Adobe Photoshop; Available by Subscription?

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013

Adobe DVD’s and boxes go away as Adobe’s Creative Suite moves to subscription.


Adobe boxes, a thing of the past.

Adobe boxes, a thing of the past.

No longer will we be buying a box with a DVD in it or buying a license and downloading Adobe software to our computers, ours to use for ever and ever. The model has changed!

The world of photographers was rocked a bit when Adobe announced that Photoshop, in fact almost all of Adobe’s ‘Creative Suite’ is going to a cloud based subscription service. What! Subscription? How much? How does it work? How will we get it? Who thought this up?

These were all questions in our minds.

All this contemplation began for me after getting an email informing me that my Lightroom 5 beta was over. Lightroom 5 was now available for upgrade so I brought up the Adobe store to buy my Lightroom upgrade. Lightroom is one of the few Adobe products not being changed to subscription only. Usually I buy a boxed version but I couldn’t find that option on Adobe’s online store. Now what was I to do?

Like any other red-blooded American photographer I picked up my phone and called Adobe. After being asked to press “1” to have someone call me back in 5-10 minutes (yeah right) and pressing “0” (the smart choice) to be put on hold for the next available representative, I was eventually put through to a very nice person who told me all about the new subscription model and how it was going to work.

Yes, she tells me, the “Creative Suite” is no longer available as application(s) that you purchase once and get a license and that’s it. Anyone wanting to use part of the Creative Suite, now called the Creative Cloud, will have to subscribe. And the prices can be steep depending on how you use your Adobe products.

Pricing Options:

  1. Subscribe to the “Creative Cloud” for $49.99 a month ($29.99 a month if you have a version of Creative Suite newer than CS3).
  2. If you just want Photoshop (now called CC instead of CS) you pay $19.99 a month ($9.99 a month if you qualify).
  3.  The special prices ends July 31, 2013, so if you want to take advantage do it soon.
  4. Any of the applications are available on a month-to-month basis but at a higher price.

Generally, other than Lightroom, I have only used Photoshop… oops I mean CC so I didn’t get information on the whole suite, but I think it works pretty much the same, just more expensive.

How it works and other information:

  • The application is downloaded and installed on your computer (up to two devices) and it resides on your computer, not the Adobe cloud.
  • The application is available on or off-line.
  • Save your work to the Adobe cloud or to your hard drive or to both.
  • Your cloud is able to be shared and has 20 GB of storage.
  • Download either the full Creative Suite or just Photoshop (now known as “CC”).
  • Lightroom is still available as a licensed product as are Elements and a few other Adobe applications.
  • CS6 is the last of the licensable Photoshop versions is still available.
  • Adobe is no longer selling any boxed software on their website or by phone.
  • If you really want a boxed version of Lightroom there are some that were distributed to retailers so check your local Best Buy or other software distributor.

I think I’m going to take advantage of the special for those with a currently licensed product newer than CS3 and sign up for CC only. At the end of my year at $9.99 I’ll switch to the month-to-month plan. I use Lightroom mostly anyway. I might miss the convenience of being able to use CC at will whenever I want to but it seems silly to pay a lot of money for something I only use occasionally.

What are you going to do? Will you:

  1. Subscribe to an annual subscription.
  2. Subscribe month-to-month.
  3. Just use Lightroom or Elements and not use Photoshop at all anymore.
  4. Switch to Apple and use Aperture.

I’m interested to hear what other photographers will do. Send me a comment and let me know.

Disclaimer:  This post was not sponsored by Adobe or anyone else and no free software (or cloudware) was received by the author (unfortunately ;).