Would You Actually Pay for Lightroom?

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry Leave a Comment

On 3 June this year Adobe released Adobe Camera RAW 8.5.  These updates normally go hand in hand with an update to Lightroom but to date we are yet to see the release of  Lightroom 5.5.

Could this mean Adobe is almost ready to release Lightroom 6.0?

If we look at the release dates for all the previous major updates it might be the case.

  • Lightroom 1.0 – 19 February 2007
  • Lightroom 2.0 – 29 July 2008
  • Lightroom 3.0 – 23 March 2010
  • Lightroom 4.0 – 5 March 2012
  • Lightroom 5.0 – 10 June 2013
  • Lightroom 6.0 – ???
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With the release of Lightroom 5.4 in April  2014 we also the the release of Lightroom Mobile for iPad.

Lightroom Mobile

Sounds great but – and it’s a pretty ominous but – you can only use Lightroom Mobile if you have a Creative Cloud subscription.

As it stands we will not see any new standalone versions of Photoshop being released which means that if you would like to stay up to date with all the updates you have to use Photoshop CC and have a Creative Cloud subscription.  Now Lightroom Mobile is also only available if you have a Creative Cloud subscription.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Is the next, imminent announcement from Adobe that Lightroom 6.0, and future versions, will not be available as a standalone product but only as a part of the Creative Cloud?

So, my question to you is this – should Adobe announce that it will only be available on a subscription basis, would you actually pay for Lightroom on a monthly basis?

Let’s for argument sake say that the current monthly Photographers Creative Cloud subscription of $9,99 is kept as is and you get Lightroom CC, Lightroom Mobile and Photoshop CC would you sign up?

I’m not sure I would.

And judging by what a lot of people are saying online, neither would they and some are aggressively vocal about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I get the subscription model and Adobe has reported great revenue from it but the Creative Cloud is aimed at working professionals – whether graphic designers or pro photographers – who make money from their craft.

Compare this to Lightroom which, I venture to guess, is used by hobbyist photographers, keen amateurs and a handful of professionals.  I would also go as far to say that out of this group a relatively small percentage of photographers actually make a living, or at least a decent income, from their photography.

Would charging a monthly subscription for Lightroom make people close their Lightroom catalogs for the last time and look for an alternative?   If so, and you are one of those people, what would your alternative be?  Aperture?  Problem is that it’s only an option for Mac users. What about Capture One Pro 7 from Phase One?  Perhaps something like Photo Mechanic for cataloging and then just Photoshop for processing?


The other option would be to stay with the current version of Lightroom but in time, and this is a reality for people with a standalone copy of Photo CS6 or earlier, technology will change, new camera profiles will be added and these programs will fall behind with regards to RAW processing power.  I guess all of these questions mean nothing until Adobe makes their next move but I truly hope that they still give us a standalone copy of Lightroom as it is a great product for a huge amount of photographers out there.

Looking at the above options, and the worst case scenario of Lightroom going subscription, I would probably take a good look at Capture One Pro.  Even though the user-interface is not as friendly as Lightroom it feels like the best option for me and it is widely recognised as an incredible RAW processing program.  Also like that you can catalog and manage your images from within the program.

Aperture?  Never been a fan really but would be my second option I guess.

Photoshop on it’s own?  Nope.  For the same reason as Lightroom and having to sign up to the Creative Cloud and let’s be honest, the user interface is just not that friendly to use when you working with a lot of images.

First prize however would be to get the announcement that Lightroom 6.0 is available as a standalone download.

So now I guess we wait.

We wait to see what new features Lightroom 6.0 will bring us – Content Aware would be nice as will the ability to manage single colours with the Special Adjustment Brush- and we wait to see whether we will still be able to purchase the software as a standalone version.

What are your thoughts?  Would you stay with Lightroom if you need to pay a monthly fee?  If not, what software would you look at as your next option?

I love Lightroom so hoping that I do not need to make a change.

Now we wait.

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt

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Comments 0

  1. Peter Connan

    Like you, I hope it remains available as a stand-alone, and like you, I am not sure I am prepared to subscribe.

    However, unlike you I have yet to start investigating the alternatives…
    My intention had been to continue using the version of LR I have now, untill I have a particular need to change. Thank you therefore for the information!

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  2. Fred Vogt

    Like you. I am LR user since 2.0 version and now on LR 5.3 , so paid already a lot for new versions and updates! I sincerely hope the stand alone version will continue, if not I will switch over to Aperture, without any doubt!

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  3. Jacques Blignaut

    That will be really sad if we have to pay subscription for LR as well. I am just starting to enjoy the LR and don’t have any desire to change to another program. This is my hobby and don’t generate any income from it and to pay a monthly fee will not be beneficial. If I really have to change, I might go for the Capture One Pro 7.

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  4. Mark Needham

    Several wildlife photographers here in N. America are moving over to MacPhun software, especially Intensify Pro, which is basically all of the benefits of Nik software with the added ability to use layers (same as Photoshop) – basically a combination of Nik and Photoshop with far better algorithms for definition and dimensionality. Last month, I attended a workshop focusing on this software and was blown away – very cutting edge. Right now, however, it is only available for Mac, but I think that may change in the future. If Adobe moves everything over to a subscription basis, I could see new software programs such as these becoming far more popular.

  5. Steve hutchins

    I would not pay a subscriptiob, but continue to use LR until it was no longer possible. I have used Capture One and it is very powerful, if not very intuitive.

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