Do You Subscribe to the $9.99 Adobe Photographer’s Bundle?

September 2nd, 2018

Russell in Oregon says:

I’m wondering how many people are paying the monthly fee for the most recent Photoshop or Lightroom after buying the stand alone versions. Personally, after paying for the standalone versions of CS6 and LR5, I decided there was no way I was going to start sending Adobe a monthly fee simply for the most recent tools. Am I REALLY missing out on anything?

Based on previous discussions on this subject, here are my general thoughts/observations on it:

  1. The majority (around 90% – see poll below) of top end professional photographers subscribe to the Adobe Photographers bundle that costs $9.99/mo. It’s a great deal and it ensures you have all the latest features. If you have even a moderately successful real estate photography business $9.99/mo for professional image editing software is not unreasonable. It’s just a basic cost of being a professional.
  2. I understand some people’s disdain for the subscription model of software. I’ve been using PS & LR since they were introduced and when Adobe moved to the subscription model, I resisted too. But $9.99/mo is effectively the same as what I was paying to upgrade PS every year since the 1990s. Since the advent of LR, it’s half what I paid to upgrade every year.

So my answer to your question, “Am I REALLY missing out on anything?” is yes! If you are using the old versions of Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 5, you are missing out on many great features that have been added to Photoshop and Lightroom since Adobe quit updating CS6 and LR5. The longer you go, the more you miss out on. Get over it and focus on getting your hands on the best professional photo editing software there is.

Please take the poll below:

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23 Responses to “Do You Subscribe to the $9.99 Adobe Photographer’s Bundle?”

  • I still have the last creative suite although it is getting more and more difficult to install. But I also subscribe to the 9.95 bundle. I do this because 1 it’s the best and 2 I don’t like dealing with learning curves if I don’t have to. And yes, it’s dirt cheap if your bring in what I bring in.

  • Everyone needs a website and the subscription includes one.

  • I spend more on coffee every week. My cell phone bill is 20+times higher. My internet is 7times higher.
    All are tools indispensable to my business. Yet the idea of giving Adobe $10 a month for a pro tool makes some people lose their mind.
    There are alternatives. Great. But as I have developed skills with PS and LR for over 20 years I see scant incentive to jump to another app that may take a few more years to match Adobe’s offerings even if I get to revel in ownership of the standalone app.

  • The option in the poll i am missing is, i use a cracked version of lr or ps.

    Before the subscriptionservice There were many users with fraud serialnumbers because of the Hi purchase price of the suite. Nowadays the ps/lr suite is quite affordable and If you are a Serious photographer youll use it legally for the good cause. You dont like it when your images are used without credits ??

  • I held out for a long time and just used the boxed versions I bought for a wheel barrow full of cash. The subscription works out to be cheaper and Adobe has done a good job of balancing security and usefulness for those of use that use the package on a laptop that isn’t connected to the internet all of the time. I also was hesitant since I try to stay away from monthly subscriptions that seem to come due at the worst time and chip away at my finances like a cancer. I just pony up the $120 annually ($119.88, actually) each year which has its anniversary during the summer when it’s the busiest and I have pretty good cash flow.

    Some of the tools that have come along since the CC introduction are very useful. I use the fire tool for dropping a fire into fireplaces and outdoor fire features often enough. Many other things are just improvements in performance and ease of use. There are all sorts of upgrades that don’t apply to what I do, but any piece of software is like that these days as everything gets piled in. Cloud storage and a web site are useless to me. I already have my own that I control and I feel safer not having a web site tied to a certain product. The free version of Dropbox is all the cloud storage I need. I have 30gb of storage with my hosting account that I can use for no additional charge (less what my website takes up, which isn’t much).

  • Interesting to hear that the subscription fees align pretty much, if not less than, the costs of updating, Larry. Can I add that the $9.99 is fully tax deductible for business users. So while I may sympathise with amateurs clinging on to older versions, it really is a smallish outlay in the grand scheme of things… for big payback in terms of value: the latest version of Lightroom contains some really useful new features for RE photographers, like merging RAW files to a natural-looking HDR blend or creating panoramic montages again from within Lightroom. Adobe do seem to be developing additional features and refinements for our monthly contributions.

  • I ditched Adobe when they tried to sell me the subscription model. Sure the price is tax deductible etc. However over the years I will end up paying Adobe a LOT of money .. at some point I will want or need to stop paying the subscription then my tools become almost worthless. For me it’s the multiple subscriptions that add up. When I retire I want to still have tools that I can play with and use occasionally.

