Six Reasons to Upgrade From Lightroom 6 to Lightroom Classic CC


If you’re a Lightroom 6 user you may be wondering whether it’s time to upgrade to Lightroom Classic CC. Yes, it will cost you more to move over to the Lightroom Classic subscription, but you will receive a lot of extras in compensation. Let’s take a look at what they are, so you can decide whether the upgrade is worth it for you or not.

1. The Lightroom Classic CC subscription includes Photoshop CC

Lightroom Classic CC upgrade

It’s true that many photographers do all their photo processing in Lightroom without ever moving across to Photoshop. If that’s you, then don’t feel you need to use Photoshop just for the sake of it.

But there are things you can do in Photoshop that you can’t in Lightroom. If you’d like to try any of these, then you’ll need to subscribe to Lightroom Classic CC to access to the latest version, as you can’t buy a standalone version of Photoshop CC.

These are just some of the things you can do in Photoshop that you can’t in Lightroom.

  • Use layers and masking.
  • Advanced portrait retouching.
  • Blend or composite multiple images together.
  • Swap skies or heads (in a group portrait).
  • Use Content-aware fill to remove unwanted items.
  • Make complex selections.
  • Add texture overlays.
  • Add fancy borders.
Lightroom Classic CC upgrade

I used Photoshop to add a texture layer and an interesting border to this still life photo.

2. Lightroom Classic CC lets you synchronize photos to use with the Lightroom CC mobile apps

With Lightroom Classic CC you can synchronize selected Collections and view the photos in those Collections in the Lightroom CC app (formerly known as Lightroom mobile) on a tablet or smartphone. One benefit of this is that you can download the photos to your device so that you can show them to people even when your device is offline.

This makes Lightroom CC a great way to show your portfolio to people while on the go. You can also develop photos in the Lightroom CC app, which may come in handy when you are away from home.

Lightroom Classic CC upgrade

A Collection of photos in Lightroom Classic CC.

Lightroom Classic CC upgrade

The same Collection in the Lightroom CC iPad app.

3. Lightroom Classic CC lets you display photos online

There are two ways to display your photos online using Lightroom Classic CC. The first is to make a Collection public – something you can do with any synchronized Collection. When you do this Lightroom generates a URL that you can give to other people so that they can see the photos in the Collection in a browser (also known as Lightroom Web).

This is a good way to share photos with family, friends, and even clients. If the viewer logs in with an Adobe ID they can even favorite photos and add comments.

Lightroom Classic CC upgrade

This is how the same Collection shown above looks when displayed in a browser.

The other way is to use Adobe Portfolio to build your own portfolio website. I explored this option in more detail in my article How to Create a Beautiful Online Gallery with Lightroom Classic CC and Adobe Portfolio in 15 Minutes.

Adobe Portfolio is the easiest way I know of to turn a synchronized Collection into a website portfolio.

Lightroom Classic CC upgrade

One of the pages from my Adobe Portfolio-generated website.

4. Lightroom Classic CC is faster than Lightroom 6

The latest upgrades to Lightroom Classic CC means that it runs much faster than Lightroom 6. The exact speed gains depend on your computer setup (for example, you need to have at least 12GB of RAM to take advantage of some of the speed gains in the latest Lightroom Classic CC release).

But there’s no doubt that the process of importing photos and generating previews is much faster in Lightroom Classic CC. If speed is an issue with Lightroom 6, it may be time to upgrade.

5. Lightroom Classic CC has Color Range Masking and Luminance Range Masking

These new tools give you more options when it comes to making selections and applying Radial Filters, Graduated Filters and the Adjustment Brush. They are extremely useful when it comes to making local adjustments. You will need to upgrade to Lightroom Classic CC if you’d like to use them.

Lightroom Classic CC upgrade

The Color Range Masking tool in action. I used it here in conjunction with the Adjustment Brush to apply Clarity to the red tin, but no other part of the photo.

6. Lightroom 6 is no longer supported by Adobe

While I’ve tried to emphasize what you will gain by upgrading to Lightroom Classic CC in the rest of the article, there’s no getting away from the fact that Lightroom 6 is no longer supported by Adobe. As a result, new features added to Lightroom Classic CC won’t be available to Lightroom 6 users.

The question you need to ask yourself is how important are the new features, such as Color Range Masking, to you and your workflow?

There’s no need to make an immediate decision. There’s nothing wrong with continuing to use Lightroom 6 for now and upgrading to Lightroom Classic CC in a year or two when the difference between the two is much greater.

