The NEW Photoshop CC: Is It The Best Choice For Photographers?

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Adobe released the latest version of Photoshop today.

Photoshop CC (also known as Photoshop Creative Cloud) has several new features that photographers will love. More about the new features below.

IMPORTANT NOTE: To learn about Photoshop CC, you can visit this link.  But to get the discount as a past Photoshop purchaser, you need to << GO HERE >>. This page is hard to locate on Adobe’s site.

Unlike past versions of Photoshop, where you own boxed software or the download, Adobe’s Photoshop CC is only available by online subscription.  You pay a monthly fee and gain access to the software.  It lives on your computer, but you authorize it monthly to keep it working. The controversial decision upset many Adobe Photoshop customers.

Some of the frustration happened because people misunderstood how Photoshop CC works.  It does NOT run in a browser.  Files are not stored in the cloud, unless you want, and you do not need online access to use it. You only need to go online to download and activate your software. Customers with an annual membership, who provide a credit card, will be able to use products for 3 months (99 days) when offline. Month-to-month customers will still need to validate every 30 days. The validation process is very lightweight and can be done over dial-up, tethered/connected to a mobile device, or at a wireless access point (public library, coffee shop, etc).

We surveyed MCP Facebook Fans and photographers. Read these pros and cons before you decide if the Creative Cloud makes sense for you.

What Photoshop CC means for you:

The Pros:

  1. Immediate updates to the product.  You do not need to wait 18 months (or more) to get new features.  You get them once they are tested and ready.
  2. Photoshop Extended. Everyone gets the full extended version.  You may not need it, but you’ll have it just in case.
  3. Access to Creative Cloud Learn. Access hundreds of instructional videos from Adobe and their training partners.
  4. 20GB of cloud-based storage. This storage is included with any single “app” purchase including Photoshop CC.
  5. Multi-device access. Gain the ability to easily access and share your work on virtually any device.
  6. Mac vs PC – no longer a problem.  If you use multiple operating systems and computer platforms, you can use Photoshop CC on both.  You will NOT need separate licenses/versions for each.
  7. Multi-Language license. Install applications in any supported language.
  8. Helps reduce piracy. Piracy is very similar to copyright violation and is stealing.  If it cuts down on that, Adobe “might” spend more on new technology or pass savings on to consumers.  For those who immediately say, “they won’t” think back to Lightroom 3.  It cost $300, but Lightroom 4 and now Lightroom 5 retail for $150.
  9. Yearly tax deductions. Professional photographers likely will write off the ongoing expense. Many businesses find it easier and more economical to write off operating costs instead of depreciating capital investments.
  10. No serial numbers. Just login with your Adobe user name and password.

The Cons:

  1. Need internet access once every month to 99 days to confirm you subscription (depending on your subscription plan). This is a problem for photographers traveling to remote areas on assignment for long lengths of time.
  2. Future price increases. What if Adobe raises the price and makes it more expensive in the future. You are at their mercy. Many photographers expressed a distrust and assumes Adobe will increase prices often.
  3. Don’t like renting software. Many photographers prefer the control of owning their software and using it as long as they desire.
  4. One-Year Contract. While you do not have to pay all at once, you do commit to a one-year contract. If you cancel, you owe a %.
  5. Vanishing software/nothing to show for it. If you do not renew or or cannot afford to re-subscribe, you have no software to show for it. Unlike having a box or download, you are left with NO Photoshop.
  6. Too expensive for hobbyists. If you feel this way, there are options – One powerful combination: Lightroom 5 + Elements 11.
  7. No choice. Some photographers feel that Adobe now dictates how they work.  These photographers wished they had the choice subscribe or own the software. This caused the greatest source of tension for people.

Pro or Con – Depends on your viewpoint:

  1. Accessibility.  This was listed as a pro and con. Some photographers felt the cloud subscription model makes it easier for people to get the full version of Photoshop since they do not have to spend $700 up front.  Others expressed that the monthly bill would exclude new photographers and hobbyists. More beginning photographers could buy Photoshop CC, making the barrier for entry into photography less expensive.  On the flip side, fewer photographers might charge low prices since they’ll incur one more monthly bill.  I think we will need to wait and see.
  2. Cost. The price to own Photoshop CC is $19.99 per month.  If you have Photoshop CS3-CS6 you can get the first year at $9.99 per month. A single-app membership is available at a special introductory price of $9.99 per month (with an annual commitment) for Adobe customers who currently own Photoshop CS3, CS4, CS5 or CS6. Offer available until July 31st, 2013. So rounding to $20 or $10, the yearly price rings in at $240 a year ($120 for the first year if you started with the eligible software). Photoshop CS6 cost $699 retail, $999 for Photoshop CS6 Extended. If you upgraded from PS CS5 to PS CS6, it cost a one time charge of $199, $399 upgrading from one extended version to the next. You will pay more to own Photoshop CC at the $20 rate, but you spread the payments out. Some prefer this.  Others do not. If you upgraded software every release, this isn’t a huge expense.  But if you are content waiting 3-4 releases, than yes, you will pay more.

