UPDATED: Adobe shifts to subscriptions – what’s your view?

Latest Industry News
Matt Bennett

A major change to how Adobe’s software is sold and used has been announced.

Adobe Photoshop CS6
Adobe Photoshop CS6

Adobe has announced that, from June 2013, the optional Creative Cloud subscription service that the company launched back in spring 2012, will now become the only means of using Photoshop.

In other words, a one-off fee (albeit a high one) for a copy of Photoshop is no longer an option – of Adobe’s software, only Lightroom will continue to be offered this way.

Some people will like the idea of a monthly payment to use Photoshop, as it will suit their financial position better this way. Others, however, will feel aggrieved that the idea of running a version of Photoshop for a number of years will no longer be possible, as the software is updated ‘on the fly’ rather than in half-yearly cycles and simply ceases to use if you haven’t paid for your subscription fee.

This obviously doesn’t stop you using an already installed version of Photoshop, but the option of buying Photoshop and then choosing if and when to upgrade it to a newer version of the software has now been removed.

So,we want to know what this means to you. Please take a few moments to post your comments here or the forum – and don’t forget to upload images to the dphotographer gallery!


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    • Jeremy

      For me, as designer/photographer who has a to tight budget, this makes it possible for me to explore all of the Adobe software. For me an expense like a $1200 upgrade is not possible. I had to finance the purchase, which was a pain. With the CCloud i always have the latest updates, plus a pro Behance portfolio site.And i hear they will be adding an incredible amount of new features. At $30 or $50, per month, this is a doable business expense, and write off.

    • gary lightner

      Do not approve.

    • Roytn

      Will just use Lightroom and CS5 . As a former student of non credit university program on photography , what will these type programs do now . Ok we’ll teach you photoshop but your making no money at it but you have to pay to keep using it or you will loose ability to open your work .

    • Imagepoint

      When I am 80 years old and no longer am working the only way I will be able to open my files is to subscribe to Adobe Photoshop. By that time I expect the monthly subscription will be around $1200/month.

    • I shall cease to use Photoshop. Simple as that.

    • Mike

      I really think that having access to a cloud program puts all my photos at risk for being stolen. Don’t bother telling me about the security when sophisticated government and banking sites are hacked daily-I assure you Adobe does not match the security of some of those sites. The only way I plan to use Photoshop in the future after years and years of using the program is only use CS6 version I have now. I have registered my complaint with Adobe and hope that enough casual users do the same to make them rethink this strategy. I can’t wait til the news comes out when someone’s images are stolen through a security leak at Adobe and that puts their greedy hind ends out of business.

    • Ian Douglas

      I have used Photoshop from version 3 (NOT CS3!). I own a raft (bookshelf) of hugely expensive Adobe software.

      I purchased Creative Suite Production Premium CS6 as I knew Adobe were to visit this on their customers. Until 10 days ago (formerly) well-respected Adobe Evangelists were denying the facts!

      For professionals who do not buy their software or can write the cost off to customer or company (including photo press) an up-to-date monthly subscription will be ideal. However for real amateur and enthusiast photographers this is a kick in the teeth!

      I anticipated the change when it was clear Adobe had over-priced the monthly subscription (poor market research?). A series of price-cuts and deals ensued. Adobe want a regular income this is the reason for the change. You will pay for it.

      It will cause less development rather than more or better as why would they bother? You HAVE TO PAY monthly now anyway/

      My advice? Buy a copy of CS6 (boxed) now and improve your technique. Improvements to CS7 will be minor and probably not needed.

      Good Luck!

    • davidd baston

      Well i think it is another way of getting more money out of the already hammered purses of companies and the local people who only do it has a hobby.
      They are going to price themselves out of the market in my opinion??
      But on the other had Photoshop the software has had it pirated a lot in the past
      and perhaps this is the way to get rid of that?
      By the way does this apply to the adobe photoshop elements aswell
      does anybody know

    • Rojer Weightman

      Photographers I have spoken to about this have likened it to running a car. You buy a car but if you stop putting fuel in it it doesn’t go anywhere so, in effect, you pay a subscription in your fuel costs. This is fine to a point: I need my car to get to work but photography is a hobby and one I can do without if it starts costing me as much to do as running my car.

