Will Lightroom Classic Go Away?

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Today’s Question: Do you think it is inevitable that Adobe will discontinue Lightroom Classic CC in favor of the cloud-based Lightroom CC? In other words, would it be advisable for me to migrate to the cloud version sooner rather than later to avoid possible problems down the road?

Tim’s Quick Answer: I don’t have any insights into Adobe’s future software plans, but I also don’t think it makes sense to migrate to a solution out of fear. Instead, I recommend adopting a workflow that meets your specific needs, while making efforts to help ensure you don’t get “locked” in to a workflow that might not work for you at some point in the future.

More Detail: My personal preference is to use local storage (and backups), supplemented perhaps by a cloud-based backup. The approach of synchronizing all of my photos (both favorites and outtakes) to cloud storage simply doesn’t make sense for me. Therefore, I use Lightroom Classic CC rather than the cloud-based Lightroom CC to manage my workflow.

I think it is reasonable to assume that Adobe may intend to discontinue Lightroom Classic CC in favor of Lightroom CC at some point in the future, although there have been no indications of such an intent. However, since Lightroom CC doesn’t work for my personal workflow needs, I wouldn’t make the switch to Lightroom CC even if Lightroom Classic CC were to be discontinued.

Instead, I would need to find another workflow solution. I hope that Lightroom Classic CC will continue to be available indefinitely, or that Lightroom CC gets modified to better suit my workflow in advance of Lightroom Classic CC potentially being discontinued.

In the meantime, I take an approach to my workflow that minimizes my dependency on Lightroom Classic CC, so that if I do need to change my workflow in the future there is minimal disruption. I do this by relying on standard metadata values (such as star ratings rather than pick/reject flags) rather than features that are specific to Lightroom. This is also why I minimize my use of collections in Lightroom, in favor of standardized features such as keywords.

So, my approach and recommendation is to use the software that best suits your workflow needs today. However, I also recommend defining a workflow that helps to minimize the impact of a future change to your workflow, in the event the software you’re using is discontinued or modified to the point that it no longer meets your needs.