    I moved to Capture One (which gives me the CHOICE of subscription or full price) and I’m exploring using Affinity Photo as an alternative to Photoshop – it’s looking great.

    At the end of the day, for me it’s about having choice.

  • The subscription model is the way much software is heading. I, for one, recommend it. It is actually very inexpensive – less than Netflix or Amazon Prime and I spend a hell of a lot more time with it. And it sure beats that yearly virus you risk when downloading the cracked version of Photoshop from the warez sites. Before I decided to do this professionally, the cost of the software was just too great to keep up with every tool I wanted to learn or use, so I looked for “alternatives” and not always in the legally sanctioned manner. Now the worry is gone. I believe folks who do not continue to use this professional package for such a small amount (even for the amateur) are generally Luddites or just recalcitrant. It’s hard to imagine someone more recalcitrant than me, though!

    I’m always surprised when my fellow photogs in my area tell me they don’t use CC.

  • Photoshop CS5 does everything I ever need.
    I do NOT need to pay $10 per month forever. And ever. And ever.

  • I tried to continue to use CS6 for a long time since I don’t use LR at all except to rename images. But I gave up since it caused problems with the newer OS’s on my Mac.

    Frankly, as has been pointed out, the $9.99 bundle for PS & LR is ludicrously inexpensive unlike for CC Indesign which is $19.99 a month for a program I used to use for graphic design but I have closed down my Graphic Design work in favor of Video. But all my correspondence, billing, sales flyers and post cards, business cards etc are all sitting in InDesign format. And I cannot justify $20 a month for office apps. But I can justify half that for PS that I use daily that brings in income. I also buy the upgrades for AuroraPro, Luminar and Photomatix which happily are still not cloud apps. How much longer that will remain I don’t know. But today, mostly, I use PS with Luminar as a plug in and work with one image keeping the HDR for those ultra extreme contrast images where I use AuroraPro2018. Luminar plugged into PS helps keep the resulting images looking very much alike.

    So for serious, full time RE photographers, I can’t see that there is really a choice – CC is has to be.

  • I’m still using CS6 as well, partially because I hate monthly subs of any kind (it’s just more to keep up with), plus I have my workhorse machines disconnected from the internet, after some bad experiences with security and Windows 10 updates… no more problems. The only thing I miss is the newest lens profile list, but that has only affected one lens that I only use occasionally, and I have a temporary work around for now. However, I am working on switching to a new workflow using Affinity Photo, and intend to ditch Adobe 100% by the end of the year.

  • I’m not against the subscription model but I have to say, I think Lightroom continues to get slower and slower with every update. Also most of the new features don’t apply, and aren’t needed, for the ‘Real Estate Photographer’s’ workflow. The only reason I went to the subscription was to get lens profiles for the newer sony and tamron lenses. If you are on an older version, and everything is working without problems… I don’t see a reason to upgrade.

  • LR is a Great program – when it’s running like it should! I have the Slow problem with LR. Sometimes it works great, then it starts slowing down, takes forever sometimes to get a set of images processed; been waiting for Adobe to fix that little problem, I’m doubting they ever will. The best part is the monthly bundle ends up being cheaper (the latest boxed set version is now a couple years old) with everything up-to-date. Ive been looking at On1 and Luminar as a possible replacement. Switching to another program is like switching horses in the middle….

  • $9.99 is nothing… we pay $74 Aust Per Month for the package. It started at $29 and every year it goes up &Up I RIP OFF if you ask me. I would happily buy a stand alone version .

  • The way I look at it is back in the olden times PS was updated about every 18 months and the charge was around $200. LR was about $80. To get those prices I paid for the first version of PS at 3 to 4 hundred dollars. $10 a month is cheap compared to that!

  • i agree with Matt— if what you have is working then by all means stick with it until there’s a reason to move … we pay for the subscription to PS suite and i will use lR cc occasionally but with my large file sizes, my LR 5 or 6 … whatever the last desktop version was runs the best with cc causing just enough of a slight delay that it gets frustrating… but the new cc doesn’t really provide anything essential to my workflow… yet.. it’s great that there are some options out there now that work well against PS. On1 is great but it stutters on MAc so if they can improve that it will be amazing… although it may be due to larger file sizes as well in how it reacts for me .. and this is on a very powerful and optimized mac that handles my files with a breeze… anyway it’s never JUST this or that .. there are options and no matter what you use it should simply work for you. Professional, amateur or beginner- one should know your process and explore the options and make the choice that works best for you but in end as long as you are happy and your clients are pleased is all that matters

  • The problem is, it is not really $9.99/mo. The better question to ask is how many professionals ONLY use Photoshop and Lightroom. As soon as you add one other program, it jumps to $49.99 (ah, correction, $52.99 with Adobe’s price increase). Do you also have a need for Premiere Pro and related programs like AfterEffects? How about InDesign for killer brochures. And then there is Muse or the hard core Dreamweaver for web design.

