Adobe’s Photoshop Photography Program: Is it right for you?

Adobe Photoshop Photography Program


Adobe announced the Photoshop Photography program today.  It seems like a great deal for photographers who were largely non-plussed (read: outright enraged) by Adobe Creative Cloud.   So let’s talk about it.

What is it?
If you currently own any version of Photoshop CS3 or higher, you can get Photoshop Creative Cloud, Lightroom 5, a Behance membership with ProSite, and 20GB of storage for $9.99 per month.  Yes, you can also get Bridge CC for your $9.99.

Why does it matter?
At $19.99 for photoshop alone, Creative Cloud just didn’t make sense for photographers.   You see, way back when, before the world went to the clouds, you could buy Photoshop upgrades for $199 roughly every 18months.   All was well with the world – and if you ever wanted to skip a version or two you were ok.  Sure you wouldn’t have the latest and greatest, but you were still working.  In the  least, you could get the latest Lightroom upgrade and get new tools to add to your war chest.

Then came Creative Cloud.  At $19.99 per month that $199.99 you used to pay ballooned to $359.82 (that’s $19.99 x 18months for ye math types).  Ouch!  Oh, and stop paying, and your software stops working- no Photoshop for you!  Insurrections and rebellions ensued; posts and posts were written on blogs and social media (even on this blog) about how Creative Cloud just wasn’t a good value.

Now, though, Adobe has listened and sweetened the deal.   Now, you only pay $9.99 per month – that’s $179.82 every 18 months.  But that’s not all, now you also get Lightroom, Behance, and 20GB of storage. But, and it’s a big but, you still have to pay every month.  You don’t pay, you don’t work.  On the plus side, this isn’t an introductory price for 12 month only.  Adobe has been very explicit about explaining that this the price.  So, Adobe gives you more, but you’re expected to let Adobe into your pocket every month.

The catch(es)
There’s always a catch and in this case there are a few:

  1. You have to have previously owned a version of Photoshop CS3 or higher.
  2. You have to sign up by December 31, 2013.
  3. If you stop paying at any point, you can’t get the $9.99 price again.

Should you get it?
Is it a deal?  Should you jump on it?  Think of it this way: if you give up 2 lattes month, you can get the latest and greatest photoshop has to offer.  If you’re making money in photography: buy this when it releases.  Also, if you were someone who regularly paid for Photoshop upgrades in the past then the answer is yes.  What’s the worst that can happen?  You downgrade back to your old version of Photoshop and buy the latest Lightroom.  That’s not the end of the world.  Yes, it’s a major pain, but at least you’re still working.

If, on the other hand, you’re not making at least $120 per year on your photography then don’t buy it.

I suspect the major pain point is photographers don’t want to feel like Adobe is in their pocket every month.  Understandable – I don’t like it either, but I do feel like Adobe is meeting me halfway here.  I’m getting more for my money if I think of photoshop as a service.  I’m much more comfortable with the ~$180 every 18th months than the ~$360 Adobe wanted me to pay.

I’ll admit, I’m a bit worried about Adobe luring me in then doubling the price in a couple of years.  Can this happen?  Yes: Adobe holds all the keys, but, Adobe was pretty adamant about the stability of the price.  So, time will tell.  Again, what’s the worst that can happen?

If you still can’t stand it.  Well, enjoy your lattes.  They’re yummy and you’ll get a nice caffeine kick twice a month.

If, however, you’re going to buy in, you still have to wait a couple of weeks for Lightroom 5.2 before buying.   Just remember, you have to pick it up before December 31st, 2013.

Finally, you can read the Adobe announcement here.