LightRoom’s Last Hurrah – Why Adobe Has Lost My Trust And Business

Recently I’ve been experimenting with Hipstamatic on my iPad for processing digital photos.


I’d grown tired of the overwhelming complexity and cluttered interface of LightRoom, and although I do like a lot of what it does, for me it’s like using, not so much a sledgehammer, but an entire demolition squad with wrecking balls and explosives, to crack a nut.

As mentioned in the post about Hipstamatic, I also dislike that Adobe doesn’t offer LightRoom now as a stand alone purchase.

As far as I can figure out, you can only have it as part of a subscription plan.

Mine is one of the cheapest, at £10.10 a month, but to me this seems expensive when I using perhaps 50 pence worth of its features (and don’t use any of the other apps included, or any of the cloud storage).

So I explored cancelling my subscription, assuming it would be a simple process, and I would just be charged the remainder of the month I’m in, then the subscription would end.

But no.


I was informed that if I cancelled now there would be a £29.99 cancellation fee as my subscription doesn’t end until July.

This was news to me.

I assumed that as I had been a customer for over three and half years, and had always paid monthly (which has added up to something extortionate like £450 over that period), that I would only need to give a maximum one month’s notice. 

Next, I was offered a special deal “only for existing customers” to avoid paying the cancellation fee, and have 60 days free use of the plan I already have.

Because I wasn’t prepared to forfeit the equivalent of three month’s subscription fees to end the service in less than a month, I went with this option. For now.


Out of protest, I’m not planning to use LightRoom anymore.

Yeh I know they don’t know or care, but it makes me feel better about it.

I’ll try to cancel again after 60 days and see what they say the cancellation fee is then, and what further offer they conjure up to try to entice me to stay.

The whole episode has left a very bad taste in the mouth. 

I was already disgruntled that I was paying so much for so little, and there wasn’t a cheaper plan that suited me, or better still a pay once and keep the software option like there used to be a few years back.

But to then charge three month’s fee to cancel seems criminal.

How do they possibly think this practice can reflect well on them in any shape or form?

It’s been the unfortunate final nail in the coffin for LightRoom, for me. When there are other, far more friendly (and much cheaper, or free!) options available, why would I stay with them?

So it looks like from this point onwards, the future is Hipstamatic! 


Have you had any such experiences with Adobe? Which software do you use for processing, and do you feel it’s good value?

Please let us know in the comments below (and remember to tick “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

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36 thoughts on “LightRoom’s Last Hurrah – Why Adobe Has Lost My Trust And Business”

  1. I bought a subscription to Lightroom for the first time last year but have barely used it. Haven’t found it at all intuitive and I don’t like being coerced into using yet another library system.

    The latest version of Photos for Mac has been beefed up considerably and I reckon is more than sufficient for my needs as they stand.

    1. Well the LightRoom backlash starts here, I’m amazed at all the negative comments so far!

      Lee, I’ve not even used LR as a library system, I’m quite happy with the filing system I have, plus my back up archive on Flickr. Another reason I don’t need LR!

      My ageing MacBook Pro doesn’t support Photo, at least not with the current OS I have, and I don’t want to upgrade it and find other stuff doesn’t work. But if/when I do get a new Mac I’ll have Photos so can explore that option.

  2. Dude… I totally agree, and pass on my sympathy.

    The Adobe suite (for me personally as well) is a waste of time. Not sure I even get that 50p worth from it as I’m using LR 100% of the time. I am about to jump and cancel my subscription, and don’t feel very confident about the ease of the operation if your experience is anything to go by.

    I am in the fortunate position that I don’t really spend much time working with digital files. Most of the time, I’m scanning solely for an online share. I have used HIPSTAMATIC in the past, however found it to be too ‘easy’, even though the filters are fun to use I will admit. Simply put, I eventually found me images looking too generic, as they ended up looking similar as I was using the same adjustments to almost all my images.

