the blog of Seldom Seen Photography

Seeing Red – My 2 Cents Worth about Adobe

Seeing Red

The Red Floor in the Seattle Central Library – photographed last Tuesday while conducting a personal workshop. Interested in your own workshop? Give me a call or email.

Many photographers have been seeing red when looking at the Adobe Corporation this week. There’s been a lot of words, mostly nasty, flying around the internet since Adobe’s announcement that they will no longer sell perpetual licenses for Photoshop and their other Creative Suite applications, instead going to a subscription model of licensing. So, being a Photoshop user, I thought I’d weigh in on the subject.

First, I am not surprised, the writing was on the wall after they changed the upgrade policy on Photoshop last year. I can’t say I’m too happy about it, the change will likely cost me more money in the long run. Currently I use Adobe Lightroom extensively, and Photoshop CS6 on a regular basis (but much less than Lightroom). I’d say I do 80 -90% of my post-capture work in Lightroom. In the past, I’ve upgraded Photoshop with every other version (going from CS4 to CS6 last year). I upgrade Lightroom more frequently (going from version 1 to 2 to 4, and I’ll upgrade to 5 when available outside the beta version).

So for now, I’m happy with what I have and will not sign up for a subscription, but I can imagine doing so in a year or two (or if they make Lightroom available only by subscription as well). Actually, the current offer to CS6 owners is quite tempting – the complete suite of applications for $20 per month. Every now and then, I wish I had one of the other CC programs, such as InDesign or Dreamweaver. If those were available to me at no more cost than Photoshop alone? Very tempting. The question is, is it worth it after the price goes up when the special price ends in a year. That, I’m not too sure.

I think that is most photographer’s biggest problem with this change. If the only CC program you use is Photoshop, the cost of the subscription is roughly the same as an annual upgrade (assuming the non-special price of $20/month for Photoshop alone, or even less than an annual upgrade cost with the special $10/month price for Photoshop alone). The problem is, the price is not guaranteed, the price will likely go up. And if you decide you don’t want to ride that train anymore, you are left with no Photoshop at all. Currently, if you don’t upgrade, you still have the old program.

Of course, the other problem is that the change is a change, and in my experience, people are afraid of change. But, this model of software licensing has been around for several years and more and more software companies are going to it. It was inevitable that Adobe would do this. Ultimately, it is the cost of doing business. If you want to use Photoshop, you’ll have to pay Adobe’s price. Is it fair? I don’t know and it really doesn’t matter. I can’t see Adobe going back to the old way.

If you don’t want to pay up? There are other programs to use. Frankly, I probably could get away with using Elements instead of Photoshop, and it will still be sold with perpetual licenses. And there are non-Adobe programs out there as well, such as Corel Paintshop Pro, Pixelmator, or even the Gimp.

So, yes I’m disappointed, but I’m not seeing red. After all, it isn’t the end of the world, it’s just the future of software.

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2 responses

  1. so does that mean that people who have already bought a license to other programs will have to give that up to subscribe, meaning that if I stop subscribing I’ll lose both licenses?

    May 20, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    • That’s a great question. Certainly if you have the disks to your old software, if you stop subscribing, you still have the old one. But if you bought it by download, I’m not so sure. I do know, at least for Photoshop, at least previously before the subscription model, when you upgrade, the old version stays on your computer unless you erase it yourself. If you don’t erase it, you probably will still have the old version if you stop subscribing. So, you’ll still have a license for the old version, as long as you don’t erase it; at least that’s my read of the situation. Now, whether Adobe will support that old license or not is another matter.

      May 20, 2013 at 8:38 pm

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