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Trouble Ahead If You Are Not Subscribed To Adobe Creative Cloud

Published: 04/08/2015
By: larry

TroubleAheadLast week Adobe announced that:

In order to pursue further innovations in image processing and workflow technology, the next release of Adobe Camera Raw (v 9.1.1) will be the final version available for use with CS6. Customers can utilize the free Adobe DNG Converter utility to receive the very latest camera support for CS6 and older versions of our software going all the way back to Photoshop CS2 and Lightroom 1.0. Here is the official statement.

What this means, is that to get all the latest improvements to Photoshop and camera profile support beyond the ACR version 9.1.1 (the current version of Adobe Camera RAW) you will need to be a Creative Cloud subscriber. Based on the answers to the comments in the announcement this apparently doesn't apply to Lightroom. Don't ask me to explain that since ACR is used in both Lightroom and Photoshop. There's a post over at That gives some more interpretation of this.

The bottom line is that if you are a Photoshop and Lightroom user don't expect the current situation, where you can purchase Photoshop and Lightroom outside of a Creative Cloud subscription, to last forever. The $9.95/ month photographer subscription has been fairly well received and it's pretty clear that eventually Adobe will move to subscription-only for Lightroom and Photoshop. No big surprise really, it's just that there are a lot of people that don't want to hear this.

19 comments on “Trouble Ahead If You Are Not Subscribed To Adobe Creative Cloud”

  1. Nothing lasts forever. I am unsure how this changes the Lightroom-> Photoshop CS6 workflow?

    Also time to start checking out Affinity.

    And I have been using Capture one more and more lately and Much prefer it to Lightroom for individual files as far as EVERYTHING is concerned. Capture One has made me rethink even using Lightroom for anything. It has been that noticeable.

  2. Bottom line, I will move to the subscription scam when I have to (whatever the reason be) and just jack my prices up to more than cover the bad taste that I get from this.

    I just don't like the idea of it. What with companies, governments, etc. leaking our personal information and all, it just sets up a scenario where something IS going to go wrong.

  3. I like the Creative Cloud. It has many benefits and not to mention how PS CC is a very improved software.
    10 bucks/mo is not much in my opinion. If you use it everyday and make profit from it, you shouldn't even feel this price. I look at it like I look at my electric bill.

    @Jerry Miller - how much exactly will you jack your prices up for this new "expense" that you have? 🙂

  4. Love the CC. We use the whole thing but $10 per month for just Photoshop and Lightroom is a good deal. And, it is the cost of doing business and creating great images.

  5. Thinking about how difficult my business would be without PS or LR the $10 comes out of my wallet VERY EASILY. I pay 3x's that for my gym membership that I haven't used in 2 years. At $120 a year for some of the best software every made for processing it's barely even considered overhead.

  6. I balked at first because I hate subscriptions; would rather own my software. Yet I could not otherwise have reasonably afforded the full and up to date Photoshop. What a huge upgrade from Elements, and honestly buying just the annual lightroom upgrades comes out to just about the same cost as the subscription. There is really no cost increase to recover!! But if/when they increase that monthly subscription rate I know I'll be eating those words.

  7. Denise makes a great point, at $9.95 a month for Lightroom and Photoshop is a net reduction in prices compared to the old model where you purchased a new version Lightroom and a new version of Photoshop every year. The only way this new subscription model costs more is if you used to only get a new version of Lightroom and Photoshop every several years.

  8. @Ivan - It is not the "expense" so much as the idea that I have no say in when I pay to upgrade to a newer version. I will probably double what it costs though. I always pass on the codb to my fees and always at a profit.

    How many of you find that you are not running out and buying the newly released versions of any software? I look at what it has to offer and sometimes it is nothing I would use, so I hold off until the next release.

    What makes everyone think that once this whole concept of subscriptions take place and there are no other choices that the "$10" minimal won't start going up? Seriously, do you think this fee is not going to change? It will and just how much is out of our control. Ever hear about "bait and switch"?

