The Adobe Creative Cloud – A Solution for Photographers

It’s simple really, don’t subscribe. I love Lightroom and Photoshop. They are a part of my workflow on every image that I create. Fortunately, Lightroom will stay independent of Adobe’s new subscription based model, and I look forward to purchasing and using each new version that is released.

As for Photoshop… plenty has been written on the negative aspects of Adobe’s new delivery method. I need to highlight just a few to make my point.

1) You are looking at an 80 – 100 percent price increase, depending on your normal Photoshop upgrade path. That is unreasonable by any accounts for an extremely expensive product to begin with! It is so sad that Adobe is claiming a cheaper price (with the assumption that you buy the standalone product at full price as opposed to most who upgrade at a reduced price, normally during a promotion).

2) What happens to your files if you no longer want to shoot and process for a couple of years? What happens when you go on a 6 month trip? I put Netflix on hold while I’m out-of-town, can I do the same with Photoshop?

3) Adobe claims regular updates but in reality, there has been very few changes since Photoshop CS4! Each edition has minor revisions. Why would this be any different? Why would I believe that all of sudden Photoshop is going to take off with radical new changes? The program is so robust, it’s extremely difficult to improve.

Photoshop CS6 is a fantastic product. It does everything I want it to do. I plan on using it for years to come. The new Photoshop CC may be tempting in a few years when the feature set grows, but the current upgrades or so minor, I would hesitate to upgrade at this point even if it where a standalone product. I think part of the reason Adobe is going this route is the monopoly they have on the industry. If there was a viable competitor, photographers would flock to it. I hope Google and the talented team at Nik Software are paying attention. If they could come to market in 12 – 18 months with a Photoshop clone (for photographers), price it at $149 – $199, there will be a market for it. If Apple could expand Aperture to have a complex layer and masking system, people would get excited. Adobe needs a competitor and they just left themselves wide open!




5 responses to “The Adobe Creative Cloud – A Solution for Photographers

  • Stephen DesRoches

    I’m someone that switched to the subscription model (at least for the first year promo price to give it a shot):

    1. It is cheaper if you don’t qualify for upgrading and since I recently started using InDesign, it has saved me alot of money. The disconnect is only with those that upgrade with every release (arguably Adobe’s most loyal customers) because you couldn’t skip versions after CS5.

    2. Yes. I do not renew my months subscription to InDesign for the months I know I’ll not use it. It costs a bit more but still allows me to use the newest version for just over $100/year. Much better than paying $800 to get started for smaller jobs. I subscribe to Photoshop yearly because I use it daily.

    2 (b). If you cancel the subscription and in 2 or 3 years time and need to open a file, you can do so for $20. I get the argument of lossing access without paying but we don’t know what computer you’ll have in 3 years time either. A new line of processors might come out and that old version of photoshop wouldn’t run anyway – requiring a full priced upgrade. This has happened before.

    3. Yes, I see this as a problem with no more incentive for a big marketing push with features to encourage an upgrade. However I’ll disagree that Ps has been stale since Cs4.

    Are you not talking about Elements with a request for a $150 competitor?

    Anyway, it is what is is for now and at the promo $20/month for everything, the subscription made sense to me because I use Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign and Illustrator. Having the full Acrobat and the ability to experiment with the rest of their app library is a bonus…. But ask me again in 12 months when that price jumps to $50. I may have a different opinion and be going back to CS6.

    • Justin Reznick


      Thank you for the detailed reply! You bring up some excellent points. Certainly the value comes into play if you use more than one Adobe product under the Creative Cloud umbrella. My argument holds up for photographers who ONLY use Lightroom and Photoshop. Photoshop Elements does not have the incredible selection and masking capability that I’m used to in Photoshop. I like to use the best products out there and PS6 is amazing, no doubt. From a landscape photographers point of view, the upgrades in Photoshop have been very minor over the last few editions. Content Aware Fill struggles as a tool in landscape photography. The largest advancement has been in mask refinement. Beyond that, nothing really comes to mind. Plus, why couldn’t Adobe push us regular updates anytime they liked, after all, most software companies these days do it, especially with the app store model. Thanks again!

