Today’s Question: I’m still using Lightroom 6 and Photoshop CS6 standalone applications since I didn’t want to go to the subscription model. My biggest fear with going to the subscription model is what happens to my photos in Lightroom Classic if I stop?
Tim’s Quick Answer: You’ll be relieved to know that if you discontinue your Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan subscription, you’ll still have full control over your photos, and you’ll still be able to use the key image-management features of Lightroom Classic.
More Detail: First and foremost, it is important to keep in mind that with Lightroom Classic your photos are stored and managed locally by you. That means that even if you somehow couldn’t use Lightroom Classic anymore you would still have full access to your photos. Obviously, there are certain metadata and other features that are tied specifically to Lightroom Classic, but your photos would remain on your hard drives right where you have them currently.
What I find many photographers are surprised by is that if you discontinue your Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, you’ll still have access to Lightroom Classic, just with a limited set of features. You would still be able to import photos, update metadata, and share your images in a variety of ways.
Ending your subscription would mean that you lose access to the Develop module (though Quick Develop would still be available), you would not be able to access the Map module, and you could no longer synchronize photos to the cloud.
Of course, you could also reactivate your subscription at a later time and regain the full functionality of Lightroom Classic.
Note, by the way, that when you cancel your subscription, you would lose access to the other applications that were included in your plan, such as Photoshop in the case of the Creative Cloud Photography Plan.
Considering the significant new features and updates since the non-subscription versions of Lightroom, I strongly recommend making the upgrade even though it involves a subscription plan. That’s especially true since there’s really nothing to worry about should you later choose to cancel or suspend your subscription.