      Both of my daughters and I are photographers. My daughters will be going to university soon and both will need Photoshop on their computers and I will still need it on mine. The proposed monthly rate will be £40 but for me it will be £120 because I will need to buy three subscriptions which works out at £1440 per year. I can understand that this is a way of combating piracy but I feel Adobe are just cashing in on the virtual monopoly they have created in Photo manipulation software but pricing the amateur out of the equation and it is the enthusiastic amateur who has put them where they are.

      There will be a knock on effect in the magazine industry too. If people decide not to upgrade from the version they are using (something I am seriously considering) there will come a point when buying new magazines will become redundant because everything to be said about that version has been said and why subscribe to a magazine that is not relevant to your needs? And if you are a pro: who has time to read magazines?

    • I think that while Photoshop is THE photo editing software to have, this is Way out of the reach of most people. If Adobe reduced the price of the one off purchase to a more attainable level for more users they would make much more money from more people, rather than some money from the few who can actually afford or have to have this for their business.
      This new subscription model will possibly make it able for more people to not have to take a hit of hundreds or thousands of pounds all in one go but to have that software just stop working and then stop you from being able to open your work because you have stopped paying the subscription is wrong. As jeremy says “this is a doable business expense” but what about us amateurs.

    • Alan Gauth

      Well for myself I was looking forward to purchase a new license…. But, as of now with this new pricing format…. Hell no !!!

    • David Hales

      There is something fundamentally and morally wrong with the sole choice of the new model, not least of which is the underlying extortion of disallowing access to .PSD files produced within Photoshop (without resorting to third party viewers of varying capability) once a user cancels a subscription. At the extreme least, Adobe should offer a free Photoshop ‘Reader’ to allow continued access of those files (including a simple ability to save as other, more generic formats, and thus further edit in other programs). Otherwise, Adobe is tying in amateurs and professionals alike for perpetuity. Or, of course, promoting the demise of the .PSD format.

      One of the earlier posters offered a perfectly cogent argument for the new model; but both former and future purchase options remain equally valid – at least to anyone but the bean counters of a company become all too powerful. Sure, some will prefer the new model to avoid the upfront cost, but many others will not want the financial drag, especially single application users. Once someone buys CS4, 5, 6 or whatever, it remains theirs to use. There is, quite rightly for the traditional purchase model, no continual trickle of cash to Adobe (which, though it might appear reasonable right now, comes with no sane assurance of how much it will escalate in years to come). At least utility companies face watchdogs to prevent their hiking costs year on year; but who will police Adobe (except in Australia, where they once took a bashing)? Whether an individual chooses to upgrade should remain down to a simple freedom of choice, not an enforced binary decision of all in or all out.

      Adobe will of course argue that the ‘all in or all out’ is down to freedom of choice as much as the soon to be defunct model, but that’s a pretty thin argument. The moment you tie someone in with a bespoke file format, the choice to leave again is but a facade. Promote the pure subscription model, sure; but at the very least allow the alternative of buying a core program combined with a subscription for further updates (as so many other software companies do). Then if someone chooses to curtail updates, they retain a fairly purchased program frozen in time. It might not suit users facing the expense of a full suite, but Adobe seem to have forgotten the wider core of single users who made them what they are.

      If Adobe persists with this mistake, I can see the likes of Gimp and so on soon filling the gap. The add-on producers will soon follow suit.

      Just my opinion of course.

    • Lloyd

      A really bad idea. I’ll make sure my version of CS6 is updated and go from there. Adobe has enough cash, they don”t need more from me given the initial cost of ownership.

