Why I won't subscribe to Creative Cloud

10 May 2013

This week, Adobe formally announced that it would cease development of Creative Suite and focus all its efforts on delivering its collection of apps via Creative Cloud.

The outpouring of rage has been considerable. Twitter has been ablaze, with the majority calling for human sacrifices in the Adobe boardroom. Others who are already using Creative Cloud have been wondering what the fuss is about, claiming it’s a great service.

I’m not using Creative Cloud yet, but I’ll eventually be forced to if I want to update Photoshop and the other apps I use as a professional photographer. So what’s the problem?

The idea of having to maintain a subscription just to keep those apps working means I’m beginning to look elsewhere

It’s one of simply not feeling like a valued customer any more. I’ve bought every other version of Photoshop since version 7 in 2002. I had CS2, then CS4 and then relented and bought CS5 as soon as it came out. Mostly for its features, which looked – and were – amazing, but which, ultimately, I've seldom used, if at all. With hindsight, the vast majority of what I do now could have been done with version 7.

What really rankles isn’t the money I’ve spent or the lack of advancement, however, but the fact that I’ve been forced into other, less-efficient workflows by software upgrades or apparent killing of functionality without good reason.

My biggest gripe this year was the blocking of CameraRaw 7.3 from use on CS5. CS5 is less that 18 months old and, for me, the upgrade to CameraRaw was an essential feature. On buying a Canon 6D, I found that the output raw file wasn’t compatible with the old CameraRaw software. The block on CameraRaw 7.3 meant that I was now forced to either join the Creative Cloud, buy CS6 or start using the free DNG Converter.

I did the latter, which has added yet another stage to my workflow. This may sound like a petty gripe, but I can take and process up to 2,000 images per week and that extra step takes time, not to mention the fact that most photographers have a healthy dose of OCD, which means that we destroy nothing and keep everything (I have film in my attic from 20 years ago, and even though some of it is fogged, I still can’t bring myself to throw it away). So, I now have to keep the original raw files and converter DNGs, and it’s all just become too much.

Now, I find Adobe’s trying to railroad me into paying a monthly subscription. Even worse, the Creative Cloud is more expensive in this part of the world than others. Our American cousins pay $29.99 (£18.50) for the Creative Cloud subscription; in the UK, we pay £27.99 for exactly the same thing.

I’ve never been deluded that I "owned" Photoshop; it has always been licensed to me. But the idea of having to maintain a subscription just to keep those apps working means I’m beginning to look elsewhere.

There's so much great software out there with incredibly powerful raw processors. When you wake up and see the great work being done by Acorn 4, GIMP, Pixelmator and many others, you won’t hesitate to step away. I’m already well down the exit path.

Ewen Rankin is a professional photographer and runs the British Tech Network

Read more

Blogs