Now that Creative Cloud became its own phenomenon, you may consider if it is worth it to update from Lightroom 5 to Lightroom CC. So let’s face some facts that may help between this two versions.
The whole idea of the Creative Cloud is being able to work on multiple devices at the same time, as well as saving your files to a common server which you can access from every device apt to do so.
This means that you can automatically import your photos from mobile smartphones (Android and iOS as supported OS), which you can, later on, access to your PC without needing to download the photos to your PC the old way. This can be extremely useful for travel photography, as once you synced your photos with the Cloud, you can then remove the photos from the mobile phone (iOS users will know what I mean in which regards to internal storage). But notice that your synced photos are not going to be stored in the Cloud but to a folder location you select previously. The good point on moving files to the Cloud is the possibility of easy sharing with other people since it gives a 2 GB hard drive on the Cloud.
Also if for a certain reason somebody sent you a RAW file, you can edit it with the Smart Previews feature on mobile devices, then resend it as a common JPEG to whoever needs the post-produced RAW.
Library of Video tutorials
Perhaps for new users, one of the most engaging features is the possibility of watching online tutorials given the fact the Creative Cloud Photography plan actually allows you to do so. This won’t happen with old versions of Lightroom or Lightroom 6.
Standalone vs CC features
Besides mentioning the “Cloud” features before, both versions of the software have the same features to work with. It is a discussed topic since the first rumours of the Creative Cloud era if Adobe is going to launch updates to those suites that are not going to be available at the Standalone versions (like new tools or noticeable UI improvements). This, by now, has not happened yet, although it is possible given the fact Creative Cloud is still brand new and Adobe may be waiting to old loyal users to switch to the Creative Cloud versions of the software.
Internet: yes or not?
No, it is not needed to have a constant internet connection for using the Creative Cloud apps. However, Adobe needs you to be logged at least once every 99 days, in order to check licence subscription status. So don’t worry if you had some problem with your internet provider, you can still use the software during that period like nothing happened; only Cloud Syncing (for obvious reasons) won’t be available.
And if I don’t want to keep with a Subscription pack?
Don’t worry about losing your data if one day you decide that you don’t want to keep up with the subscription. The only thing that will happen is that you won’t be able to use Cloud services such as syncing, but you will be able to open Lightroom and look at your catalog.
Also, you won’t be able to use Lightroom tools for editing, only allowing you to modify previously edited photos within the parameters applied for them. So, Lightroom becomes a sort of image viewer and digital catalog for the images you already had, or for importing new ones (but without being able to edit them).
If your case is that you want to “go back” to a Standalone suite, then it won’t affect you since the Catalog and the program files are actually the same. It is yet unknown that if Lightroom CC does an upgrade the future compatibility of the two versions, but it will be likely to continue that way.
Cloud Subscription vs Standalone
Now to what most people may ask… is it worth the value? Lightroom Creative Cloud Photography is now $9.99/month, whereas the full Creative Cloud Suite goes from $29.99/month (for Creative Suite users, meaning this as an upgrade) to $49.99/month for new users.
The difference between this two packages is that the Creative Cloud Suite also includes the other CC versions of Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, etc. It is the Creative Cloud equivalent to our beloved Creative Suite. And if you consider the old price of the Creative Cloud Suite… it is way cheaper to buy the Creative Cloud Suite.
Although Adobe also offers an only-app subscription for the other apps (like if you only want Photoshop), there is where the whole CC starts to become expensive.
Either keep in mind that if your aim is to only do quick post-processing you should go with Creative Cloud Photography, or then go with the full package. $19.99 per app is really expensive if you consider that you are paying $239.88 per year for an app that you may not use every day.
That was the kind of “advantage” old CS had with its lifetime licences. For CS users paying, for example, CS Photoshop licence was a headache, as it was really expensive, but the lifetime issue made it look less expensive since you only made the investment once, instead of paying monthly for the app.
In my opinion, given the fact the Standalone licence is $149 (Lightroom 6 being its name), if you got money and you don’t care too much about being able to easy share photos, or if you don’t like Smartphones, go for the Standalone. With the Creative Cloud Photography, you pay $119.88 per year for using Lightroom CC, Lightroom CC Mobile, and Photoshop. Perhaps then Photoshop may be your biggest reward, but if you don’t plan to use it and keep only working with Lightroom, then in a year you are almost paying the lifetime licence.
However, if you are a modern-on-the-go photographer, having both software for that price is a good thing.
Also keep on mind that Lightroom CC users will get updates faster than Lightroom 6 ones; and huge improvements will only come when Adobe decides to launch Lightroom 7 unless they go for Creative Cloud versions giving up Standalone ones.