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//Adobe’s Lightroom Subscription Programs: Frequently Asked Questions

Adobe’s Lightroom Subscription Programs: Frequently Asked Questions

With Adobe’s announcements and releases of October 2017, Lightroom applications – that is, Lightroom Classic and the new cloud-based Lightroom CC – are only available as part of subscriptions. There will be no more perpetual (stand-alone) versions. In this article I will answer common questions about how these subscriptions work, as the word “cloud” introduces some misconceptions.  Lightroom Classic and the cloud-based Lightroom CC work differently, so they are addressed separately below.

Lightroom Subscriptions: Programs and Pricing

Creative Cloud Photography Program Pricing

Creative Cloud Photography Program

  • Lightroom Classic

  • Lightroom CC with 20 GB of storage so you can try it out with a limited number of photos

  • Photoshop CC

$9.99 USD / mo (with annual plan)

$19.99/mo with 1 TB cloud storage; exclusive offer for current CC subscribers: $14.99/mo, first year only.

$10/TB for each additional TB.

Lightroom CC Logo

Lightroom CC

  • Lightroom CC with 1 TB cloud storage

$9.99 USD / mo (with annual plan)

$10/TB for each additional TB.

There is also a “Complete Cloud” option for $49.99/month that includes the whole suite of Adobe creative applications (InDesign, Premier Pro, Illustrator, etc.) Visit Adobe.com to see all pricing plans, including student/teacher and enterprise plans.

Lightroom Classic FAQ

  • Lightroom Classic LogoWill I have to work in a web browser (in the cloud)?

    The Lightroom Classic software resides on your computer, just as Lightroom software always has. There is another component called “Lightroom Web” at lightroom.adobe.com that allows you to import and edit photos in a web browser, but when you are at your own computer you’ll want to use the Lightroom Classic software installed on that computer.

  • Where are my photos and catalog stored?

    They reside on your internal or external hard drive, just as they always have.

  • Can I work when I am not connected to the internet?

    Yes. The only requirement is that you be connected periodically (I think it’s once every 90 days), so that Adobe can verify that your subscription is still active. While you’re not connected you won’t be able to use Classic’s Map module, as that requires a connection to Google, and you won’t be able to sync collections of photos to/from your mobile devices and Lightroom web.

  • How is the “cloud” involved then?

    The only ways the “cloud” (which means Adobe servers / computers), and the internet come into play with Lightroom Classic are:

    • You download software updates.
    • If and when you sync collections of photos from Lightroom Classic to Lightroom mobile (and web), your files go from Lightroom Classic to the cloud (i.e. Adobe computers), and then to your mobile devices. Editing you do on your mobile devices and photos you import into Lightroom mobile travel in the opposite direction back to your desktop.
    • As a Creative Cloud subscriber, you also get 20 GB of cloud storage, which you can optionally use to share files with other people and/or use for Lightroom CC photo storage – but this is not where your Lightroom Classic files are stored, and your syncing from Lightroom Classic to mobile devices does not use this 20 GB.
  • Can I run Lightroom Classic on Multiple Computers?

    Yes – you can install it on as many computers as you want, but you can only activate two at a time, and you cannot use it simultaneously on both computers. Note that there is no automatic process to keep both computers up to date with all your photos and editing. The most straightforward solution is to put your photos and your Classic catalog on an external hard drive and using this with both computers.

  • How Do I Download and Install Lightroom Classic and Updates to It?

    Download and install Adobe’s Creative Cloud application, and then on the Apps tab, click to install or update Lightroom Classic (CC).

  • What happens when I stop subscribing – will I lose my photos and work?

    No – you will not lose either your photos or your Lightroom work. In fact, you won’t even lose access to Lightroom Classic – you’ll just get locked out of making any additional  edits to your photos. You can continue, for free, to use Lightroom Classic to import and manage your photos, enjoy your past editing work or undo this work, and to create output and export copies of your photos.

    Note that your Classic 7 catalog is not backwards compatible – it cannot be used with an older version, so if, for example you cancel your subscription and want to revert to using the perpetual Lightroom 6, it won’t be able to read your catalog. You can, however, save your Classic 7 work out to XMP (Metadata>Save Metadata to files) and then import those files directly into Lightroom 6. You’ll preserve your editing, stars and most other metadata, but you’ll lose step-by-step history, pick/reject flags, virtual copies, collections and snapshots. You’ll also lose any editing you did with features that are new in Classic 7 – for example, your Range Mask work in your adjustment brush edits won’t be applied.

Lightroom CC FAQ

  • Lightroom CC LogoWill I have to work in a web browser (in the cloud)?

    The Lightroom CC software resides on your computer, just as Lightroom software always has. There is another component called “Lightroom Web” at lightroom.adobe.com that allows you to import and edit photos in a web browser, but when you are at your own computer you’ll want to use the Lightroom CC software installed on that computer.

