To use Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop you need an Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plan subscription. You can get Adobe subscription plans for individual software applications, but it’s much less cost-effective. This article explains how the Adobe Photography Plans work, what they cost, how to choose the best Photography Plan for what you need and how to download the Adobe Creative Cloud software.
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1. How the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plans work
Life after Photoshop doesn’t cover Photoshop a great deal, since it’s primarily about Photoshop alternatives. These include Lightroom (both Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC, and Lightroom is covered extensively on this site.
As with Photoshop, you can no longer get Lightroom as a standalone subscription-free purchase, only with one of the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plans. There are three plans to choose from, shown below, which consist of different combinations of Lightroom, Photoshop and Creative Cloud online storage space. Each plan is paid for with a regular monthly subscription. Depending on the Photography Plan you choose, you may get Photoshop anyway, which can still be useful for some editing jobs.
Adobe subscription software has proved controversial. Many people don’t like the idea of renting software rather than owning a license, or are wary of trying something new. Nevertheless, the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography Plans are a good deal. For a monthly payment of around £10/$10, you can get both versions of Lightroom and Photoshop CC.
If you included the optional 1TB cloud storage and ignore the secondary add-ons in these plans, there are four main components: Lightroom CC, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop CC and 1TB optional storage.
2. Which software do I need?
Here’s a run-down of the four main components in the Adobe Photography Plans:
Lightroom CC is the new ‘web first’ version of Lightroom. It’s a stripped down version of the original Lightroom (now called Lightroom Classic) that misses out on a couple of the other version’s features, but is very fast and efficient to use. It uses cloud storage to make your whole photo library available to all your devices everywhere, but this does mean that you need extra storage beyond the 20GB you get with the regular Photography Plan.
Lightroom Classic CC is the ‘old’ Lightroom. This is the standard ‘desktop first’ version of Lightroom, where you store your images locally on your own computer. It’s a little more powerful than Lightroom CC, though the interface is a little more complicated too. This is the version to use if you don’t need online/mobile synchronisation (it can do it, but in a more limited way) and if you want to work with a range of external editors and plug-ins.
Photoshop CC is included as standard in the two main Photography Plans. There isn’t much Photoshop content on this site because it’s about alternative image-editing and processes. Nevertheless, Photoshop is still a very useful tool to have for complex layering, masking and compositing operations you can’t do in Lightroom.
1TB is needed to make full use of Lightroom CC and its cloud-based image library. It’s pretty expensive, costing as much as the regular Photography Plan, but it’s not just ‘dumb’ storage – it uses bespoke Adobe technologies like Sensei AI object recognition, for example, for automatic keywording and machine learning searches in Lightroom. You only really need this amount of storage if you use Lightroom CC, however.
3. How do you get the Adobe Photography Plans?
If you are a first-time user you can sign up for a free 7-day trial using the banner links below. Otherwise, you will need to enter payment details for the regular monthly subscription. You will also need to sign up for a free Adobe ID, if you don’t have one already, which will be linked to your subscription.
When that’s done, you download the Adobe Creative Cloud application, when you then use to install and update the software included with your Creative Cloud plan. There are other extras besides Lightroom and Photoshop.
4. Which Adobe Photograph plan is best?
The best Photography Plan to choose will depend on the user. The regular Photography Plan has the key software applications for regular desktop photography, the Photography Plan (1TB) adds the online storage needed for full use of the mobile photography tools, while the Lightroom Plan offers is aimed at mobile ‘cloud’ photography.
Adobe Photography Plans compared
1. Photography Plan (20GB) $9.99/£9.98/month
The best choice for most photographers will be the Photography Plan, which includes Lightroom Classic, Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC, Lightroom for mobile and web and 20GB of storage – though if you want to use Lightroom CC and its cloud storage, you’ll really need one of the 1TB plans.
2. Photography Plan (1TB) $19.98/£19.97/month
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 of cloud storage (you can upgrade this later).
3. Lightroom Plan (1TB) $9.99/£9.98/month
This looks a good deal at the same price as the regular 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 or Lightroom Classic.
Click on the links below to find out more about the different subscription plans on the Adobe US and Adobe UK websites, download a trial version or sign up for a subscription.