    What I’ve found to be much more useful is SNAPSEED. Do you know, or use it? I have it on my mobile handset, and iPad, and works a blast for the minor adjustments that I need on the fly. With regard to analogue images, I am shooting so much SLIDE film, which is pretty much finalised ‘in-camera’, that I don’t need to do any adjustments after I’ve scanned to share.

    Regarding Adobe…. I’ll keep you posted with my upcoming adventure in trying to cancel my subscription.

    1. Anton, thanks for your input!

      The whole “suite” thing I think is just an excuse to sell us a bunch of stuff we don’t need. I said I used 50p worth of my £10 monthly sub in LightRoom. If I expand this across the suite of apps, I’m actually probably using about 5p worth!

      I know what you mean that Hipstamatic can be almost too easy and almost like a game where you push different buttons, but I hope I have enough knowledge to know what look I like, and how to get it, rather than just cycling through a ton of different predetermined favourites others have made.

      I haven’t tried Snapseed but am hearing a lot of good about it. I don’t really want to explore anything else at this point as I have Hipstamatic set up how I want it on iPhone and iPad, so if it ain’t broke…

      Very interesting what you say about “finalised in-camera” – I have a post on this scheduled to be published imminently!

      Yeh let me know what Adobe try, but see Frank’s comments further down about how got around it…

  3. I use Snapseed on my phone and Gimp on my laptop all more than adequate for what I need, although I have Adobe Photoshop CS2 on my Mac Pro I don’t use it that much.

    1. Thanks Christopher, another vote for Snapseed! I haven’t used Photoshop in years, I only used to use for doing things like blog headers for former blogs I’ve had.

  4. You are sadly not the first person that I have heard of being unhappy with Lightroom and Adobe or struggled to cancel your subscription. I doubt that you will be the last.

    I use Snapseed for my mobile platforms which works great. I did use Aperture then Apple ceased it so I went looking for something that fitted me and my needs. I never wanted to be one of the sheep but for the short term had to use LR. I never liked LR or got used to using it. Quite frankly the software sucks.

    After searching for quite a long time I found Capture One Pro and haven’t looked back. Its intuitive and customisable to my needs/workflow.

    I use if it on subscription and decided not to buy it outright as the updates attend usually pretty good.

  5. I bought the last version of Lightroom that was available for stand-alone purchase, and I’m reasonably happy with it. Though, like you, I use only a small amount of its functionality. I particularly like using it to organise, describe and store my photos – this is what I would really miss from moving away from Lightroom. I know that lots of people just use a folder structure to organise everything, but I love being able to dig through my photos using flags and keywords.
    But my old version of Lightroom is bound to run out of road eventually, and after that £10 a month sounds pretty steep. I don’t know where I’ll go next. Oh well, a problem for another day!

    1. Yeh I’ve never used LR for organising, in fact it conflicted with my own simple HD file storage system, as I’d usually manually move a file into a different folder once proposed then when I went back into LR and it couldn’t find the file. So I essentially just used LR to process, then deleted the original from it after.

      Anyway, this is another thing I don’t need/use LR for!

  6. Aaah Lightroom, I remember it still…
    No kidding, I was offered the 2 free months too when I tried to cancel my subscription before the due date. Took them up on the offer…. twice!

    One trick that worked for me (though I did not do it on purpose) was this: when the new LR Classic and LR came out I swapped for the new plan at first, before thinking it through.

    After I considered my use of LR and the cost, and the fact that just before I intended to cancel, I took a decision. And this time, as I had taken a new subscription less than 30 days before I could cancel for free. The subscription fee for the change of plan was even refunded…. not saying anything here! Change to a new plan and cancel it… done!

    Apple Photos, Picktorial and Luminar serve me well now

    1. Frank, thanks, I remember your recent warnings about LightRoom, and the problems you had upgrading. I will definitely try your trick once my 60 days is up!