  • Where are my photos and catalog stored?

    The main copies of your photos are stored in the cloud.  You set what level of local disk space usage Lightroom CC is allowed. If, for example, it’s allowed to use 25% of available disk space, Lightroom CC will store some of your files locally on your computer that it thinks you are most likely to use (recently imported or edited, for example) so that they don’t have to be downloaded from the cloud. How many it stores is determined by the 25% calculation. Alternatively, you can choose to store a copy of all of your photo files locally – this will be in addition to the copy in the cloud.

    The catalog, which contains all the work you do, is stored locally and in the cloud. This makes it accessible when you don’t have an internet connection, and when you are on a second computer or on mobile or web.

  • Can I work when I am not connected to the internet?

    Yes, you can. However, until you connect to the internet your photos and work won’t be backed up to the cloud, and therefore won’t make it to mobile, web or your second computer.  Lightroom CC will store all of the files you import while off the internet locally on your hard drive (regardless of whether this exceeds the allowed disk space %). You won’t have access to Lightroom CC’s “Search” feature since that is run from Adobe’s servers,  or “reverse geocoding”, which talks to Google to assign city, state and country to your photos based on GPS coordinates that your camera may assign.

  • Can I run Lightroom CC on Multiple Computers?

    Yes – you can install it on as many computers as you want, but you can only activate two at a time, and you cannot use it simultaneously on both computers. Note that because your photos and work are stored in the Cloud, they will automatically sync to your second computer! (This is the multi-computer workflow that photographers have been asking for, though if those computers are in the same house it would be better to be able to use your internal network rather than an internet connection to sync from one to the other.)

  • What happens when I stop subscribing – will I lose my photos and work?

    No – you will not lose either your photos or your Lightroom CC work. In fact, you won’t even lose access to Lightroom CC – you’ll just get locked out of making any additional  edits to your photos. You can continue, for free, to use Lightroom CC to import and manage your photos, enjoy your past editing work or undo this work, and to export copies of your photos.

    In addition, Adobe will make a utility available that will allow you to download all your assets (and XMP files with your work) from the cloud. After you cancel your subscription you will have up to one year to do so before they will be deleted.  These files can then be imported into Lightroom Classic or another image editor. If they are imported into Classic, your edits will be read from the XMP files and applied. (You will lose information not stored in XMP – pick/reject flags, albums and folders.)

Related Content

There are many big Lightroom-related announcements this week – visit my Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC Resource Page for many more articles and video tutorials!

2017-10-18T08:42:36+00:00 October 18th, 2017|11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Brian October 20, 2017 at 8:22 am - Reply

    Adobe are making moves which do not work for me, so as I do have a choice, walking away is mine. Thank you Laura for your excellent help over the years, I hope you will still have enough clients in time, to make a living that is……

    • Laura Shoe October 20, 2017 at 7:13 pm - Reply

      Sorry to hear it, Brian! You’re welcome, and best wishes with your photography!

  2. Bob Langer October 25, 2017 at 8:23 am - Reply

    If LR Classic functions without any problems on my current desktop I want to be able to access my files from my laptop via Wifi. Having my photos and catalog in the cloud would be necessary. But is this possible?

    • Laura Shoe October 26, 2017 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      Not with Classic, Bob, unless you put your catalog and smart previews in Dropbox (and were very careful with it so as not to corrupt your catalog – be sure to read up on this before attempting.)

      The cloud-based Lightroom CC will keep two computers in sync, and it can be done with a wireless connection, but it will use the internet to send them to Adobe and back down, not just your local home network.

  3. Bob Smailes November 20, 2017 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Hi Laura, great series of summaries, must have been hectic for you but much appreciated. I was a Lightroom CC user and have now moved to Lightroom Classic – at least for the moment. The transition was quite smooth and no problem thanks to your video. If the shortcomings of Lightroom CC are overcome I trust there may be a way of moving to it later.

    • Laura Shoe December 2, 2017 at 10:49 am - Reply

      You’re welcome, Bob! I’m glad it went smoothly.

  4. Peter Olmsted January 1, 2018 at 6:26 am - Reply

    When you Lightroom classic subscription ends can you still see you historical edits and undo previous changes ? If so how is that done?

    • Laura Shoe January 7, 2018 at 12:44 pm - Reply

      You can see the edits in the Develop module and you can reset the photo but you can’t add edits, Peter.

  5. Marti de Alva January 21, 2018 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    Laura, I’m still unsure whether I will continue to have access to Photoshop if I switch to LR Classic? Is it still $9.99/ mo for both programs?

    • Laura Shoe January 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm - Reply

      Yes, it is, Marti.

  6. […] this I mean that if you chose to cancel your subscription, you’re left with the Digital Asset Management (DAM), ie the Library Module, as well as the […]

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