A friend of mine texted me with a question on how he can upgrade from his Lightroom 5 copy to Lightroom 6 this weekend. He told me that he was frustrated with his online Adobe experience, since he could not find the standalone version – every search lead him to the Creative Cloud (CC) subscription model, which he did not want to buy. I immediately thought that he was simply overlooking something, so I decided to give it a quick go on my mobile phone. I typed “Adobe Lightroom 6 Upgrade” in Google, which took me to all kinds of places, none of which offered an upgrade option to Lightroom 6, only CC offers.
The very first legitimate option from Adobe was “Adobe Store – Adobe Lightroom 6 – Upgrade”, which took me to the Adobe Southeast Asia store! The funny thing is, the moment I clicked on “Change” to change to another store, it took me right back to the Adobe Catalog, which only offers one Photoshop Lightroom version and you guessed it right, the CC version. I then looked through a few websites and forums that gave step-by-step instructions on how to find the standalone Lightroom 6 version and none of them worked either. After about 15 minutes of searching, I gave up! Indeed, my friend was right – the process of finding an upgrade link turned out to be a nightmare. I even looked for the upgrade at B&H Photo Video and Amazon. Both only offered CC and standalone full versions and there was no upgrade anywhere to be found. It is pretty clear that Adobe intentionally makes it very difficult to get a standalone version of Lightroom on its website and it only wants its customers to upgrade to the CC version…
Only later on, when going through the Adobe catalog, I finally found a way to get to Lightroom 6 standalone and its upgrade version – the steps of which I will detail below.
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How to Find Lightroom 6 Standalone
If you were to visit the current Adobe Catalog, you would find a number of CC-only versions of products, including Photoshop Lightroom. There will be only two links on Lightroom – the “Download trial” link and the “Buy now” link, both of which take you to the Creative Cloud versions of Lightroom, as seen below:
The trick here is to type “Lightroom 6” in the search dialog – that’s when Adobe will finally display the Photoshop Lightroom 6 buying option:
How to Upgrade to Lightroom 6
From there, clicking the “Buy now” link will take you to the page where you can buy Lightroom 6 from. However, if your goal is to buy only the upgrade ($79), you have to select “License Upgrade” under “Type”, as shown below:
After you do that, the screen will change with some other options and you will see the updated $79 price for the upgrade:
Will Adobe Release Lightroom 7?
Many of our readers ask us if Adobe will ever release a standalone version of Lightroom 7. So far, Adobe has been promising that unlike Photoshop (the standalone version of which is now dead), Lightroom will not suffer the same fate and that the company will continue releasing standalone versions of Lightroom. However, given that Adobe in the past released Lightroom upgrades in 1-2 year cycles (Lightroom 4 was released in March of 2012, Lightroom 5 was released in June of 2013, Lightroom 6 was released in April of 2015), we have already passed the typical upgrade cycle window for Lightroom at this point. And given the above experience, it is very clear that Adobe wants everyone to be a CC subscriber. To me, all this is an indication of Adobe killing off Lightroom standalone in the future. Perhaps the company will release Lightroom 7 as it promised, but why would they be motivated to, when their stock has been soaring non-stop with the Creative Cloud subscribers? Just Google “ADBE Stock” and take a look at their 5 year graph – the company has never been this well off. Considering that Lightroom and Photoshop are the two most popular software packages Adobe offers, the company will do what it can to milk its customers.
Adobe Lightroom Alternatives
For the past few years I have been exploring other alternatives to replace Lightroom with. So far, the software I am mostly satisfied with for editing has only been Phase One’s Capture One Pro. However, it is not as robust as Lightroom for certain things like file management and it certainly lags behind Lightroom big time when it comes to camera RAW updates. The moment Phase One provides RAW support for my Fuji GFX 50S and the upcoming Nikon D850, I will most likely switch to Capture One permanently. Until then, I have no other viable option other than Lightroom.
If you are considering moving away from Adobe, I would suggest to explore Capture One Pro for non-destructive RAW editing to replace Lightroom and Affinity Photo to replace Photoshop. Once I get caught up with some work later this year, I am hoping to release a few tutorials and howtos on migrating to these two packages.
Please share your experience with Adobe in the comments section below and let us know if you are already a Capture One Pro or Affinity Photo user – I would love some feedback and perhaps some of the challenges that you have gone through along the way.