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How Much Is Lightroom?

Published: 01/12/2021

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Lightroom is a comprehensive photo editing and image management software. It allows photographers to complete their photography workflow such as importing, processing, and exporting images. But how much is Lightroom? Is it worth the price? Although Lightroom has been in the market for many years, still many users get confused about this.

How Much Is Lightroom?

You can buy Lightroom as part of the Creative Cloud Photography plan or on its own starting at $9.99 per month. It includes the Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC, or both. Depending on your preferred subscription plan, you can access 1TB of cloud storage or Photoshop.

Editing images using Lightroom on a MacBook

However, Lightroom subscription is offered on a variety of plans with different prices. The table below provides a comprehensive breakdown of these plans so you can be able to choose the plan that best fits your needs:

Adobe Plan Name Features Price
Photography 20 GB of cloud storage (1 TB available)PhotoshopLightroom classicLightroomLightroom classic $9.99/month
Photoshop 100 GB of cloud storagePhotoshopAdobe Fresco $19.99/month
Students and Teachers LightroomLightroom MobilePhotoshop100 GB of Cloud Storage 20+ Other AppsPhotoshop 20 GB of cloud storage ( 1TB Available)Lightroom classic $19.99/month for the first year, $29.99/month thereafter
Lightroom with 1TB 1 TB of Cloud storageLightroom MobileLightroom $9.99/month
All Apps Lightroom MobileLightroomLightroom ClassicPhotoshop100 GB of cloud storage (1 TB available)20+ Other Apps $52.99/month

Which Adobe Plan Do I Get?

You may want to avoid subscribing to Adobe all apps plan because you might not need all the apps included in the package. Determining and choosing wisely the apps that you need helps determine the plan to subscribe to, and will save you from the expensive $52.99 per month.

Photography Plan vs Adobe Lightroom Plan

Both the photography plan and the Adobe Lightroom plan come with Lightroom. However, the versions of Lightroom included in these plans are different. Understanding these differences can help you cut expenses and transform your photography workflow. Here are the plans:

Adobe Lightroom Plan With 1TB

This version of Lightroom that comes with an Adobe Lightroom plan with 1TB is known as Lightroom Creative Cloud (Lightroom CC). Lightroom CC is the latest and newest version of Lightroom. It is a cloud-based application designed to automatically synchronize your images between the web, smartphone, laptop, and desktop.


The idea behind the design of Lightroom CC is to enhance flexibility, allowing you to edit and manage your images anywhere. As the name suggests this Lightroom plan comes with 1TB of Adobe Cloud storage. This storage is large enough to enhance the synchronization of thousands of images across platforms.

Ease of Use

If you are looking for a user-friendly version of Lightroom, Lightroom CC is the way to go. If you look at its feature organization, you might see as if the application is designed to be geared towards amateur photographers. 

Although professional photographers can still use the Lightroom CC, it does not appear ideal although technically correct. If you are a professional photographer or you want better control of your photography workflow with advanced image editing features you might need to consider the Lightroom Classic CC version.

Editing images on Lightroom

Photography Plan 

The Adobe Photography plan includes Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic CC, and 20GB of cloud storage. If we keep our focus on Lightroom, this plan comes with two versions of Lightroom. The naming of these versions might confuse beginners however we will help you understand more about them.

Lightroom Classic CC

Lightroom Classic CC is the original version of Lightroom. This version is primarily designed for use on desktop-centric workflow and has more editing tools. This version of Lightroom might be more preferable by both amateur and professional photographers as it is more powerful than Lightroom CC.

For instance, with this version of Lightroom, you have full control of your file management on both cloud and local storage. It also comes with a soft-proofing feature that allows you to edit photos for printing.


When it comes to storage, the photography plan only comes with 20GB of cloud storage. However, this might not be an issue if you have backed up your photos on external hard drives or you are using another cloud-based service such as Dropbox.

Adobe Photoshop CC 

This is another factor that you might need to consider when choosing the plans. Unlike the Adobe Lightroom plan with 1TB, the photography plan comes with Adobe Photoshop CC.

Some of the photo editing tools in this application include superb masking, precise local adjustments, blending modes, and layers. Many of the image editing requests that you are unable to accomplish in Lightroom classic you can accomplish in Photoshop. 

Additional Apps 

Both photography and Lightroom plans come with value-added apps such as bridge, spark, fonts, and portfolio. These apps will add extra value to your subscription. Here is a detailed description of these apps.

Adobe Portfolio 

Each of these Lightroom subscription plans comes with the Adobe portfolio app. This app is designed to allow photographers to seamlessly showcase their work on a website.

The service includes template hosting and a subdomain such as the You can create up to five sites using the Adobe portfolio app and use your own domain.

