Want to Save Money on Your Adobe Subscription? Try This Simple Trick

Want to Save Money on Your Adobe Subscription? Try This Simple Trick

Earlier this year, Adobe ditched the option to buy Lightroom for a one-off fee, forcing customers to take out annual subscriptions with monthly payments, and annoying a few people along the way. However, this subscription model does present a few opportunities to save money. Check out this simple trick.

While exploring out a couple of different packages for my photo editing, I wondered what would happen if I were to try and cancel my subscription to Adobe. Logging into my account on the Adobe website and finding the right page, I was first warned that I would face a £45 ($58) fee for canceling my annual contract early, but I chose to continue. I was then presented with these options.

I was a little surprised. Because the prospect of a fee that was the equivalent of more than four months’ of Lightroom and Photoshop wasn’t enough to put me off canceling, I was presented with a bribe: stick with Adobe and get two months for free.

What happens if you try canceling your Adobe subscription?

Intrigued, I wondered what would happen if spoke to one of their operators and opted to discover what the “custom deal” might be. I clicked on “Start chat” and chatted to Harish, one of Adobe’s agents.

I explained to Harish that I was thinking of moving from Lightroom to Capture One because it seemed more powerful, has better control over colors, and that I could buy Affinity Photo outright in order to replace my occasional use of Photoshop (check out this article if you're interested in giving Capture One a whirl).

“Before you make a decision,” wrote Harish, “I see that there are three free months on your subscription that haven’t been applied yet. I can add those to your account and you wouldn’t have to pay for the next three months. How does that sound?”

That sounded fantastic so I agreed. From having randomly wondered what would happen if I tried to cancel my Adobe subscription with no real intention on carrying it through, a few minutes of clicking and chatting had saved myself just under $40.

Delighted, I mentioned my discount to a colleague. I was aware that he was interested in trying Capture One, and I also knew that his occasional use of Premiere meant paying $21 a month on top of his $10 per month Lightroom/Photoshop bundle — something that can feel very expensive if you don’t use Premiere professionally.

Adobe app prices compared
The Lightroom and Photoshop bundle is a good deal when you consider that individual apps are $21 a month. Adding one more app can feel very expensive as a result.

He followed the same route as me, ignoring the first deal that was offered and opting to speak to an agent via the online chat. I thought I’d done well with my saving — he came away with an annual subscription to the entire Adobe suite for half the normal price. He’s now paying significantly less than he was before and can use any Adobe app he wants. He’s quite pleased and now owes me a beer.

If you try this same trick, keep this in mind: there is a risk that your subscription will simply be canceled. Quite how this works if you’re informed that there’s a cancelation fee, I’m not sure, but I’ve heard more than one tale of someone holding out for a deal and seeing their entire package terminated.

If you’d like to get yourself a discount through a means that is slightly less morally ambiguous, simply upload 300 stock photos. As detailed on Adobe’s blog back in September: “Contributors that have more than 300 accepted assets between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019 will receive a bonus in addition to any royalty payments: a one-year subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan featuring both Lightroom and Lightroom Classic as well as the latest version of Photoshop!” Thank you to Fstoppers' Ryan Mense for tipping me off about this deal.

For videographers, the deal is a little tougher though the offer is a little sweeter: upload 300 videos and receive a free subscription to the entire Adobe suite. 

Keep in mind that you will need an acceptance rate of at least 50%, so don’t expect to upload 300 photos of the spineless yucca on your desk that desperately needs watering and get a year of Lightroom in return. Nice try.

Have you tried canceling your Adobe subscription and bagged yourself a deal? Will you be giving it a go? Leave a comment below telling us how you get on.

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Rayann Elzein's picture

2 years ago I tried to cancel my subscription, and received the same offer. Last month, this time being really sure of myself, I cancelled it (again), but was not offered these free months to convince me to stay. I guess they got the message this time haha!

Dan Marchant's picture

Maybe there is a standard one time retention attempt. On your first cancellation they will make the offer but on the second they wont.

Thomas H's picture

It is like dealing with these insurance salesmen, or credit card account reps. With Adobe it came to be as expected: Inertia shoves money toward their throats, the rest is irrelevant. Keep the people pay their dues, as many as possible. All empires fall eventually.

Raul Dederichs's picture

Same here, I had cancelled it a while ago and got the two free month, but I still think it is a total rip-off, I use Premiere and ocassionally after effects, just last week I was working on a project and Premiere suddenly wouldn’t display audio waveforms any more, I had no time for all the trouble shooting (uninstall, re-install, etc...) and just went over to edit in Davinci Resolve and must say I loved it, except for not being able to use most keyboard shortcuts it was a pretty easy transition, so I think I am finally going to stop contributing to their astronomical profit margin!

Ivan Lantsov's picture

you still pay? you put it over on them!

Viktor Wågman's picture


Fritz Asuro's picture

How is it an ad? It looks like he just found a way to get a few months free. And at this point, Adobe doesn't even need to heavily advertise themselves to a photography community website. the very reason you see Adobe ads more targeting students and schools.

Deleted Account's picture

I have to laugh at the Adobe 300 photo upload come-on. If it's anything like the Viewbug game... even if someone bought a copy of my photo I wouldn't see any money until an arbitrary number of any of my photos had been sold. Meanwhile VB would benefit 100% from the sale.

I wonder what the royalty fine-print details are at Adobe?

michaeljinphoto's picture

Sign up for a class at your local community college, subscribe to their student plan, drop classes in time to get 100% tuition refund.

Luke Adams's picture

Somehow, posting this information feels wrong. It’s not so much a trick, as being outright deceptive.

Motti Bembaron's picture

Why? They offered and he took it. He would have been dumb not to take it.

Luke Adams's picture

I’m talking about posting it to a public photographers news site for others to do the same thing.

