How to Buy Lightroom in 2019

It used to be so simple to buy Lightroom. Every 18 months, Adobe would release a new version of Lightroom for photographers to buy outright or upgrade. Now things are a bit more complicated... If you're confused about whether to buy Lightroom 6 outright, or whether to buy Lightroom Classic CC as a subscription, this is the guide for you. (If you're also interested in how to buy Photoshop, I'll discuss this here too.) <div class="sc-separator type-"thin""></div> What's the Best Way to Buy Lightroom? Despite all the other software available to edit and organise your photos in 2018, 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. One way or another, you need to buy Lightroom, so let's look at the options available to you in 2018 to acquire this amazing software and the pros and cons of each. OPTION 1: Buy Lightroom Classic CC as a Subscription Under the Lightroom Classic CC subscription plan, you can choose between 3 options depending on your needs: 1) Photography Plan with 1TB of Cloud Storage This is a great value option if you only need Lightroom and Photoshop, and includes: Lightroom CC Lightroom Classic CC Photoshop CC Your own portfolio website and social media tools 1TB of cloud storage (about 20,000 raw DSLR images or 200,000 JPEGs) 2) Lightroom CC Plan This is the option if you don't require Photoshop, and includes: Lightroom CC Your own portfolio website and social media tools 1TB of cloud storage (about 20,000 raw DSLR images or 200,000 JPEGs) 3) Creative Cloud All Apps According to Adobe this the most popular option. It includees: 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 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, best optimized version of Lightroom This is essential for most people. Lightroom Classic CC launches faster, generates previews fasters, imports and exports faster, switches between modules faster, and generally feels much snappier than previous versions of Lightroom. 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). 4) Lightroom CC 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. 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. <div class="sc-separator type-"thin""></div> OPTION 2: Buy Lightroom 6 Outright 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 was 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?! However, it's time to face some facts. Let's have a look at the pros of buying Lightroom 6 as a standalone product: Pros of Buying Lightroom 6 Outright 1) It's Cheaper than Lightroom Classic CC Adobe still sells Lightroom 6, but it's very well hidden on their site - click here to get to it easily. At around $150, it's good value and a one-off payment. 2) It will never Expire With the subscription model, if you stop paying, you'll be left with a restricted version of Lightroom 5.5. You won't have access to the Develop Module, so essentially you'll be left with your edited photos and not a lot else. By buying Lightroom 6 outright, your software will never expire. You pay once, then own it forever. Cons of Buying Lightroom 6 Outright 1) You won't have the fastest, most optimized version of Lightroom This is a huge con of buying Lightroom 6 in 2018. 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! 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) No Lightroom CC 5) No Photoshop You'll have to decide for yourself whether these are issues or not, since not everyone needs this software. <div class="sc-separator type-"thin""></div> How Much does Lightroom Cost? Obviously, if you buy Lightroom outright as a standalone product, there's only one cost. You can check the latest price at Adobe here, or at B&amp;H Photo here for comparison, but it's usually about $150. 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, 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 Adobe Photography Plan is a cost of doing business as a photographer in 2018, and I'm happy to deduct is as an expense to my photography business. Even if you're an amateur photographer, I also recommend you strongly consider Lightroom Classic CC over the standalone versions for the reasons outlined above. If you don't plan to upgrade your camera, don't care for new features, software improvements and speed increases, and/or don't want Photoshop, then Lightroom 6 is still a viable option. <div class="sc-separator type-"thin""></div> How to get a Lightroom Discount 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 67% on Creative Cloud products using this link. Finally it's worth mentioning that you can download a free trial of any of the Adobe products here. <div class="sc-separator type-"thin""></div> Final Words 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 benefits there are by paying for Lightroom in this way. 