Adobe Creative Cloud vs Skylum Products – Price, HDR, Updates, Verdict

Skylum’s Luminar has been shaking up the picture marketplace, positioning itself as an inexpensive solution to Adobe’s Lightroom. There are pros and cons to both pieces of software, therefore it can be hard to know which will be the best alternative for you. In this guide, we will compare the two brands in this Adobe vs Skylum article.

You can download Luminar for Windows or Mac computers on the Luminar website. For the best price use promo code GRAYDON at checkout for $10 off your purchase.

Table of Contents


Luminar employs the identical keyboard shortcuts as Lightroom, which makes it feel quite familiar to anybody moving from Adobe’s hottest photo-editor.

Luminar feels a great deal less “clunky” compared to Lightroom, so if you’re somebody that does not like to get bogged down by editing applications then perhaps that can be for you.

Lightroom has had the ability to manage your photos from a catalog perspective for some time, however it was just in 2018 that Skylum added the ability to use catalogs for your digital works with their release of Luminar 3 with Libraries.


The biggest difference between Skylum and Adobe pricing has to be that Adobe is based on a subscription business model, whereas Skylum is software you buy and own. Skylum also offers discounts when they come out with a newer version, which can be found below or here:

SkylumLuminar 4$89 ONE TIME
SkylumAurora HDR 2019$99 ONE TIME
SkylumBundle$169 ONE TIME
Skylum- Luminar 4Included in Bundle
Skylum- Luminar 3Included in Bundle
Skylum- Aurora HDR 2019Included in Bundle
BrandSoftwarePricePer Year
AdobePhotography Plan$9.99/mo$119.88
Adobe- Lightroom CC 2020Included in Plan-
Adobe- Lightroom ClassicIncluded in Plan-
Adobe- Photoshop CCIncluded in Plan-

If you’re someone who likes to be on the bleeding edge and upgrading your software every year you’re looking at $119.88 (plus tax) with Adobe OR $89-$169 with Skylum (assuming you want HDR capabilities as well). Skylum really shines if you’re someone who doesn’t plan on upgrading every year. This is where you can really save a lot of money.

Skylum still has an offer where you can purchase Luminar 3+4 with Aurora HDR 2019 for one price. That offer can be found here.

Students & Teachers have the option to subscribe to Creative Cloud with all of the Apps included for $19.99/mo for the first year, $29.99 after that (instead of $52.99/mo)!

*Annual plan requires a 12-month commitment to Creative Cloud even though you’re paying $9.99 per month. If you cancel early, there likely is an early termination fee involved.


BrandSoftwareHDRPanoramaHDR Panoramas
SkylumLuminar 4NoNoNo
SkylumLuminar 3NoNoNo
SkylumAurora HDR 2019YesNoNo
BrandSoftwareHDRPanoramaHDR Panoramas
AdobeLightroom CC 2020YesYesYes
AdobeLightroom ClassicYesYesYes
AdobePhotoshop CCYesYesYes


How often does each company update their software? They both appear to produce update every 2-3 months on average from my experience with using both first hand. With Skylum, they still produce updates for Luminar 3 which is generous considering Luminar 4 just came out. We also see updates when new cameras come out so you’re able to edit any new types of files that they may produce.

You could possible keep Adobe Photoshop CC 2019 (last version) installed on your computer just in case if you run into any problems with 2020, however if you decided to stop paying the subscription, you would lose access to CC2019 and CC2020. With Luminar 4, you bought it and you can continue to use it indefinitely.

Skylum Release Dates

Luminar 4

  • March 2020 update (4.2)

Aurora HDR 2019

  • 2019 update (

Luminar 3

  • August 2019 update (3.1.3)

Adobe Release Dates


  • March 2020 release (version 21.1.1)


  • February 2020 release (desktop version 3.2, iOS version 5.2, Android version 5.2)

Lightroom Classic

  • February 2020 release (version 9.2)

Photoshop on the iPad

  • February 2020 release (version 1.2)

Adobe has been busier with releasing new updates to their new app, Photoshop on the iPad. We have seen monthly updates.


AdobeLightroom CC 20202 Devices1 DevicePC OR MAC
AdobeLightroom Classic2 Devices1 DevicePC OR MAC
AdobePhotoshop CC2 Devices1 DevicePC OR MAC
SkylumLuminar 42 Devices2 DevicesPC OR MAC
SkylumAurora HDR 20195 Devices5 DevicesPC OR MAC

Sign up for Adobe Creative Cloud


Skylum Upgrade

Luminar 4: Update Page


Aurora HDR 2019: Update Page



I still find myself with use cases where I need Adobe Photoshop so I continue to opt to using Adobe products in conjunction with Luminar 4 and occasionally find myself using Aurora HDR when I want to create High Dynamic Range images. HDR, is another use case scenario where you need another tool if you’re only using Luminar, it doesn’t necessarily have to be Photoshop or Lightroom but they seem to work best in my use cases because there are plug-ins available. That’s my honest review of these image packages.

For someone who wants to only perform basic edits, retouch faces and easily add aurora to their skies, Luminar 4 is a powerful package and it makes a lot of similar tasks easier than Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.

UPDATE: Skylum will donate $5 from each purchase to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Skylum will donate money to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Response Fund, the Coronavirus Relief Fund by GlobalGiving, Heart to Heart International, and local charities around the world.