November 03, 2008

Pro Photographers Vote Lightroom!

In the Red-Green-Blue state of professional digital photography, voters are going for Adobe Lightroom in a very big way.


A year ago I shared some market research from InfoTrends that compared Lightroom usage among North American pros to that of Apple Aperture.  This year InfoTrends asked the same questions, and here’s what they found photographers to be using:


  2007 2008
Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in 66.5% 62.2%



Aperture 5.5% 7.5%
On the Mac platform only    
Lightroom 26.6% 40.4%
Aperture 14.3% 14.6%


  • We’re delighted to see that Lightroom has increased its market share among pros by 50% on both Mac and Windows.
  • Aperture’s overall number is up due to a greater percentage of respondents running Macs this year.  On the Mac, however, its market share is essentially unchanged.
  • The survey was fielded in June and July 2008, after the launch of Aperture 2 but before Lightroom 2 was released.
  • Overall Photoshop usage remains over 90% in this market.  Use of Camera Raw specifically has dipped a bit, which is to be expected as more pros embrace Lightroom.  Even so, the numbers indicate that many people continue to use both paths depending on circumstances (e.g. opening a one-off image vs. browsing a whole shoot).  That’s true in my work, and I find the compatibility of settings between LR & ACR invaluable.
  • Lightroom PM Tom Hogarty has posted a few additional details about the survey on the Lightroom Journal blog.


As always the Lightroom & Photoshop teams are grateful to the photography community for all their support, and we look forward to bringing the Lightroom mojo to more photographers in the years ahead.

[Update: In case it was unclear, I’ll note that these percentages are not mutually exclusive. A photographer could choose more than one tool when responding. –J.]

Posted by John Nack at 9:46 PM on November 03, 2008


  • Barry Pearson — 1:00 AM on November 04, 2008

    Did they ask a question about the use of DNG? (A survey, possibly by these people, asked such a question a year or two ago).
    [I’ll ask Tom. –J.]

  • Andrew — 6:00 AM on November 04, 2008

    The results seem to speak for 106% of the PC market.
    [As with last year’s survey, choices are not mutually exclusive. –J.]
    How many percent do other products cover?
    [The InfoTrends business model is to sell the results of their research, so I’m limited in what I can share publicly. They kindly gave us permission to share the stats above, but the report remains a commercial product. –J.]

  • Kristin Maling — 6:05 AM on November 04, 2008

    If there was a way for me to export my close to 50,000+ “keywords” from iPhoto (across 3 libraries) to Lightroom, I’d make the switch without question. I tried moving to Aperture, but just didn’t like it. I’ve tried Lightroom and really like it, but the thought of having to re-tag all those images is far to daunting. So…anyone out there wanting to make a plug-in that’ll do that, I’ll buy!
    [I did a little searching and found this utility, but I haven’t tried using it. I’m surprised that iPhoto on its own doesn’t enable writing the keywords to files so that other apps (including Spotlight) can see them. –J.]

  • Ken — 6:39 AM on November 04, 2008

    Hands down, Lightroom simply said, “Is a mantic software application changing the way one looks at color correction”.
    Best value on my block for 2008 and 2009.
    I am grateful the price point Adobe has chosen for Lightoom.
    I don’t know what “costing formula” Adobe adopts for Lightroom, but in the retail world we would call this a “lost leader”.
    Wonderful strategy Adobe!
    Ken from KY

  • Kristin Maling — 7:06 AM on November 04, 2008

    Thanks John — I’ve had a look at that in the past, but a little late since I’d already upgraded to iPhoto ’08 (which isn’t supported). 8(

  • jimhere — 11:24 AM on November 04, 2008

    I wasn’t asked to vote. Is this just a random snapshot or some vote at a photographers’ convention in Peoria?
    [I’m not sure I understand what you’re implying, if anything. The survey went out to more than a thousand pro photographers in North America–contacts drawn from the ranks of ASMP and other organizations. –J.]
    What is this “Info Trends”?
    [“InfoTrends is the leading worldwide market research and strategic consulting firm for the digital imaging and document solutions industry. We provide research, analysis, forecasts, and advice to help clients understand market trends, identify opportunities, and develop strategies to grow their businesses.” Read more. –J.]

  • A. Dias — 4:12 PM on November 04, 2008

    For 80% of my photography Lr is all I use these days. The other 20% takes a round-trip to CS3 for lens distortion correction or other processing. I bet when Lr3 rolls around CS3/CS4 round trips will be few and far between.

  • William — 6:46 PM on November 04, 2008

    “……other organizationsWho are the others?
    [Maybe someone from InfoTrends can chime in here with details. In any case, what difference does it make? InfoTrends vetted the respondents as working professional photographers, so the respondents’ professional affiliations don’t strike me as important. Do you disagree, and if so, why? –J.]

  • William Chinn — 8:01 PM on November 04, 2008

    A few postings back was titled “CS4: Whats in it for Photographers?” Can I ask, “CS4: Whats in it for Lightroom Users?” In short why upgrade?

  • Mark Thomas — 11:35 PM on November 04, 2008

    I’ve mentioned my preference for Aperture’s superior interface and non-modal workflow many times, but the simple fact that Lightroom supports my Foveon-based Sigma cameras, while Apple does not (and won’t even communicate with its users enough to either confirm or deny the intention to support the Foveon) means that I will be using Lightroom for the foreseeable future. So kudos to Adobe for working hard to support such a broad range of cameras. It is greatly appreciated.

  • Jeff Engle — 7:08 PM on November 06, 2008

    I’ve been sold on Lightroom since early beta days. It’s been great working with high volume sports photography, and now that I’m a real estate agent (and getting into RE photography through the back door as I have time) Lightroom makes it so easy to do about 90% of my photo deveolopment and 100% of my organization. The ability to easily use the same photograph for web and brochure is a great time saver.

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