Back in June I wrote about Adobe’s new subscription-only model for licensing Photoshop, called the Creative Cloud. Let’s just say that I wasn’t happy about it. But recently, as I’m sure many of you know, Adobe announced a new Photoshop Photography Program. For $9.99 per month you can get both Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) and Lightroom, and it’s not an introductory price that will go up after a year. That doesn’t mean that it will never go up, but Adobe says that they don’t have any plans to increase the price at this time. (The offer is only available to people who currently own Photoshop CS3 or later, and it expires on December 31st.)
I have to say that this is a more attractive offer. $9.99 per month comes out to less than I’ve been paying for upgrades to both Lightroom and Photoshop. Of course I already own a license to Lightroom 5, so in the short term I’d really be paying just for Photoshop CC. But at least the price wouldn’t automatically go up after a year, and when Lightroom 6 comes out I’d get it for no extra charge.
Unfortunately this program won’t help you if you don’t already own Photoshop CS3 or later. It’s possible that Adobe might offer a version of this package (probably a more expensive version), to people who don’t already own Photoshop, but there’s no word of that yet. You can still buy Photoshop CS6 from places like Amazon and B&H, and that would then qualify you to get this Photoshop/Lightroom bundle, but that’s an expensive way to go, since CS6 is going for more than $600.
And either way this is still a rental program, not a perpetual license—at least for Photoshop. Tim Grey said in his newsletter that this program includes a perpetual license for Lightroom: “With the new subscription offering you would still be licensing Photoshop with the subscription approach, where if you stop paying for the subscription you lose access to Photoshop. However, at least for now, Lightroom is included with this bundle on a perpetual license. In other words, if you discontinue your subscription to this new bundle, you won’t lose access to Lightroom, and thus you won’t lose access to your Lightroom catalog.”
Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find anything on Adobe’s web site that confirms this statement. I did get a confirmation from an Adobe sales agent in an online chat, but he wasn’t able to point me to a written confirmation. And then I talked to a different Adobe sales agent on the phone, and he told me the opposite—that you wouldn’t get a perpetual license to Lightroom with this package, and if you stopped subscribing you wouldn’t be able to use Lightroom! I consider Tim Grey to be a reliable source about things like this, so I’m inclined to believe he’s right, and the Adobe sales agent I talked to on the phone is wrong (it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve talked to a mis-informed sales agent or tech person at a big corporation). But it would be nice to get some confirmation! If anyone has seen something in writing from Adobe about this, I’d appreciate you letting me know where to find it.
So again, I think this Photoshop Photography Program is a more attractive offer, though you’re still renting Photoshop without a perpetual license. I’m still mulling this over. But what do you think? Has the new Photoshop Photography Program changed your mind about subscribing to the Creative Cloud?
— Michael Frye
P.S. While we’re talking about the controversial Creative Cloud, I’d like to clarify a persistent misunderstanding. Perhaps “cloud” was a poor naming choice for Adobe, because it has made a lot of people assume that the software and your image files will reside in the cloud. They don’t. When you use Photoshop CC, both the software and your image files reside on your own hard drive. Every month or so when you launch Photoshop CC (or any Creative Cloud application) it will check to make sure that your subscription is up to date, and you’ll also need an internet connection to download updates, but the software and your image files reside on your hard drive, and you can launch Photoshop and use it without an internet connection.
Related Posts: Thoughts on the Adobe Creative Cloud
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Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom 5: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.