Lightroom 6, the last free-of-subscription version, was released in early 2015, over two and half years ago. Its age shows and an update to it has been long overdue. An update came earlier this month, but not one I was hoping for.
Lightroom 6 is discontinued. Its successors are Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC. Neither is offered as a standalone version, which is something I prefer for a number of reasons. So naturally, my first instinct was to stick with Lightroom 6 for the next year or more. After all, what ain't broken need no fixing. But upon further thinking, this option doesn't seem too feasible.
Apple's High Sierra came out last month with several under-the-hood changes - a new file-system, a new API, Metal 2, used across the system and more. These made the upgrade to High Sierra a more dangerous affair than usual. With such fundamental, platform level changes in the operating system, complex apps usually need some work before they become rock-stable. I held off upgrading my machine to the point-zero release, instead opting to wait for the point-one or even the point-two release.
In light of Adobe's announcement, this means when I eventually upgrade to High Sierra, my installation of Lightroom 6 could potentially be rendered unstable or at worst, unusable. My plan is to stick with my setup for now and for the next few months lay the groundwork to make my transition as easily as possible.
Trim my library - Over the years, my library has bloated with unused, out-of-focus and in general low-quality images, mostly because I'm a pack rat loathe to deleting stuff. Whichever software I opt for, a smaller library will be easier to migrate and manage.
Try out software - The next few months, I'm going to be installing trial versions of as many software as I can - Capture One Pro, RawTherapee. I'll copy over portions of my library into each and see how well my workflow suits them. Is the software capable? Is it performant enough? Do outputs look good? How easy is it to manage a catalog? These are some aspects I want to explore.
Research, research, research - Adobe's roadmap has left a lot of photographers unhappy and several are exploring other options like me. I expect several posts and blogs reviewing Lightroom alternatives and describing their migration strategies. These will help.
Hopefully by the time macOS 10.13.1 or 10.13.2 is out I'll have decided my next photography software.