchase or there will be no updates in the future. Thanks Eric

        • Mark Condon on April 15, 2019 at 11:29 am

          Hi Eric, as long as you’re a subscriber, you’ll get updates for the length of your subscription. i.e. if you subscribe for 5 years, all the updates released during this time (which I predict will be a couple of big ones!), will be free. Obviously I don’t work for Adobe, and have no crystal ball to see if they’d go back on their word, but this is what they are currently stating.

  31. Nick on March 30, 2019 at 1:26 am

    Great article and food for thought – thanks!

    I currently have the standalone lightroom 6 and as you rightly say, I felt that “forcing” people onto an online subscription was frankly a bit of a money grab from Adobe, and to date have refused to join CC. However I DO notice that the standalone version runs quite slowly, especially after a large amount of editing (which favours my style of photography) – and I have a high spec laptop, with a relatively high 16GB of RAM.

    Having read the several pros of upgrading in your article, I’m erring more towards biting the bullet and gettig a subscription – especially now I know that there are various features that are available in CC version that re not available (nor will ever be available) in the standalone version.

    Thanks for providing the basis of making an informed rather than grudging decision!

    • Mark Condon on April 2, 2019 at 11:20 am

      Hey Nick, I think a LOT of people are in the same situation. Unfortunately, Adobe has forced our hand with their subscription model, but the flip side is that they’re offering a much better product than LR6. If you read this article, it’s hard to argue against the benefits of the complete LR package when you subscribe. Let me know how you get on with LR CC ;-)

  32. Caprile on March 4, 2019 at 7:27 am

    Hi, great article!
    I hava a question.
    In case that I buy a used Leica D Lux 5 and the owner has registrated the camera to Leica, but did not activate the Lightroom software (fullversion)… is there an expiring date how long you can use it, or activate it?
    Does the owner of the camera has to cancel his registration and sign over the camera to the new owner, that the new owner can use the Lightroom software ( I red somewhere that you activate Lightroom in that case with the serial number of the camera……and if you are not the official owner in case the first owner did not sign over the camera to the new are not allowed to use the serial number..)
    Or can the Lightroom software (I think with the D Lux 5 comes Lightroom 5?!) can be activated by a code?
    And as there are already newer Versions of Lightroom, is it right, that each update /Upgrade costs extra about 80$? But with a Leica D Lux 5 is an update necessary?
    Maybe you can help :-)
    Thank you in Advance :-)

  33. Gabriel Zawadzki on February 27, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks for the informative article. No way I can afford a subscription to software that I’ll never use 75% of. Version 5 was just fine for everything I needed and more. I’m extremely disappointed in Adobe, and this has put an deeply sour note on the start of what was an exciting amateur photographic year. The one and only question now is who makes a competing program.

    • Mark Condon on February 28, 2019 at 6:49 am

      Google “best alternatives to Lightroom” and you should find a Shotkit article which helps you Gabriel ;-)

      • Judith Robb on March 15, 2019 at 12:24 pm

        What happens to my photos in the cloud if after a year I want to opt out of the subscription service?

        • Mark Condon on March 16, 2019 at 4:32 pm

          Great question, Judith – as I’m sure many people will have the same concern, I’ve added the response to the FAQ above – please let me know if you need any further clarification on the subject. Thanks

  34. David de Gama on February 26, 2019 at 5:52 pm

    How do I justify subscribing to Lightroom when I am an occasional user? I have a Nikon D810 and shoot in RAW. I have to find another way of uploading my files to use with Photoshop CS5.5.

    • Mark Condon on February 26, 2019 at 7:55 pm

      Are you able to buy Lightroom 6 via this link, David? That may be the only way to avoid the subscription if you still need to use Lr.

  35. Danh Hoang on February 20, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    Buying lightroom version in a not-supported-country is a pain in the *ss for me

    • Mark Condon on February 21, 2019 at 6:17 am

      Which version, Danh? The Lightroom CC subscription should be available in all countries…

  36. Sue on February 19, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    I have Lightroom 5 with a 2009 iMac – I recently bought a new Canon 6D Mark II camera with an EF 24-105 IS STM lens and was unable to load my photos to LR5….was fortunately able to go thru Digital Photo Pro 4 to edit them but realize this isn’t the optimal way of doing things since it took FOREVER to do! So my questions are 1) Do I upgrade first to a new Mac desktop since I am unable to upgrade any further on my old one and
    2) if I just want Lightroom and no photoshop to support my new camera what program to get? I also have a 2016 MacBook Pro which is upgraded to macOS High Sierra but unfortunately doesnt have enough memory to add any software and LR5 quits right away after trying to use on it. I would like a program I could use on both computers but don’t necessarily need to use on my phone and don not have a tablet/ipad.
    Sorry for the long post but I am trying to learn and it all can be so confusing to even a seasoned amateur!
    Any help is appreciated!!

