Today’s Question: I have a stand-alone version of Lightroom. If I go to the subscription version of Lightroom CC what happens to my existing catalog? Will it be integrated into Lightroom CC automatically?
Tim’s Quick Answer: Your existing catalog will not be integrated automatically. In the case of a subscription for Lightroom Classic CC, you would need to simply open (and upgrade if necessary) your existing catalog. With the new Lightroom CC you would need to migrate your existing Lightroom catalog.
More Detail: Because Lightroom (both the existing Classic version and the new CC version) employs a central catalog to manage your photos, it is important to properly manage that catalog. When it comes to switching version (or upgrading to a new major release) that involves updating the catalog itself.
When you switch from a standalone version of Lightroom to a subscription to Lightroom Classic, or when upgrading from an older version of Lightroom, you can simply open your existing catalog in the new version of Lightroom CC. If the existing catalog is from an older version of Lightroom, you’ll be prompted to upgrade the catalog the first time it is opened. You can then continue using that upgraded catalog normally with the new version of Lightroom Classic.
If you are switching to the new Lightroom CC, there is the additional step of migrating your existing Lightroom catalog to the format used by Lightroom CC. To do so, launch Lightroom CC and then choose File > Migrate Lightroom Catalog from the menu. You’ll then be guided through the (very simple) process of migrating your catalog so you can start using Lightroom CC without losing any of your metadata from your existing Lightroom catalog.
In both cases the process of updating your catalog is very simple. The key is to make sure you go through that process to ensure you preserve all of the information about your photos, with no interruption in your image-management workflow.