What Adobe Creative Cloud Means for Photographers

Adobe Creative Cloud (Adobe CC) is likely here to stay. So you might as well see what it means for you and how it works. I recently took a course on the subject at CreativeLive.com and took the following notes.

Updated as of December 2017: Adobe CC offers a photography plan, which includes Photoshop and Lightroom together, for $9.99 per month.

Facts to consider

  • Doesn’t run over Internet; installs locally
  • Documents saved locally, cloud optional
  • Share files even with those who don’t have CC membership
  • No automatic updates; notifications only
  • Software must connect every 30 days to verify subscription on month-to-month subscription
  • Annual contract must connect every 99 days


  • Fewer new features coming┬ámore frequently, rather than major updates released infrequently
  • Sync settings across devices (not very useful yet)
  • One subscription works on Mac and Windows
  • Access to more programs for the same price
  • Don’t have to depreciate software on taxes when renting, can deduct whole amount per month

Adobe Creative Cloud Pricing

Full CC suite

  • $50/month for 30 apps, for one year contract
  • $30/month annual contract if you own CS3-CS5, but price will return to $50 on Aug 1, 2014
  • $20/month annual contract if you own CS6,┬ábut price will return to full on Aug 1, 2014
  • $75 per month, no contract

Single app

  • $20/month per app with annual contract
  • $10 if you own CS6, price returns to full in 2014
  • $30/month no contract

The way it works out is if you plan to use 2.5 programs or more, so essentially three, you’re better off with the full suite. If you plan to use only one app, or Lightroom plus Photoshop, the single app plan is better, in which case you would subscribe to Photoshop for $20/month with an annual contract and buy the stand-alone LR. LR is not available as single app subscription as of August 2013.

The single app annual contract cost for CS6 would be $240, about the same as a CS upgrade. This is good if you regularly upgrade software. I, however, like to buy software and sit on it for a few years before investing in an upgrade, so I’ll be keeping my CS6 as long as it works and as long as there are no major compelling new features. When it’s time to upgrade, I’ll probably take the single app subscription to CS and upgrade LR separately. If you use all 30 programs, certainly the full suite is a deal.

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