How to Choose Which Version of Lightroom to Buy


We are no longer living in the times where if you wanted to buy Lightroom all you needed was to purchase the full version of the program, and do some upgrading every time a new better version came out. Nowadays it is hard especially now with the launch of Creative Cloud Service by Adobe.

Photographers have to make a difficult decision to either choose the standalone version or to purchase Lightroom package but as part of a Creative Cloud monthly membership.

And if you thought that that is an easy decision to make, you couldn’t be any wrong. Many photographers are in fact crying foul as they didn’t consider the cons and pros of each before settling on either. This guide is, however, here to help you identify which option is the best for you.



Despite many software editing and organizing tools being available in the market, Lightroom and Photoshop are still the best. Whether you are practicing photography as a hobby or you are professional photography, adobe lightroom is still number one in ensuring that your photos look the way they can.

What about Creative Cloud?

When this subscription was first introduced in the market, it brought a lot of controversial opinions. It was selling at $20 a month of which photographers who had bought the earlier full version of Photoshop had to dig deeper in their pockets.

In the long run, subscription became way expensive as compared to upgrading regularly and also once the monthly payment stopped, that marked the end of the license to use the software.

Because of that, some months later, Adobe introduced a new package for photographers which covered both Lightroom and Photoshop and which subscribers will pay $9.99 a month. Although it still receives negative options many people think that is better than the previous one.

Types of Lightroom Users

To know which Lightroom is the best for you, you must understand the two kinds of Lightroom users. There are those users that use Lightroom in conjunction with Photoshop and they need to have access to both. For them, the Creative Cloud option is their only option especially if they want to lay their hands on the latest version of Photoshop CC. But if let’s say a user has his or her version of Photoshop CS and does not feel the need of upgrading to Photoshop CC, they can buy the standalone version of Lightroom.


The other category of users are persons who rely completely on Lightroom to process their image. And if there is a task that cannot be performed by the Lightroom, users are forced to use an older version of Photoshop. For this users, the decision whether to continue using standalone version or to subscribe might be tricky.

How much is each?

If you do not really need Photoshop CC, buying the standalone version will be less expensive for you. A new version of Lightroom is released after 18 months approximately and sells at $9.99 a month, which means the subscription will cost you $179.82 for that period.

Also, if it is your first time to use Lightroom, you can purchase the full version that sells at $149 from the Adobe website, it will be much cheaper. And if you want to upgrade it, it will cost about $79.

Note that as a standalone version user, you will enjoy upgrading for free until a full version comes out. So for instance, at the time you were buying, you bought Lightroom 5.0 you can take advantage of the free upgrades and get the latest version-5.7 which has better features. But when Lightroom 6 comes out, you will need to be paying for the upgrading fee.


When choosing the best Lightroom, the key considerations is which type of user you are and your budget. Lightroom may seem inexpensive at first, but if you add the total amount you may spend over that period, it may be much. And again, remember that upgrading is not mandatory. If you feel like you are comfortable with the features of the Lightroom version you are using, there is no need of paying for an upgrade unless it is free.