You also need to be aware of the effect it will have on your workflow if you buy a new camera whose Raw files aren’t supported by Lightroom 6. In this situation, you can use Adobe’s free DNG Converter to convert the new camera’s Raw files to the DNG format, which can then be read by Lightroom 6. If that is too much of an inconvenience then it may be time to upgrade to Lightroom Classic CC.


These are the six main reasons that I can think of that Lightroom 6 users might want to upgrade to Lightroom Classic CC. If you’re considering the upgrade then take the time to think through your decision and decide which of these (if any) apply to you.

It’s important to make the right choice because once you upgrade to Lightroom Classic CC it’s extremely difficult to go back to using Lightroom 6. The reason for this is that Lightroom upgrades your Catalog so it’s compatible with Lightroom Classic CC. But the new Catalog format isn’t recognized by Lightroom 6. So make your decision wisely.

Can you think of any other reason why a Lightroom 6 user might want to upgrade to Lightroom Classic CC? Have you already upgraded? Then please let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Mastering Lightroom ebooks

Want to get a head start with Lightroom? Take a look at my popular Mastering Lightroom ebooks, written to help photographers learn how to use all of Lightroom’s powerful features. Use the code DPS20 to get 20% off your first order.

Read more from our Post Production category

Andrew S. Gibson is a writer, photographer, traveler and workshop leader. He's an experienced teacher who enjoys helping people learn about photography and Lightroom. Join his free Introducing Lightroom course or download his free Composition PhotoTips Cards!

  • Marinus Beers

    My thoughts? I’m completely done being milked for money through the subscription model of Adobe, and ditched LR and PS. ON1 (that gives you a permanent licence for a reasonable price) to the rescue. And there may be other alternatives…

  • Wolfgang Schwach

    I would immediately upgrade to the newest version of Lightroom, if they would sell it in a non subscription way. But, for all the benefits, this is the line I do not cross.

  • dabhand

    Andrew – with respect, Adobe have created a cash cow based on FUD (Fear, uncertainty and doubt) where the customer is now the product. It is also painfully obvious that their direction is enthusiastically supported by those who make money out of the ‘latest, greatest advances’ through their teaching blogs, websites, youtube channels etc. Adobe’s approach is the one used by many other industries (insurance, medical, charities, electricity/gas suppliers, cell phone companies etc etc – tie you into a regular payment plan and the longer you are in it, the more likely you are to forget you are paying it and the less likely you are to change as there’ll be more FUD if you try to. The best reason to stay with the non-subscription model – you can change suppliers when YOU are ready to.

  • Márk Szabó

    Thank you Adobe – I’ve upgraded to Rawtherapee.

  • Russell

    I just can’t imagine putting myself in the position where, when I decide to stop handing over cash every single month, all the work that has gone into my catalogs is just… gone. Not mine anymore. Hostage to a corporation in a foreign country. No thanks.

  • BlackEternity

    I really enjoy Lightroom – Mind you, It’s for private use. No professional user here.
    And I have Lightroom 6 and I will stay with that. New features might be nice – DeHaze and such. But a subscription-based model is just stupid for private use. From a business-standpoint it MIGHT make sense – Pay monthly for 2k users and be fine with it. No support-hassle, no installation or update-crap.
    But for single-license-use, no one will ever convince me that a subscription makes way more sense. Adobe can stay where Microsoft is aswell with their Office365. Don’t try to make it happen – it ain’t gonna happen (Outside of corporate use).

    Thanks for the article, but none of the points you say make sense for personal use.
    1) Photoshop is neat, but many people already hve it (regardless of how they acquired it).
    2) I don’t know anyone who needs their stuff mobile. If you edit on your PC, there is no need for mobile Adobe.
    3) Online display – for wat exactly? People share their stuff through dropbox, google drive, Flickr and Facebook
    4) Speed – really?
    5) Color masking – neat but again – personal, non commercial use.
    6) Don’t care for support – personal use again.

    So this article just screams for ad-revenue-money. And that makes me sad because I hoped to see a clear comparison of what REAL advantages I get. I.e. how I can better use CC than 6 because it adds feature Y
    But this? Sorry, it just doesn’t click with me. Maybe because I’m no professional and require that as my daily working-tool.

  • Geoff Smith

    I left Adobe to go with ACDSee and Alien Skin Exposure X3. Both of those do everything Lightroom and Photoshop do with no subscription. Just can’t see doing a subscription since I’m not a pro. Photography is a hobby for me.

  • VincentR

    You can also check Capture One 11 for a replacement of Lightroom

  • I’ve never used Lightroom, but have been using Photoshop CS4 for almost 10 years on my Non-retina display MacBook Pro. Now my concern is that there is no more new non-retina display MacBook Pro sold by Apple (all their models are retina display today), and I’ve heard that retina display MacBook Pro won’t work well with CS5 or earlier (everything will look pixelated or something).