Adobe Fonts

This app comes with thousands of fonts that you can activate easily using your macOS or Windows system with a one-click install. Although Lightroom can't use this app as it doesn't support text layers, you can use it when using the photography plan as it is supported in Photoshop.

The fonts come with a license set up for both commercial and personal use, and you don't have to worry about paying extra money to use the fonts.

Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark is a mobile and web-based software that is user-friendly and allows non-designers and beginners to create graphics, web pages, and video stories in a few minutes. You can use this app for your social media and branding needs instead of using Photoshop.

All the Creative Cloud plans come with a full version of this app. Otherwise, you can use it for free with limited features.

Laptop and memory cards

Adobe Bridge

Adobe bridge app functions as a digital asset manager just like the Mac Finder or Windows Explorer only that it is primarily dedicated to media. This application allows you to label, apply metadata, organize or view photos. This app can be beneficial to you if you are using Lightroom or Photoshop in your workflow.

Lightroom Mobile

Adobe Lightroom Mobile is a classic image editing application that allows you to make your photography aesthetic with minimal adjustments. However, the Lightroom mobile application is only free with limited features.

If you want to use it to synchronize your Lightroom images with other devices then you will need to use a paid Adobe subscription.

The paid version of this application includes selective edits allowing you to make local adjustments on areas of the photo selected by the user. This app is a handy tool if you love to post photos on social media.

Which Plan Is Better?

Although this will depend on your preferences, budget, and photography needs, the photography plan might be more appealing than the Lightroom plan with 1TB. The inclusion of Photoshop in the pricing of the photography plan makes it impressive.

Keep in mind that most users prefer Lightroom classic, and so when they speak of Lightroom they mean the Lightroom classic version. On the other hand, when Adobe talks or writes about Lightroom, they often refer to the Lightroom CC.

Monthly Subscription of Lightroom vs Buying

In the past years, users were able to purchase Lightroom that featured a perpetual license. Adobe changed this pricing model in recent years and moved to the Creative Cloud business model. This transition consisted of changing Lightroom pricing to a subscription method.

Adobe Teacher and Student Discount Offer

Teachers and students are eligible to get a discount of 60% during their first year of membership to the Creative Cloud all apps. During this first year of membership, the cost is $19.99 per month, after which the cost changes to $29.99.

This discount is a significant saving for teachers and students compared to the $52.99 per month. For students to be eligible, they need to be above 13 years and enrolled in a home school program, secondary school, primary school, college, or university.

Teachers are eligible for this discount offer if they are faculty or staff at a homeschool, secondary school, primary school, college, or university.

How to Enroll for the Teacher or Student Discount Offer

The best way to enroll for a teacher or student discount offer when purchasing the Adobe Lightroom is to go through the Adobe website. When checking out you'll need to give the name of your educational institution and choose whether you are a student, educator, or administrator.

Can I Get Adobe Lightroom for Free?

From a technical perspective, you can use Lightroom for free but only for one week during the 7 days free trial. After the expiry of this trial period, you will have to discontinue using it or subscribe to continue using it.

It’s not advisable to try using the cracked stand-alone Lightroom application as it can bring you trouble. In many cases, the websites that claim to have a pirated version of Lightroom contain viruses and malware.

Anti-malware and antivirus software might not help in protecting your computer, and you might end up needing to format your hard drives and reinstall the operating system. Considering that the Creative Cloud plan comes with two installations of Lightroom consider asking your friend who has subscribed to use the extra install if you have no other option.

Is Lightroom Worth It for Beginners?

Lightroom is a powerful photo editing software that comes with features suitable for all levels of photographers starting with beginners to professionals. Here are some of the features that make the Lightroom suitable even for beginners.

Solo Mode

When beginners are editing photos they tend to open tons of panels at once. When you edit your photos with many panels open at the same time, the interface looks cluttered and scrolling becomes tedious especially when using a laptop.

Lightroom enhances a smoother photo editing experience by featuring the solo mode which closes all the panels that are not in use. When you want to work on a different panel you only need to click on it and it expands.

If you want to turn on the solo mode feature right-click on the panel heading and choose it from the drop-down menu.

Custom Camera Defaults

Many beginner photographers don't understand the different peculiarities of varying camera models. The final images might need some treatment and other adjustments depending on the camera that shot them. This might be challenging to beginner photographers.

With Lightroom, you can easily customize the settings that will apply to the photos imported based on the model of the camera. You can do this by holding down the alt option key when you are in the develop module. This option will pop up in the bottom right-hand corner.

Apart from reducing the editing time you can use this feature to make extra money by selling your Lightroom Presets.

Panel Reset

As a beginner, you might make lots of adjustments in a panel only to discover that things are not going the direction you would like. However, resetting individual sliders can be annoying and time-consuming.

