Someone Please Save Us Photographers From All These Subscriptions

Someone Please Save Us Photographers From All These Subscriptions

Photographers today face a troubling predicament – essential software like Adobe Creative Cloud can only be accessed through expensive subscriptions plans. The era of purchasing permanent software licenses has been replaced by never-ending monthly rental payments. While companies tout this as convenient and necessary, the reality is that recurring subscriptions disproportionately squeeze photographers while padding corporate profits.

As working artists, we value reliable tools, but not at the expense of fair pricing models. There are better solutions that could meet both photographers' needs and software companies' bottom lines, but the ever-powerful dollar continues to reign brutally over the industry. Change will require our collective industry demanding it, not quietly accepting the subscription status quo. Our creativity should not be constrained by compulsory rental fees. 

If you’re a photographer today, you likely pay monthly or yearly subscriptions for your essential software like Adobe Creative Cloud. The subscription model has become pervasive in the photo/video world, with companies like Adobe and now Camera Bits (makers of Photo Mechanic), and others offering their software for recurring fees rather than a one-time purchase. But while subscriptions offer certain conveniences, they are ultimately bad for photographers, financially restrictive, and a greedy ploy by software companies.

Firstly, the subscription-based pricing of major photo/video editing suites like Adobe CC and Capture One is designed to squeeze photographers for recurring revenue. Instead of paying once for software at a fair price, now you must pay a monthly “rental” fee forever, with no end in sight. Adobe CC plans start around $10/month and easily balloon to $50-60/month for professional packages. For software you could once buy permanently for a few hundred bucks, you’ll now be locked into endless payments.

This subscription model is extremely profitable for software companies (don't forget Adobe's record revenues after their subscription switch), but financially burdensome for working photographers, especially for freelancers, part-timers, or small studios operating on tight margins. What if you had a slower work month? Too bad, Adobe still collects their 60 bucks from you for software access. Considering Photoshop used to cost $600+ once and was yours permanently, today’s endless subscription fees provide terrible value. Someone paying for the full Creative Suite will eclipse that former one-time fee in less than a year.

"More subscriptions, please!" - no one ever.
Proponents of subscriptions argue it allows photographers access to always updated software. But photographers don’t necessarily want or need constant major updates. In fact, many creatives abhor it. There was recently a minor stir in the music world because an interview with Paul McCartney showed a notably old Apple computer on his desk. Why would someone with almost limitless funds stick with that? Because it works. Creatives need to be able to trust their gear, and if it's handling everything they need it to, upgrading is a needless risk. Minor updates and bug fixes could easily be released without switching to subscriptions. The only reason companies push the subscription model so hard is that recurring payments maximize their profit. Don't be fooled otherwise. 

Additionally, if you ever decide to end your photography subscription, you lose access to the software entirely. This creates major problems. Photographers typically have years of edited images saved in proprietary formats like PSD. If you end your Photoshop/Lightroom subscription, you may lose access to edit those master files. You’re then forced to keep paying Adobe forever just to access your own work! Subscriptions force loyalty and impose nasty consequences if you want to stop payments and leave. You shouldn’t be penalized for deciding a company’s software no longer meets your needs.

Another issue with subscriptions is the constant pressure to upgrade plans for added features. Companies know photographers rely on a variety of tools, so they segment important features across plans. Want animation tools? 3D rendering? Advanced panoramic stitching? Be prepared to upgrade to a more expensive plan. Before, you could buy a full-featured software version with everything you need for photography. Now, features are arbitrarily restricted to push users into more expensive subscriptions.

Again, this subscription structure is designed purely to extract maximum fees from photographers. It holds necessary features hostage unless you upgrade. And the most advanced professional tools will likely require paying even pricier rates long-term. Why should photographers be nickeled and dimed for critical software functionality? 

Many argue the switch to subscriptions was necessary to fund constant software updates and cloud features. However, the pace of meaningful updates has barely increased during the subscription era. The switch was not to improve the software but to lock in recurring payments. 

Thankfully, there are alternatives for photographers who reject this endless rental model. One option is seeking out software that still allows a perpetual license purchase. Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer are two one-time purchases with no subscriptions, and as an Affinity user, I can attest that it's really good. Similarly, Capture One Pro offers a single purchase option, albeit at a steep $300 price.