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 :-) <div class="sc-separator type-"thin""></div> 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. <div class="sc-separator type-"thin""></div> <div class="saboxplugin-wrap" itemtype="http://schema.org/Person" itemscope itemprop="author"><div class="saboxplugin-gravatar"><img src="https://shotkit.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/mark_shotkit_crop.jpg" alt="" itemprop="image"></div><div class="saboxplugin-authorname"><a href="https://shotkit.com/author/mark/" class="vcard author" rel="author" itemprop="url"><span class="fn" itemprop="name">Mark Condon</span></a></div><div class="saboxplugin-desc"><div itemprop="description"><p>Mark Condon is a British wedding photographer based in Australia and the founder of Shotkit.</p>
</div></div><div class="saboxplugin-web "><a href="https://shotkit.com" target="_blank" >https://shotkit.com</a></div><div class="clearfix"></div><div class="saboxplugin-socials "><a target="_blank" href="https://facebook.com/shotkit" rel="nofollow" class="saboxplugin-icon-grey"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="sab-facebook" role="img" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 264 512"><path fill="currentColor" d="M76.7 512V283H0v-91h76.7v-71.7C76.7 42.4 124.3 0 193.8 0c33.3 0 61.9 2.5 70.2 3.6V85h-48.2c-37.8 0-45.1 18-45.1 44.3V192H256l-11.7 91h-73.6v229"></path></svg></span></a><a target="_blank" href="https://instagram.com/shotkit" rel="nofollow" class="saboxplugin-icon-grey"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="sab-instagram" role="img" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 448 512"><path fill="currentColor" d="M224.1 141c-63.6 0-114.9 51.3-114.9 114.9s51.3 114.9 114.9 114.9S339 319.5 339 255.9 287.7 141 224.1 141zm0 189.6c-41.1 0-74.7-33.5-74.7-74.7s33.5-74.7 74.7-74.7 74.7 33.5 74.7 74.7-33.6 74.7-74.7 74.7zm146.4-194.3c0 14.9-12 26.8-26.8 26.8-14.9 0-26.8-12-26.8-26.8s12-26.8 26.8-26.8 26.8 12 26.8 26.8zm76.1 27.2c-1.7-35.9-9.9-67.7-36.2-93.9-26.2-26.2-58-34.4-93.9-36.2-37-2.1-147.9-2.1-184.9 0-35.8 1.7-67.6 9.9-93.9 36.1s-34.4 58-36.2 93.9c-2.1 37-2.1 147.9 0 184.9 1.7 35.9 9.9 67.7 36.2 93.9s58 34.4 93.9 36.2c37 2.1 147.9 2.1 184.9 0 35.9-1.7 67.7-9.9 93.9-36.2 26.2-26.2 34.4-58 36.2-93.9 2.1-37 2.1-147.8 0-184.8zM398.8 388c-7.8 19.6-22.9 34.7-42.6 42.6-29.5 11.7-99.5 9-132.1 9s-102.7 2.6-132.1-9c-19.6-7.8-34.7-22.9-42.6-42.6-11.7-29.5-9-99.5-9-132.1s-2.6-102.7 9-132.1c7.8-19.6 22.9-34.7 42.6-42.6 29.5-11.7 99.5-9 132.1-9s102.7-2.6 132.1 9c19.6 7.8 34.7 22.9 42.6 42.6 11.7 29.5 9 99.5 9 132.1s2.7 102.7-9 132.1z"></path></svg></span></a><a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/shotkit" rel="nofollow" class="saboxplugin-icon-grey"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="sab-twitter" role="img" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 512 512"><path fill="currentColor" d="M459.37 151.716c.325 4.548.325 9.097.325 13.645 0 138.72-105.583 298.558-298.558 298.558-59.452 0-114.68-17.219-161.137-47.106 8.447.974 16.568 1.299 25.34 1.299 49.055 0 94.213-16.568 130.274-44.832-46.132-.975-84.792-31.188-98.112-72.772 6.498.974 12.995 1.624 19.818 1.624 9.421 0 18.843-1.3 27.614-3.573-48.081-9.747-84.143-51.98-84.143-102.985v-1.299c13.969 7.797 30.214 12.67 47.431 13.319-28.264-18.843-46.781-51.005-46.781-87.391 0-19.492 5.197-37.36 14.294-52.954 51.655 63.675 129.3 105.258 216.365 109.807-1.624-7.797-2.599-15.918-2.599-24.04 0-57.828 46.782-104.934 104.934-104.934 30.213 0 57.502 12.67 76.67 33.137 23.715-4.548 46.456-13.32 66.599-25.34-7.798 24.366-24.366 44.833-46.132 57.827 21.117-2.273 41.584-8.122 60.426-16.243-14.292 20.791-32.161 39.308-52.628 54.253z"></path></svg></span></a><a target="_blank" href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNm78q7KhQ0ncjcPpumWkRQ" rel="nofollow" class="saboxplugin-icon-grey"><svg aria-hidden="true" class="sab-youtube" role="img" xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 576 512"><path fill="currentColor" d="M549.655 124.083c-6.281-23.65-24.787-42.276-48.284-48.597C458.781 64 288 64 288 64S117.22 64 74.629 75.486c-23.497 6.322-42.003 24.947-48.284 48.597-11.412 42.867-11.412 132.305-11.412 132.305s0 89.438 11.412 132.305c6.281 23.65 24.787 41.5 48.284 47.821C117.22 448 288 448 288 448s170.78 0 213.371-11.486c23.497-6.321 42.003-24.171 48.284-47.821 11.412-42.867 11.412-132.305 11.412-132.305s0-89.438-11.412-132.305zm-317.51 213.508V175.185l142.739 81.205-142.739 81.201z"></path></svg></span></a></div></div>

