Lightroom is one of the most popular photo editing apps among photographers. Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a Lightroom one-time purchase.
However, Adobe Photoshop remains the number one software for photo and graphics manipulation, and it keeps getting better with every update.
In this article, we will guide you step by step through which plan you should choose, how to use the free trial, and the difference between different bundles and single Lightroom-only plans.
We’re going to break down each subscription plan by one so that by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly which plan is best for you.
Table of Contents
How Much Does Lightroom Cost?
Adobe Lightroom costs $119.88 when prepaid annually or $9.99 monthly. You can also test Lightroom with a 7-day free trial and add additional cloud storage to your plan starting from $9.99 per 1TB.
Take a look at the table below to get an idea of how much each Adobe plan that includes Lightroom costs.
|Plan||Price Per Month||What’s Included|
|Lightroom (1TB Storage)||$9.99||Lightroom|
|Photography (20GB Storage)||$9.99||Lightroom
|Photography (1TB Storage)||$19.99||Lightroom
|Creative Cloud (100GB Storage)||$54.99||Lightroom
20+ More Apps
|Creative Cloud for Students and Teachers (100GB Storage)||$19.99 (63% discount) for the first year, then $29.99||Lightroom
20+ More Apps
|Business (1TB Storage)||$35.99||Lightroom (single app)|
|Schools and Universities (100 GB Storage)||$14.99||Lightroom (single app)|
Recommended: Lightroom (1TB) – $9.99/mo – this is the lowest Adobe Lightroom price you’ll find.
Does Lightroom Offer a Lifetime License?
Unfortunately, Lightroom does not offer any lifetime versions. The only option to get Lightroom is to pay for a subscription, with plans starting at $9.99 per month.
Some people think that Lightroom is free to use. You can read our article where we explain whether Lightroom is free – a question that a lot of people ask.
Adobe Lightroom, like many other software products, operates under a subscription-based pricing model rather than a one-time purchase.
While it may be frustrating for some users who prefer to buy the software outright, this approach allows Adobe to provide users with consistent updates and support, more flexibility, cloud-based storage, and revenue stability.
Lightroom vs Lightroom Classic
Adobe Lightroom is a popular photo editing and organizing software used by both amateur and professional photographers.
Lightroom has evolved over the years, with now two versions available to use: Lightroom and Lightroom Classic.
|File Storage||Cloud||Local hard drive|
|Use on multiple devices (web, desktop, mobile)||Available||Not available|
|Best for||Beginners and advanced photographers||Expert photographers|
Lightroom Classic is the desktop-based version of Lightroom that offers a comprehensive set of features for advanced editing and organization.
Lightroom is a cloud-based version of Lightroom that offers a streamlined interface and simplified editing tools. It allows users to edit their photos on various devices, including desktop, mobile, and web, with seamless synchronization across platforms.
Quick note: When purchasing the Photography (20GB) plan, you get both Lightroom and Lightroom Classic for $9.99 per month.
What is Cloud Storage?
Cloud storage allows you to store and access digital image files on remote servers over the internet. As a photographer, you can safely upload, organize, and securely backup your photos.
It is particularly beneficial for Photoshop or Lightroom users, as it enables seamless synchronization and collaboration across multiple devices and facilitates easy sharing of images with clients or colleagues.
If you have subscribed to Lightroom on an annual basis, you are typically committed to a one-year contract.
If you choose to cancel your subscription before the end of the annual term, you may be charged an early termination fee, which is 50% of your remaining contract amount. For those who prepaid annually, the amount is non-refundable.
Adobe allows you to ask for a refund in the first 14 days of your initial purchase.
Extra Storage Cost
One important aspect to consider when buying Lightroom is storage space, as the software relies on cloud storage to securely store and access your photos and projects from multiple devices. With Cloud Storage, you are not dependent on your hard drive. You won’t have to worry about your computer crashing and losing the image files.
For example, the Photography plan includes an initial storage allocation of just 20 GB of cloud storage. For some, it may be enough, but if you edit large amounts of photos, you may need more storage.
- Upgrading the Photography plan to 1TB storage costs $19.99 per month. If you find that 20 GB of storage is not sufficient for your needs, Adobe provides the option to upgrade your Photography plan to include 1 terabyte (1TB) of cloud storage which is priced at $19.99 per month.