    • Mark Condon on February 21, 2019 at 6:22 am

      No problem, Sue. I’d recommend that when you upgrade to your new Mac desktop, you sign up to the Adobe Photography Plan (here). It includes Photoshop, but even if you never use it, this is still the best value way of getting the latest version of Lightroom to process your Canon 6D Mark II’s photos (great choice in camera, by the way!) Hope that helps?

  37. Kyran Ryan on February 10, 2019 at 4:06 am

    Marvellous site, great resource, dipping in a lot more recently.
    I am a retired photographer devoting my time now to mentoring in a local camera club. re lightroom 6, this page seems to be putting a nail in the coffin of non subscription approach:

    such is life.

    • Mark Condon on February 11, 2019 at 10:38 am

      Yes, Kyran, you’re right – very annoying and disappointing. I’ll be updating this post to reflect these changes…

  38. Emmanuel on February 2, 2019 at 8:37 pm

    Super amateur here. Great article and nicely written. Although for some reason the standalone is not available. Maybe it’s because I am in the UAE? I did find it online in our local “Amazon” sister site for a bit more. About $217.
    The LR CC with PS CC with 20 gigs of cloud storage is only $10 a month. Not a bad deal imo.
    Thank you for making this so clear.

    • Mark Condon on February 3, 2019 at 5:22 am

      Sure thing Emmanuel, and thanks for your comment. Yes, it could be your location that prevents the standalone version from being available. The more I use the subscription version of Lr, the more I think it’s best for everyone – so yes, $10/mo is a great deal imo! Go for it ;-)

  39. tribhuwan on January 22, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    im perchese lightroom softwarwe
    helpline number

    • Mark Condon on January 23, 2019 at 9:17 am

      Is this what you need? Adobe Creative Cloud: 1800 907 119

  40. Scott Rowe on January 22, 2019 at 6:29 am

    Hey Mark,
    Thanks for the article. I’m nearly ready to purchase the subscription option and get the latest version, but am wondering a couple of things. I have the stand alone version LR 5.7 on my MAC.
    1. If I download the new LR Classic CC, can I merge all my work and libraries from my stand alone into the newest version I will have downloaded?
    2. I will be purchasing a new computer in the next 8-10 months. How do I get my LR subscription and work from the old computer to the new one? I know that LR is good for 2 computers, but I’m asking about the scenario for changing computers altogether.

    Thanks for any info,

    • Mark Condon on January 22, 2019 at 7:12 am

      Hey Scott. Great questions ;-)
      1. yep!
      2. You’d need to move your LR catalog and all the associated files/folders. As you own a Mac (and I’m assuming you’re buying another Mac), I’d just use Time Machine to make a complete backup to an external hard drive on your current Mac, then when setting up the new one, choose the option ‘Restore from Time Machine Backup’ – I’ve done this several times, and there Lightroom and all its files have come across with no issue. Hope that helps!

  41. ron on January 21, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    why do you use the term ‘buy’, you buy something to own. It’s renting.

    • Mark Condon on January 21, 2019 at 6:34 pm

      I guess that in the case of the subscription model, that’s one way of looking at it Ron, but not in the case of the standalone version.

  42. Candice on January 13, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Thank you for all this information. My daughter wants the stand alone option but has a Canon Rebel she purchased last year. Will this be an issue?

    • Mark Condon on January 14, 2019 at 9:05 am

      Sure thing, Candice! The Canon Rebel cameras were last updated before 2017, so your daughter would be safe with the standalone version :-)

  43. Kris W on January 11, 2019 at 11:21 am


    Thank you for this information about LR. After much research, I am just about convinced to go with the subscription plan, one last question. If I get a subscription without the cloud backup, do you have to have an internet connection to just run the editing program?

    Thanks, Kris

    • Mark Condon on January 11, 2019 at 1:45 pm

      No problem, Kris! To answer your question, no, you don’t require an Internet connection to use LR. I’m often editing photos on a plane, and actually enjoy those rare moments away from Wifi!

  44. Tristan Phillips on January 8, 2019 at 5:16 am

    I see you don’t take into account what happens when you stop paying your monthly fee: no more software and no more pictures. So if you like your software and like your photos you can keep your stuff, so long as you pay. And if you don’t pay Adobe then it’s locked away and potentially deleted forever.

