My current imaging software is Lightroom 5, but Adobe offers the newer Lightroom CC on its Creative Cloud. If I switch to that, will it be difficult to move my photos to that new version?
Adobe first offered Lightroom 6 as Lightroom CC via the Creative Cloud Photography Plan, Roger, which is subscription based. If you sign up, you’ll pay a monthly fee. You’ll need to download and install the software in your computer; you will not actually be working in the Cloud. However, you can also buy Lightroom 6, with a perpetual license, for under $200 CAD and less for owners of previous versions. It’s identical to Lightroom CC that’s provided with a Creative Cloud subscription.
Hint: Anyone who is not familiar with the subscription-based CC concept might want to review a previous Q&A from 2013: Is Adobe overcharging for Photoshop Creative Cloud? The company has since stabilized the monthly fee to US$9.99 for private individuals, as outlined in the Creative Cloud pricing and membership plans.
Do note that Creative Cloud subscribers get not only Lightroom CC but also Photoshop CC and a bonus—apps for iPhones, iPads and Android smartphones. Unless you plan to take advantage of those features, a one-time payment for the Lightroom 6 perpetual license offers better value for the money, in my estimation. In either case, be sure to take advantage of Adobe’s New Lightroom tutorial videos, which offer guidance on using the software. While they illustrate the use of CC, the content applies equally to Lightroom 6, except for the synchronization (app) options.
When you install the latest version of Lightroom, the software will ask whether you want to upgrade your Lightroom 5 catalogue to Lightroom 6. Accept that option; it makes the process very simple. Afterwards, you’ll have two catalogues of photos: the one from Lightroom 5 and the new one. You’ll be able to access either with the File > Open Catalog command from the menu. You’ll use the Lightroom 6 catalogue, but you might want to retain the old one too, as a backup. If you did not upgrade to the Lightroom 6 catalogue during the installation, the File > Open Catalog command will provide an option to do so at a later date.
Update (June 16, 2015): This week, Adobe announced some additional features to be provided only in Lightroom CC, which is available only by subscription. See June updates to CC Photography. (They will not be available in the current version of the perpetual license standalone Lightroom, including v.6.1.) The new features in the CC version include a Dehaze tool and sliders for controlling black-and-white levels for the graduated filter, the radial filter and the adjustment brush. Depending on your needs, these features may make a subscription to Lightroom and Photoshop | Adobe Creative Cloud quite attractive.