The Rumors:

I’ve read many rumors online about how Adobe may offer more options for photographers who want Lightroom and Photoshop as a package.  There’s also talk of long-term contracts with possible ownership. But these are all just rumors. Time will show the path Adobe chooses to address the needs of photographers.

Solutions if you are not happy with the cloud options:

  1. Buy Photoshop CS6 now. Or stick with an older version of Photoshop until you adopt the cloud.
  2. Buy Elements 11 and/or Lightroom 5.
  3. Find alternative editing software.

 

All of our Photoshop actions for CS6 are compatible with Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud). If you used Photoshop CS5 and below, you will need to re-download the Facebook Fix actions and Rounded Blog It Boards and Print It Boards, as these sets had changes between versions CS5 and CS6.

 

Best New Features in Photoshop CC

As mentioned above, Photoshop CC will continue to evolve.  Adobe engineers will test and disperse new features as they are ready.   Photographers will love the expanded smart object support, including the Liquify filter. The new Upsampling will help you print larger and the enhanced Smart Sharpening will make your photos more clear with less noise. Cloud Syncing benefits people who use Photoshop on multiple computers, since you can sync certain settings such as preferences, actions, brushes, swatches, styles, gradients, shapes, patterns, contours, and tool presets. And the fun new toy, Camera Shake Reduction, reduces or eliminates camera shake.  I’m actually not sure I will need the camera shake tool often, but I am still excited to play with it. Also, Camera Raw now has the Radial Filter to apply local adjustments and the Upright tool to correct perspective distortion.

Here’s a screen shot showing more new features – courtesy of Adobe.

Screen Shot 2013 06 16 at 8.29.32 PM 600x703 The NEW Photoshop CC: Is It The Best Choice For Photographers?
pin it4 The NEW Photoshop CC: Is It The Best Choice For Photographers?

Express yourself:

Now that you’ve read some of the perks and downsides expressed by our readership, it’s your turn.  Will you be “subscribing” to the cloud version of Photoshop?  Explain your thoughts below in the comments.  We have some Adobe employees who read the MCP Blog so let them know if you love it or hate it – or if you need time to decide.  We look forward to hearing from you.

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 The NEW Photoshop CC: Is It The Best Choice For Photographers?

Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

Jodi Friedman is the founder of MCP Actions. She designs popular Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets that make editing faster, easier and more fun.

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17 Comments and 7 Replies



  1. 1
    David says:

    CC sounds like an interesting idea, but as an idea.
    I use LR5 and CS6. I’m a pro, but a struggling pro, as the photo business is evolving and may not be as fruitful as it once was.
    Folks have quickly implemented a paradigm shift from high quality ‘art’ to snapshot quality photos. Brides, Event Planners, Mitzvah Families, etc. are frequently looking for ‘shoot and burn solutions’ vs professional photography. Executive head shots are evolving, almost back to the Polaroid days, yikes! And we all know what the Chicago Sun-Times did last week with their Photographer Staff … how soon with this happen at the Washington Post, Miami Herald, LA Times, etc.?
    That said, laying out $20/month and not having anything for it is questionable. What happens when I retire and want to ‘visit’ my archives? I’ll no longer have ‘legacy’ software on my computer but will have to subscribe to my ‘favorite’ programs just to see my work?
    I’ll postpone the CC until Adobe offers more reasonable long-term solutions.

    • Pam says:

      Not entirely true,David. If you decide to cancel your subscription for any reason, your files are still yours…you don’t lose that. You only lose the ability to access and use the software when you chose to no longer pay. ;-)

      • Maira says:

        Yes Pam, but what happens with your PSD files when you decide to no longer subscribe? I’m a graphic designer and photographer and work a lot with PSD files (also with Illustrator and Lightroom), and I’m concerned that if I don’t have the software available in my computer, how will I see them? I feel that I become a hostage of their susbcription. I feel more secure paying for the software once and having more control over it, even if I know this is something that will not last forever, because is obvious that Adobe wants that all of us use CC in a close future.

      • David says:

        Pam, I understand that, never questioned who had my images nor where they were housed.
        The issue is, since I no longer ‘subscribe’ to CC, I no longer have the software to access my archives with Photoshop CC, as it is no longer usable on my computer. I would have to find another application that can read and manipulate my images, or re-subscribe, at who knows what monthly/yearly $$$ rate, versus Adobe leaving the then former version on my computer.