Another avenue is sticking with older software versions that you already own outright. Just because Adobe releases the latest Photoshop doesn’t make your current version obsolete. Work on that license you own indefinitely. Companies want you to feel left behind on old software to force upgrading, but stand your ground. Older Photoshop/Lightroom versions have everything most photographers need without rental payments. 

Open-source creative software has also come a long way in recent years. Tools like GIMP, Darktable, and Krita offer free alternatives to subscriptions for editing and post-processing. Support their development and avoid sending cash to corporations. While not every open-source tool is ready to replace the major players yet, the options are improving constantly and worth exploring.

The problem is this predatory subscription model is unlikely to change until it impacts the bottom line of software companies. Adobe and other vendors will continue forcibly shifting users to subscriptions as long as photographers pay up. They have zero incentive to offer fair buying options when people comply with expensive rentals. For any real change to emerge, photographers must protest with their wallets.

That feeling when you find out cropping functionality is only included in the premium yearly subscription. 

To be clear, I don't think we'll ever walk it back entirely from this new subscription-based landscape, but the point is that many photographers have options. Embrace open-source tools created by communities, not corporations. Seek out apps with fair one-time pricing. And when all else fails, stubbornly continue using older purchased software you own indefinitely. In particular, if you're a hobbyist, ask yourself if you really need to shell out several hundred dollars a year. Take a weekend to explore open-source and one-time purchase options.

Beyond just photography software, this subscription trend has infected all kinds of industries, from streaming media to smart appliances. Consumers are increasingly forced into a "rental economy" where we make endless payments to maintain access and functionality. Corporations love this, because passive income from subscriptions is reliable and massively profitable. But for consumers already dealing with economic uncertainty, forcing more subscriptions is tone-deaf and will eventually incite pushback. Everything from your music library to your car's heated seats get locked behind recurring fees. And make no mistake, until consumers push back to the point it becomes unprofitable, subscriptions will continue to infiltrate more and more areas. That's the only reason BMW rethought those heated seats.

In the case of creative software, though, many photographers and artists still have agency. Many well-known tools remain entrenched in the industry, but not unbeatable. Realistically speaking, I think that the record profits seen from subscriptions show that collective action to reverse the tide might not be possible, at least at the moment, but you, the individual, should make an informed decision about your budget and needs without blindly accepting that monthly rate. 

The next time you see that charge on your credit card, maybe take a few hours to look at what other options are out there and how much you could save. And that doesn't just go for photography software. As streaming service prices skyrocket, maybe check out your local library (they often have free streaming platforms as well). Paying for a monthly video game pass? How many games do you really play? Maybe buy one or two at a time, then recoup your costs by selling them when you're done. We, as consumers, have been gradually lulled into this subscription-based economy, and it's time we wake up and re-evaluate how much of it we really need. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

Log in or register to post comments

Good article. I’m still pissed, bitter, and hold a grudge against Apple for getting rid of Aperture. I loved that program. I’m not a fan of Lightroom.

Agree and the cynic in me wonders how much influence Adobe had in Apples decisions making. Aperture was a superb program.

You should look on Raw Power then, using Apples raw developer and build by previous Apple employe.

Same, I still use Aperture to catalog all my photos, as I’ve yet to come across another program that does it better. Does anyone know of any software that lays out the projects/catalogs visually like Aperture? Seems so obvious.

I still maintain my old 2013 iMac just for Aperture, which can't run on 64-bit versions of MacOS. Now and then I open it up to go through my old catalogs to export metadata and in conjunction with Exiftool ensure it is embedded in the Raws so they will no longer be captive to an editor's database, which also makes them searchable via the Finder. These days I use a combination of PhotoMechanic, Fast Raw Viewer, and Capture One. I loved Aperture, it was always so much better to the contemporary Lightroom version in my view. I tried to force myself to use Lightroom exclusively for 6 months to get used to it. I hated it. I love using Capture One these days, after importing and tagging with PhotoMechanic.

I'm a casual user of editing software for my personal work. Started with PS but when they went subscription-based, I refused to follow. Found Affinity to do everything I needed at a fraction of the cost. If Affinity gets too expensive or goes subscription, I will reevaluate.

Same here. Affinity is great but the day they go subscription, I'll move on once again.

