Today’s Question: What happens if you organize your photos in Lightroom Classic and then decide not to continue your Creative Cloud subscription next year? What happens to your photos?
Tim’s Quick Answer: If you discontinue your Creative Cloud subscription, Lightroom Classic will become limited in terms of the features available, but you won’t lose any of your photos since the source images are stored locally.
More Detail: One of the advantages of the overall architecture of Lightroom Classic is that your source photos are stored separately from the application and the catalog. As a result, even if you were to uninstall Lightroom Classic, or stop paying for a Creative Cloud subscription, you would not lose your source photos.
In addition, you would not lose access to the information about your photos within your Lightroom Classic catalog. You would lose access to certain features, such as applying changes to your photos in the Develop module. Most of the other features will still be available, including the ability to export copies of your photos.
In other words, you don’t need to worry at all about losing access to your photos if you discontinue your subscription to Lightroom Classic. In addition, you’ll still be able to launch Lightroom Classic to access information about your photos, and even to work with your photos in a many ways. You’ll simply lose access to some of the key features (primarily the Develop and Map modules) in Lightroom Classic after your subscription ends. But you won’t lose access to your photos or the information about your photos.
It is important to note that things are a bit different with the cloud-based version of Lightroom. If you discontinue your subscription to the cloud-based version of Lightroom, you’ll need to be sure that you download all photos to your computer before you lose access to Lightroom, to ensure you have local copies of all source images.