Adobe Lightroom will die? Really? Does Adobe stop with Lightroom?
No, no… it is not so dramatic, but the landscape of post-processing software is changing a lot in the last months. I am a professional photographer for over 10 years and start giving photography classes almost 8 years ago. Since the beginning I am using Adobe Lightroom. I started with the first version of Adobe Lightroom and currently I am using Adobe Lightroom Classic CC. I always like the software, however the developments in the last years are not very spectacular. But what to do if there aren’t better options that can match the same workflow.
So why is Adobe Lightroom going to die?
To be honest, I don’t think Lightroom will dissappear, but I am pretty sure the market share of Lightroom will decrease a lot. Lightroom was an accessible product for professional and amateur photographers. Years ago you bought the software package and could use it as long as you want. The only problem was the camera support, because after buying a new camera the RAW files were not always supported. So that was a smart trick of Adobe to force people to buy an upgrade on a regular base. The upgrade version was always cheaper compared to the full version, so in the end not too many photographers complained about this.
A few years ago Adobe introduced the Creative Cloud, a recurring business model with a monthly payment from their users. Apart from the full Creative Cloud package with apps like InDesign and Illustrator there was also a special package for photographers with Lightroom CC and Photoshop CC. At that time Adobe made a statement Lightroom will always be available as a one-time payment software.
So what happened? Besides Lightroom CC they launched the promised Lightroom 6, but Lightroom 6 was the last one-time payment version of Lightroom. Nowadays you have to sign up for a 1 year subscription and you pay $9.99 per month.
So what is the problem?
Lets start with what is not the problem. The subscription is not a problem for professional photographers. They need Photoshop and Lightroom and don’t care to much about paying $9.99 per month. Adobe won’t loose them. At least not at the moment. The problem is the amateur photographers. They do photography as a passion and most of them use Lightroom only a few times per month. Not on a daily base like professional photographers. This group of consumers is not willing to pay $9.99 per month and at a certain moment they can’t use Lightroom 6 anymore because their newly bought camera is not supported anymore. I heard those stories over and over again in the last 6 months and amateur photographers are looking for a good alternative.
Adobe doesn’t want the amateur photographer anymore
Is that true? Of course that is true. Making such a decision is moneywise a good decision, but as a company you have to be there for your consumers. Listen to them and give them what they want. Don’t force them to do something they don’t want to do. They won’t do it anyway…. As a photography educator I hear the stories of amateur photographers and I know they are moving to software like Affinity Photo, Luminar and ON1 Photo RAW. Why? Because they can buy this software with one payment and are not forced to the subscription.
To be honest, I think Lightroom has to offer a lot for a photographer, but Affinity Photo, Luminar and ON1 Photo RAW have plenty of options for amateur photographers and maybe it is even enough for some professional photographers. So I can understand the movements, I only don’t understand why the people at Adobe don’t (want to) see it.
So is Lightroom really going to die?
I don’t think so. I think two things can happen if the market share decreases. (1) If earnings are going down I wonder if they are willing to do new, faster and better developments. Maybe earnings won’t go down because the subscription model might compensate the loss of one-time payments. (2) It can be a wake up call for Adobe and make a plan to win back the amateur photographers. Since competitors didn’t fall asleep and see the amateur photographers looking for alternatives, it is an important time for them to catch them. So my shout out to Adobe is to listen to the users of the software and not only think what is better for the company in the short run. Please wake up and do your work!
What do you think?
I really wonder if I am the only person thinking in this way. Please leave a comment and share your thoughts 🙂
Very good point. I use Lightroom at most few times a month (and some months I don’t use it at all). Looking for free alternatives.
Jep, that is what we hear a lot. Luminar 3 is maybe interesting to have a look at. In our Youtube channel you can find a free mini course in Luminar 3 also. It will give you a good view of the possibilities.
I definitely think you have a point, the charging model works in the commercial world but nowhere else really!
I have used GIMP on and off for years but never mastered it as it’s just to complex for me.
I use Photoscape X, which as an amateur meets my needs, basic as they are. Have you tried it? I’d be interested in your feedback?
We have never used Photoscape X, but as far as I can see it looks like a replacement (probably with less options) for Photoshop and isn’t a real RAW development tool like Lightroom?
I recently started using Raw Tharapee 5.4 as an alternative for Lightroom.
Free of charge!
And a lot of possibilities. I’m still learning.
Thank you for the valuable reply. Does Raw Tharapee also have a library for photos?
I think you are right. And also the situation is more serious than this for Adobe. As they lose market share in the enthusiast market this extra revenue needs to go some where. The smart software houses who ply them long game will pile this money into R&D so they expand the quality and functionality of thier products. How long will it be before these products can challenge Adobe in the professional market with superior purchasing options?
Exactly! Since the development of the new products goes really fast in the last year my guess is it won’t take too much time.