Lightroom Adobe Certified Expert Exam

This one kind of snuck by a lot of folks but Adobe actually launched a Lightroom Adobe Certified Expert exam (ACE). I’m planning on taking it soon, but a few projects have put that on hold. I do hope to give you a full review / lessons learned / low-down on the exam as soon as I do. In the meantime, if you’re absolutely dying to take it I can personally recommend the exam prep from I’ve been recommending their Photoshop ACE Exam Aid for years. It’s simply the best out there. I’ve looked at their Lightroom exam aid and I think it’s spot on.

Anyway, are you thinking of taking the exam or have you already taken the Lightroom (or Photoshop) ACE exam? Let us know why or why not in the comments section.



  1. richard vallon 8 September, 2013 at 20:47 Reply

    It seems foolish to have to be re-certified each year- esp if LR new versions slow down…
    Perhaps much better to be Certified to a particular version- with an addendum to add the new version- but this makes too much sense and would not make as much money…

  2. Gary 25 December, 2009 at 08:22 Reply

    I just took Lightroom 3 and it was in beta format. Adobe contacted me via email for a free voucher and asked if I wanted to take it. I am in the Chicago area and maybe you turds didn’t know that they are already on to LR3. If so, you suck complete ass. You should probably take up another hobby or profession. Grow some pubes already mmkay.

  3. Colin(Spider) 2 March, 2009 at 11:17 Reply

    Hi there again – for whats it worth – I sat the Lightroom ACE exam + passed and it was based on Lightoom 1.x – not Lightroom 2.x – the qualification I recieved is listed
    “Adobe Certified Expert – Photoshop Lightroom ( v.1) Complete All.”
    So the exam is based on Lightoom 1.x
    Best wishes from sunny Scotland

  4. Colin (Spider) 11 February, 2009 at 06:28 Reply

    Hi there,
    I am going to sit the Lightoom ACE exam (well it’s booked for next Tues however I might re-scedule if it’s LR1) – as per Øystein question- does anyone know if the current exam 9A0-059 is based on LR1 or LR2 ? and if it’s LR1 hen is LR2 exam appearing ?
    Best wishes from snowy Scotland

  5. Øystein 20 January, 2009 at 08:12 Reply

    A lot of nice info here.
    I’m considering this ACE within a short time, but haven’t been able to find out if the exam now is updated to match LR2, or if it’s still LR1.


  6. James Ulibarri 8 December, 2008 at 02:18 Reply

    I fully agree with Matt Kloskowski. I’ve watched his Photoshop ACE video and it’s really good. I’ve also purchased the PS Examaid testing guide. And i’ve gone back and forth with a friend how this certification is “useless” and how a portfolio holds all the water to gain employment. I say, don’t take it then if it’s not for you. For me, I’m glad the ACE exams exist. I think it forces you to know things a regular designer doesn’t deal with on a daily basis. Which in turn is your leg up over the non certified.

    To be honest, i’m finding the Examaid and the questions extremely challenging. I’m struggling big gime. Help File opened up, Photoshop launched, and Exaimaid running and i’m sucking air! The test is something else. I hope to take it in a month. But it’s bruttle.

  7. gantico 1 October, 2008 at 21:56 Reply

    I passed today the exam and I can add that Adobe certifications has helped me in getting involved with some training centers and schools for interesting collaborations.

    I wasn’t able to pinpoint exactly which version of Lightroom 1 was taken as reference for the current exam. I think it was at least 1.1, but what would you recommend to people preparing the exam? is better to concentrate on Lightroom 1.4?

    a few more words on my personal experience for this certification:

  8. Igno 25 July, 2008 at 16:08 Reply

    Hi There,
    I took the exam after working with Lightroom for a bit – and the day before the exam, I scanned Scott’s Lightroom book. One of the fairest exams in terms of what is covered… If one uses the program, it’s easy, but one recommendation that’s worked for me is, before you write, teach the programme once to someone else (or a class), it’s incredible how much you learn when you teach. Thks for a great site, Matt. From:

  9. Nathaniel Coalson 18 July, 2008 at 13:40 Reply

    I have ACEs for both Photoshop and Lightroom. As a self-employed instructor and author I’ve found certification adds a lot of credibility in the minds of clients/students. Well worth the time and cost for me.

  10. Shangara Singh 18 July, 2008 at 06:03 Reply

    David, let me have the questionable questions and I will look into it. In the past, while we have found minor mistakes, we have also found the user was mistaken.

    As for exam aids being overpriced, they are cheaper now than they were in 2001! All our price increases have been swallowed up by inflation and the weak dollar (we are UK based), neither of which we have control over.

  11. David 18 July, 2008 at 05:29 Reply

    The exams do not guarantee anything in terms of employment but they will show any prospective employer or client who understands the concept that you are willing and able to go one step further to demonstrate your abilities.

    Among peers it will show that you have proved a level of knowledge beyond the dabble and play. Whether or not your peers think it was easy is irrelevant. I find a fifty mile bike ride easy and very achievable by anyone willing put in some effort. Simple fact is, most people are not willing to put forth the effort.

