Lightroom 5 And The Creative Cloud Q&A

Over the last few months I’ve seen more and more people subscribe to the Creative Cloud. Partly because everyone who went to Photoshop World got a free subscription for 1-year and partly because Adobe just announced a photographers bundle where you get Lightroom and Photoshop for $9.99/month.

Anyway, since that’s happened, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about what to do if you already have Lightroom installed when you join the Creative Cloud. So here’s a quick Q&A:

Q. How do I get Lightroom if I join the Creative Cloud?
A. It’s easy. It shows up under your “Apps” tab when you install the Creative Cloud Updater/App Manager.

Q. If I already have Lightroom 5 installed when I join the Creative Cloud, do I need to re-install it?
A. This is probably the most popular question. The answer is no. If you already have Lightroom 5 installed, you don’t need to re-install it once you join the Creative Cloud. You can just use the version you already have installed and everything will work just fine.

Q. Is there an advantage if I do decide to un-install LR5 and install the version from the Creative Cloud app manager?
A. Not really. Everything works exactly the same between the two versions.

Q. What happens if I do decide to uninstall my original pre-Creative-Cloud-subscription version of Lightroom, and install it from the Creative Cloud app manager. Will I lose my catalogs and work?
A. Nope. The Lightroom uninstaller just uninstalls the actual Lightroom application files. It won’t remove your catalogs. When you re-install and launch Lightroom, it usually picks up that you have an existing catalog and asks if you want to open it. If not, you can simply just go to your catalog and double click the .LRCAT file to open Lightroom with that catalog.

Q. What about if I ever decide to unsubscribe from the Creative Cloud? Will I be able to continue using Lightroom? Will I lose all of my Lightroom work?
A. That one kind of depends on which group you fall in to. I know a lot of people just got Lightroom 5 with their creative cloud subscription. But, a lot of people also already owned Lightroom before they subscribed. So…
1) If you didn’t own LR5 before you subscribed to the Creative Cloud, then if you stop your subscription you naturally wouldn’t be able to use Lightroom anymore. However, your Lightroom files (the catalog mainly) will still work just fine. So you could either a) decide to buy just Lightroom and your catalogs will work just fine or, b) you could resubscribe and you’d have access to your catalog files like normal.
2) If you already owned Lightroom 5 before you became a Creative Cloud subscriber, then your catalog will work just fine and you can go about using Lightroom 5 just like you normally would.

I hope this helps clear up a few things about the Creative Cloud versions of Lightroom. Have a great Wednesday!


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  1. Hi there! I need to clear up a lot of space on my computer. I am using LR 5 (creative cloud) now, but purchased LR 3 and installed a few years ago. I don’t open LR3 or use anymore, and would like to delete.
    Stupid question… will uninstalling LR3 compromise any images in LR5?
    Thank you so much!!!

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  2. Hi Matt,

    I like many owned a downloaded version of Lightroom 5 just before I signed up to Creative Cloud which I love and have know issues with at all. I currently use my CC versions on two Macs which is all good and possible and works fine but I would like to know is – 1) can I use my original owned version of LR 5 on a 3rd computer (laptop) for tethered shooting? and 2) if I can how do I get the LR5 version that I own
    outright off my Mac and onto my laptop?
    Hope you can help – thanks. Kevin

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  3. I have been running Lightroom since it became available. I currently have Lightroom 5.4. I then signed up for Lightroom CC. I now have both versions. When I insert a memory card, Lightroom 5 preferentially starts even though un-checked the box under preferences. I have it checked under Lightroom CC. Also, if I open 5. it shows I have an update available. When I click on download it takes me to Lightoom CC website. How do I correct this?

    Thank you,

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  4. I have been using Lightroom 5. Along with PS-CC. Today I installed Lightroom-CC and it will not run. LR-5 still works, but the newly installed LR-CC will not boot up. Do I need to Uninstall LR-5 or is there another issue?

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  5. I want to reinstall lightroom, because my hdd crashed. Now i get on this free trial, while i figure out how to get the paid version back?

    Any tip on how to introduce my serial back?

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  6. I have LR 5.4, and yesterday (5/15/14) I updated my OS on my iMac. NOW Lightroom will NOT recognize my McIntosh HD drive with me as a USER. Before it listed myself as the user and all folders underneath (when I went to import photos); NOW all it says is “USER INFORMATION”. It is NOT recognizing me as a user on this application. WHERE can I correct this? Thanks :)

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  7. Hey Matt-

    Just installed the LR5.4 update in my ‘owned copy’ of LR5 (not CC) and noticed I have lost the ability to sync Exposure adjustments, Lens Profile inclusions when editing .jpgs. As I normally shoot RAW, and it has been eons since i shot .jpgs and edited them in LR, were there any changes in 5.4 which would have eliminated syncing adjustments in .jpg files, or am I falsely remembering that I was able to sync in the past? I’ve been trying to end a way to remove the 5.4 update from my MBP running 10.7.5.



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  8. Hi Matt, Hope i can make this clear. I was trying to update my CC LR5.3 to 5.4 by checking on the CC update in the menus (I use an iMac) however I noticed I only had an update for Photoshop CC. I then noticed that according to the list of programs I have installed LR5 is not one of them! I used to have a purchased copy of LR5 on my iMac but after speaking to Adobe who said the CC wouldn’t adopt that copy I had to download and install the CC copy. So I removed the purchased copy onto a macbook and installed the CC copy onto the iMac. I have the CC copy of LR5 running and it serial no. is different from that of the purchased copy but CC thinks I don’t have it installed. In the list of programs against LR5 its says “install”. Any ideas why that would be?