    • Jon Domke

      There is a Student/Teacher rate that is much cheaper than the normal Creative Cloud plan

    • OnABudget

      No doubt this will suit professional people with enough business to be able to write the monthly expense off, but for those working at a lower level and who do not want access to the whole Adobe portfolio, it’s a non-starter. I’m with Roytn… LR and an old CS will be my way forward.

    • Phill Bessant

      I think its a great way to make the software affordable and give people a way to run legal software on there personal machines where the purchase was out of their price range. On top of that for companies the utility model is becoming a standard and with it not being an asset makes it easier to claim against tax.

      Just hope Adobe keep the price realistic and don’t start to push it through the roof when it becomes the only option.

    • Paul Quayle

      Assuming that most people interested in this switch already have a version of Photoshop, it seems a little unfair of Adobe to be effectively punishing legitimate users with legal copies of their software because they can’t prevent pirates from hacking their disk-based software. Many people have already commented on how they literally cannot afford the new cloud-based system, and I agree. I have bought CS6, but as an occasional user I simply could not commit to $40 per month to make my CS6 version obsolete. Also I am unclear how plug-ins will work. I think I’ll call it a day as “6” and migrate to something in future when that falls off its perch.

    • Ian Douglas

      I think it is worth noting that the Creative Cloud (CC) is artificially subsidised and commonly at half-price. Student and teacher discounts will stop when you leave education.

      The monthly option is not cheap and will never be cheaper, in fact it will probably double after the first year if you have a deal and further rise from there?

      Don’t worry as you can always cancel and not use any of it?

    • I won’t be paying a subscription. I can’t afford Photoshop in Australia because its at least 60% more expensive than overseas. I would buy it from USA but they refuse to sell it to me cos they’ll get black listed by Adobe. I would guess that the subscription will be region specific, so we in Australia will be slugged with a huge premium above the rest of the world. I’ll just use lightroom. I’ve go version 3.6, and it works fine for me. Maybe I’ll upgrade to version 5, if its worthwhile. The only real reason I’d ugrade is if I upgrade my DSLR and need the upgrade to support it. Adobe needs to stop being so GREEDY! There haven’t been many worthwhile improvements made in photoshop since CS2, its mostly about camera and lens profile support, and charging a huge premium for it.

    • I, like many others have been users of PS since its inception. CC is directed in one direction only, and this is towards the Profesional Photographer or associate firms and companies using pros.that can afford the (not yet established fixed monthly price) that surely will keep increasing.
      Many many loyal customers have purchased Adobe Product publications alongside the software which I believe have kept Adobe viable. This management decision will create and make a huge fall in their income stream.
      To take away the OPTION of a Single Amateur or groups, with limited income/s and and expect that Adobe will not loose custom is a falsity.
      Already we have incredibly good software and PI’s available that will enable PS CS6 and before users (without using CC), to continue to compete and produce top Photographic Images and Artworks.
      I give a huge Hooray to products like TOPAZ LABS for their excellent and customer responsive products and the Stand Alone FX feature. Topaz Labs are absolutely at least one step ahead of Adobe and its program management and availability. If Adobe fails to recognise the amateur market and their purchasing power, they will not Survive. Do they really think that loyal users of PS will not find an alternative, or a smart minded software Manufacturer wont jump in to fill the gap. Adobe have their head in the sand. Addionally Camera clubs all over the world will be looking for and point their members to alternative software to purchase. Adobe needs to realise that to remain on top of the market they need to listen to their customers .
      The true meaning of CC to Adobe in the future will be ” Customers Curse”. I am a single user, retired, and will never pay a monthly fee, over, a product that I choose to buy and update when I can afford to do so.

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    • Jeremy White

      As a casual user and don’t make money from my images, unlike the pro’s, CS4 does me fine so I’ll stick with that for now but what worries me mostly is what if other companies opt for this approach to combatting piracy. It’s going to be one expensive month!