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Buying Lightroom used to be simple. All you had to do was buy the full version of the program, and upgrade if you wished every time a new version came out. But ever since Adobe announced the Creative Cloud subscription service, photographers have been faced with two choices. You can still go for the standalone version, or you can buy Lightroom as part of a Creative Cloud monthly membership.
But how do you know which is the best option for you? Read on to find out. For photographers who had already purchased the full version of Photoshop this represented a significant price increase. Not only was subscribing more expensive in the long run, compared to upgrading Photoshop regularly, but the license to use the software expired once monthly payments stopped.
Read about this on forums and photography websites and you will still come across a lot of negativity towards the Creative Cloud subscription model, especially from Photoshop users upset at the loss of a perpetual licence. But today, I aim to cut through this negativity and take an objective look at the differences between the two options.
Two types of Lightroom users To start, we have to acknowledge that there are two types of Lightroom users. The first uses Lightroom in conjunction with Photoshop and wants access to both programs. For this user, the Creative Cloud option is the only choice if you want the latest version of Photoshop CC.
Alternatively, if you own a version of Photoshop CS and are not bothered about upgrading to Photoshop CC, you can buy the standalone version of Lightroom and use them together. The second type of user carries out the bulk of their image processing in Lightroom. These users may be wondering whether to continue using the standalone version of the software or to subscribe.
At the moment a new version of Lightroom comes out approximately every 18 months. As a standalone version user you get free upgrades until a full new version comes out. So, if you upgraded to Lightroom 5. But when Lightroom 6 comes out, you will need to pay the upgrade fee to use it.
Adobe have stressed their commitment to continuing the standalone version of Lightroom for the foreseeable future. Click the All Products button at the bottom, scroll down to Lightroom and click Buy. Or you can also find it here on Amazon. What the Creative Cloud subscription gives you The Creative Cloud subscription is more expensive, so what do you get for that extra money? There are several additional features that may interest some people, such as 2GB of online storage space, access to Lightroom Web and the ability to use Photoshop CC and Lightroom on multiple machines although not at the same time.
What happens when the Creative Cloud license ends? If you stop paying your subscription fee you no longer have the right to use the full versions of Photoshop CC and Lightroom. Photoshop will stop working completely or at least until you renew the subscription. But Lightroom is different. Bear in mind that with Lightroom your Raw files are untouched.
The edits you make are stored in the Catalog. If you lose access to the Catalog, you lose access to all the edits you have made to your images, including all post-processing.
So does your post-processing, and the ability to make basic edits to photo files using the Quick Develop panel. You can also export your photos any time you want.
You need to have Lightroom Version 5. Conclusion Hopefully you are now clearer about how the two ways of buying Lightroom differ, and which is best for you. If you want to use the most up to date version of Photoshop CC, or Lightroom Mobile, then the Creative Cloud subscription service is the choice for you.
What do you think? Have Adobe got it right with the price and services offered for the Creative Cloud Photography plan? Do you use the Creative Cloud version of Lightroom or the standalone version?
Please let us know in the comments. Mastering Lightroom: