September 9

6 comments

Adobe Announces The Creative Cloud Photography Program

By Dan

September 9, 2013

Earlier this year, Adobe took the entire software model and stuck it in the blender. What came out was a brand new recipe that left a bad taste in the mouths of many photographers.

They called this exciting newdish “Creative Cloud,” and from this point forward, all Adobe software will be available as subscription-based service. Yes. ANOTHER monthly fee. Ho hum.

The move caused quite the stir with many people who felt that Adobe was trying to force everyone to upgrade to each new version when it comes out instead of letting people skip a version and upgrade at their liesure. David Hobby called it, “feels like the biggest money grab in the history of software.” In Adobe’s defense, Photoshop CC is indeed a powerful upgrade that offers a wide array of new features and improved processing engine, but why can’t we just go back to the old model? Sorry. Not happening.

When Creative Cloud was announced, Adobe had two pricing models: $19.99 for single app, or $49.99 for the entire Creative Suite set of applications. If you’re a designer who uses Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver, then fifty bucks is a pretty good value.

However, for many photographers, who only use Photoshop and Lightroom, and don’t need the entire suite of CS apps, $49.99/month just didn’t taste right. Your could buy Photoshop as a $19.99 single app, but that meant you’d have to still have to pay for Lightroom. In Adobe’s defense, Photoshop CC is indeed a powerful upgrade that offers a wide array of new features and improved processing engine.

These two options seemed to leave out the very foundation of what Adobe was built on- Photographers and photography software. Sure, there are alternatives to Photoshop (read 10 Alternatives to Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Adobe’s Creative Cloud) but when it comes to full blown photo software, it’s hard to beat Adobe. As of last week, I still hadn’t decided whether to move to the CC service, since I use  PS, LR and InDesign.

Problem – Solution

Adobe listened. At Photoshop World last week, Adobe announced a brand new pricing option, called the Photoshop Photography Program. It costs $9.99 for Photoshop CC plus Lightroom 5 (and future upgrades), 20GB of cloud storage, and CC training resources.

Now THAT’s reasonable. If you’re a Photoshop user, then you should jump on this deal, because in order to get the $9.99/month pricing, (annual plan) you have to sign up by December 31, 2013. It’s available to anyone who currently uses Photoshop CS3 and higher.

If you recently signed up for the $9.99 Photoshop single app plan, (I did last week,) then Lightroom and the other new features will be automatically added to your CC soon. If you’re not so excited about the Creative Cloud subscription plan, Photoshop CS6 is still available as a stand-alone perpetual license version, and it’s still an extremely powerful and capable program. You can always go that route, and then see what your options are in a few years when it starts to show its age.

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For more info about Adobe Creative Cloud, check out their FAQ page.

About the author

Hi, I'm Dan Bailey, a 20+ year pro outdoor and adventure photographer, and official FUJIFILM X-Photographer based in Anchorage, Alaska.


As a top rated blogger and author my goal is to help you become a better, more confident and competent photographer, so that you can have as much fun and creative enjoyment as I do.


  • What I can’t figure out is what options do they have for those of us with older versions of Lightroom and no Photoshop? Looks to me like they’re still charging the $49.99 for the entire suite. They’re placating the veterans while keeping it harder for others to get on board…no wonder the major photo bloggers all like this deal. It still seems like a money grab to me.

  • Rick, I can’t speak for anyone else, but the reason that I like this deal is that it’s a whole lot better than the the previous bad deal that they came up with. Regarding the notion of it being a giant money grab, you won’t get an argument from me. I don’t think it was a very smart move on Adobe’s part, and it totally goes against the mentality of open systems that allow for more competition and more choice, which is the way the world is going these days.

    If we’re going on price alone, though, I do think that $49.99, 19.99 or 9.99 per month is going to be easier to swallow for many people than going with a very steep up front price. Photoshop CS6 alone costs $700 to buy as a brand new user. If you buy Photoshop CC at the single app price of $19.99/mo, that same $700 will get you three years of use, including all upgrades, and CC is a newer, more advanced version. And if you add Lightroom at $150, that’s still much easier than spending $850 up front just to get into the program. $9.99 for existing users is pretty reasonable, but for all users, the savings starts to break down over a number of years because you’re forced to keep paying it. You can’t decide to save some money by skipping a version.

    However, what if you use a third app in your workflow? In addition to PS and LR, I also use InDesign, but I don’t use ANY of the other Adobe applications. I think that there should be a price break there, because I shouldn’t have to pay the same $49/mo if I’m NOT also using Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Premiere, After Effects, Audition, SpeedGrade, Flash, Prelude, Bridge and Fireworks. $49 is a pretty good deal if you’re a designer who uses ALL of Adobe’s apps, but it’s a horrible deal if you’re a photographer who does your own web design, or creates your own eBooks or print marketing, which is what I use InDesign for.

    My other HUGE problem with the whole thing is that if you stop your subscription, the software quits working. From that standpoint, you’re only renting it and you have absolutely no on how and when you want to upgrade or not. In my mind, that’s just too much control on Adobe’s part. Since this is a brand new idea, we can only hope that it continues to evolve over the next few years. It may very well be that Adobe Creative Cloud looks quite different in a few years than it does now.

  • I have to disagree with you, any form of subscription software is a lousy deal in my opinion. As they say, it’s a limited introductory offer and I guarantee you they will continually up the cost sooner or later once you’re locked in. I would rather stick with my outdated CS2 version than pay an ever increasing monthly fee for the rest of my life.

  • Alan, supposedly, the introductory offer is the need to sign up before December 31. It doesn’t go up after one year, although you’re probably right, I can see them raising it at some point. And when I said it was a good deal, what I probably should have said was “in light of Adobe’s current direction, this is as good a deal as you’re going to get if you want to use Photoshop.” I don’t like the subscription model at all and I’m curious to see where this all goes. Even though I signed up for CC, I did so while holding my nose.

  • Dan….although it appears as a better “deal”, with increasing phone/tv/internet fees,and everything else, the bubble is bound to burst. I retired last year and fixed income budgets can only stretch so much. Although i may take the $9.99/month deal for a while; what happens when i can no longer afford it? Will my current Lightroom 5 still work but with only the current features, or all come to a crashing halt? It was easier to save for a new upgrade and get it when you could afford a one time expense. Could be a real bumpy road for us not generating $$ from photography and on fixed incomes.

  • Dave, thanks for your input. I’m totally with you here. I don’t like the endless monthly rate model at all. If you purchased a stand alone copy of Lightroom outside of CC, then it should work, even if you quit your CC subscription. If you got LR through CC, then it won’t work anymore when you stop paying the monthly fee. Seems like a good argument to get LR separately from CC.

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