Clouds formation over the mountains along the NC/SC border, autumn, USA

A creative cloud over the North Carolina/South Carolina border

Adobe is now offering its Photoshop Photography Program to everyone, not just those who own a license to a previous version of Photoshop. This program includes Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC for $9.99 per month. This new offer is only available until December 2nd. (If you own a license to Photoshop CS3 or later you still have until December 31st.)

For people who would like to try Photoshop, but don’t own a previous Photoshop license, this seems like a good deal. In the past you would have paid nearly $700 to buy a full version of Photoshop for the first time. Now you can get Photoshop, plus Lightroom, for $120 per year.

For those who already own a license to Photoshop CS5 or CS6 things are less clear cut. The pricing for this Lightroom-and-Photoshop package is attractive, but you’re still renting rather than owning, and if you stop your subscription you lose access to the software. Many people are choosing to stick with their older versions of Photoshop, since they own a perpetual license and will never lose access to it. I discussed some of the pros and cons of this deal in a previous post. (Be sure to read the comments, as there are lots of interesting thoughts there.)

For me, I finally decided to bite the bullet and subscribe to this package. Yes, I went over to the dark side.

There were several reasons why I decided to subscribe:

1. The price is more reasonable than Adobe’s initial Creative Cloud offer.

2. Some of my concerns about backwards compatibility have been alleviated. If I decide to stop my subscription a year from now, I’ll still be able to open files that I made with Photoshop CC in Photoshop CS6. There are some limitations, as adjustments made to Smart Objects with new tools—tools not available in CS6—won’t be editable, or even visible. But I’ll still be able to access and modify the files with CS6.

3. As some readers have pointed out, a perpetual license isn’t really perpetual. At some point old software won’t work anymore with new hardware and operating systems. In other words, I’d already committed to buying upgrades from Adobe for the indefinite future anyway. Owning a perpetual license does give you more choice and flexibility about when and how you upgrade, so the whole subscription thing still makes me a little queasy, but I decided to hold my nose and dive in anyway.

4. As a professional, and a photography educator, I need to keep up with the latest developments, which includes using and evaluating the latest software.

This was not an easy decision. I’ve been sitting on the fence for awhile, but finally decided to take the plunge for the reasons stated above. Everyone, of course, has to make a decision based on their own needs and situation. Believe me, if you’re not ready to go over the dark side I completely understand!

— Michael Frye

Related Posts: Thoughts on the Adobe Creative Cloud; Adobe’s New Lightroom and Photoshop Package

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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 YosemiteYosemite 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.