  7. Now I need to go check my subscription to see if I’m locked in on an annual basis too. I have no memory of that being the deal when I signed up.

    You iPhone/iPad/Mac users are much more fortunate in terms of photo editing and cataloging software than we Windows stalwarts.

    1. Jim I had no memory, it was a shock to me! I know with Flickr I have an annual sub, and you pay in one go. Adobe know that if they gave people a bill for £120+ they wouldn’t continue so sneak it in with monthly instalments.

      It’s not just them, it’s similar to Amazon with their Prime service, where they surely rely on the fact that most people who sign up for the free trial then forget about it and are billed every year for the service. Or even a gym membership where they offer a deal to sign up (especially this time of year!), knowing that 90% of people won’t visit the gym at all after January but will likely not bother or get around to cancelling their membership so be paying monthly for something they don’t use. If all the members of a typical gym turned up at once they wouldn’t have anywhere near enough equipment! All part of their strategy…

      I use Windows at work, and even though it’s a reasonably modern version, every day is painful. It’s so worth the extra investment in Apple stuff, for the joy and simplicity of using it…

  8. Another former Lightroom user here. I was using iPhoto and then Photos for digital (exclusively with the iPhone these days) and Lightroom/Photoshop for film (which I process and scan myself). I tried moving some of the Photos files into Lightroom and vice versa and quickly had a mess on my hands.

    I preferred Photos over Lightroom as a Digital Asset Manager and Lightroom over the early versions of Photos as an image processor. Then Adobe went subscription only, Photos got better, and I found Affinity Photo.

    My current tools for digital are Photos and Affinity Photo with Affinity running as a Photos plugin. I use the same tools for film but I start by batch processing the scans with Iridient X Transformer. (I scan my negatives with a Fuji X-Trans camera and Iridient is the best Fuji RAW converter I’ve tried, including Lightroom, Affinity and a free trial of Capture One.)

    1. Doug sounds like you’ve found a great (and pretty simple) set up that works for you. As I said above, I can’t believe I’ve been going along with this impression for ages that LightRoom is the best solution for photo processing, when no-one here seems to think much of it!

  9. For any tweaing I want or need to do, I use the features built into Google Photos. It’s where I store all of my images anyway. For colour pics, I hit the “Auto” button, and for contrasty B&W, I use “Eiffel” perhaps with a few adjustments on the exposure and contrast sliders. I wish it had the ability to save a favourite profile, but other than that is fine for my needs. I tried Lux and Snapseed on mobile devices, but they seemed to complicate my very simple workflow.

    1. Richard, sounds like a very simple set up that works well for you. I remember Flickr too has editing options, I’ve just never tried them because I want to keep a copy of my edited photos on my HD and back up HD, not just online.

      I think a big thing for me (and I have a post in draft about this) is the overall system I use. A few months ago I was using my iPhone for lots of stuff it’s really too small and fiddly for, including sometimes responding to WordPress comments. Now I have an iPad I use that for most of the stuff I was using the phone for, plus reading, and editing in Hipstamatic. I now use my phone for messages, taking a few photos, music (iTunes and YouTube), checking email, and simple Safari stuff like checking the weather or researching something like a film or book.

      This shift has meant I use my main computer, my MacBook, less too, so I don’t need an bells and whistles app like LightRoom. Plus having my Hipstamatic favourites I’ve set up on my iPad (including one specifically for shooting b/w with the iPhone) also available on the iPhone (Hipstamatic syncs via iCloud across the two devices) makes that connection more fluid and consistent too. It’s super easy to take pictures with Hipstamatic on my iPhone using the favourites I’ve set up, and then I need zero processing on the iPad. In fact it’s a more fluid and simple process than shooting with my Ricohs and then having to upload them to my MacBook, then to the iPad for processing…

  10. I bought/upgraded to Lightroom 6 last year and avoided paying the subscription. It was and I thought still is an option though it was nigh on impossible to find it on the Adobe site, however you can buy it the B&H and that is what I did. I understood that Adobe were now offering Lightroom Classic as the desktop version(?).
    I understand how with your workflow you aren’t really using it and it is overkill for your needs so totally understand your move away from it and the charging to leave the subscription service is outrageous; glad I stayed away from that one.

