It’s not just all that editing work you’ve invested in Lightroom, but all the albums, keywording and image organization you’ve built up over the years too. Does that mean you’re stuck with paying a subscription for ever?
I had an email from a photographer fed up with this after reading an article I wrote for Digital Camera World on the cost of software. $10/£10 per month isn’t a huge amount to pay in the broad scheme of things, but he objected to having to keep paying it for ever after he stopped using Lightroom, just to have access to all the work he did in the past.
It seems a fair assumption that if you cancel your Adobe Photography Plan you lose access to Lightroom, but that’s actually not the case.
Lightroom Classic won’t stop working
It turns out that Lightroom Classic will continue to work even after you cancel your subscription, but the Develop module and Maps module will be disabled. The Library module will continue to work as before, you can view and organize your images as before and all your image edits will still be there. You can export images as before, and the only thing you can’t do now is go into the Develop mode to change your edits.
This seems more than fair, and takes a lot of the worry about quitting your Adobe subscription either now or in the future. In principle you could even carry on using Lightroom Classic as an organizing tool into the future, though that isn’t Adobe’s intention. This is an exit plan for photographers, not a way to get free organizing software.
Lightroom (the web version) is more complicated because all your images are stored on Adobe’s servers. Even here it says it will give you a year to download them, which seems very generous. What’s not quite so generous is the exit cost of quitting your subscription early…
Why canceling your Adobe subscription can bring a fee
What catches people out is that because the Adobe Photography Plan comes with a monthly fee, they assume they can quit it at any time.
That’s not the case.
What you’re actually signing up to is an ANNUAL plan for which 12 monthly payments are taken. If you cancel with just a couple of months to go, there shouldn’t be any charge, but if you try to cancel half way through, for example, Adobe will charge you a proportion of the remaining annual amount for canceling early.
This is no different to other annual plans which have monthly instalments, it’s just that Adobe doesn’t make it terribly clear that this is what you’re signing up to.
If you do want to cancel, the best time to do it is when your subscription is coming up for its annual renewal. You’ll be able to find out when this is by logging into your Adobe user account.
One more thing – if you do cancel your Adobe subscription, don’t delete your Adobe user ID. You can still use this even if you’re not on any paid plan, and you might well need it in the future.
Adobe Photography Plans
• Adobe Photography Plan: $9.99/month
• Adobe Photography Plan (1TB): $19.99/month
Lightroom Plan (1TB): $9.99/month
A trial version lasting just a few days is available