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New Survey Shows Most Photographers Use Lightroom For Editing. Not a Big Surprise, but…

… 82% of the photographers in a recent poll on the popular Shotkit.com site use either Lightroom (58%) or Photoshop (22%) or both for their editing. That means a whole lot of photographers use Photoshop and/or Camera Raw as their main editing tool, and to me, that is a big surprise. What are they using to organize their images? Bridge? Ugh.

That all sounds about right, but the most surprising, and honestly most puzzling/frustrating/mind-boggling, is why some folks said they still won’t use Lightroom. That’s right; they don’t like paying a subscription. It’s been ten years, folks. 10 years since Adobe went to the subscription model, but some folks are still that stubborn, digging in their heels. The whole world is going or is in the process of subscription, and these folks want to use Lightroom, but they’re like, “Nope! I’ll pay a monthly fee for everything else in my life, but for some reason, this is where I draw the line.”

I guess they think by holding out, they are somehow “sticking it to the man,” but I have bad news for them. “The Man” has over 26 MILLION Creative Cloud subscribers and growing. Perhaps it’s time to let. It. Go. Just a thought.

Anyway, the results overall are interesting and worth a look, and here’s the link if you’ve got a minute. Thanks to Mark and the crew a Shotkit for sharing these insights. I love seeing the data; they did a great job gathering and sharing it.

One more thing…

Thanks to everyone who came out to my keynote presentation at B&H Photo’s awesome OPTICWEST Conference out in Monterey this week. I did a blog post about a particular part of that really stuck with me. The post is called “I am not a nature photographer (but I played one on a Whale Watch cruise).” Here’s the link.

Have a great weekend, everybody. Enjoy your time in Lightroom. 🙂




  1. primarily 15 January, 2023 at 19:16 Reply

    I use a DxO-based workflow because IMO, IT’S BETTER THAN LIGHTROOM!!! I tried LR few a few months and it was OK, but I find DxO (and Nik–I know, you can use that as a LR/PS plug-in) more versatile and it provides better results. I come from a film background and print my work. Maybe those who focus on posting have a different perspective. DxO feels more like a darkroom experience and their film looks are unequalled (although I always tweak things a bit when I use any preset, as real or simulated film doesn’t always achieve the exact look I want). Also, they do update the programs, so you’re not stuck with “vintage” software. Besides, if it works, who cares when it came out. Further, before even experimenting with LR/PS, I used Corel AfterShot Pro3, which worked as well as LR and I was able to get that along with PaintShop Pro Ultimate (as good as PS) for about US$80 as I recall–even with extra-cost plug-ins, that’s less than a year’s Adobe subscription and the yearly version updates to PSPU can be had for $40 (and I only get every other one). Even the free SilkyPix that comes with Lumix cameras works very well. I just wanted even more precise control plus better NR, so I went with DxO.

    I will say that I was really annoyed at Adobe’s subscription model as I like to own things, not rent them (and do they work offline?). That’s part of the reason I considered other options, but I’m glad I did. Part of being an artist is having your own, unique look, and using the same tools as millions of others is not helpful in that regard (obviously, it’s the way you use them that counts, but still–I’m not one to do something just because others are–I prefer bourbon barrel-aged imperial stouts to Bud Light as well).

    Bottom line: Just as gear doesn’t really matter (other than having the right FL), just about any RAW processing software can produce great results in the right hands.

  2. Colin 30 November, 2022 at 07:49 Reply

    Even though I’ve been paying the subscription for ten years I’ve still not paid as much as I would have for the perpetual licence for LR and PS even if I had only updated it every few years.

    I don’t understand the problem.

  3. Mark Casebeer 14 November, 2022 at 06:02 Reply

    I don’t get why some photographers bash the subscription model. The photographer’s bundle at 10.00 bucks a month for two powerful apps is a steal for any serious photographer. I also resisted and was upset when Adobe went to this model. But after seeing how Adobe has advanced LR & PS year after year, I feel it’s a bargain. If you remember back in the days before the subscription model, Adobe was probably the #1 pirated software. The creative cloud changed that. In the end, it’s still a choice, no need to bash a company for making sound business decisions.

    • Scott Kelby 18 November, 2022 at 11:57 Reply

      Hi, Mark: People also quickly forget that with the non-subscription model, you had to pay for every update – usually between $99 and $150, which happened about every 18 months to two years. You also had to wait 18 months to two years to get any new features. That was brutal. So, it’s not like you paid the money, and then you were set – you still had paid updates along the way. During the ten years since Adobe went to the subscription model, there would have been at least five paid updates released along the way, if not more.

  4. TW 11 November, 2022 at 07:47 Reply

    My old Lightroom perpetual license version works great for my commercial and art photography. Your “ugh” isn’t a reason to have spent a thousand dollars – so far – on an Adobe subscription for those of us who don’t receive payments from them the way you do. Please be less derisive towards the many of your fans and other readers who haven’t made the same decision you have.

      • John H 14 November, 2022 at 21:27 Reply

        Ouch. BAM! (Hilarious.)

        Ten bucks a month is a bargain, and less than I pay for other subscription services. (Satellite radio, Amazon Prime, trash removal, cell phone, cable TV, internet service, Netflix, gym membership, so forth.) I could always go back to one of my old perpetual license versions, but Adobe keeps making Lightroom better and better, so I’m happy with the subscription model. Thanks for all you do for the LR community.

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