    When I click on “check for updates” in either copy, CC or purchased it does not give me an update option, it says I am up to date, both are at 5.3. Why would that be?

    Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

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  9. I have photoshop CC and already own LR.5 ..saw. Your piece on LR Mobil and updated to 5.4
    Sign in on the app works but not on LR on the computer..seems adobe is aware of this.
    How did u get yours to work Matt…?
    Very frustrated

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  10. I have been a user of lightroom since beginning and just upgraded to lightroom 5. I wanted to upgrade my Photoshop CS 6, but was unable to find an upgrade on Adobe’s website. I contacted one of their representatives and Adobe, and she tried to sell me the upgrade with the cloud. I told her I was not interested in the cloud and after about 30 min. she finally sent me a link to upgrade to Photoshop CS 6. However the links you sent me was the same one to sell you the full version of Photoshop CS 6.
    I am not finding what the reasoning is behind selling this cloud other then allowing you to store your files on their computers and pay them a fee to do so.
    I hope Adobe does not go to connecting all the programs with this cloud, for they do I think he will end up losing a lot of business.
    I prefer to have my files get stored on my computer and I make my own backups of my files for safekeeping.

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    • Hey Rich – the only big thing that’s different about the CC subscription is that you pay monthly vs owning the software. If you do some research you’ll see that you don’t really store your photos on the cloud. There’s an option to do it if you want, but that’s not really what it’s about. And for $9.99 for LR and Photoshop it’s much cheaper than you paying hundreds of dollars for CS6.

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  11. I still have individual applications for LR 5.2 and PS CS6. Have not migrated to CC. Too much conflict in my mind and I am perfectly happy with the individual applications. I use LR primarily and rarely go into PS for any editing. As long as Adobe keeps releasing LR as a standalone application, then I am sitting on my current arrangement.

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  12. I really don’t like the subscription part when it comes to Lightroom. The reason is simple: I am totally depending on Lightroom to handle my image archive. Not owning a license would make my archive unreachable if I would be unable to pay the subscription fee in the future. To me that is unacceptable.

    A not very good solution would be to stick with my bought Lightroom 5 version and never upgrade.

    Adobe really need to re-think this. In fact I think that is a must. Otherwise Lightroom will be a risk and not a useful tool when it comes to image handling.

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  13. You make it sound so easy Matt, and hopefully, it is now. I had LR4 when I signed up for CC. I then tried to download LR5 under the CC and it would not accept that I was CC member and asked for the 25 digit code to get the program to work. I was not going to do that as I would have had to pay for the upgrade. I spent about eight hours on the phone the experts at Adobe over a period of about 30 days trying to get it fixed. It appears that Adobe finally recognized they had a problem and they came up with a fix. It cost me a lot of time working with Adobe to get this fixed and all-in-all was a very unpleasant experience. I hope they have it fixed permanently now.

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  14. I had a strange issue with LR5.2 yesterday. Every time I tried to open the import dialog in the library, it crashed.

    The only thing that had changed in my system (the day before as it happens) was upgrading from PS CS6 (via CC already) to PS CC. I had an image which I thought I could rescue with the camera shake filter – indeed with a bit of fiddling I got a pretty decent result.

    However, I digress.

    It seems Lightroom didn’t want to play with PS CC’s installtion. I took a deep breath, fully uninstalled CS6, disabled and deleted any incompatible plug-ins, uninstalled the old versions of Lightroom left behind by updates, re-installed all the PS plug-ins to the CC install and everything is OK again.

    I’m confused by my CC Account now, however and need to ask Adobe support to clarify. I was a single app CS6 subscriber under CC, and it would seem they’ve automatically upgraded me to the ‘Photography Package’ as LR CC, and all the other associated add-ons seem to now be available to me.

    If this is the case, I’m a little ticked off as I only upgraded to LR5 just over a month ago…

    On the upside though, I get to keep up to date with all the future releases of LR for no more financial outlay. Bonus!

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  15. I actually spoke with Adobe today and they told me today that I needed to uninstall the LR 5.2 that was pre-CC and then install the CC version of LR. It was my understanding that the pre-CC version of LR would not be recognized by Creative Cloud.

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  16. I had an issue where I was running LR 5.2RC when I installed Creative Cloud. It seems CC recognized my previous install and didn’t re-download it.

    However, for some reason, CC didn’t recognize that I needed to update to the final release of 5.2. Yesterday the Release Candidate quit working and I couldn’t get CC to update it (it said it was up to date).

    My solution was to use the Adobe Uninstaller to removed 5.2RC. Relaunch the CC app, and then use it to re-install 5.2 final release.

    Thought I’d share in case anyone else had an issue.

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  17. Matt: In Adobe´s forums there are comments that say that if you install LR CC “on top” of the existing Lightroom 5.2, you will end up with two installations with two different LR license numbers. The reason being that LR CC gets a brand new license number. Therefore, while both strategies would work, I tend to think that uninstalling LR 5.2 first, and then installing LR CC might make more sense. In any case, this is a confusing issue with conflicting recommendations that Adobe should address…

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  18. hallo,
    i use lr5.2 and recently subscribed to photoshop cc.
    what is the advantage to pay more for lr5.2cc ?
    are we going to have new tools (still waiting for a content aware retouch brush, …) soon instead of waiting for 15 monthes ?
    i read for instance that it was not sure few weeks ago that lr5.2 would have camera raw 8 in lr standard version so i suppose in the case of cc we would have it.

    if i switch to lr cc, no need to pay 99 euros every 15monthes for lr5.2 update but if i decide to stop cc in one year, my 5.2 has become obsolete and i will need to pay again one or two times 99 euros. correct ?

    best regards

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