  2. 2
    sherry lawrence says:

    I will not be purchasing Adobe CC. I already have a huge investment in Adobe PS. I started with CS2 and now have CS5 and was getting ready to purchase CS6 when Adobe made the announcement. My purchase price of CS2 was around $600 and then $200 or so for upgrades. Now Adobe wants me to spend more monthly for a product I already purchased and love. I assume they will no longer support boxed version of PS, so I feel I really got it stuck to me. I supported Adobe for all these years and now feel abandoned. I do not feel I can afford the monthly bill on top of my present investment. I freelance design, so I just don’t see where I would benefit from the CC. Very unhappy customer.

    • Sherry, you are right on the money. Any one who purchased their software just got screwed. We will be with CS5 till it no long runs on future operating systems. OneOn suite of products is looking like our forerunner of personal choice to eventually replace photoshop altogether. adobe’s sad,limited,laughable discount to software owners is appalling.

    • Todd says:

      As a person that started on the first photo shop a long time ago, I love this, for what I would spend to upgrade this year I can spread that over the next two-three years. So do I pay about $200 for cs6 upgrade now and about $50 for LR5 or pay $10 a month for the first 12 months for a total of $120 and then $20 a month after that, so in a 24 month period i have spent $360 for two great products that make me money. I spend that much in two months just for entertainment television, Heck I bought my television and my computer and I cant believe I have to pay for programming and internet service, lol.

      As a longtime freelance person myself their are many reasons this is better for people like us. One is the cost upfront is far less, second it is much easier to write this off as an expense now and don’t have to depreciate it, three, if you are a person just starting up it is far cheaper. To get going now if I wanted to buy what I have now it would cost someone close to $1000-$1200. That is over five years of payments.

  3. 3
    Lisa Bowles says:

    I currently use CS4 because the upgrades are stand-alone versions, and I didn’t want to import all my actions and filters. If I use CC, it would not override CS4, would it?

  4. 4
    Maira says:

    Yes Pam, but what happens with your PSD files when you decide to no longer subscribe? I’m a graphic designer and photographer and work a lot with PSD files (also with Illustrator and Lightroom), and I’m concerned that if I don’t have the software available in my computer, how will I see them? I feel that I become a hostage of their susbcription. I feel more secure paying for the software once and having more control over it, even if I know this is something that will not last forever, because is obvious that Adobe wants that all of us use CC in a close future.

  5. 5
    Lee says:

    I won’t upgrade to CC for a few reasons. I do my primary work for a nonprofit and simply put, no matter how cheap it is, a subscription will never be a justified expense. We have the whole CS4, and will end up just staying there, regardless of whether I need it updated or not. Software is just not a justified expense, especially for graphic/web design and photography when agency focus is on community services!

    Personally I own PS CS5. I did pay the price to purchase it. I also own lightroom. I do not own a business and all PS work I do is “hobby” related. With that said, I have the skills of a professional and using elements is not something I will ever consider when I can harness the full PS power.

    I cannot justify more expense when I have no specific photographic income. I am of the purchase-every-other-upgrade mindset and this completely kills it. The monthly fee doesn’t sound like much but it is completely NOT an option.

    I do understand that they are trying to prevent pirating. I support those efforts, as I fork out a LOT of money to stay legit, but there has got to be a better way.

  6. 6
    Teresa Rowe says:

    I use the Adobe Creative Suite at work (all products) and own Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom. I have no intention of going to CC. I’ve been with Adobe since the dark ages – upgraded as needed. A monthly subscription of $10, then $20, then more per month is too much on top of what I’ve already shelled out over the years to have Adobe products. It’s one thing to have a subscription to watch movies (Netflix, etc.) – it’s another thing altogether to “rent” software I don’t own and will not be able to access if I stop the subscription.

    Plus, based on what I’ve read Adobe is still going to provide disk software to government and other businesses that cannot and will not go to CC due to security risks. Why can’t they provide that option to everyone?

  7. 7
    Thomas says:

    I go all the way back to photoshop 1 and every upgrade along the way. I have lightroom as well. Adobe will ultimately have to put the things photographers need into lightroom or be pushed out of the market. In the meantime they have lost all of us who loyally upgraded for the extra functionality photoshop provided in the past. I’d by CS7 and but I’m not putting myself on the line for an annual contract that will have to be renewed as long as I keep working with potentially infinite price rises out of my control.

  8. 8
    Petja says:

    I will not buy Photoshop CC. I’m living in a country where the internet is down very often and the connection is bad. So it would mean that when the internet is down I couldn’t work. I think it is nice though but in practise it is not going to work.

