Adobe Announces New Creative Cloud Option for Photographers


If you weren’t watching the Photoshop World Keynote Live Stream yesterday, or paying attention to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, then you might possibly have missed one of the biggest announcements of the year as it relates to the world of photography. As you might already know, a while back Adobe changed their business model for software purchases and distribution. Their new product was called Creative Cloud and it caused quite a dust up in the community for several reasons. The concept is that you pay a monthly fee and you receive access to the entire Adobe Creative suite of products, including Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere, InDesign, etc., etc. All of this for about $50 a month, which is an incredible bargain if you use those products. The cloud also comes with the benefit of users getting access to new software features as they are developed and released, not after a year or so after purchasing the next version. With the Creative Cloud, there is no “next version”. The version you have is always up to date with all of the new technology. Of course there is a downside to all of this as well.

Getting access to all of Adobe’s tools if fantastic if you happen to need them, but if you only ever needed Photoshop and Lightroom, it was really hard to justify the price. Sure, you had access to all of those goodies but if you never use them, it’s like paying for a first class seat when you would have been perfectly happy back in coach. This sentiment was expressed to Adobe loud and clear from many outlets and, to their credit, Adobe has responded with what I believe is a fantastic deal for photographers. Starting in a couple of weeks, you will be able to subscribe to the Creative Cloud for Photographers, which will include Photoshop Extended, Lightroom, 20GB of online storage, and membership to the Behance Prosite online portfolio site all for the very low price of $9.99 US a month. If you do the math, most photographers using Photoshop and Lightroom were spending about $650 every three years for Photoshop and Lightroom upgrades. The Creative Cloud for Photographers cost will be less than half of that for the same time period. Best of all, Adobe has stated that this will be a forever price, as long as you are registered prior to December 31, 2013.

There is a caveat that goes with this great price and that is that you have to have a licensed copy of at least CS3 to be qualified for this program. Just having a copy of Lightroom won’t do it for you. If you want to sign up for this deal and you don’t have Photohshop CS3 or above, my recommendation is that you start looking for a copy on eBay so that you are qualified. It may run you about $100 but it is still well worth it in the long run. And for those of you still grousing about the whole software lease business model, ask yourself a question, do you own your cable TV, your Netflix, your Internet service? This is the business model of the future for big software and it is probably here to stay. Apple has already moved to this model and I’m sure you will see other large companies like Microsoft move to it as well. It’s cheaper, cuts down on losses from piracy, and also helps the consumer by ensuring that their software is always current and contains the latest and greatest features. The new Creative Cloud for Photographers offer will be available in a couple of weeks, around the time of the Lightroom 5.2 release and will run until December 31

Sometimes progress can be a bitter pill to swallow but I think that Adobe has made it easier for me by coating it with a sweet $9.99 price tag. Here’s the link to more information on Adobe’s blog page


  1. Augie De Blieck Jr. says:

    I’ll continue to buy upgrades to Lightroom when they’re available, and I’m fine with Pixelmator that I paid once ($40) for, so this news doesn’t affect me. Without the CS3 caveat, MAYBE I’d give it a try for a couple of months to see.

    One thing I would like to ask you about, though, because I might be missing something:

    “This is the business model of the future for big software and it is probably here to stay. Apple has already moved to this model and I’m sure you will see other large companies like Microsoft move to it as well.”

    Which Apple services are you referring to? Because Aperture, iLife, iWork, OS X, Final Cut, etc. are all Pay Once. You buy movies on iTunes. (Or rent them for a single fee per movie per 24 hour period.) You buy your music.

    There’s iTunes Match and iRadio which are optional things with annual fees, but they’re not doing away with buying music or movies. It’s just the streaming option. And iRadio is free with ads, so you don’t have to pay anything if you don’t want. (Not that anyone wants Photoshop to have a little Wal-Mart banner add in the toolbar or anything…)

    I don’t pay Apple monthly for anything.

    The big change with Apple’s business model is how they don’t offer upgrade pricing on their major apps anymore. They lowered the price across the board (Final Cut, OS X, Aperture, etc.) If Adobe decided to lower the price on Photoshop to $299 or even $399 and cut out the upgrade option, then there’d be a better comparison.

    Not that I disagree with you in general — companies like recurring revenue that’s spread out over time instead of annual bursts of cash flow. Makes their investors happier. And software distribution has become so streamlined thanks to the internet with so many new possibilities for business model to go along with it, that we’re bound to see such experimentation.

    I’m just not sure Apple is the comparison to make.

    • In this instance, I was more referring to the online deliver and control over the software, not necessarily the monthly fee but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it soon. Microsoft just tried something similar when they announced their XBOX ONE gaming console and got pummeled by the public when it was announced that people would no longer be able to resell their games. They quickly changed the new policy but you could tell that they were testing the waters for new things to come. I’m a big fan of owning what I pay for but, like you said, companies like the continuous cash flow and also the control over piracy, which I believe is more of the driving factor in this than anything else.

  2. SKOOKER REID says:

    Have you heard of any provisions for folks who just upgraded to LR5 just before PWorld and already are paying for CS6 Cloud? Trying the Adobe helpline is helpless.

    • If you go to the link at the end of my post, it will take you to the announcement page on the Adobe blog. At the bottom of the announcement is a link to their FAQ. Listed within that are the current details for anyone wishing to downgrade their CC accounts.

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