    Ace exams and certification require a different knowledge of the applications. It is the preparation for the questions that sets you apart more than the actual questions themselves.

    The price point of the tests may seem high but I believe it reflects the value one may apply to a given product or service. If they charged $50 would you be more likely to take the test? Perhaps. But if they charged $50 would you study as hard knowing that a fail won’t break the bank?

    Set the price at $250 with a mulligan and I think you will have a different attitude towards taking the exam, studying for it and a lot more respect from those willing to take it with you.

    With regard to the Exam Aids- while I have found them a valuable tool for preparation and self test I also found at least 3 questions with answers that were (no pun intended) questionable and at least one that was flat out wrong. It is the aids that I feel are overpriced, not the test. Having noted the errors I should point out that rather like reverse psychology, it actually forced me to find the correct answer. So in essence it did its job but with a concern for the accuracy.

    I would encourage anyone to take the exam with no expectations of the certification other than to make you more knowledgeable about your software. Much like going to school or college, it is not the end result and piece of paper that you should be focussing on but the steps along the way that enable you to obtain that result.

    For those wondering about version 2.0 – study for the current test, take the current test, and be glad you did when the next version is released.

  12. Shangara Singh 17 July, 2008 at 04:40 Reply

    Matt, thanks for the kind words about our exam aids. I was very lucky to have Sean McCormack tech edit as he is one hell of a busy guy.

    The release of the Lightroom exam was really badly timed, IMO. In fact, all exams were released late this cycle but the Lightroom exam especially considering Lightroom 2.0 beta was already available. I think they could’ve held off till after it was released.

    I don’t expect corresponding exam to be released on the heals of Lightroom 2.0 but only the people working on the official exams know for sure. I thought twice about writing the exam aid (lots of hard work, limited shelf life) but in the end decided to lay the ground work for version 2.0.

    Can I just say, while you can pass the ACE exam using the corresponding application regularly and by studying its help file (we say our exam aids shouldn’t be used in isolation from the application), it will NOT prepare you for the actual exam — unless you have a natural aptitude for passing exams.

    Studying for the exam and passing it requires a different approach to using an application, which can become habitual and intuitive, or laziness can set in because if a command isn’t in one menu, you can rummage around in the other menus till you find it. That’s something you cannot afford to do when answering a cold question.

    The difference between passing and failing can be just one question, so you better be prepared to answer some tough questions and some NOT so tough questions that you think you may know the answers to but do you really?

  13. Cris Holdorph 16 July, 2008 at 16:14 Reply

    Matt, I agree that if you in a photography based business and you are interested in getting new clients it could potentially be useful. But that somewhat depends on the clients. For example, I don’t think Adobe Certified in Lightroom, will mean much to average consumers who are looking to hire photographers. So, I still feel like it’s only going to be useful if you’re looking for a new job. Maybe there are some higher end clients that I have no insight to, that it would help.

  14. Frank R 16 July, 2008 at 15:56 Reply

    I have taken the Lightroom ACE exam and passed it. I beleive if you use Lightroom on a regular basis and spend some time reviewing a couple of the better books that are available, passing it should not be too much of a problem. I have found the Photoshop ACE exams (CS2, CS3, etc) to be much more challanging. It also helps that I teach both Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop Lightroom in a college level photo technology program. I find it well worth the effort and the price of admission to be able to display the credentials of certified instructor for both products.

  15. Matt Kloskowski 16 July, 2008 at 14:47 Reply

    Good thoughts Cris,
    Here’s the thing: Whether you’re looking for a job or own your own company the certification tells people you mean business. We might not think it means much because we know anyone who studies hard enough can pass it regardless of how good a photographer they are. But clients don’t know that. Your average person sees “Adobe Certified Expert” and thinks “WOW! That’s cool.” and if it brings in just 1 more client a year isn’t it worth it? Maybe not for everyone but I bet for most people it is.
    And if you’re not ever looking for a job and never looking for new clients or new/more business, well then I commend you. You’re in a very good place.

    Matt K

  16. Hexabuzz 16 July, 2008 at 14:43 Reply

    I think anyone who says an ACE exam is easy has never taken one…

    I have a running bet with coworkers that I will put up the money for them to take an ACE – if they pass, it’s on me… If they fail, they pay me back… When they look at the sample questions, and the topics covered, they get really quiet… Nobody has taken me up on my offer yet… Having Sat through my ACEs and recerts for Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, I can say that Lightroom, while not “easy” is certainly the most reasonable of the exams I have taken in terms of the questions. Unlike other ACE exams, nothing struck me as off the wall, or as not having a reasonable answer, or relevance to knowledge of the application.

    As with any ACE, if you combine a solid familiarity in all aspects of the program coupled with the specifics of the explanations of topics in the Help files, I think you will find, as I did, that the Lightroom ACE is a fair, thorough test of your skills.


  17. Roger 16 July, 2008 at 12:55 Reply


    I concur, Examaids is a great prep tool. I used it to prep for the Photoshop certification test. Good luck taking your test (but I think you already know Lighroom inside and out).