  9. Adobe CC was L-O-N-G overdue. And so much better than what we had before!

    You've never owned your software. All you've ever had was a license. Same thing you have now. The nice thing now is, if you stop using the software, you can just discontinue the subscription. Maybe you take a sabbatical from photography. Maybe you run out of money -- it's no problem, just stop paying the $10/month...and when things change, you can simply turn it back on again.
    Back in the bad old days, you had no such freedom. If you wanted to use Photoshop for even one day, you had to plunk down $600 - period. You either committed to 5 years ($600/$10) or you went without. Imagine going on vacation to Paris and finding that you couldn't rent a car for a week - you had to BUY it! That'd be crazy! And how many people would be saying, "I don't like the idea of renting. I like to OWN the cars I drive." Not too many.

    I'd be careful about amortizing that $20 across all your shoots per month. If my clients thought I was tracking expenses down to the loose change, and passing every one along, they'd get pretty nervous. "Is he really that close to the edge?" they'd ask. "Do I want to be working with someone who can't absorb a $10 fee without making a production out of it?" I think you want to project stability, even when you're getting crushed by a $10/month charge.

    As for the $10 going up - sure it will. Everything gets more expensive over time. I'm paying more for milk, more for ballpoint pens, more for rent, more for cameras, hard to think of anything that doesn't rise in price over time. My fees rise annually, too --- why wouldn't they? At a minimum, I have to keep up with inflation, and I think I deserve a raise once a year, too. Since I already subscribe to lots of things -- magazines (3 of 'em), software (not just CC), rent (I'm month-to-month on my studio, so they could just jack it up anytime) -- I'm used to how it works. When the price gets too high, I just bail out. Hardly ever happens, though -- because they're just not stupid enough to price themselves out of business. And the folks at Adobe are especially "not stupid".

    But OK, let's just say that there's an evil plan over at Adobe, and next month they're suddenly going to rub their hands together, go "BWAHAHAHAHA!!" and triple the monthly fee. WOW! Shock waves, mayhem, righteous indignation! And what would you do? You'd leave -- in a huff. You would NEVER have to pay that fee.
    See what I'm saying? The beauty of a subscription model is that you bear absolutely ZERO risk. If $10/month is going to eat up all your profits, then yeah, you're screwed -- a few months earlier than you would have been anyway. But if you can somehow tighten your belt enough to scrape by, which shouldn't be hard given that you no longer need to save up the $200+ that you were going to need for an eventual upgrade, then you should be fine. Nothing changes - because there has always been no guarantee about what your future costs were going to be. Anyone who honestly thinks they were going to be using a 5-year-old version of Photoshop indefinitely is smoking something pretty awesome.

  10. I agree with Scott, it is a phenomenal value, and as Ivan noted, if you use it every day and make a profit from it, you shouldn't even feel the price. For a while I used CS6 and Lightroom until I entered the Apple world with a MacBook Pro. Technically, could have gotten the Apple version but didn't feel like the hassle of working with Adobe support to be directed to all the hidden links, so began CC. One thing I did note as I had a mix of CC and CS6 was ACR being out of sync with warnings when editing from Lightroom to PS and the update function in PS would tell me 'up to date'. Essentially, had to go through support to get the link and manually updated ACR so were the same versions in each.

    While I subscribe to the full package as I need Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, and undecided on Premiere Pro vs FCPX, in addition to LR and PS, with retirement approaching in a few years, have to reconsider. While my program demand/usage will decline, can I justify a monthly subscription on fixed income...even $9.99/mo. One day, hopefully everyone reading this blog will have that "problem." That is part of my current debate leaning me towards FCPX. Even today, I hear that same concern from retirees in a local photo club as they far prefer owning a program to an ongoing cost subtracting from fixed income. If Corel supported Apple, I would go back to Paintshop Pro in a heartbeat as I used it for decades. Affinity, noted earlier, looks interesting. But while running a photography business and brining in income...LR and PS (plus the other's in CC) prevail. Two years from promises.