With Lightroom, you only need to press the alt option key and you'll be able to see the panel you are using. A reset button will pop up at the top. Click on it and all the open panels will be reset to their original position.

Reduce the Slider Sensitivity

Sometimes the sliders feel so sensitive to beginners especially when trying to make some precise image adjustments. The Lightroom photo editing application allows you to reduce the sensitivity instead of fiddling up and down trying to obtain the value you want.

You can do this by clicking on the panel that you are working on and expanding it by grabbing the left side edge. This expansion expands the sliders allowing you to make precise changes.

Also, the Lightroom application will remember the width you set for the panel next time you are using it, and you don't have to repeat the procedure every time you're working on it.

Easier Curve Adjustments

Curve adjustment sensitivity is another major issue for beginners, especially when working from a laptop. When adjusting a car you can reduce the Trackpad or mouse sensitivity by holding down the alt keyboard key. The reduction in sensitivity allows you to fine-tune your curve adjustments.

Copy and Paste

Are you editing lots of photos that were taken under the same lighting conditions and you have to make the same edits on the same photo? The Adobe Lightroom will save you a lot of time by allowing you to apply the same edit settings for all the photos.

From the develop or library module, right-click on an already edited photo and choose to develop settings and then click on copy settings.

Once you select the Edit settings that you need, select the photos that you want to apply the settings to, right-click and choose Develop settings on the menu that pops up, and choose paste.

Auto Tone

Sometimes beginners find it challenging to access the Auto-Tone. The Adobe Lightroom saves you a great deal by helping you to quickly access this setting. While in the library module, this handy button can be accessed from the quick development panel.

Using the auto-tone button, you can change your blacks, exposure, contrast, and brightness so that the results appear heavy-handed. Using your results as a guide, note your adjustments, then reset the image and make your personal adjustments for fine-tuning.

Visualize Clipping

When processing images as a beginner, you can easily get carried away by color treatment configurations and lose your image. Lightroom prevents the loss of these details by allowing you to easily press the J key in the develop module.

Blue shows where you have lost your details in the shadows while red indicates where you have lost your highlights. This feature is an easy way to find out whether you are overdoing it so that you can accordingly change the sliders. Definitely, you will love using the J trick in Lightroom.

Lightroom on a smart phone

What Is the Difference Between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Adobe Lightroom comes with two varying versions but many people don’t know what is the difference between them. Understanding the difference between these two versions will help you decide on which one suits your photography workflow better.

Local Storage vs the Cloud

The main difference to note is that Lightroom Classic has its basis on desktop applications while Lightroom CC  has its basis in an inbuilt cloud applications suite. You can get Lightroom as a web-based version on desktop and mobile.

Images in Lightroom CC are stored in the Cloud and in most cases, you can access your full-resolution images from all devices that are connected and always backed up.  If you are often required to share and quickly edit your images, these can be the perfect option for you.

Lightroom Classic stores your images in the local devices and drives. It allows you to access a full range of controls and features. This is the continuity of the initial desktop application that was recognized as Lightroom by photographers.

Images Workflow

In Lightroom organization and importation of images are greatly simplified. It sorts all your images in simple to manage folders and albums. First, images are downloaded on your local device which can be done on a mobile phone or on a desktop.

With Lightroom classic, it uses a complex system of collections and catalogs. Selectively, you can share these with other devices. When you are through with editing, Lightroom classic offers you more flexibility and options to export your images.

Lightroom classic offers modules such as web output, slideshow, book, and print. However, when selecting only low-resolution smart previews are available.

Image Editing

With a series of updates, Lightroom CC has greatly improved editing tools. In what edits can be achieved, now there is no big difference between the two programs. All the standard tools you could expect in Lightroom Classic can be found in Lightroom CC but the organization has been improved.

Noise reduction, tone adjustments, color adjustments, healing and brush tools, graduated and radial filters, split toning and cropping are available in Lightroom CC. If you are a new photographer in editing images, Lightroom is your way to go for you can easily understand it.

Lightroom offers you useful explanations in case you encounter challenges over the name of a tool. It also has some integrated app video tutorials for further guidance. In both programs, you can use a Lightroom preset for speed and consistency.

Related Questions

Is There a Completely Free Version of Lightroom?

Lightroom mobile is the only free version of Adobe Lightroom and is available for iOS and Android devices. However, it comes with limited features, and users have to subscribe for them to use the full version.

Is It Possible to Purchase Lightroom Without a Subscription?

No, you will need a subscription for you to be able to use Lightroom Unless you are using the limited Lightroom mobile version.

Final Thoughts

The decision whether to buy Lightroom or subscribe to a Lightroom plan depends on your photography needs. The Adobe Photography Plan comes with Photoshop, making it a better value for money. If you are looking for a plan that synchronizes and edits anywhere go for the Adobe Lightroom plan with 1TB.