- Further storage expansions cost $9.99 per 1 TB. For professional photographers or enthusiasts with even greater storage requirements, Adobe Lightroom offers the flexibility to increase your total storage up to 2TB, 5TB, or 10TB.
Is Lightroom Worth Your Money?
Lightroom’s prices are justified because it offers many features and capabilities for all kinds of photographers for as low as $9.99/month.
Some of the features you get with Lightroom are Cloud storage, quickly organizing and adjusting your photos, or applying presets. In a few clicks, you can import Lightroom presets made by others or create your own, making them the way you like or emulating the look of your favorite photographers.
For this reason, Lightroom is worthwhile for anyone who wants to improve their photos.
I personally have been using Lightroom for many years and it really helped me consistently make money as a photographer.
Remember, Lightroom offers a 7-day free trial if you want to test all the features.
Lightroom vs Competitor Pricing
With all its customization freedom, Lightroom might not be for everyone. Maybe it’s too expensive for you. Or it doesn’t have the features you want. That’s why I put together a list of Lightroom alternatives and their pricing.
|Lightroom Competitors||Starting Price|
|ON1 Photo Raw||$7.99/mo|
|DxO PhotoLab||$219 one-time payment|
This price comparison chart should help you get an idea of how Lightroom’s price compares to the competition.
If you haven’t heard about these alternatives, here’s some information about each of them.
Luminar Neo is a powerful AI-based creative photo editor. It offers a range of innovative features such as advanced sky replacement, advanced masking capabilities, and has extensions such as HDR Merge, Background Removal AI others that offer augmented AI adjustments. It also offers a free trial if you decide to give it a try.
- Read our complete Luminar Neo review
ON1 Photo Raw
ON1 Photo RAW is a comprehensive photo editing software that offers a range of editing tools and features. It provides non-destructive editing, advanced masking capabilities, and AI-powered editing tools. It also emphasizes features like layer-based editing and a wide range of built-in effects and presets.
Capture One offers advanced tools for color grading, tethered shooting, and precise control over image adjustments. It is widely used by professional photographers and studios. Capture One differs from Lightroom in terms of its highly customizable interface, powerful color editing capabilities, and its ability to tether directly to supported cameras for real-time image editing.
DxO PhotoLab is a powerful photo editing software known for its advanced image processing and automated corrections. It excels in lens and camera profile-based corrections, noise reduction, and local adjustments. Its intuitive interface and U Point technology for selective editing differentiate it from Lightroom. DxO PhotoLab prioritizes optimizing image quality and streamlining editing workflows.
In case you realize photo editing is not for you, you can outsource it to others.
Which Lightroom Pricing Plan is Right for You?
It goes without saying that only you can know what’s best for you – your specific photo editing needs, how experienced of a photographer you are, how much storage you need, and whether you’re planning to edit on desktop, web, or mobile app.
However, I can help point you in the right direction. To help you choose the best option for your budget, here’s my take on which plan is most appropriate for different types of users:
- If you are an amateur in photography and don’t need Photoshop, ‘Lightroom (1 TB)‘ should be enough for you.
- If you are an experienced photographer in the field, you plan to use Photoshop for more difficult manipulations but don’t need a lot of storage since you are planning on using Lightroom Classic, try the ‘Photography (20 GB)’ plan.
- If you are an expert in the field who gets to edit loads of photos across multiple platforms, you might want to go with the ‘Photography (1 TB)‘ plan.
Yes, in our opinion paying for Adobe Lightroom is worth it. We’ve been using it for several years to edit loads of photos for clients, and it’s been worth every penny.
Lightroom subscription starts at $9.99 per month and offers 20 GB storage. If you need more storage, you can go for the plan with 1TB, which costs $19.99 per month.
No, you can’t pay for a permanent version of Lightroom. You have an option to either pay for a monthly subscription in Creative Cloud All Apps plan or yearly subscription in other plans.
The Photography plan includes Lightroom and Photoshop bundle and costs $9.99 per month with 20GB storage. You can get the same bundle with 1TB storage for $19.99 per month.
The great thing about this bundle is that it includes Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, and Photoshop Express.