  18. Cris Holdorph 16 July, 2008 at 12:37 Reply

    Matt, What you say is true, but I don’t think you’re disagreeing with “AReader” as much as you think. Depending on your point of view ANY certification exam in ANY field is useless, unless there is a reason you need it. You’ve explained one reason to possibly need it. You’re interviewing for a job where they might look for that certification. What if I already have a solid business, I have no intention of changing jobs. Do I need a new certification? Probably not.

    So I have to agree with AReader. Think about it before just taking the exam because you can pass it. If you’re not going to be interviewing for a job any time soon, then it does seem like a waste of money. If you’re just trying to cover your bases, for future job instability. Keep in mind in the future there may be a newer version of the thing you’re trying to be certified for. Take the many many versions of Photoshop as an example. I doubt a Photoshop certification I got 9 years ago, will help me now.

    So, while it does help set you apart if you’re looking for a job. If you’re not looking for a job it doesn’t do too much for you.

  19. Matt Kloskowski 16 July, 2008 at 09:48 Reply

    Thanks for the feedback folks. I have to respectfully disagree with nameless “AReader” though. Well, not totally disagree though as I do agree that the $150 price is a bit steep. However, I don’t know anyone who has walked out of an Adobe test and thought it was easy. Personally, I find difficult questions on every single Photoshop test I take and I think I’m pretty good at the program itself. I expect the LR test to be the same.

    Next, as for how meaningful certification exams are. How else is an employer able to sift through a mountain of resumes? I would expect anyone to pick out the ones that “look” the best. Here’s my thoughts and I’m going to use a story to demonstrate. When I was in college back in the early 90’s I had a good time and partied a lot. However, I always went to class and always made sure I had a good GPA. All of my buddies skipped class a lot and made fun of me (even though I still partied with them every night). They kept saying that a GPA doesn’t matter and employers only care that you got the degree and can do the job well. Guess what. When we graduated, guess who got the first, best, and highest paid job out of my group of friends? Me. Every single employer I met with cited my GPA as one of the reasons they brought me in for the interview (the same places my friends applied for but never got an interview). In the end, the GPA was a way in the door. It didn’t close the deal but it put me in a better position to close the deal with all of the stuff that did matter. I feel the same way about certifications. If it gets you in front of just one more client or one more potential employer then it’s totally worth it. It’s just another thing can separate you from the masses. Should you be hired on that certification? Nope – no way. That’s misusing it. But should you be pushed to the front of the line because you have it? Absolutely! Then it’s up to you to impress that client or employer with your skills and close the deal.

    Anyway, thanks again for the thoughts.

    Matt K

  20. Ralph 16 July, 2008 at 03:27 Reply

    I did the PS exam a few years back and I can recommend the prep from as well…. but, when you apply for a job, the truth is, knowing PS (or LR) from top to bottom doesn’t make you a good designer….

  21. AReader 16 July, 2008 at 03:05 Reply

    These exams cost way to much money and the questions asked are
    ridiculusly too easy. You are only going to need it if you want to apply
    for a job that requires you to proove LR skills on paper. The certification
    industry is a big bussines. The sad thing is that employers misuse the
    presence/absense of an examn to sort out applications. Not because
    the certificates show that you are good at LR (it doesn’t) but because it
    makes it easier for them to sort 100+1 applications on their desk.
    Think about it for a minute. Then decide if you really need this paper.

  22. Brian Reyman 15 July, 2008 at 22:29 Reply

    I took the Lightroom ACE a few months ago. I found that with a little studying and solid experience with Lightroom, it’s a very passable test. I found it a fair amount easier than some of the other ACE exams.

    I recommend the ACEs to those I talk to about it. Folks take it seriously to different degrees, but it is always worthwhile to work on setting ourselves apart as experts in our chosen fields.

  23. Sean McCormack 15 July, 2008 at 22:16 Reply

    I actually tech edited that. That’s not to say I didn’t miss anything! It was good fun and I should really take the exam myself! Just been so busy trying to fit in all the extras between the Adobe Press tech edits and my own book!
    Glad you like it Matt.

  24. Seim Effects 15 July, 2008 at 21:58 Reply

    Looking forward hearing about it. I’m temped to look into it. I don’t suppose it’s essential since I know I can use LR well, and that’s all by business needs. Still it might be nice to get official.

    Gavin Seim
    Seim Effects

  25. Mike Zupan 15 July, 2008 at 18:51 Reply

    I had seen the “Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2 Classroom in a Book” book on Amazon and figured they might be offering a certification exam this time around. This confirms it.

  26. Mike Paterson 15 July, 2008 at 18:39 Reply

    I haven’t taken any of the ACE exams yet. I really want to. I have been wanting one to come out for Lightroom, so that’s pretty exciting. A reservation though… is there much point in taking it right now with 2.0 right around the corner?

  27. Tim Thompson 15 July, 2008 at 18:32 Reply

    I have not taken the PS ACE exam yet because I am a little afraid and when I was at PS World in Orlando I thought your ACE exam DVD was going to be released soon! I figured that I could use that to improve my weaknesses in PS knowledge… So put it out on DVD already.

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