    I have been paying the $49.99 which renews this month and is perhaps my biggest complaint with Adobe as I will Let it lapse to try using other programs. I can understand Adobe clock you into a year obligation as they are very up front when you initially subscribe. However, auto-renew repeats the self-serving lockin for another year and due to the nature of auto-renew, you are not aware of it until you want to go in a different direction and hit with a 50% penalty. You can never go month to month.

  • Thanks for throwing my question out there Larry.
    It looks like the majority do subscribe monthly, but in my current situation (semi-retired and part time R.E. photographer) I just can’t justify the ongoing monthly fee.

    A couple of interesting points taken from above comments:
    Stephen Mann hits it on the head when he says “on and on”. I might add that in the end you have nothing unless you continue to pay. Meaning when I do retire completely I’ll have to continue to pay for the simple act of processing images of family, friends, events, etc.

    Casey Fry & Matt Rosendahl touched on the one problem I have with the old versions. “the newest profile list”.
    I’m forced to convert my images to DNG files before I get started in post because my new body (Nikon D500) isn’t recognised by either PS or LR.
    A slight pain, but still better than a monthly fee.

    Lastly, several folks touched on an important point. Internet connection and speed.
    With my stand alone versions I’m able to complete my workflow and burn the images to a disk for delivery should there be a connection problem. I don’t know about anyone else’s clients, but mine want their packages yesterday, and waiting for the internet to come back up isn’t an excuse that would “fly”.

  • Yes and I have been a subscriber since probably day 1. At this point, maybe I have paid for 1 full copy of Photoshop? lol But seriously, I like the regular updates and access to things like the portfolio website. Somehow I’m also getting 1TB of cloud space, but I’m only paying $10/mo. for the LR Classic/PS photography plan, *not* the LR CC + 1TB plan… NOT COMPLAINING.

    Yes, LR has it’s issues, but until C1 or another product offers a product that also has a really good iOS companion app and Photoshop equivalent, I’ll deal with the issues. As a business expense, it’s a no brainer. I also paid for it as a hobbyist, but there might be good enough options now that don’t have a monthly subscription.

    I can see the appeal of using Apple Photos as a basic LR catalog replacement, and something like Pixelmator Pro or Affinity Photo for RAW processing and more in-depth edits, but for me I am far too used to the LR workflow to try and use something so much more basic.

  • Short, incomplete list of things for which we pay “on and on” but which are yanked cruelly from our grasp the moment we stop sending money to the evildoers that control them:

    Internet Service
    Telephone Service (the old-fashioned kind, and the new kind)
    Magazines (the old-fashioned kind, and the new kind)
    Photographs (yep. Don’t want to renew the license? Stop using my photos.)
    Hotel Rooms
    Health Insurance
    Amazon Prime
    Costco Memberships
    And, Photoshop

    The beautiful thing about subscriptions is that when you retire, and that ten dollar bill is all that stands between you and the cold streets, you can simply stop the subscription. Then, when the mood strikes you and your budget allows, you can simply turn it back on and voila! You have the latest version of Photoshop…for only ten bucks. Change your mind the next week? Don’t pay the next $10.
    Back in the bad old days, you would have no such option. You want to come out of retirement? Or just mess around with your old pictures? You’d have to use your 5-year-old (10-year old? 15-year-old? how long do you plan to live after you retire, anyway?), obsolete software that won’t work on a computer built in this century. Your only other option would be to shell out hundreds of dollars to start over from scratch. What a crappy deal.

    As for working photographers who “can’t afford” to pay $10/month for software without which many of them couldn’t deliver a product…I have no words. I wonder how many of them are shooting with camera bodies they bought 6 years ago because they couldn’t afford to upgrade? (Full disclosure: I still have my Nikon 8008, my Olympus OMD, and a few other ‘legacy’ cameras, but I don’t bring them to commercial jobs.)

    One last note — can we please dispense with the bizarre myth that somehow Adobe CS products won’t work unless you have a live connection to the internet? Surely we can adhere to basic facts within the confines of photography?

