Today’s Question: I just want to make sure I understand the difference between owning Lightroom 6 versus a Creative Cloud subscription. If I had only a Creative Cloud account and then sometime in the future let it terminate, would that mean that I (or my family) would lose immediate access to all of my photos and the Lightroom method of organization and star rating that I had set up in the library?
Tim’s Quick Answer: If you discontinue a Creative Cloud subscription that includes Lightroom, and you don’t purchase a standalone copy of Lightroom with a perpetual license, you would still retain access to your photos and the information about those photos.
More Detail: If you discontinue your Creative Cloud subscription and do not have a perpetual license to Lightroom as a standalone software application, you would not lose all access to Lightroom. Instead, your copy of Lightroom would become feature-limited. You would still retain access to the Library module, but not the Develop module, for example. By contrast, with a standalone “perpetual” license of Lightroom you can continue using the software without any additional payment for as long as you have a computer capable of running the software.
Perhaps more important, you would retain access to all of your photos. If you take a somewhat conservative approach to how you use Lightroom, you can make sure that your photos also include all of the key metadata (such as keywords and star ratings) even if you can no longer access Lightroom.
For example, you can turn on the option to automatically write metadata changes to the XMP sidecar for your original RAW captures using a setting on the Metadata tab of the Catalog Settings dialog in Lightroom. This dialog can be accessed from the Edit menu on Windows or the Lightroom menu on Macintosh.
For more details on my recommendations about maintaining a degree of independence from your Lightroom catalog, see my article “Declaring Catalog Independence” in the February 2013 issue of Pixology magazine. If you are a current subscriber to Pixology magazine and don’t have this issue, feel free to email Renee at firstname.lastname@example.org to request a copy. And if you choose to subscribe to Pixology magazine now, we’d be happy to include the back issues as part of your subscription. You can get more information about Pixology magazine at http://www.pixologymag.com.