    Seems like a huge risk for the “benefit” of the “latest and greatest” features.

    And you don’t tell your reader about Adobe customer service. How do they handle things should your account go awry and you lose access? What if they feel you’ve breached their terms of service and lock your account for good? What if there’s a snafu and Adobe just says “tough luck”? (Read the fine print on that license you agree to boys and girls)

    Is the risk to a person’s photos/business worth the subscription cost to trust adobe and its cloud services? Just for extra features?

    THAT should be an article all by itself. But no mention here.


    • Mark Condon on January 8, 2019 at 8:54 am

      If you stop paying the monthly fee, your photos are all safe on your computer, not just stored on the Adobe cloud. The cloud is just there as a backup of your local files, if you choose it to be. (I don’t actually make use of the cloud at all.)

      If you stop paying, you can still access all your photos on your computer within a version of Lightroom similar to Lr6, but you won’t be able to carry out further edits, except, oddly enough, with Quick Develop. The Map module also gets disabled, but everything other than Develop and Maps will work as normal. You can still print, export and organise your photos too.

      Adobe can’t delete your existing photos even if they wanted to, since they’re stored locally on your computer.

      As for the customer service, I’ve never had any interaction with them, so can’t tell you, but assume they didn’t get this far without decent support.

      Let me know if I’ve misunderstood your worries about the whole subscription thing. There’s no inherent risk to your photos/business, even if you do decide to stop subscribing.

      Thanks for bringing it to my attention that I hadn’t covered what happens to Lightroom if you decide to cancel your subscription – I’ll add that into the article soon.

      • Les G on June 21, 2019 at 6:39 am

        Are you saying that if I currently use a legacy version of Lightroom with full functionality that I will lose the develop functionality if I try Lightroom CC for a period of time then cancel the subscription and return to my legacy version?

        • Mark Condon on June 22, 2019 at 6:34 pm

          You’d lose Develop on the CC version Les, but not on your Legacy version.

  45. Sari H on January 2, 2019 at 4:22 am

    Lightroom CC doesn’t work on Windows 7. Besides, I’m afraid that Adobe decides to axe “real” Lightroom, currently known as Classic, pretty soon. Naming software or a car as “classic” is almost always a kiss of death.
    Lightroom CC is still almost totally useless, if one doesn’t want to keep one’s pictures in a cloud. As an editor it’s about as powerful as Picasa.
    One more aspect, Photography plan might be affordable in the US, but in Europe it’s a different thing, almost €13/month.
    So, I am switching to On1 and occasionally Luminar. I do this with heavy heart, as my history with Lightroom and Photoshop goes way back, as I started with Photoshop 6 and Rawshooter premium.

    • Mark Condon on January 2, 2019 at 7:52 am

      I’m confident that 2019 will see some big improvements to CC, but I’m fortunate enough to be using a computer that supports Lightroom Classic, so have little need for CC at this time. The A.I. recognition in CC is a really compelling feature though. As for the subscription fees, I guess €13/month is expensive to some, but affordable to others – especially those who need Lr to run a business (this is my situation). Having said all that, I do think your workaround with Luminar is a good one – the image editing capabilities there are great… and no subscription fees of course. All the best, Sari!

  46. Derek Salter on December 25, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Good article Mark,

    Clarified some of my concerns regarding buying a subscription copy
    Your opinions on this would be appreciated

    I am not over keen on this cloud thing, sooner store all my work on off computer auxiliary drives. Also, not so sure about other places security as we all know, no computer is unhackable especially after the major hacking of Yahoo
    For me storing on 2 separate drives works well as the drives are stored in two different locations.
    At the moment I use PhotoShop CS6 My file set up with Photoshop Bridge works very well, has done for the last 12 years through all the upgrades of Photoshop and windows.
    If I do buy the subscription and ignore the cloud thing will I be able to continue the filing system the way I am
    I would like to try Lightroom as just recently I bought a new screen calibrator from B&H New York. It came with an X rite Colour Passport. At the time I thought not another not needed gizmo that is going to do nothing to improve your shots. I was pleasantly surprised as this thing helps me to get more or less true colour rendering on all my shots.
    I use it with Photoshop with great success, but the majority of X rites tutorials on this thing are focussed on using LightRoom.
    Price does not bother me as I find the yearly subscription is on par for paying for an upgrade every 2 years.
    One other concern, if after a year I can no longer afford the subscription version can I revert back and reload my old CS6.
    Lastly off topic, I would recommend B&H New York to anyone. Their service was spot on. I had the goods delivered to my door about 5 days after I had ordered them That is bloody good service considering the distance from the USA to NZ.

