22 Jun 2015

Photoshop in subscription – about $10 per month

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CC 2015, the new Photoshop, has just been premiered. Many people don’t understand at all what Creative Cloud is about and what it means to buy PS in subscription instead of in a box, so I will try to explain to you how it works and whether it’s actually profitable.

The evolution

I saw no big difference between Photoshop CS2 and subsequent versions until CS5.5. The change from 32 to 64 bits was certainly a breakthrough, but the use of the program itself remained the same. CS4 featured Vibrance filter, which I use in many ways, but it was only Photoshop CS6 that made me feel much better while retouching: an incredibly improved speed and saving files in the background were the most important changes to me, but there were more of them. That was the last Photoshop available to buy according to the old rules, that is, by spending a substantial sum of money in advance and getting the program to have it forever (at least in theory). Instead of CS7 you may now get Photoshop CC: the version to buy in subscription.

CC did introduce a few improvements, but they were insignificant in retouch (they were a bit more useful in general editing of photos). The latest version from 2015 changes a lot more to me, though. The priority was to make the program faster, so the skin correction tools were souped up pretty much: the Spot Healing Brush and the Patch Tool now work many times quicker (120 times according to the announcements). Still, I’m much more interested in the Healing Brush (not the spot one). This one currently works live: if you correct anything, you can see the changes immediately (in previous versions, the final result was loaded only after you had finished the corrections).

A great impression is made by the option of haze removal while processing RAW files, which will certainly be useful to people taking photos outdoors. Beside program improvements, Adobe has also introduced its photo stock, which is fully integrated with CC applications, but this is more useful in design than in photography, so I won’t elaborate on it now.

Photoshop CC 2015

Photoshop CC 2015

Photoshop in subscription – PLN 50/month

Instead of spending almost a thousand Euro at the very beginning, you pay EUR 9.99 + VAT. Thus, the final amount will differ from country to country (because the VAT differs, too). Obviously, the cheapest subscription is available in the USA – it’s USD 9.99. Photoshop subscription is a bit like telephone charge: you conclude a contract for one year and then pay once a month. The package also features Lightroom CC – an equivalent of the latest version of Lightroom, but enriched with options related to Creative Cloud. It means that you can transfer photos in the cloud between an iPad and a computer etc.). If you wonder how much Photoshop costs without Lightroom, let me surprise you: it’s much… more expensive.

I should pay EUR 61.49 including tax for the whole Creative Cloud package (which contains several dozen programs such as Premiere Pro, After Effects, Dreamwaver and the like). This price also depends on the country. Teachers and students have a discount as always, so they need to pay about one third of the original price. The producer also offers options for companies or particular workstations (not people) – it’s all described on Adobe’s website. The complete package is certainly irrelevant if you deal with photos only, but if you want to work with films, design and sound, you really should become interested in it.

CC applications work just like the previous versions: you install them on your hard drive and can use them without the Internet. The latter is required only for activation and then you have to get connected every few months to check the payment status. New functions appear from time to time and whenever a new version is released, the user immediately has access to it without bearing additional cost (in the past, you had to buy Photoshop upgrades, paying substantial amounts for them).

Photoshop CC

Photoshop CC from 2013 – it looks identical to CC 2014 and CC 2015. In the above screenshot, the interface is divided into two monitors.

Thus, you could theoretically buy the old Photoshop CS6 and live in peace for years, but in reality it’s not possible. CS6 was premiered a long time ago and its RAW processor (ACR) cannot be updated to the latest versions. It means that you cannot process RAW files from new cameras: you would need to use other programs for that purpose or convert them to DNG. Moreover, you would have to work without taking advantage of new functions and the speed offered by newer versions.

Is this profitable?

A surprisingly big number of people don’t know how subscription works or they think that the overall sum will be higher than the price paid for the version in the box (which no longer exists; without a subscription, you can only buy an old Photoshop CS6 still lying on some empty shelf). There is also a widespread conviction that the monthly charge is over EUR 25, but that was the sum you paid before the photographer’s package was introduced (which means a long time ago). Another myth says that Photoshop CC has been created to prevent people from distributing pirate versions, but that might only be the opinion of people who were completely unfamiliar with CC operation and thought that it worked like a web-based application.

So is it profitable? At the current price – yes, of course! At least such is my opinion.

Moreover, the CC version has a bit different license than the previous ones. In the past, you were able to install the program on your two computers provided that they both used the same platform (Windows or OS X). People who had an OEM version were able to migrate to another platform, but they still needed the same system on both computers. Those who had a BOX version were officially prohibited from changing the platform, but the problem was fixed once they called the producer’s hotline. CC is free from such problems: the license is for two computers regardless of their operating system. You aren’t bound by a particular language version, either: you can use the English one or change it to Italian, Russian or any other one you want – any time.

Zrzut ekranu 2015-06-17 o 15.48.17

Adobe Bridge is free as always. I use this program to browse photos before editing. The above screenshot shows a photo before and after the retouch.

No Photoshop, no way

If you want to do good retouch, you must have Photoshop – no doubt about it. Lightroom, Capture One or other RAW processing programs don’t have even a fraction of functions required to do retouch. Gimp is recommended as an alternative only by people who have no notion of what possibilities Photoshop offers. The only competition may be Affinity Photo, but it doesn’t exist yet (there is only a beta version) and when it is finally created, years will pass before it is really sufficient. By that time, PS will have had a lot of new functions.

RAW processors alone are enough if you do batch processing. Many picture stories are created without PS, but with beauty and fashion shots, you will feel the lack of basic functions embedded in Photoshop.

Why is PS so useful?

There are so many reasons that it’s impossible to list them all here, so let me concentrate on the most important ones. In PS, you can separate the texture of the photo from the color and correct the skin by working only on its texture (without worrying about color patches). By frequency separation, you also separate the hair from the background, thus facilitating hair removal. The dodge&burn option gives the skin a great look without making it the least bit blurry. All bits (isolated hairs, glitter that fell from the make-up, reflections produced by too hard light etc.) can be automatically removed using the Dust and Scratches filter – without any blurring, either. The contrast is adjusted in the Luminosity mode, so the colors don’t change their saturation and the skin still looks natural. The changes are introduced locally by masking the individual fragments of the photo because you continuously work on layers. You do such things all the time; they are the very basics of retouch and yet they cannot be done only by processing RAW files.


Photoshop in the form of subscription is Adobe’s best idea – at least this is what statistics say. Thousands of people have discarded their pirate versions and got the original ones, though CC doesn’t have any additional anti-piracy protections. It is simply more easily available when it comes to the price. Even if, in some isolated cases, it doesn’t turn out to be cheaper than CS, you will still pay in monthly installments.

CC currently features all Adobe programs including those which never existed as CS. I took advantage of this offer immediately after it had been premiered. The photographer’s package was not yet available at that moment, so the cost was much higher, but the offer still seemed good. Now you get even more for a half of the previous price. When Adobe introduced the discount for photographers (which is now their permanent offer), my regular subscription still had half a year to go. It was enough to contact the technical support – they immediately changed my subscription to the cheaper and better one.

You can learn more about the CC package offer here.

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I have taken beauty and fashion shots for a few years. I publish the results of my work on this blog together with photo shoot descriptions, setups, backstage photos and everything that is significant while photographing. I try to diversify the equipment I use during my photo shoots.
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