Thursday, July 4, 2013

Do you value your photography?

Like many photographers I have been following the on-line debate regarding the new Adobe Creative Cloud with much interest.
Until 9 months ago my workflow was limited to Lightroom, which in the latest versions (4 or 5) provides a very powerful non-destructive, post-processing environment.

On top of this I had added in the full Nik Software suite (now an amazing value from Google) as well as OnOne Perfect Suite 7 and Photomatix. On the odd occasion I needed access to layers etc I edited images with Adobe Elements or Serif PhotoPlus. 

In my humble opinion, the above LR-based post processing arrangement still represents a very powerful environment. In other words, about a year ago, I saw no need to spend $700+, or more for the 3D version, on CS6, the latest Photoshop.

Things began to change when Adobe ‘enticed’ me to join the CS fraternity with a 50% discount offer on CS6. Although I hesitated for short period, the ‘deal’ seemed worth it: so I took the bait!

I have to say CS6 allowed me to take my post processing to a higher level, as, although I could do layers in Elements 11, CS6 provide a seamlessly integrated environment with Lightroom and integration with a set of very powerful plug-ins, eg access to the the Nik Software suite, as in Lightroom, but now augmented by being able to brush effects on to a layer in CS6; and use other plug-ins; for example what I believe to be a must have plug-in if you wish to make use of luminosity masks: Tony Kuyper’s TK-Actions (
I was thus a very happy person: then the Creative Cloud news hit the streets.

My immediate reaction was confusion and annoyance. Confusion as I wasn’t initially sure how my recent CS6 purchased fitted into the new Adobe model; and annoyance that Adobe hadn’t been fully open with me. However, I very soon moved into a positive frame and came to the following conclusions:

  • If photography was important to me, and it is, then shelling out just over ‘a buck and a half’ per day, for access to the complete set of Adobe products, seemed a deal. After all I don’t think twice about spending $4 or more on a coffee at Starbucks! 
  • As I now have a 5DMkIII, video was, at some time, going to come into my life, and therefore I needed editing tools to bring out the best of this medium; 
  • Finally, if I ‘just’ stayed with CS6, I would not be able to access some of the newest tools that Adobe was offering, eg shake reduction. I would be frozen at the CS6 version.

On the other hand I also thought that adobe may, albeit slowly, add more and more into Lightroom. So maybe it was best to wait.

Like many I also looked on the web to see what others were thinking; but many appeared, to me, to just be reacting to the $50 per month ‘shock’, which for me was dealt with by rationalizing it down to a ‘buck and a half per day’ and comparing it to other ‘discretionary’ purchases I make every day.

So, I took the plunge and am now enjoying access to the full Adobe Creative Cloud and, bluntly, enjoying it! 

My take away here is that we often tend look at the cost of our ‘photography addiction’ in an reactionary way: “How much!” We have no real way of assessing the value of our purchases, but, like a rabbit caught in the lights of a car, we freeze in our decision making and react to the ‘one off cost’.

Assuming you recognize the photographic value of the Adobe products to support your ‘photography addiction’, I believe Adobe has taken the ‘cost shock’ out of our photographic development and decision making. If you can afford a Starbucks coffee every day, or some other ‘discretionary luxury’, I suggest you can afford an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, either CS-CC on its own at less than a dollar or the full suite at ‘a buck and a half’ a day.

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