  9. 9
    John H says:

    I’ve been a PS owner since PS3 or so. I’ve updated to most all of the newer versions along the way and currently own CS6. I would have kept on upgrading probably forever, as long as I OWNED the software. But I will not be renting my software from Adobe in the future. I will be sticking with CS6, LR5 and thankfully, the companies like OnOne and Nik. Hopefully the actions here at MCP will continue to be compatible with the older versions of PS as Adobe makes their upgrades available only online and those of us who choose to stay back are left somewhat behind.

    The sad part is that it has nothing to do with the cost, as I would have continued to upgrade. I just refuse to be held hostage and kowtow to the narcissistic egos of the directors of Adobe.

  10. 10
    BH says:

    Agree with most of the people posting here. The cons FAR outweigh the pros, and Adobe has squandered any goodwill they had with clients who have been with them for such a long time.

    Sad that it regularly is the case that – when companies get big enough – they lose sight of what made them so appealing (hello Apple et al) and stick it to their customers. Why?

  11. 11
    Krista says:

    I’m a hobbyist and have only had 2 versions of Photoshop, CS and now CS4. I make due because I can’t afford every upgrade and there’s no way I could afford that much every year. It’s unfortunate because I still love photography and not being able to afford CC means I couldn’t continue to shoot in RAW and see my photos.
    I guess eventually it would mean going to another software company (I see a couple mentioned) that I could afford.
    And someday in the future when I don’t have small children (4 under 6) I hope to have my own photography business, but I’ll need to be sure I can access my images.
    I’m surprised with how much photographers are concerned about piracy that they would think we would be the ones propagating it.
    While instant access to upgrades would be nice I don’t think this is Adobe’s smartest move.

  12. 12
    Iris says:

    Thank you Jodi for this great article. Many may think that PS Elements 11 and LR are not for professionals, but both together work for me perfectly and my clients are happy with what they get. If the need every arises, I may consider the subscription to CC, because I cannot afford the latest full boxed version of PS CS6.

  13. 13
    Judy N says:

    I will not be renting Adobe software. I will run Photoshop CS6 until it no longer runs or I find something I like better. I now have Lightroom 4 but I’m not upgrading to 5 at this time. Maybe after the beginning of the year… I’m in no mood to give Adobe ANY more money. No mood at all.

    My trust is completely gone and I’m worried about how I would get out of Lightroom if they made that CC only.

    It’s easy to find another editor. It is not easy to extricate yourself from a database. I trusted Adobe and ignored the rule of never put things in a database unless you know how to get them out. I have over 100,000 images in LR and in order to get out I would have to find and export every adjusted image. Maybe someone will develop the tool when and if it is needed.

    Yes, Adobe has “promised” to leave Lightroom available outside the cloud rental “indefinitely.” If you think indefinite means infinite, look the word up in a dictionary. It can mean they haven’t decided when yet. Not that I would trust them even if they did promise in unambiguous words.

  14. 14
    Vivian says:

    “Some of the frustration happened because people misunderstood how Photoshop CC works. It does NOT run in a browser. Files are not stored in the cloud, unless you want, and you do not need online access to use it.” I have not heard a single person who thought this was the case. The objections are coming mostly from people like me, the so-called “hobbyists” who do not make a living from photography and are not willing to pay $240 per year after taking advantage of the introductory-priced subscription.

    Before the release of CS5, the anti-shake technology was shown online and Adobe knew we all wanted it. Now they’ve released it only to CC subscribers and I feel cheated. At the very least, they should have offered a way for us to buy features as plug-ins for our licensed software. I will use CS6 until it works no more and although Lightroom and Elements are excellent, I will not give Adobe one more dime. There are plenty of other options and I’ve drunk the “Photoshop is the Industry Standard” Kool-Aid long enough!

  15. 15
    Robert K says:

    I have been a very long time user of Photoshop, but feel abandoned with no options (from Adobe) for the future outside of CC. I am retired and use Photoshop heavily in preparation for exhibits. Neither Elements nor Lightroom will suffice for me. I will continue to use CS6 for as long as possible, but will not get caught up in CC. I think that CC is a money making move for Adobe and as putting the screws to such long time loyal customers as myself. If Adobe doesn’t right its ship it can sink for all I care. I was going to go for Lightroom 5 but that is unlikely now. Down the road when CS6 is outdated if not sooner, I will abandon Adobe as they have abandoned us.

  16. 16

    I’ve just compared the cost of upgrading to LR5 and Photoshop 6 – total cost is $278

    The just announced Photoshop Photography Program (LR5, Photoshop cc, Behance Pro and 20GB of storage) looks like a decent package at $9.99 a month

  17. 17
    Ramay says:

    if you want to use the photoshop for a lifetime , then the photoshop cc is not a good option, you have to pay for it every year, you’d better to get the photoshop cs6 extended edition, it is paid once for all, and you can buy a academical discount photoshop cs6 extended on student-photoshop.com



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