Lightroom Tips

The Secret News About Lightroom 5.5

Okay, maybe the news isn’t so secret anymore, but I wanted to post this quick video that Scott and I did because I think it’s addressing a concern of a lot of photographers out there. See, a bunch of people are jumping on the Adobe Photography Bundle where you get Lightroom and Photoshop for $9.99/month.

Since then, there’s a question I’ve been hearing a lot lately and Adobe’s done something pretty cool to answer it. The question comes in two ways:
1) I just signed up for the photography bundle and I’m using Lightroom. But what happens if I decide I don’t want to be subscribed anymore. Do I get locked out of Lightroom and won’t be able to access my photos.
2) I’m thinking of subscribing to the photography bundle, but I’m worried that if I stop my subscription I’ll be locked out of Lightroom and won’t be able to access my photos anymore.

Good news! Adobe’s done something to alleviate these concerns in Lightroom 5.5. It’s not been talked about a lot, so Scott and I did a little video to fill you in on the little “secret” 🙂 Have a great weekend!

(image courtesy of



  1. bheit 6 August, 2014 at 19:25 Reply

    As much as Kelby and Adobe would love for all Aperture users to panic and run over to Lightroom, Apple will just do away with the title “Aperture” and combine it with “Photos” It will streamline both into a seamless desktop and mobile version. The mobile version of Photoshop is a joke. The euphoria exhibited by Adobe may actually mask a bit of panic on their part as Apple will no doubt come out with a formidable product to challenge Lightroom and Photoshop, complete with third party plugins. It could actually threaten the future of Adobe in the digital photography world. Adobe does not come loaded in iOS. and Photoshop CC has created enough panic on it’s own. Remember how the music industry laughed when Apple came out with the iPod and the iTunes store? If I was an Aperture user, I would not panic at all. From everything I’ve heard, “Photos” will be backward compatible with Aperture and Photos, that’s why it’s taking a while to develop. And if it’s free with iOS, lookout Adobe!

    • Steve S 10 August, 2014 at 17:43 Reply

      It may be instructive to look at what Apple did with Final Cut Pro—its advanced video editing application. They dumbed-down the latest version, much to the dismay of its pro and prosumer users, most of whom are still limping along with the old version while looking at transitioning to Avid or Premiere. Apple evidently decided that it wasn’t interested in a product that it couldn’t sell to the masses. This was a best-in-class product that almost everyone doing serious video, outside of TV networks and Hollywood studios, was using. And they have basically killed it off.

      It is easy to draw a parallel with Aperture. Ask a random consumer which RAW processor they use and what DAM and you’ll almost certainly get a blank stare. That is the population of iPod/iPhone/iPad users that Apple probably wants to target. So I think Adobe is pretty safe.

  2. Chris 4 August, 2014 at 04:56 Reply

    All I want to say is I hope they continue a separate purchase option for Lightroom. Not all people are professional photographers and might be using LR for say, trying to supplement disability income. Without the develop module, it would be useless to me – and I can’t afford the $10/month. Those who can, consider yourselves lucky indeed.

    With the separate purchase option, if I don’t need any particular features in future upgrades, I simply don’t have to upgrade at that time. When some new features come along that I might find useful, THEN I could upgrade to that version.. Without having to pay monthly fees.

    As I say, without that develop module, it would be useless for someone like myself.

  3. Susan Regen 23 July, 2014 at 08:54 Reply

    One more question: at present I back up my catalog on an external HD as well as in my computer’s HD. Will I still be able to do this?

    I have already used the “restore” from my external HD once, so figure I could always use this to populate LR if I decide not to continue a subscription.

    • Matt K 25 July, 2014 at 14:11 Reply

      Hey Susan. You’ll still be able to do things exactly as you do them now. Nothing changes with the Cloud version of Lightroom, and the non-cloud version. Same exact software, just a different way to pay for them.

  4. Susan Regen 23 July, 2014 at 08:51 Reply

    Thus far, I only use LR. Tried Elements 11, can’t seem to “get it”. My understanding is that Elements is a junior version of Photoshop.

    So, my question is – will subscribing monthly be a true benefit, or am I better off continuing as I have been: purchasing upgrades periodically?

    • Matt K 23 July, 2014 at 13:48 Reply

      Hi Susan – I’d say that Lightroom is the starting point. If you get to the time where you need advanced retouching, layers, selections, etc… then Elements or Photoshop is where you go. If you’re happy in Lightroom, then just stick with that.

