Migrating From Lightroom CC to Lightroom Classic

How to Move Photos from Lightroom CC to Lightroom Classic

How to Move from Lightroom CC to Lightroom Classic

Here at Pretty Presets we hear from so many users in our Lightroom Facebook group who:

  1. have mistakenly downloaded and are using Lightroom CC only to find out THAT version of Lightroom DOESN'T have the features they need OR
  2. thought Lightroom CC was an UPGRADE to Lightroom Classic but later realized that is certainly NOT the case.

In both situations, most users want to know how to properly migrate BACK to Lightroom Classic from Lightroom CC.  

If you find yourself in a similar situation, read on!  This tutorial will show you how to move from Lightroom CC to Lightroom Classic in a few quick steps!  Lets get started:

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Step 1: Install BOTH Lightroom Classic & Lightroom CC on your Computer

In order to migrate from Lightroom CC to Lightroom Classic, start by making sure both versions are installed on your computer.  If you don't have both versions installed currently, head over to your Adobe account to download and install them.

IF you find you DON'T have access to both versions of Lightroom, you may need to contact Adobe to adjust your plan.  You will want to have the Photography Plan and NOT the Lightroom plan (see graphic below).

Sync Lightroom Classic with Lightroom CC

Step 2: Back Up Photos to the Creative Cloud

Next, make sure all the photos you want to move from Lightroom CC to Lightroom Classic are backed up to your storage space on the Creative Cloud.

To do this, look for the cloud symbol found at the top right of your Lightroom CC.  Go ahead and click on that cloud symbol to save them.  A box will open and let you know when everything is synced and backed up.

Sync Lightroom Classic with CC

Step 3: Open Lightroom Classic & Start Syncing with Lightroom CC

In this next step, move to Lightroom Classic.  In the upper right corner of Lightroom Classic you will find a symbol just like in the last step.   When you click on the cloud symbol, a dialog box will open.  

You will see a button that says called "Start Syncing" which will allow you to sync your Lightroom CC catalog to Lightroom Classic.  To begin the syncing process, click that button.

Sync Lightroom CC to Classic

When you press start, you will see a big, scary warning from Lightroom about overwriting things.  Just make sure you are syncing your current catalog and then click accept.

Step 4: Wait for the Photos to Sync

Depending on how many photos you have in Lightroom CC it can take a while to sync them with Lightroom Classic.  Grab a drink and let Lightroom do it's work.  A few things you might want to know about this process:

  • This process is not perfect.  ALL the photos that you sync to Lightroom Classic will be downloaded into a single "From Lightroom CC" collection set which is not optimal, but at least they will all be migrated to Lightroom Classic.  You may want follow some of these tips to organize your photos to keep them from getting lost within the collection set.
  • Any photos that you originally imported and added to Lightroom CC, will have the originals files downloaded and added to Lightroom Classic.
  • IF you had photos that originally started in Lightroom Classic (meaning you imported them to Lightroom Classic and then synced or shared smart previews in Lightroom CC) only the smart previews will be downloaded and added to Lightroom Classic.  The originals should still be in Lightroom Classic.


This final step will assure that your images aren't deleted or over-written.  Once all your photos have finished syncing, make sure to TURN OFF syncing.

This is easy to do.  Just move to the Collections Panel and begin turning off syncing by clicking on the icon with arrows on both ends that is next to each of the new collections within your "From Lightroom" collection set.

Lightroom Sync to Cloud

You are officially done!   Your images will now be moved over to Lightroom Classic and you can begin using Lightroom Classic to manage and edit your photos!

Do you have any questions or comments about How to Move from Lightroom CC to Lightroom Classic?  Just leave us a comment below - we would LOVE to hear from you!  And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!

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