LR001 - Should I BUY or RENT Lightroom?

December 22, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Should I BUY or RENT Lightroom?

In May of 2015, Adobe launched their newest full release of LR (Lightroom) – the Popular, professional grade, image management and editing SW.  Starting with LR5, LR can be purchased the old fashioned way by paying for a perpetual license or it can be rented through Adobe’s Creative Cloud (CC) service.  

Perpetual License Version

01 LR Splash Screen01 LR Splash Screen

If you buy it with a perpetual license it is called LR 6 (or LR 6.0) and you can use the software on up to two computers for as long as you wish with no additional payments.  If you want to add it to a 3rd computer you must de-register it on one of the other two first. 

Adobe does not guarantee that it will run on future versions of your operating system or on future computers and will not supply updates to it to support future operating systems or computers.  However, it’s pretty likely that any new versions on Windows or Macs will be able to run for at least several more OS versions – probably until some major change is introduced like the change from 32 bit to 64 bit technology.  There will be free “dot” releases of LR 6 such as 6.1.  But, these dot releases typically do not add any functionality to the program.  They will only include bug fixes and support for new cameras and lenses.  This version runs around $129

Creative Cloud (CC) version

02 Creative Cloud Window02 Creative Cloud Window

If you choose to rent it through Adobe CC (Creative Cloud), you will still download the software to your computer and install it very similarly to the perpetual license version.  In other words, you will not need to be connected to the Internet in order to run it.  However, around the time your last verified paid rental time is over it will need to verify that you have paid your rent for another month or year and at that time will need an Internet connection in order to do that.

With CC you can use the SW on several computers but not at the same time.  The main advantage of the CC version is that you’ll get updates as they are developed without having to wait for a new major release to come out.  In LR5 this was also stated but in fact no significant features were added to CC that were not in the perpetual license version.  With LR 6.0 and LR CC-2015 that is now different.  In the first 2 months of this version, useful new features have shown up in the CC version (CC-2015.1) that are not available in LR 6.0 or even LR 6.1 and that you probably won’t see until LR 7.0 whenever that comes out. 

The least expensive CC package is the one for photographers.  This plan is $9.99 per month and includes both Lightroom and Photoshop.  It also includes Lightroom Mobile and cloud storage.


If you are a person who likes to stay somewhat current with your SW then switch to the CC version the next time you would normally upgrade to a new release.  But, if you’re the type of person who is very happy to stick with older versions of SW and ignore several new versions until you spring for an upgrade then get the perpetual license version (currently LR 6).

I should also point out that “mobile” features of LR, such as synching your LR catalog to a mobile device for use while away from your main computer are only available in the CC version and not in the perpetual license version.


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