      • Susan Regen 23 July, 2014 at 19:11 Reply

        Thanks Matt. Sometimes I wish Elements were not so confusing! I do occasionally want to do more advanced stuff, but if Photoshop is like it, then I will just stay with LR…

  5. Mike Davern 17 July, 2014 at 19:53 Reply

    Well, I am not an expect nor am I an Adobe apologist but Adobe has already upgraded LR and CC numerous times since moving to this subscription format. The upgrades are coming faster than under the old pricing model, although this last upgrade was more of an “event” which Kelby righty pointed out was missing in the last few upgrades. You might say, “yes, but in the future there is no incentive….” I would disagree. LR already has competitors hot on its tail like DxO and OnOne. Neither can completely match LR but they are getting pretty close in some areas and better in others. I don’t think they can sit on their heals and just do bug fixes. I think they have a culture of process improvement and that isn’t going to change in the near term. Besides, with this new tweek, there is no downside to living in the LR world. If something comes along to beat it you can migrate or stay with all the modules except the develop module.

  6. Joe C 17 July, 2014 at 17:02 Reply

    My concern about using the Cloud services is that once you’re in, you really need to stay in. Right now, Adobe charges $9.99/mo for the access. What happens if they decide to increase the price to $50/mo? It seems that once they have you captive, they have you captive. As indicated in the comments, it’s a great business model. But it puts all of the users at Adobe’s mercy. They can increase the price to whatever they want and the users are either stuck with it, or you can use the Library module only. Not very useful in my opinion.

  7. Steve S 16 July, 2014 at 00:33 Reply

    It would be even nicer if Adobe would let you bail out with a fully functioning version of Lightroom, but with further upgrades disabled—after, say, a year or two of Cloud membership. Otherwise, without the develop module, I think LR would not be very useful for a working photographer. Under the old paradigm, if you couldn’t upgrade fro one reason or another, you could still continue at the current level. Granted, if $9.99 a month is too much for such a key piece of “equipment”, then you probably have bigger problems.

    The main problem with the CC concept is that it largely removes Adobe’s incentive to improve the software. We’re pretty much locked in to paying the monthly fee whether it improves or not. Sure, a competitor might arise. But, at least with LR and PS, Adobe is so entrenched with so little competition, that it would probably take a paradigm shift on the order of film-to-digital to dislodge them.

    From a business standpoint, it’s genius. They have mature products where they’re basically painting around the edges as far as improvements go. But now they’ve pretty much locked everyone into monthly payments—smoothing out their revenue stream at a pretty high level. At the $9.99 level for PS and LR, I really have few complaints (except that I don’t expect much in the way of enhancements). But we’ll see how long that price point lasts. I’d love to be wrong. But businesses almost exclusively operate to maximize profit. I don’t see much incentive to maintain a big development organization. What’re we going to do? Switch to DPP?

  8. Robert Simmons 11 July, 2014 at 23:27 Reply

    The map module won’t work? So all the work I do geotagging my photos is lost if I discontinue my CC system?

    • Matt K 11 July, 2014 at 13:19 Reply

      The Library module contains your latest edits. In fact, all modules use the same exact photo. So when you edit the photo in the Develop module, it’s not referencing that same exact photo everywhere else in Lightroom.

  9. Bob Kelly 11 July, 2014 at 11:17 Reply

    Thanks for the update on LR 5.5, that will allow me to continue to get at my photos, even if I cancel my subscription. The question I have that you did not answer is….

    If I cancel my subscription, and continue to have access to my photos…..does that mean I can longer IMPORT new photos into LR and DEVELOP them as well?

    If I keep my subscription going month by month then I am assuming ALL aspects of LR remain intact. If you do a follow up on this hopefully you can address these two points, which I am sure lots of other people also have. Thanks!

    • Matt K 11 July, 2014 at 13:21 Reply

      Hi Bob. I don’t know if you can still Import them. But from what I understand, ONLY the Develop and Maps modules are disable which means you still should be able to Import them.
      As for the second part of your question, no you can’t Develop them because, as mentioned in the video, the Develop module is disabled.
      Honestly Bob, the point of the video wasn’t supposed to be as much about “Here’s all the things you can still do for free in Lightroom if you decide to stop paying for it”. It was more to alleviate the concerns of people that do stop paying and let them know they’ll still be able to access their photos if they need. Hope that helps a little 🙂

  10. Chris Hutcheson 11 July, 2014 at 09:20 Reply

    Thanks for the update. I’m confused about the Lightroom issue, though. I already owned LR when I subscribed to the photo CC option. Did installation of the cloud version delete my original purchased version? I show 5.5 here when I do an about query. I’m assuming it’s not much of an issue as I still have the option to use my version serial number to purchase an update to 6. The approach seems different though, to Photoshop, where I now have two versions of the CC installation on my hard drive in addition to my CS 6 one.


    • Matt K 11 July, 2014 at 13:22 Reply

      Chris. If you purchases LR5 before subscribing then you own it. If you ever stop using your CC version, you’ll be able to install LR5 and use your key to activate it just like always.

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