  • I don’t see anyone complaining about $10/month. In my case, I would just rather not mess with keeping up with subscriptions that I don’t really need; I don’t subscribe to magazines, cable, a land line, Prime, Netfix, hotel rooms (?), newspapers, etc… only the utilities that I actually need (or want); simple. I don’t even have time for most of the things listed. Some don’t *actually need* the latest version of CC, so why would we subscribe to it? I’ve always used a PS version until one came out that had some features that I felt were worth upgrading for (for me it was v7, CS2, CS6). The difference is, once I stop using PS for my main workflow, if I ever want to use it for something in the future, it is there and ready to go at that moment, and since we actually have a windows 10 machine with v7 working perfectly, I really don’t see the “obsolescence” of CS6 being so dire. Meanwhile, I prefer to support other software ventures with new and better ideas than the old standard; for those who would rather continue with what they already know and are comfortable with, and don’t mind the subscription model, then they always have that option and no one is stopping them…

    As for CC’s internet requirement; it can operate without the internet (for 30 day periods), but for updates and license validation, a connection is indeed needed.

  • @ Casey — you’re not paying attention. Two people on this thread have already complained that the money is too much, and if you’ve had this conversation anywhere else, it’s a common gripe.

    I agree that if you don’t need something, you shouldn’t be paying for it. I’m really conservative about business expenses, and rarely buy new equipment or gadgets (I’m one of those weird photographers who doens’t love his cameras). And good for you (I guess) for not renting hotel rooms, or subscribing to magazines, newspapers, land lines or “cable”…although one wonders how you connect to the internet for things like reading this blog. But I have to say that I’ve never had to “keep up” with my Adobe subscription. I use both Lightroom and Photoshop and occasionally other Adobe products so I do the $49.xx/month plan, but there’s no “keeping up” to be done. I don’t exchange emails with anyone, I don’t manually pay the monthly, it just gets billed to a credit card. Pretty simple and I can’t remember ever really thinking about it after the day I signed up (which was faster than downloading versions of Photoshop back in the day).

    You seem confident that your 12-year old software is going to be functional indefinitely….history is not on your side but I wish you luck with that.

    Last point — it is blindingly obvious that the people who believe that an internet connection is required to use Adobe subscription software are not referring to the few seconds of connectivity required each month to validate the subscription. They believe that somehow either their files, or their software, will not be available to them if their machine is not connected to the internet. But if you think that a monthly connection to validate a subscription is a true barrier to use, then you’ve left the bounds of rational thought, in my opinion. You say you’ve disconnected your primary photo editing computer(s) from the internet…how do you intend to acquire your new Affinity photo editing software?

  • @Scott: Seriously? I guess I should have expected this from your condescending and antagonistic tone… I didn’t realize that I live in parallel circumstances to yours, and thus what works for you is also ideal for me and others as well… Okay, here goes:

    My apologies; I guess I should have clarified, “cable TV”… although I’m sure that most others here are smart enough to know what I meant.

    Hotels aren’t a subscription; I (and I assume you) rent a room when and where I need it. Invalid comparison…

    CS6 isn’t 12 years old; 2018-2012=6, and the last update was in 2017… my point was that with v7 working just fine at 16 years old on a modern PC with the latest OS, CS6 isn’t in danger of being truly obsolete in the near future. I never alluded to using anything indefinitely, in fact just the opposite. Maybe all standalone versions will suddenly cease to work one day… who cares? Maybe I’ll even eventually have a need for CC… guess what? THEN I can subscribe to it… when I *need* it.

    You seem to be missing the point”: a PC needs to be connected to the internet for automatic validation, even if it is once a month. Those “few seconds of connectivity” aren’t on a set schedule, either. In my office, I have an internet machine (among other connected devices) that I use for email, internet, etc, and 2 “work” machines; these are all hard networked via Ethernet. File transfer too/from the “internet PC” is easy with shortcuts, like it’s all one machine. I get online 3 times a day, max, and beside being the ultimate firewall, not having connected work machines helps keep me from getting distracted by… well, crap like this. I have a USB wireless adapter for the rare occasion that I need to install new software that requires it for initial setup, but otherwise it lives in a drawer. I “acquired” Affinity just like anyone else would; purchased, downloaded, installed…

    On second thought, maybe since the almighty Scott Hargis does things one way, obviously the best way, and thinks anyone who does it another way is “irrational”, I should just concede and conform (or subscribe?) to your methods, would that help validate your ego?

    Everyone has their own methods built on their own circumstances; my advice to anyone reading this is to make sure to consider and give priority to your own real needs; it is wise to observe and learn from the experiences and opinions of others, just don’t take it as gospel.

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