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Exit route from Lightroom?

New Here ,
Nov 12, 2019

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I am an amateur photographer and I have been a Lightroom user since long ago. I have purchased versions 1, 3 and 6 and used them on my Mac with satisfaction. I was not happy to see Adobe's switch to subscription based licensing and I decided to stay with Lightroom 6 which still does more or less everything I need and I would need for a while. But now, since the release of OSX Catalina it is clear that this idea will not work for long: 32 bit applications are not supported on an up-to-date Mac any more. This forces me to decide: to pay the ~10-20 EUR/USD monthly fee and continue to use (a much improved) Lightroom or to forget Lightroom and choose something else.
 
This post is not about the pros and cons of the two options, so please do not comment on this. What I would really like to know is what my possibilities are to retrieve as much of the huge amount of work as possible that I invested in the form of organising, editing, tagging my pictures, etc. if I choose to leave. (Lrexit - sorry, bad joke).
 
From Lightroom 6, I can certainly export all my final, edited pictures as full resolution jpegs. I can even export the adjustments as xmp sidecar files next to the original raws, hoping that other software can at least partially understand them. I am not sure about the collections structure, though. Can that be exported somehow? 
 
Along the same line: What are my possibilities if I choose to subscribe to the cloud based Lightroom, but decide not to continue with the subscription later? What can be exported or downloaded from the cloud? Is there an automated tool that exports pictures grouped according to the collections structure defined in the web based / mobile app?

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Exit route from Lightroom?

New Here ,
Nov 12, 2019

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I am an amateur photographer and I have been a Lightroom user since long ago. I have purchased versions 1, 3 and 6 and used them on my Mac with satisfaction. I was not happy to see Adobe's switch to subscription based licensing and I decided to stay with Lightroom 6 which still does more or less everything I need and I would need for a while. But now, since the release of OSX Catalina it is clear that this idea will not work for long: 32 bit applications are not supported on an up-to-date Mac any more. This forces me to decide: to pay the ~10-20 EUR/USD monthly fee and continue to use (a much improved) Lightroom or to forget Lightroom and choose something else.
 
This post is not about the pros and cons of the two options, so please do not comment on this. What I would really like to know is what my possibilities are to retrieve as much of the huge amount of work as possible that I invested in the form of organising, editing, tagging my pictures, etc. if I choose to leave. (Lrexit - sorry, bad joke).
 
From Lightroom 6, I can certainly export all my final, edited pictures as full resolution jpegs. I can even export the adjustments as xmp sidecar files next to the original raws, hoping that other software can at least partially understand them. I am not sure about the collections structure, though. Can that be exported somehow? 
 
Along the same line: What are my possibilities if I choose to subscribe to the cloud based Lightroom, but decide not to continue with the subscription later? What can be exported or downloaded from the cloud? Is there an automated tool that exports pictures grouped according to the collections structure defined in the web based / mobile app?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 12, 2019

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The collection structure is simply something that is stored in the catalog. Nothing exists about the collection externally. If you want that collection as a separate entity you would probably do well to export it before you give up on Lightroom 6.

 

If you subscribe to the cloud-based Lightroom or Lightroom Classic which would allow you to continue using your catalog and file-based catalog on your computer, you would have the same option as far as Lightroom Classic is concerned. As far as Lightroom for the cloud is concerned there is an app available that will allow you to download everything that is in the cloud. I don't know a lot about it and don't know if it will download your images organized the way they are organized in the cloud. But you will be able to get all of your images to your computer in the event that you should decide to cancel your subscription.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 12, 2019

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If you stop a subscription to LR Classic the LR Library continues to function, so export is possible. Only the develop module stops functioning and Google (or third party maps) due to licencing arrangements.

 

If you stop a subscription to Lightroom (cloud-eco system) all originals stored in the cloud are available for two years. The Adobe downloader app also enables you to retrieve your original photos and edit settings.

 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 13, 2019

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A couple more comments from me-

While you have your Collections in Lr6- Use each Collection, by selecting these images, and add a keyword (eg. the Collection NAME). When you 'Save' metadata to all your files [Ctrl+S], they will then have Keywords to 'Collect' these images with future software. (Note: Raw files will have the XMP sidecar with metadata/keywords. If you want to convert your raw files to DNG then keywords will embed in the files and show in Mac Finder TBMK.  They do show in Windows File Explorer-I know!)

ScreenShot544.jpg

As you are a long-time user of Lightroom, I might suggest that the Cloud Version (Lightroom v3) is not for you so do not even consider it. If you change your mind about the 'Subscription' choice then Lightroom-CLASSIC (v9.0 local folders etc) and Photoshop (in the Photography Plan 20Gb) would be the best choice. Any "Download from the Cloud" would then NEVER be a question, a problem, or need consideration.

Regards. My System: Lr-Classic 9.4, Lightroom 3.4, Photoshop 2020 (21.2.1), Nikon DSLR, Windows-10.

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New Here ,
Nov 13, 2019

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Hi,

Thank all of you for the answers. I like the idea of WobertC very much, the keywording by the catalog names. It involves a fair amount of manual work, but I think, the gain is worth the pain. Even if the "future software" will not be able to make use of these keywords, it will give you the possibility to organise the photos in any way you want by simple scripting (shell scripts, python, whatever).

Coming back to the decision: I am leaning towards continuing with Lightroom, it is such a powerful tool, and probably with Lightrom Classic and Photoshop as a bonus if I choose the Photography plan. However, I think it is essential to know what and how I can retreive if I cannot continue with the subscription for any reason.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Nov 13, 2019

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It's certainly important to ask the exit strategy question.

Do remember that Adobe have confused everyone with the names. "Lightroom" is what they call the new cloud-based Lightroom which you should probably avoid, as Wobertc said. Lightroom Classic is the Lightroom you've been using, and you can use it in conjunction with mobile devices.

Also notice the important point about what happens after you end your subscription. Lightroom Classic will continue to work - you can't go into Develop or Map, but you can do anything else.

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New Here ,
Nov 14, 2019

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John,

This sounds good. But are you sure that I can search, browse and open my raw files in LR Classic, and even make exports (with all previously made adjustments applied) after my subscription expires? For me it seems that Adobe does not allow you to use the functionality of Camera Raw if you are not a paying customer. For example the free Adobe Bridge opens raw files only if you have a live subscription. 

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