Deleted Account's picture

It would be interesting to see if Fstoppers gets a call from Adobe, eh?

Motti Bembaron's picture

Good point.

Motti Bembaron's picture

If you can get free usage out of Adobe then why not :-)

Erpillar Bendy's picture

Adobe was deceptive when they sold everyone Photoshop and Lightroom with the implied promise of future upgrades. Then they pulled the rug out from everyone, making those apps no longer upgradeable ever. Instead, it was move to subscription or else.

chrisrdi's picture

hey take advantage of the system as much as possible because the system doesn't give a flying turd about you.

Ryan Davis's picture

This isn't deceptive- it's a business negotiation. If I'm willing to buy a house for 200K, but pitch the seller 175K, and they say yes, am I being deceptive because I didn't tell them my highest acceptable price?

Luke Adams's picture

This article is about a guy who was contemplating cancelling his subscription, and then found out Adobe will give you incentives to stay with them. He then posts his experience to a public professional photography forum, and encourages others to "fake" canceling their subscription in hopes they can also get a deal. This is nothing like your "bartering" analogy above.

davidlovephotog's picture

Not as bad as Adobe forcing everyone into subscriptions, threatening them with lawsuits if they used older versions they paid full price for and then only updating their shite occasionally with new selection tools and minor fixes while slowly increasing the price. I only use 4 programs, Photoshop, Lightroom, Premiere and some times After Effects. Why am I paying $52 a month? Should be at least $10 per app.

Luke Adams's picture

For people who are just hobbyists, yeah the adobe subscription model kind of sucks. As someone making my living from photography and video, I love the subscription. A small monthly cost that is easily budgeted and planned for, while always receiving the latest updates. That said, you're right - they should have a few more "value" bundles aside from the Lightroom-Photoshop one. It does suck going from $10 a month to $50 just like that. Myself, I actually just subscribe to the Lightroom-Photographer bundle, and I bought FCPX and Affinity Designer for the times I need to do video and vector/logo work. Works great for me.

Philip Philippidis's picture

Why not switch to free, open-source software then?
- darktable
- RawTherapee
- digiKam
- DaVinci Resolve (free but not open-source)
- Blender (can be used for light video editing and VFX)

Jan Holler's picture

Why wouldn't you finally drop Lightroom for good and begin using Darktable which is free? I read about the misery of LR a lot, about people who dislike Adobe, about monthly fees - but I do not read a lot about people really looking for alternatives. I use Darktable since years and get very good results. So is it laziness or too much work which keeps people from switching? Don't tell me that all of the LR users are pros which heavily depend on their current work flow. For the digital asset manager I'd use digiKam. - There are web pages which describe the migration from LR to DT.

davidlovephotog's picture

ctrl + e. That's why. Integration. I start in Lightroom, move the file to Photoshop and end in Lightroom. For me Premiere is horrible, After Effects is slow old coded garbage and the problem with having to pay $52 a month if you use more than 2 programs. I'm paying for a ton of apps I never or will never use.

michaeljinphoto's picture

Pretty much this. Also, once you're paying for the suite, it makes little sense to use something else when you're already theoretically paying for a solution. I can use Capture One, but I still use Photoshop, so I'm basically wasting money by not using Lightroom.

I could find a replacement for Photoshop, but then I have to rid myself of decades of familiarity with the interface and shortcuts to learn another program from scratch which is a significant investment in time and lost productivity (arguably more valuable than the money paid in subscription fees). I still use Capture One for tethering because it's miles ahead in that regard, but I still use Lightroom for most things simply because of the ease of integration and the fact that I am more familiar with it.

Adobe have positioned themselves in a manner that just makes it difficult to justify switching at this point.

Philip Philippidis's picture

You can send edits from darktable to Photoshop and back.
Or drop Photoshop and get GIMP + G'MIC.

Viktor Wågman's picture

C1 is the best raw converter for IQ..

Philip Philippidis's picture

Plus, the recent update to 3.0 added tons of features.

Steven de Vet's picture

I use it enough to justify the monthly cost of the photography bundle with Lightroom and Photoshop. (even if it is only a hobby for me) I like the integration between the two and that works well for me. Also having the mobile Lightroom app integrated with it all allows me to edit the basics on the go.

I will say that I'd love to get into video editing more, other then just some simple colour tweaking and fade in/out's I do with free apps. But, that the steep monthly cost of premiere is stopping me from doing that.

Fritz Asuro's picture

Go to w w w . p i r ...... Oh yeah, no, don't.

Roger Hamblok's picture

Hi there, I tried to cancel and accepted the 2 months free. (I didn't get the option to chat..... maybe it's not available over here in Europe.). Thanks for the tip.

Fristen Lasten's picture

The Internet is littered with the "This one simple trick" or "This one weird trick" ads. Not surprised Adobe has stooped so low.

Wanna save money on your Adobe subscription? Cancel it.

terry gardner's picture

What would happen if you put your subscription auto pay on a credit card that is about to expire? Or just get a new card with a different number.

Brendan Kavanagh's picture

Three months for nothing . . . !
I stuck out for the custom plan.

Charles Brodeur's picture

The least expense is $0 by installing the cracked application you want.

matthew carley's picture

they sent me a letter last month in the mail trying to get me to sign back up because I sign up using a student discount and after one year the price double for a month so I cancel it. so that letter was trying to convince that prices have lower and to sign up right away.

Steven de Vet's picture

Just did this little trick. Didn't go through the "speaking with an agent" part.
But this already gave me 2 months of free, great tip! thanks.

Justin Rains's picture

I'm trying it now. I'm more of a developer who learned a little Photoshop. Personally I'd rather code something (WordPress plugin, Alexa skill, Chrome extensions).