    1. What you’ve done is what I should have done – buy it outright a few years back then just don’t bother upgrading. Still, I still find Hipstamatic a whole other level of pleasure and intuitiveness to use.

      1. If it works for you that is what’s important. I don’t have anything apple so suspect it’s not for me. Lightroom does pretty much what I want it to.

      2. Yes we often come back to this, try a few things until you find what works well (enough) for you. Then just get on and use it, without constantly trying other options just in case you might find something that works 5% better… I did this for years with films cameras, now I haven’t shot a whole roll of film in any camera in nine months or more!

      3. Indeed. You have to evaluate whether whatever you think is wrong with what you have now is more bother than trying to find something better. It’s like when I worked in the IT network industry and we were told you need to know how these old networks work because plenty of companies out there still run them and we said “why are they still running old software?” and they said companies have to decide whether upgrading will increase their profit, if it doesn’t and it works why upgrade (I suspect the argument these days has changed a little with all the security risks but the core idea is the same). Waat is the benefit in changing? For us it’s would a change make our life easier, our images better or our enjoyment enhanced. If not why change, the converse being is this current thing making my life harder, images worse, wasted time 🙂

      4. SilverFox, yes there’s a great deal of wisdom in the saying “if it ain’t broke, why fix it”!

        I work in a local authority and we’re slaves to Microsoft. I get the impression we hold out as long as possible before we’re forced to upgrade because Microsoft drop the support for the older software.

        Back in August there was an Outlook “upgrade”. The whole thing went down, about two day’s worth of emails across the whole authority were lost, and even now months later people are still chasing up these “lost” communications. It was an absolutely mess. The most annoying part is Outlook is now slower then ever to use, and often we click on one email to reply and the screen hasn’t refreshed and we end up starting a reply to the wrong email. Progress! And more reasons why I loathe Microsoft and the problems it causes millions of people daily…

  11. Hey Dan
    Yeh, I understand what you’re saying totally. A little suggestion it might not be your kind of thing, I might also be wrong but I think you said your macbook is getting long in the tooth? If so consider wiping it and installing Linux, should be dead easy with something like mint xfce, lubuntu or xubuntu, and they’re renown for breathing new life into older computers. Then you have two or three really good pieces of software to chose from for free. Gimp replacing Photoshop and Darktable replacing lightroom. Both completely free and highly rated, dark table is so easy and quick, it has a whole raft of community written plugins including some film emulation.
    Just an idea, as from mid Microsoft apple, Adobe. The attitude to customers is the same just the name is different. Linux is all free, for the people by the people. I moved from Microsoft last year. I was extremely dubious to start with, but it was a revaluation, and I now wish I had done it 5-10 years ago.

    1. Hi Toby, thanks for the suggestion, that is pretty radical! I have heard a few people talk about the pros of Linux, on PentaxForums threads. And I really like the free, open source model. However, first I’ve realised I don’t need software with the capabilities of Photoshop/Gimp and Darktable/LightRoom. Plus I use my MacBook for a number of others things that I don’t know if I could do with a Linux OS. I love Apple, and my MacBook is fine currently, I just know one day it will need replacing.

  12. Dan, well it’s maybe a consideration when you do need to buy a new laptop, most Linux distros are usb bootable. You can try before you buy so to speak. Some have what is known as persistence so they will remember any changes you make or software you add even though on a USB stick. It might extend the life of your current laptop by 2-4 years. Especially if it’s just general use

    1. Thanks again Toby, I will definitely consider this. I am open to other options, like I’d consider a Google laptop or Android phone in the future. Just for now having all Apple works well and I like the simplicity and consistency.

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