Subscription software what do you think?

I have seen a lot of comments about the subscription-based software model that Adobe has now adopted for Photoshop and Lightroom, and other non-photography software. Some people seem to object to paying a monthly fee, for me, I see it as a good thing as I never have to pay for major upgrades. I seem to remember that Photoshop alone used to cost several hundred GB pounds, and was something that I could never budget for, let alone pay for the upgrades.

Anyway adding up the cost of the annual subscription seems very reasonable to me, as I get access to four applications all for £120.20 per year based on the exchange rate 13 Feb 2018 that’s approx $167 or €135. I personally joined Adobe Creative Cloud in June 2014 and the annual fee then was just over £105.00. Up until that point, I  purchased a CD version of Lightroom from version 1 upwards and used Photoshop Elements (Free with my scanner) for pixel based editing. The following table is what I paid for the software in UK pounds from Amazon UK.

April 2007 Adobe Photoshop Lightroom V1.0 £144.47
October 2009 Adobe Photoshop Lightroom V2.0 Upgrade Edition £99.40
June 2010 Adobe Photoshop Lightroom V3.0 Upgrade Edition £73.99
March 2012 Adobe Photoshop Lightroom V4.0 Upgrade Edition £59.09
June 2013 Adobe Photoshop Lightroom V5.0 Upgrade Edition £59.09

I suppose the software did get cheaper on every upgrade, that was probably due to competition from Apple’s Aperture before they pulled the plug on it. But when you look at it that was only for one application and Photoshop would have added a lot more to the almost yearly cost. Also as you can see from the purchase dates I did not always upgrade immediately and would sometimes wait until the price settled.

As of February 2018, Adobe has even more competition from many sources some subscription, most not. I have tried demos of many of the alternatives, but here are some of my main gripes;

  • another learning curve
  • no or poor DAM (organising features)
  • no or poor sharing capability
  • no or poor camera profiles
  • many tutorials, publications, and YouTube videos are for Adobe products.

I guess the later is because they have been an industry standard for such a long time.

Now I know that everyone has different views on this method of delivering software, and some may not wish to have an ongoing payment and would prefer a one-off amount. That is fine with me but it doesn’t stop there does it, what happens when the application is no longer supported when you upgrade your hardware or O/S. Also what happens when a good application gets swallowed up by say Google, such as what happened to Nik Plugins. I as did many others paid a lot of money for the full suite only to see it be given away for free and slowly fall into decline. I know that they have been saved by DXO, but I am sure they are not going to give us all a free version when it gets released in mid-2018.

I know I have gone a little off subject with the Nik software, but the point I was making is that Adobe is probably less likely to get swallowed up than a smaller company. And it would be highly unlikely they would drop Photoshop or Lightroom, they may morph them into one another or may go in the direction of Lightroom CC and be more mobile focused, but at least I would still have compatibility.

What is your opinion on this subject I would like your views, and what you use for your image editing and organisation?

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