Lightroom 5.5 brings a hugely-surprising change to how Lightroom behaves once you stop subscribing or after a trial ends.
To appreciate the importance of the change, just imagine a couple of scenarios:
- You might try Lightroom for 30 days, import and work on photos, then decide not to buy the program – but the trial ended before you had printed some pictures you had adjusted.
- Potentially much more calamitous is if you had been subscribing to Adobe’s Creative Cloud, either the full version or the Photoshop+Lightroom bundle, and then stopped your subscription for whatever reason. You might have had a lot of hours or years tied up in Lightroom, but suddenly all your work would become inaccessible.
Adobe have now addressed what many regarded as a particularly-objectionable aspect of the subscription model, and it’s clear they have been thinking about this for some time – see John Nack’s post here. You can now breathe a lot more easily.
What Adobe have said
With the latest update to Lightroom 5.5 I believe we’ve also addressed a lingering concern in the community: What happens to my photographs after my membership ends? With Lightroom 5.5, at the end of a membership, the desktop application will continue to launch and provide access to the photographs managed within Lightroom as well as the Slideshow, Web, Book or Print creations that we know many photographers painstakingly create. The Develop and Map modules have been disabled in order to signal the end of the membership and the need to renew in order to receive Adobe’s continuous innovation in those areas. Access to Lightroom mobile workflows will also cease to function.
Everything except Develop and Map
So even if Lightroom is no longer licensed, it will continue to open catalogues and almost all the important features will remain available. Adobe have also kept it nice and simple – Develop and Map are disabled, as is Mobile. But you can do everything else, and after a 30 day trial or a subscription expires you’ll continue to be able to use Lightroom to import new photos, find and organise them, apply keywords and other metadata, use them in books or slideshows, print and export them.
Quick Develop and Presets
What if you want to make more adjustments? Well, while you won’t be able to use the Develop module, you can still adjust your photos through Library’s Quick Develop panel or by applying presets – the only thing that’s really unavailable is cropping.
What do you think?
In fact, I’m actually quite surprised at what seems a very generous move. What do you think?