For the last couple of years, it’s been a subject of great debate… will Adobe keep selling Lightroom as a perpetual (standalone) license or not? We finally have an official answer…
Adobe will continue to sell Lightroom 6 as a perpetual license, but Lightroom 7 and future versions will only be available to Creative Cloud subscribers. The majority of Lightroom users have moved over to subscription and it’s reached a point that the additional testing needed for perpetual licenses is no longer profitable. Whether we like it or not, in this world of Dropbox, Netflix and Amazon Prime, subscriptions have become the norm.
So what now?
So the question is, if you’re a perpetual user, what do you do now? There’s a few choices:
- Complain vehemently to Adobe. This might make you feel better temporarily, however it’s not going to change Adobe’s mind at this point, and probably isn’t good for your health.
- Carry on as if nothing happened for now. Adobe will continue to add new camera support to Lightroom 6 until the end of the year (6.13 is due for release on October 26), and even at that point, your perpetual version of Lightroom will not spontaneously combust. You can carry on using it as you have on every other day. You’re not being forced to switch or make any decisions about your future photography software today.If you buy a new camera released in 2018 or later, then you’ll need to make a decision about your choice of software. If you shoot JPEG, your current Lightroom version will still work. If you shoot raw, you have 3 choices:
- Sign up for the Photography Plan at $9.99 a month to get the latest version of Lightroom Classic, which supports your new camera (or the Lightroom CC plan, if you like the idea of moving to the cloud-native app).
- Use the FREE DNG Converter to convert the proprietary raw files to DNG format, which your older version of Lightroom will be able to understand. (And while you’re there, complain to your camera manufacturer for using proprietary raw formats.)
- Use alternative raw processing software, such as the software that ships with your camera. (But then you lose out on the benefits of Lightroom, of course. The grass is rarely greener on the other side.)
- Sign up for the Photography Plan or Lightroom CC subscription to always have the latest version of Lightroom.
Is it worth signing up for a Creative Cloud subscription?
If you’ve been considering a Creative Cloud subscription, now is a great time to sign up. You’d likely be spending out on a Lightroom upgrade about now anyway, which would cover much of the cost of your first year’s CC subscription. The Creative Cloud Photography Plan costs just $9.99 USD (plus local sales taxes) / £9.98 GBP (incl. VAT) a month, with a 1 year minimum term. With the Photography Plan subscription, you get:
- All the latest and greatest Lightroom features.
- Lightroom iOS/Android premium features, such as raw photo editing, selective editing and sync.
- 20GB of Lightroom mobile/web sync space, allowing you to access your Lightroom photos on your mobile devices, and automatically upload your phone/tablet photos to your desktop catalog.
- The latest version of Photoshop CC.
So are the new features worth having? Since Lightroom 6.0, the major new features have included:
- 2015.1 – Dehaze tool which magically removes atmospheric haze from photos with a single slider movement.
- 2015.1 – Local Whites/Blacks in the Adjustment Brush / Graduated Filter / Radial Filter.
- 2015.4 – Improved panorama merge with boundary warp, to fill in the gaps around the edge of your merged panorama.
- 2015.6 – Guided Upright tool for correcting tilted or skewed perspectives in your photos by drawing lines on your photo.
- 2015.7 – Prefer smaller smart previews when editing to improve performance.
- 2015.7 – Adobe Stock integration.
- 2015.8 – Reference view in the Develop module, so you can match the photo you’re editing to another photo.
- 7.0 – Range mask for complex local adjustment masks.
- 7.0 – Embedded preview workflow for faster culling.
- Ongoing – Performance improvements.
- Ongoing – The mobile apps have also made great strides including the addition of raw import, an advanced camera, selective editing (local adjustments), metadata editing and more.
Many of the Lightroom engineers are new to the team, and while that’s resulted in a few bumps in the road over the last year or two, while they’ve come up to speed, it also means they’ve brought great enthusiasm to Lightroom’s development and are starting to address some of the long-term requests. The future is bright!
If you’ve struggled with file management or the complexity of Lightroom, and you have a fast internet connection, you might prefer to consider the new cloud-native Lightroom CC app. You can read about the differences here.
But what if Adobe hikes the price?
It’s been $9.99 a month since Adobe released the photography bundle in 2013. There have been a few regional variations for differences in local taxes and currency exchange rates, however these have caused prices in some regions to go down as well as up. There’s no question, the price will have to increase someday, but let’s be honest, if the increases are unreasonable, everyone would just jump ship.
Do I have to be online all the time to use Lightroom Classic or Lightroom CC?
You don’t need constant internet access to use Lightroom Classic. You briefly need internet access to activate Lightroom. It also “phones home” now and again to check your subscription status, but you can be offline for up to 99 days before it reverts to a limited mode (no Develop, Map or Sync). A fast internet connection is useful for Lightroom mobile sync features, of course.
What happens if I cancel my subscription?
If you cancel your subscription, Lightroom goes into a limited mode. You’re not locked out! All of your photos and the work you’ve done to them is still accessible. Only specific features stop working: the Develop module, the Map module and Lightroom Sync. (If you never completed your trial, it may go back into trial mode before reverting to limited mode.)
In the limited mode, you can still import new photos, use the Library module to organize them, use Quick Develop to do basic edits, use the Book module to create books, use the Slideshow module to create slideshows, use the Print module to print your photos, use the Web module to update your web galleries, and export your photos, just as you could before.
How do I switch from a perpetual license to subscription?
The switch from a perpetual license to subscription is very simple. Here are the steps:
1. Click here to sign up:
(If you use the purchase links on this page, I receive a small percentage of your payment at no cost to you, which helps support this site. Thank you for your support!)
2. Download and install the Creative Cloud app.
3. Open the Creative Cloud app and sign in. This is used to manage installations, activations and updates.
4. If you want to upgrade to the latest release (Lightroom Classic CC 7.0), click to install Lightroom Classic CC. When you open Lightroom Classic, it asks for permission to upgrade a copy of your catalog.
If you want to use Lightroom CC 2015.12, which is the previous release (likely fewer bugs, as it’s not a x.0 release), click the arrow to the right of the Lightroom Classic CC Install button and select Other Versions. You’ll find Lightroom CC 2015.12 in the list. Opening your Lightroom 6 catalog into 2015.12 doesn’t need to upgrade the catalog format.
There are 5 more posts related to this series of announcements:
- The Future of Lightroom
- What’s New in Lightroom Classic October 2017 (7.0)?
- Lightroom CC 1.0 Released!
- Lightroom CC vs. Lightroom Classic – Which Do I Need?
- What’s New in Lightroom iOS/Android October 2017 Releases?
I know you’ll have loads of questions, so I’ve written free Quick Start eBooks, available for download later today
More extensive books for both Lightroom Classic 7.0 and Lightroom CC will be available soon in eBook and paperback formats, and I’ll let you know as soon as they’re released.