    • Mark Condon on December 26, 2018 at 5:28 am

      Thanks Derek, yes B&H is a fantastic store if you’re in NYC! Very knowledgeable staff and great service/. As for your question, yes you can definitely use the subscription version of Lr in that way – that’s what I do, in fact. I have multiple (physical) external drive backups, and don’t actually use the Cloud at all, despite it being part of my paid subscription. This is more down to the fact that upload speeds where I am located are poor, so it’s inefficient for me to be uploading/downloading files all the time. Good luck with the X-rite and let me know if you have any other questions.

  47. Caroline on December 23, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    thanks so much for this you’ve made something that seemed complex much simpler to understand and the q and a has been helpful

    • Mark Condon on December 24, 2018 at 6:33 am

      No problem at all, Caroline – glad it helped :-)

      • marilyn bettrige on January 12, 2019 at 11:00 am

        Finally found information and excellent feedback from readers on your information Mark. New to printing my own photos and using older digital images, Photo on my Mac (High Sierra 10.13.5). Your explanations of Lightroom and Photoshop so clear and easy to follow. Thank you.

        • Mark Condon on January 13, 2019 at 8:13 am

          Great to hear that Marilyn, and nice to know you’re printing your own photos too ;-)

  48. Dita on December 21, 2018 at 9:29 am

    Hey, I was wondering that me and my husband are using 2 computers and phones, if I apply for this monthly payment will it be possible to use on my devices ? THANKS

    • Mark Condon on December 21, 2018 at 11:26 am

      Yes, you can use Lightroom on two computers, just not simultaneously. However, it can get a little tricky to try and keep both versions in sync with each other – always make a backup copy of your catalog files on both of your computers, before you copy files from one computer to another. Another option is to use the “export as catalog” feature, to move catalogs from one computer to the other and then to integrate them.

  49. Dan Gallagher on December 13, 2018 at 12:26 am

    I’ve never seen the value of the 1Tb of storage that comes as an option with the Photography Plan. I suggest your readers consider the $120/yr Photo Plan without the 1Tb.

    • Mark Condon on December 14, 2018 at 3:11 pm

      The 1Tb is if you want to take advantage of Cloud syncing across multiple devices – if you like to view/edit photos on your iPad for example, you need some cloud storage. It only makes sense if you’re on an Internet plan with a generous data allowance.

  50. Tim on December 11, 2018 at 6:27 am

    Hi…great article…Thanks for the info. I am currently on the 7 day LR classic trial….4 days left. I am an intermediate photographer. Lots of info to process with LR and PS. Ultimately I want to be able to focus stack. I understand I will need the plan that includes LR and PS as LR will not do that alone. With this 7 day trial, if I buy the subscription does it include PS or is that an add-on? Is the cost of $10US just for LR? …confused and can’t seem to find a human to a ask
    Thanks so much
    Tim…Vernon BC Canada

    • Mark Condon on December 14, 2018 at 3:22 pm

      Hi Tim, with the trials, as far I know you can only download one trial at a time – i.e. you can download Lr and Ps separately, but not together all at once like you would be doing if you signed up to the Photography Plan which includes both pieces of software. It sounds like you’ve downloaded the trial of Lr only, so why not download the Ps trial too and have a play? The cost of the plans should be explained above – leave me a reply if you’re still confused.

      • Tim Fitzgerald on December 14, 2018 at 4:33 pm

        Thanks for replying…think I got it figured out…LR+PS+20G for $10US per month. That is my best bet…Thanks again!

        • Mark Condon on December 15, 2018 at 8:23 am

          Sure thing! Happy panoramas!

  51. Oliver Vornberger on December 6, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    Is it still possible to buy the stand alone version LR Classic CC 8.0 ? I could not find a website for that.

    • Mark Condon on December 8, 2018 at 8:06 am

      Hey Oliver, no I’m afraid Adobe doesn’t offer a stand alone version of that.

  52. price outright asus on December 6, 2018 at 10:34 am

    […] How to Buy Lightroom in 2018 | Buy Lightroom Outright or … […]

  53. Anselm on November 19, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Hi Mark,
    Thank you for the very helpful information. I used to own the stand alone but you have convinced me to go with cloud option. What happens to my current Lightroom Libraries when I switch?