    Then, when I upgrade to retina display MacBook Pro down the years, there is no choice but to get CC (which is retina display compatible) unless switching to something else. I totally agree with other comments here. For a hobbyist photographer like myself, the idea of recurring payment is hard to justify…

  • tieutran nhattien
  • Pauline

    Not going there! Going away – maybe Luminar or on1 but as most of the other comments here say, I’m not going to hand my work over to these stand-over merchants. I imagine it won’t be much longer before their cloud storage is mandatory. So to answer your question – I can’t think of any reason to move from LR 6 to Cc!

  • @black@blacketernity:disqus I can assure you there is no revenue being made from this article directly and it is 100% the author’s opinion. You are certainly welcome to disagree but there is no ad revenue here.

  • Mark

    The biggest issue as I see it is when moving to a new system you will lose your previous edits. Sure you can crystallise them to JPEG etc but you can no longer have them as overlays onto an untouched RAW file. Adobe knows this and that’s why they felt they could screw their customer base over by removing the perpetual option whilst previously stating they would do no such thing. Captive audience.
    This now leaves me with two options…
    1. Stick forever with Lightroom 6 and have to DNG any future model camera files such as the A7III.
    2. Move to another system, lose all my non-destructive edits as no system I know of will interpret them and then pray that my new choice doesn’t “pull an Adobe”. The all say they never will, but what when their product reaches maturity and there’s little point of updating (like Lightroom)? They’ll go subscription or lose income.
    3. The unthinkable act of paying the blackmailer.

    This is really rock and hard place territory. I see no reason why any other company will not do the same given a declining income stream. I also know that an update to CC automatically updates my library so that I cannot revert to 6. Sure, I can back it up, output sidecar files for all images and do a complete sync to go back but I’m sure there’d be things that went wrong and I’d certainly lose edits relying on new functionality.

  • Paul H

    Never wanted to use Photoshop as too expensive compared to other alternatives. Most modern cameras have excellent in camera correction capability too. I would rather spend the time and money learning how to take photos that don’t need major manipulation as offered by Photoshop CC. I do quite fine with the software that came with the camera, and two software packages that cost me less than $150 in total that allow me to stack and stitch, otherwise its a quick change to contrast, highlights, hue, and a bit of noise removal on long exposures. I don’t use skin smoothing features or anything like that as I don’t normally do portraits I am not a pro and don’t want to be a pro either.

  • PDL

    I was part of the Lightroom Beta back in the day and have regularly purchased the versions from 1.0 to now 6.14. My current workflow is Capture One 11 and Affinity Photo where I use Affinity Photo to do things I can not do in Capture One or things that are somewhat limited in Lightroom.

    I am not all against a subscription model if:
    The price is reasonable.
    Updates don’t kill your system.
    If you let the subscription lapse, the software still has its core function. (Lightroom disables the develop and map modules)
    There is not a oh so subtle push to their cloud to store everything. Have a slow link – well that’s too bad just wait a day or two to get your pictures. Let the subscription lapse, you have X number of days before Adobe wipes your images.

    As a perpetual license holder of Lightroom v6.x I have not received any “new” features even as I have paid “full” price for the software (It was about 15 months worth of subscription). And there is a Adobe run on startup application that checks the Adobe cloud and writes up to 2-3GB of logging data to my hard drive.

    I do have a second installation of Lightroom on my ten year old laptop that I use when on vacation etc. since the laptop does not have the screen real estate to run Capture One. But for my images that I provide for the non-profits I support it is Capture One and on rare occasions (one time last year) Affinity Photo.

  • Nick V

    I am looking at both OnOne and CaptureOne to replace Lightroom. If Adobe allowed me to keep the last version I was paying for, then I would be all in, but I will not payout for something I will get no return on if I no longer pay.

  • Phred

    Yet, both ON1 and CaptureOne have roughly annual new version releases, and they charge you $80 to $120 to upgrade to the latest version…. putting you essentially right in line with the cost of the Lightroom + Photoshop subscription…

  • Marinus Beers

    True, but you do not HAVE to upgrade annually, do you? I’m perfectly fine with an upgrade every 3rd or 4th year, saving quite a bit of money that way….

Join Our Email Newsletter

Thanks for subscribing!

DPS offers a free weekly newsletter with: 
1. new photography tutorials and tips
2. latest photography assignments
3. photo competitions and prizes

Enter your email below to subscribe.
Get DAILY free tips, news and reviews via our RSS feed