It seems like a good time to have this conversation as I was recently reading an article that was written when Adobe first started the whole subscription based deal for Photoshop and Lightroom. The article has since been updated, but reading through it I could see that a lot of what they were saying was not applicable anymore and out of date.
I have doing the subscription almost from the very beginning, and so I thought I would share some ideas on using it and why I do it.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons
- You don’t own it.
- When you stop paying for it you can’t use it anymore.
- You always have the latest up to date version.
- You can use it on two machines.
- You have access to support.
There are probably more, but that was all I could think of, and that seemed to matter to me.
Why I did the subscription
When it first started like this I thought about it and wondered if it was going to be good for me. My husband wasn’t convinced, but I couldn’t help thinking that it would be good. I had a version of Photoshop CS6, but it was a student version that I had managed to get because of my daughters being at school. However, I knew there were limits on what I could use it for. I couldn’t really sell the photos that I processed with it, that went against the licence for the product. I wouldn’t be able to teach people how to use it, again not allowed. I was confident enough with it that I knew I needed more.
When Adobe announced the changes I thought it was fantastic. It would mean that for the first time I would actually be able to afford to pay for the program and one that I could use as I needed to. At the time, if I had purchased the full price version of CS6 it would have cost me just over $1100, and CS5 had been around $1500, so having to pay $20 a month seemed brilliant. If they did sell the latest version then at $20 a month I would have 5 years to pay it off. That is how I looked at it. I knew from previous years that every time they announced a new version, I wanted it, there was always something that I thought, oh yeah, I want that.
The reality though, was that my monthly subscription price meant I was always up to date. I have the payments being made automatically so I never notice that I am paying anything.
Of course, it has changed since then and not long after that they introduced a Photo Package where you could get Photoshop and Lightroom for $10 a month. I contacted them and said I wanted that and it was changed. So, for half the price I was getting both programs. That was a few years ago and it has gone up since then, and now I’m paying between $13 and $14 each month for it. I don’t know if that is the exchange rate or what, maybe they have decided to make Australians pay more, because everyone else does, so why not Adobe, but I don’t know.
Do I think it is worth it?
If they hadn’t done this subscription based model then I wouldn’t have been able to continue using Photoshop. I don’t think I would have been able to justify spending over $1000 on software each year, or even every few years. Let’s face it, the software doesn’t last forever and as the technologies change the programs are unable to be used on new machines.
So, now I pay, let’s say $14 a month, that is $168 a year. Over ten years that is $1680, and in that time I will have had every one of the latest releases. Let’s not forget that this is Photoshop and Lightroom. If you had to purchase them outright, they may have cost around $1300. Over ten years, there is a good chance you would have had to purchase some sort of upgrade, I don’t know how much that would have cost, I never had a chance to upgrade, but it was still expensive.
I compare everything with how many coffees it is, and that is 3 coffees a month. I never worry about buying a coffee several times a week, so why worry about another 3 per month.
Of course, I realise that if it comes a time where I can’t afford it anymore I won’t be able to use it or have access to it, but I hope when I get to that stage, it will also be because I am not doing photograph as well.
Some questions that people ask
Q. Do you have to be connected to the internet to use?
A. No, you don’t. I’ve used it up at my mum’s place when there has been no internet and it hasn’t been a problem. You do need to be connected to it for updates.
Q. If I don’t want Photoshop do I still have to pay for it?
A. It comes as a package, so you get it regardless.
Q. How many computers can I run it on?
A. Adobe allow you to have installed on two computers. For me that is a desktop and a laptop. If you want to run it on a third one, you have to uninstall it on one of the others.
Q. How do you get the updates?
A. When you install it you get a program for your computer, or a window, and it gives you notifications when a program has an update.
Q. How do you sign up for it?
A. You need to go to the Adobe website and there are plans and pricing there. You sign up there.
I can’t think of anymore, but if you have any let me know and I can add them.
If you are serious about your photography, then it is definitely worth it. I can justify the expense and I don’t think it is too much, that’s what I think and I understand why others will disagree with my thoughts here. This is just one side of the argument, I guess you could say.
Let me know if you have any questions.