  11. @Scott
    I agree with your warning, I was just airing my sentiments with the price adjustment within this closed group, but in practice I would just add this in an overall annual price increase lumped in with all the other factors.

    As for the fee’s going up, I understand that reality. But I also know the reality of cable/satellite television services and how they have manipulated the bundle packaging and all that. The phone companies are doing the same thing. Nothing I can do, but it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. And as you said, it is up to each of us to decide when it is time to bail.

    So, while I don’t smoke anything awesome, I will probably give this subscription a try, maybe I will convert… cheers

  12. I resent the subscription models for some of the reasons listed by others. In Adobe's case, I also dislike the heavy handed way they have herded us toward CC while burying traditional upgrades deeply in their website. I tend to skip updates some (not for LR though) so I think it will cost me more.

    That said, I have just upgraded to LR 6 and still work on PS CS5. I found the CS6 link (bookmarked it) and was about to upgrade but may wait a bit and then do the subscription. What you guys did do for me is clear up my thinking on my MS Office upgrade. It was just too much to bring it up to date.

    I really don't mind the subscriptions while I'm working but I think it would be nice to have some sort of buy-out for retirement or other reasons when you still want (need?) the software but the subscription becomes a nuisance.

  13. There are other solutions to image editing software. I agree 10$/ month is nothing and currently feel Adobe is the best in the world at what they are offering but it is capitalism, vote with your dollars, if you don't like subscriptions try something new.

    I have not gone through the paces with Affinity yet but it seems like they are soon to be rivaling Adobe on every level.

    I have to think it is interesting that they can offer a "perpetual license option" for 50$ while adobe needs 10/$ per month.

    On a similar note, Pentax selling the 645z for a 1/4 the price a Phase One digital back has the same sensor in.

    renting (or leasing) a car and owning a car is an interesting and true analogy. So just to play Devils advocate and further your point, you know what you could do with a "perpetual license", utilize its value. Previously, one could use photoshop for a year or two after paying lets say 600$, then one could sell it and transfer the license for market value to another individual, just like a car, or a camera that you "bought". Now with a subscription, you obviously cannot, same as the rental car. It had "ownership" style value. The semantics of ownership vs licensing is tricky, yet an individual could still transfer the license. Now I am not agreeing with the lynch mob that roared on and on about how stupid the subscription change was, but that was their only realistic point of contention.

  14. Michael, i found your affinity reference interesting - except it's for Mac only. It may come as a surprise, but PCs outweigh Macs - even, I'm sure, in the photography/graphic arts field where the Mac is very respected. If affinity is to be a player in this field, they really need to produce a PC version.

  15. One of the things I have found while looking at possible replacements for LR is that it seems no one else has the non-destructive editing workflow as seamlessly integrated as Lightroom. Am I wrong?

  16. Update: Thinking about it and realizing that to discuss this topic without experiencing both the "cloud" version and stand alone software was lacking. I went ahead and signed up for the 30 day free trial of both the LR and PS to give it a full test ride through a month of my work, around 80 properties plus other gigs.

    First, the sign up, download and activation took all of 10min. Nothing like the horror stories that I have heard about with others. Maybe because I already have the programs loaded from before, but also, all of my add-ons, templates, presets, etc. are all on the new CC versions without having to do anything. I still need to load the CC to my 2nd office system, but as of now, very pleasantly surprised.

    I have already run through a couple of properties, doing the fusion, enhancements in PS, etc. and have not had any issues.

    So....the journey begins

  17. @ Richard,

    Interesting, to be honest I have only really spent less than an hour tinkering with Affinity.
    I found software to be the only thing close to photoshop I have ever seen.

    I hear you on the PC, and I cant imagine they are not working on it right now. I would expect a PC version within a year or less.

    It is impressive how a little market gap can create a product so powerful no?

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