It was a sleepy Tuesday morning of May last year (2013), I was sat at my desk organising my materials for my classes and looking at what news was breaking when I saw a post about Adobe moving to a cloud and subscription based model. I was slightly put off like many, it had only been a year since I had got CS6 and I was being told that for the latest and greatest I would need to start paying monthly (or yearly). Many people complained about the cost and how with different calculations this made their Adobe products more expensive, especially for photographers who usually only need Lightroom and Photoshop.
I have been using Photoshop since version 7, upgrading roughly every two years in line with Adobe’s own upgrades. Between each version there were not always revolutionary changes, although I would say CS and CS4 had some of the biggest changes. Although I am an enthusiast and not a pro I always like having the most up to date version to take advantage of. When CC came along I didn’t feel like I was missing out on much, but now my two years from last updating Photoshop has come up, what options are there.
This is the question for photographers, what are our choices when it comes to editing? Adobe hasn’t got us by the googlies as some would think, there are other options. The thing is that most people serious about photography shoot raw and you need a good raw convertor, of course you get one on the cd with your camera but the editing flexibility is much better with Adobe. There are other Graphic editors but these don’t have the power of Photoshop. It is a bit like drinking table wine when you have a fine vintage on the rack. Also when changing your editing suite you need to think about backwards compatibility, if you have created a layered Photoshop file with smart objects and adjustment layers you may not be able to re-edit this file. You also have to learn a new system, short cuts, procedures and how to make the most of the software. It has taken me years to get to where I am with Photoshop do I really want to go back to stage one?
Adobe had to change its charging policy, as its products are one of the most pirated on the internet, not only by photographers but also designers and videographers. The number of youtubers who were using a pirated version of adobe premiere to edit their videos was incredibly high. In Adobe’s mind most of these people would pay if they could afford it. What do you do if you can’t afford a new camera? Pay on instalments. This is what Creative cloud is, an instalment payment system, where you pay in piecemeal and when there is an update you get it. This also means that Adobe has a steady stream of income throughout a product’s life cycle, instead of there being a huge injection of cash when a new version is released. In the last year there have been two major updates to Photoshop with new features, although nothing extra for Lightroom. So in the last year I would have got two new versions of Photoshop a lot cheaper than under the old pricing model.
What’s changed my mind? Actually, nothing to do with Photoshop it has more to do with needing a new laptop. I have a desktop PC which I used all the time for editing and a smaller net book for word processing, surfing the internet and of course blogging. I bought the netbook three years ago and in the last year my netbook has slowed right down to the frustrating point of thinking it could be used as a bird and thrown out of the window. When thinking about replacing the snail of a netbook I wanted something that while traveling I can do some basic editing on. In doing this I would want a service where I can easily share files and have programs synced. Looking at Photoshop CS6 I could easily add this to a new machine and use Dropbox for sharing files but since I was at the end of my two year update cycle why not move to Creative Cloud, for one there is cloud storage that I can upload work to while traveling, as well as having all my settings, brushes and actions synced from my main computer.
My one gripe is still on price. Yes the Photographers package is reasonably priced at around 10 whatever your currency is. For the Dollar, Pound and Euro it is roughly double the average minimum wage whereas here in Poland we have to buy in Euros which is not our currency and are paying 5 times the minimum wage. Although it is quite common now that buying from American companies online you I have to pay in Dollars or Euros but with a subscription model the monthly price will fluctuate slightly as exchange rates go up and down.
What can I do if I don’t want to pirate and want the best image editing platform there is.
Have you moved over to creative cloud? How have you found it? or are you still hesitant and not sure if upgrading is for you. Let me know in the comment box below.
nb, In saying this, I teach editing at my school using Gimp, a well-used open source graphic editor, as well as PhotoPlus which is similar to Photoshop with both a free and paid version. The free version allows most basic editing while the paid version which is a lot cheaper than Photoshop allows you to nearly everything you would want. I would highly recommend PhotoPlus for someone starting out and wanting to learn how to edit photos as its tools are not to dissimilar to Photoshop and in my opinion it is more powerful than Gimp.
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