To Cloud or not to Cloud

Adobe’s decision to introduce the creative cloud is the most controversial thing to hit the photography world since digital photography. As to be expected it has been hit with a massive backlash from a lot of the photography community and places like Facebook are filled with negative commentary about this topic.

The epicenter of frustration has been primarily seated in the photography community as this is basis of Adobe’s non-professional market. Where as Creative Suites is a must have for the publishing world, website designers, graphic artists, and other creative digital professions, most photographers who purchase Photoshop are  hobbyists and have little to no need for the rest of the Creative Suites litany of programs and the hefty price tag that comes with it.

In response to this public outcry, photographers have been given he opportunity to get on board with a special photographer’s membership. Stipulations apply of course, and these are that you have a valid copy of cs3 or later already and that you sign up before December 31, 2013.

If you can meet this criteria, then you can join Adobe’s Creative Cloud at a reasonable $9.99 a month. This work a out to be about $120 a year. Compare this to the regular membership at $49.99 a month which is $600 a year, and this special membership offer is a pretty damn good deal. The Photographers Membership gives you Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5.

Now a lot of photographers are concerned that this is a special introductory price and that after 1 year of membership, rates will go up and they will be forced to purchase the regular membership. According to Adobe however, this is not he case. Adobe’s website stars that his is not an introductory price, and that instead it is simply the price for this level of membership and it will not expire.

I’ve heard all kinds of allegations about this move for Adobe. Many photographers are resisting the change. Even I was hesitant at first. But here’s the deal folks, over 1,000,000 people have already joined. This means that the creative Cloud is not going anywhere. Its here to stay.

The photography community already went through one major revolution when digital took over. Many photographers refused to make the switch. They said it would never work. They said it was a fad. They got left behind. Many photographers are still trying to recover their businesses a decade later because they did not adapt to the changing technology and subsequently the changing market as well.

Is the shift over to the cloud going to have as monumental of an impact on the industry as the shift to digital? No, of course not. However, it is pretty big. 

Professional photographers will make the switch. In fact, you have probably noticed there are very few professional who are really making a big fuss over all of this. Upgrades to Photoshop, other software, and equipment are part of the cost of doing business in the digital age. This has long been accepted. Adobe’s mentality on this is that hobbyists are Lightroom users, and professionals are Photoshop users. You can continue to purchase the boxed version of Lightroom for this reason. 

This is not a clear picture of what is really going on however. I use both Photoshop and Lightroom simultaneously, as do many other photographers. In addition, there are many hobbyists that don’t use Lightroom at all, and many professionals that only use Lightroom. Nothing is ever as simple as black and white. On Adobe’s part, they realized pretty quickly after their inglorious release of the Cloud, that today most photographers, both professionals and hobbyists alike, use Photoshop and Lightroom in conjunction with one another. Additionally, for those who are willing to make the switch over to the cloud, they had to deal with two completely different business models with each product which didn’t make a whole lot of sense. This is why the new Photographer’s membership package comes with both Photoshop and Lightroom. 

The public outcry by photographers over this one has actually made real changes in how Adobe is going to work with photographers. This is why we have seen a major price drop and the inclusion of Lightroom 5 with the deal. Right now the box version of Photoshop CS6 will run you about $500. The extended box version is closer to $900. With the photographers membership package starting at $9.99 a month, you are paying for that new version of Photoshop over the course of 4 years instead of all at once.  To add to this, Photoshop is typically upgraded about ever 2 years. So another way of looking at it is that you are getting Photoshop now plus Lightroom (free) for half the price with this deal. 

Personally I feel like Adobe did a piss poor job at releasing the Creative Cloud. They really should have waited until they could unveil new features that revolutionized photo editing. You know, the kind of updates that photographers can’t live without. This would have made photographers in general a whole lot more likely to jump on the bandwagon. Instead, as noted above, it was pretty inglorious overall. Nothing that I can’t live without. However, dropping the price of the photographer’s membership and including Lightroom in the deal was a smart move on their part.

Facebook users, I want to hear your thoughts on this! What do you think about the move to the Creative Cloud? Social media is your platform to express how YOU feel about these sort of things. Like it, don’t like it, speak up!

This entry was posted in Business, Digital Darkroom, Lightroom, Photoshop.