      • Stephen DesRoches

        What I would like to see is Adobe reintroduce the tiered suite pricing that better target industries by grouping apps by design, photography, video, etc and having lower prices. The current $50/month is best compared to the $2600 master suite.

        I get that not every upgrade is for every type of user. The fact is, Photoshop is used by every industry that works with any type of graphic of image file. Is the dark interface not worth a $200 upgrade? 😉

        It’s been a long time since I tried Elements. It’s missing channels and luminosity masks isn’t it?

        I’ll be disappointed if a photographers subscription model is not announced when Lr5 is finalized. They have hinted at some cool things like organizing your lightroom library on an ipad linked to your desktop through the cloud.

        Unrelated to photography. The cloud also has some nice benefits where the apps are platform independent if you own both windows and mac, your email address is the serial number, and you can deactivate a computer remotely from the website if you want to install Ps on what ever computer you’re currently at. Not something you use every day but for the rare occasion you do – it will save some big frustrations.

  • AMFPhotos

    I have hemmed and hawed about signing up for CC for the last several months. I’m currently working with LR3 and CS5, and have been torn between upgrading to the current versions versus going for the subscription.

    As a serious hobbyist (who hopes to start a business in the next 1-2 years) I use these programs daily. I can understand where a subscription based model can be very expensive for people who only use Photoshop every couple months. But in the projects I work on, Illustrator and InDesign are programs I’ve been trying to scrape together the bucks to purchase. I think when I calculated it out (my memory is now fuzzy on the numbers) the total would have been about $1600 to upgrade the two programs I currently use, and purchase the two that I also need. And there’s a couple other Adobe products I’d really like to try out…but cannot justify the cost of purchasing the license. So, Creative Cloud is going to be a HUGE cost saver for me, at least for the first couple years (if I don’t think to the far future).

    I have heard many people argue they don’t upgrade with each new release, and that they will keep using their current version indefinitely. Obviously (since I’m currently using older versions) I haven’t upgraded each time either…but I am realistic enough to realize I will not be able to use my programs for the next 20+ years…or even the next 10…or even the next 5 years. It may even come down that I am forced out of using my current programs within the next year… It takes one change in operating systems, and my current computer to die, to force me to upgrade all my programs!

    I think the usual thought is that a computer’s lifespan in a home is considered to be 3-5 years (maybe that’s wrong…but in our household that time frame seems to hold up). Each and every time we have to buy a new computer the operating system has gone through a couple new versions. So I never count on my programs being able to transfer over without some sort of issue. Creative Cloud should end this concern for me (yes, assuming I’m still keeping up with current operating systems).

    So, as I see it, Cloud will save me lots of money up front. My main concern at the moment is with using the CC version of LR, and later having to cancel my subscription. My projects for the other programs, I will make sure I have things saved also in file formats I can continue to use with whatever program I may decide to use. But frankly, I think by that point, paying the subscription will just be part of my bills, just like my cable and cell phone bills which felt like huge extravagance at one point in time. …I know I will get more valuable use out of Cloud than I do watching television, or even being able to be contacted every single second of the day.

  • Ron

    I think the issues have been well discussed in this conversation. In short, if you’re a photographer who just uses PS and LR, and you own CS6 and LR 4 – or now 5, it’s too expensive to upgrade to CC, with too little benefit.

    On the other hand, the more programs in Adobe’s creative suite that you use, the more joining CC makes sense.

    Adobe wants to proceed with the CC concept, yet has anticipated or recognized the groundswell of opposition to it – among photographers in particular – by creating a stand-alone product in LR, with traditional upgrading.

    Justin argues for a continued stand-alone, 12-18-month upgrade model for both programs. That makes sense for photographers who don’t use the other programs. But if Adobe is committed to continuing with the CC model, I’d love to see them create a photographer’s version of PS, then introduce a separate CC model for photographers that includes just this stripped-down version of PS, as well as LR, at a lower subscription cost similar to what upgrading those two products would cost annually.

    I think that’s the happy medium that would benefit Adobe, given their commitment to this pricing model, and photographers, as well.

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