    • Mark Condon on November 19, 2018 at 3:32 pm

      No problem Anselm! Many people make the switch from stand alone to the cloud option (including me!), and there’s no issues whatsoever – the switch is seamless. All your Lr libraries will remain untouched, and will be there when you open Lightroom CC. Let me know if you have any other questions.

      • Scott Rowe on January 22, 2019 at 6:33 am

        Hi Mark,
        I am wondering this as well. If I decide to download LR Classic CC and begin a subscription, do I uninstill my LR 5.7 before or after the download? Or do I leave it installed, and have both versions on my computer? I’m just confused about how to get all my work merged into the new version as seamless as you say.
        Thank you,

        • Mark Condon on January 22, 2019 at 7:18 am

          Hey Scott, no you don’t need to uninstall the old version of Lightroom. I’d recommend performing a complete backup of your photo library first (not strictly necessary but just in case), then install the new LR Classic CC via the links above. Your existing version will still be there, right up until you decide to delete it (I’d recommend you just keep it there.)

          When you open the new version of LR, you’ll get a message: ‘We need to upgrade your catalog for use with Lightroom Classic CC’ – click ‘Upgrade’

          When the upgrade process completes you will have two (or more) separate .lrcat files. The new version will probably have a number like “-2,” or “-3” etc., appended onto the end of your old Lightroom Catalog’s file name.

          You can delete your old Lr Catalog at this point, but I’d recommend waiting a few weeks so you can check the new Lr Classic CC is working fine for you.

          I hope that helps. Maybe I should integrate this into the main article!

  54. Guest Reader on November 15, 2018 at 11:15 pm

    Adobe produce a free to download piece of software called ‘Adobe Camera Raw’ which is kept up-to-date in terms of new camera releases. It’s soul purpose is to convert new formats from the latest cameras to the DNG (digital negative) format that older versions of Lightroom and Photoshop will support….

    • Mark Condon on November 16, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      Ah yep that’s true – thanks for pointing that out! It’s a bit of a pain having to work backwards like that with DNGs, but I guess it’s one way to get around the standalone product issues.

    • Keith on December 30, 2018 at 1:57 am

      Adobe Camera Raw may be free, but it only works with licensed versions of Adobe CC products; I tried, and it does not work with my Lightroom 6. What you really want is the free Adobe DNG Converter, which converts to DNG all the RAW formats for which Adobe has profiles. These DNG files can then be imported into Lightroom 6, thus getting around the limitation of “2) You’ll be stuck using older cameras.”

      • Mark Condon on December 30, 2018 at 6:58 am

        That’s a great tip, Keith!

  55. Liam on September 19, 2018 at 2:15 am

    Hi there. I did own the stand alone lightroom 6. I’ve now had my iMac wiped and need to reinstall, I have the serial number – where do I go to reinstall as Adobe don’t make it easy. Many thanks in advance.

    • Mark on September 21, 2018 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Liam, Adobe support should be able to help with that if you have your serial no.

  56. Elizabeth on July 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    Thank you so much for the info. I like how you explained each option. I am not a professional photographer and sure cant afford another monthly payment so I think I will be visiting Amazon…

    • Mark on July 9, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      Sure thing Elizabeth! The standalone option available on Amazon is still good enough for most ;-)

  57. Best (9) Canon Lenses | Canon Pics on July 3, 2018 at 9:46 pm

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  58. Carla Hoosier on June 20, 2018 at 3:51 am

    Very helpful information, i will be buying either the stand alone or the cloud, not sure yet. I’m going to think about it for a while. I will be sure to buy from this site. Thank you for your time. Carla Hoosier TN

    • Mark on June 21, 2018 at 8:50 am

      Thanks for your comment Carla – glad it helped!

  59. megan on March 13, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    can you only use it on one computer

  60. Surendar Kilam on January 24, 2018 at 2:58 pm

    liked your comments about Lightroom. Am going to order from Amaz0n the stand alone product. I am new to photography and have beren doing minimal post processing with the software on the Mac.

  61. Ally on January 19, 2018 at 9:15 am

    I paid for lightroom yesterday with the hope I will also get a Photoshop but I didn’t get it. Please am new with all this stuffs. Please what should I do? Am really said right now. I have no interest with light room and I don’t don’t even know how it works or how to use it.

    • Mark on January 20, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Sorry to hear that, Ally. I’m not really sure what to suggest if you bought it but have no interest in it…?

  62. […] If you don’t own a copy already, you can buy Lightroom here. […]

  63. Nora Margitta on May 5, 2017 at 4:30 am

    Thanks, your article answered my question. My problem was that I haven’t needed else only the lightroom.

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