Disclosure notice: Life after Photoshop gets a modest commission on some downloads, clicks and referrals. It’s paid by the software vendor and it doesn’t cost you anything. It’s enough to pay for our hosting fees, coffee and donuts, but not the red Ferrari 488 Spider saved in our Bookmarks folder, alas. Life after Photoshop is and always will be 100% editorially independent.

Life after Photoshop doesn’t cover Photoshop a great deal (probably for obvious reasons), but it does have a lot of Lightroom tutorials. Lightroom is Adobe’s professional image cataloguing, RAW conversion and photo editing tool and for many photographers it does everything they need both more quickly and simply than Photoshop.

The big news here, as of October 2017, is that Adobe has split Lightroom into two different programs – the new, cloud-based Lightroom CC and a continuation of the ‘old’ Lightroom as Lightroom classic.

Adobe has also updated Photoshop, with a new Photoshop CC 2018. Photoshop isn’t covered very much on this site, there are still situations where Photoshop can still be useful – for in-depth image-retouching and repair, for example, or for complex, multi-layer montages.

This is why the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan is such a great deal. For a single monthly payment of around £10/$10 (with an annual subscription), you get both Lightroom and Photoshop CC. What’s made things more complicated is the new version of Lightroom and the online storage needed for its ‘cloud-first’ approach. So as of now there are three main plans to choose from:

  • New Lightroom CC Plan: $9.99/£9.98 per month
    This looks a good deal at the same price as the traditional Photography Plan but there’s a sting in the tail – you get Lightroom CC, Lightroom for mobile and web, Adobe Spark with premium features, Adobe Portfolio and 1TB cloud storage, but you do not get Photoshop.
  • Photography Plan: $9.99/£9.98 per month
    You can continue with the regular, updated Photography Plan, which comes with Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC, Lightroom for mobile and web, Adobe Spark with premium features, Adobe Portfolio and 20GB of storage. This gives you the traditional ‘desktop first’ approach and the inclusion of Lightroom CC means you can also try out the new web-based approach – though the bundled 20GB storage won’t get you very far, so if you decide you like it you will need to upgrade to a 1TB plan.
  • Photography Plan with 1TB: $19.99/$19.97 or $14.99/£14.97 per month (existing users, for the first year)
    If you decide you want the best of both worlds, it’s going to cost more. With this plan you get Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic, Lightroom for mobile and web, Photoshop CC, Adobe Spark with premium features, Adobe Portfolio and 1TB storage.

Subscription software is still unpopular with some people, but the maths really do stack up – you get both programs for far less than you would have to pay for a regular, ‘perpetual licence’, constant free updates and the benefits of Adobe’s Creative Cloud image storage and synchronisation system. This lets you swap images with the Lightroom Mobile app on Android and iOS for example.

Besides, it’s no longer possible to get Photoshop on its own anyway, so if you do need it you’re going to have to pay for in on subscription anyway, and you might as well get Lightroom CC at the same time.

I am a big Lightroom fan and I’d recommend it to anyone whose image collection has become too large and complex for a regular folder-based filing system. So if you haven’t done it already, please download the Photography Plan trial. You get 15 days to try it out free and unrestricted.