(Un)Stiffed by Adobe

[Update: This issue has been resolved in my favor. It was a case of one hand not knowing what the other was doing. Although people on the Adobe Forum (including at least one forum staffer) insisted I didn’t qualify for the Photoshop Photography Program, they were in fact wrong. Not only that, but Adobe had already automatically switched my account from single-app Photoshop CC to the PPP bundle that included Lightroom 5. I accept some of the blame for not going to the My Account page on Adobe.com to check. But since I couldn’t find any info about his in the FAQs or other online Help pages, I thought I’d ask in the Forum.

Special thanks to Larry Nienkark who pointed out that he successfully received this upgrade. It caused me to check to see if I’d received it automatically as well…and I had!]

Like many photographers, I’ve used both Photoshop and Lightroom for many years. I’ve bought the full Creative Suite (Photoshop and other high-end apps) through many versions as well as Lightroom since version 3. When Adobe announced their Creative Cloud I signed up for the single-app Photoshop CC ($19.99/month) and I’ve continued to purchase the upgrades to what is now Lightroom 5. Altogether, I’m spending roughly $25/month if you figure the usual cost to keep Lightroom up-to-date. $300/year seems a little steep, but I don’t feel I have much choice.

So I was encouraged when I heard that Adobe was offering a special Photoshop Photography Program, which for $9.99/month includes both Photoshop CC and Lightroom. It makes perfect sense for both Adobe and photographers. The only requirement is that photographers must have previously purchased Photoshop CS3, CS4, CS5 or CS6. I’ve been upgrading all along, so I assumed I fit that requirement. But no.

When I wanted to switch from my current plan to the new bundle, Adobe said I didn’t qualify. Why? Because I didn’t have the standalone version of Photoshop. I had paid a heck of a lot more money year after year to get the entire Creative Suite and Adobe says that disqualifies me. I don’t use the other apps in the Creative Suite. I just got started with the Suite and kept on that upgrade path, year after year. I’ve been sending Adobe more money each year than if I’d only bought the standalone app, but they don’t care. For some reason, they’ve decided that I don’t qualify for their “photographer” bundle, which I find more offensive than if they’d never offered this new option. I hope you have better luck joining the Photoshop Photography Program than I did. Very annoying.

4 thoughts on “(Un)Stiffed by Adobe

  1. Hi Doug,
    This is my take on the whole adobe CC issue. As a company, they can do what they like with their creation. I for one have Photoshop and have just upgraded to Lightroom 5, reluctantly. I, along with you and many others disagreed with the CC program. They seem to resign themselves to do something to retain the photographer client. They came up with this $9.99 p/month program. I still don’t buy into it..!! I’m sure that after a set amount of time has passed, they will for some reason raise the price p/month.
    I have onOne Perfect Photo Suite 7.5 and just upgraded to version 8. I actually use Lightroom 4/5 and onOne almost full time and occasionally use Photoshop CS6. I will not be upgrading to Adobe’s CC program and if they stop supporting CS6, so be it.


  2. Doug, I think I understand why you’re willing to pay so much to keep these Adobe products up to date, but I’d be curious to hear whether my assumptions are correct.

    I assume you do it because the Adobe products are a lot better than anything else out there in ways that are important to a serious photographer like you. So much better, your creative work would actually be compromised if you had to use something else. Is that right?

    If so, then what do you think of that state of affairs? Do you feel it’s something that needs to get fixed, or can the world struggle along as long as Adobe is dominant?

    I think it’s safe to say no commercial competitor will ever be able to match Adobe’s capabilities, because they will never have as much money, so they’ll never be able to hire enough of the top-shelf engineers required to code this stuff.

    So, what about open source? Theoretically, open source projects can draw on the whole world of engineers, so the math says they should be able to match Adobe’s undeniably massive, but ultimately commercially-limited capability. Does that just not work, in this case, because the really, really skilled engineers are worth paying a lot, so they’ll never contribute to an open source project as a volunteer?

    Most kinds of software, I think, can be done well enough in open source to compete. But I think image processing isn’t one of them. Likewise video editing. Maybe a few other things. Can anything be done to resist Adobe’s dominance, just so we’re not all so vulnerable?


    1. Steve: Like so many other vendors, Adobe is running their business by playing in the love/hate zone. They know the market will not allow them to charge more than a certain amount or adopt certain licensing models and policies before they lose too much business and/or enable the opportunities for competitors or open source. Their recent move to offer a Photographers Package for substantially less than at the original pricing shows they’re aware it’s a sensitive issue. At this point, my costs for Photoshop CC and Lightroom are below the threshold that would cause me to look elsewhere, and that’s what Adobe is counting on. At $9.99/month, I think that’s true for enough photographers that Photoshop’s dominance of this market is safe. Reminds me of Facebook: I don’t like the company’s attitudes, but I still use its products.

      I would love to see a true open-source alternative to Photoshop, but as you say, the bar for that is very high at this point.


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