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

Now things are a bit more complicated…

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

(If you’re also interested in how to buy Photoshop, I’ll discuss this here too.)

What’s the Best Way to Buy Lightroom?

Despite all the other software available to edit and organise your photos in 2019, 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 3 options depending on your needs.

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

1 | (RECOMMENDED) Photography Plan with 1TB of Cloud Storage

(See latest price here)

This is what I use. It’s a great value option if you only need Lightroom and 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)

2 | Lightroom CC Plan

(See latest price here)

This is the option if you don’t require Photoshop, and includes:

  • Lightroom CC
  • Full Lightroom Mobile Functionality
  • Your own portfolio website and social media tools
  • 1TB of cloud storage (about 20,000 raw DSLR images or 200,000 JPEGs)

3 | Creative Cloud All Apps

(See discounted price here)

According to Adobe this the most popular option. 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
  • Full Mobile App Functionality

One way or another, you need to buy Lightroom! So let’s look at the options available to you in 2019 to acquire this amazing software and the pros and cons of each.

OPTION #1

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.

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, best optimized version of Lightroom

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

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).

4) 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.

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 in the CONS section).

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.

OPTION #2

Buy Lightroom 6 Outright

buy lightroom 6 amazon

You can still buy Lightroom 6 (the non-subscription version) from Amazon… but hurry up!

[UPDATE: As of Feb 2019, Adobe is no longer offering the standalone Lightroom 6. Here on Amazon is currently the only location remaining to purchase it.]

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 was 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?!

Unfortunately, Adobe is no longer selling Lightroom 6 as a standalone product. However, if you hurry, you can still get it at Amazon here.

Before you make your purchase, 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

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

This is a huge con of buying Lightroom 6 in 2019. 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:

  • 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

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

How Much does Lightroom Cost?

Lightroom 6 standalone

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

Obviously, if you buy Lightroom outright as a standalone product, there’s only one cost. You can check the latest price at Amazon here for comparison, but it’s usually about $150.

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, 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 2019, and for the huge benefits, I’m happy to deduct is as an expense to my photography business.

Even if you’re an amateur photographer, I strongly recommend you consider Lightroom Classic CC over the standalone version.

Despite the emergence of several alternatives to Lightroom, I still believe paying for the subscription version of Lightroom is still the number one option.

However, 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 Lightroom 6 is still a viable option.

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 60% 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 60% 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.

Bonus 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 need to upgrade to the All Apps plan (since I already subscribe to the Photography Plan).

This doesn’t bother me at all, since 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.

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 opt for standalone Lightroom 6 or the subscription plan.

FAQ

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 – click to expand each answer.

What is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom?
Sometimes Lightroom is referred to rather confusingly as ‘Photoshop Lightroom’. It is the same thing.
Can you Still Buy Lightroom
Technically, yes, you can buy Adobe Lightroom 6 via this link, although it’s questionable how much longer you’ll be able to do that.
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 still available to purchase outright here.
Is Lightroom better than Photoshop?
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.

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 :-)

The Best Way to Buy Lightroom in 2019

Click here to buy what I use everyday

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.

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64 Comments

  1. 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 owner..you 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 :-)

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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…

  5. 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?

  6. 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:
    https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/kb/serialize-lightroom-cc-trial-to-activate-as-lightroom-6.html

    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…

  7. 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 ;-)

  8. 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

  9. 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,
    Scott

    • 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!

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