I have never been a fan of subscription based software. Popular software "suite" of programs from Adobe, Microsoft, and many others are now only available for subscription. The author seems to believe part of this business method is the insatiable greed of these software companies. Maybe some of that is true but there's another important reason for subscriptions - theft. Years ago, I needed to make a business trip to an Eastern European country. A local contact suggested if I wanted any software, visit a local software shop and purchase any software for the equivalent of $1 per CD. That included all the brands of software you would pay hundreds for. I didn't buy anything as it was wrong and outside this country, illegal. But as you would expect the software was "flying off the shelves" by other buyers. This does make a point that the original software perhaps is overpriced to begin with, enticing some to buy the pirated stuff. Anyway, I believe subscription software is here to stay. I do appreciate that most of these subscriptions allow installation on more than 1 computer.

I don't think theft, or piracy, as it's probably better known has much to do with it.
It's a simple matter; should you be so inclined, to download and use fully working examples of just about every popular photography related piece of software there is.
In fact, the very first incarnation of the subscription version of Photoshop; Ithink it was called 'Photoshop CC'(?) was available as a pirate, days before Adobe released the real thing into the wild.

I spent 40 years as a software engineer and I owned my own company that made a vertical market application. We required our customers to be on a maintenance contract. It is too difficult to have users on multiple versions. They report bugs that have already been fixed. On the maintenence plan they get all new features and maintenance fixes. Our maintenance fees were not cheap, neither was the product, starting at 50k and up.
I never got the creative suite subscriptions, just the 10.99 lightroom and photoshop. I no longer use Adobe, but I can remember using it when they started, paying thousands per seat for buggy software. Development costs are very expensive.

All the subscription software is available as cracked software, which simply removes the online subscription check. The more the software relies on online-only subscription features however, like AI, the more you get locked down. But at least the AI features in Capture One doesn't rely on being online as far as I know.
Once Adobe went all-subscription, their profit margins skyrocketed.

I didn't like the Lightroom workflow years ago, and subsequently switched to darktable (, the cost of which is $0.00, and no monthly money grabs. I've not been disappointed. Yes, the learning curve is steep, but the options abound. No more supporting Adobe's corporate greed.

"Support their development and avoid sending cash to corporations."
That's by paying the developers or helping them with the coding.
What are you really doing for them?

I'd gently point out that the two images used to illustrate this article are not credited -- I suspect they came from some 'free' stock repository. So there's more than one way to squeeze photographers...

They were actually obtained through our paid stock subscription specifically so we can support photographers. Happy to show you the receipt.

I agree with everything written in this article.

LR and other SW producers realized how easy it was to get customers to accept the subscription model. So now every SW producer does the same. I decided to just keep my old LR 5.7 (I believe) and not fall for subscription based programs. If more customers would adopt that model we may be able to reverse this tendency. Public compliance and complacency is the easiest way of getting policies accepted as the "new normal".
Heck, even the automobile industry is trying to "sell" you heir heated seats (and other options) on a monthly subscription basis.

It wasn't easy to switch. I waited over a year, but I use Adobe pretty much every day so I was forced to instead of waiting for a version that was actually an improvement for my daily use. But honestly in 12 years of subscription I can't say that Adobe has been fair and held to their promise to improve. Most improvements have been big talk and not mature enough to use. Clipping path if you do them routinely are more precise and faster to make most standard selection. Selection has finally received some level of simplicity making them usable only in the last year. I paid for this and was told it was happening for the last 12 years. Not impressive. I did not accept that, I knew just like everyone that we just had no choice eventually. But sure they pop and abandon a tone of useless software every year and there is no doubt that that's what I am paying for.

I’ve read this article with a lot of interest. Clearly, it is written passionately with a lot of emotion. It basically says that Adobe is “gouging” its users in order to generate usurious profits. Anecdotally, l worked in the software business for a significant telecom manufacturer in the 1990s. One of the things that the business unit struggled with was maintaining a development department while only offering releases and upgrades periodically. In one period, we downsized developers to bring costs more in line with revenues. Eventually, we went to a maintenance model to keep a steady flow of revenue flowing. Our customers, major telecom service providers, screamed to the rafters. We eventually implemented paid maintenance plans but decreased the cost for releases. In short, all software companies have this issue…. Hence some type of subscription model is likely. I looked at Adobe’s income statement which showed profit margins of just above 25%. That’s healthy but hardly confiscatory. The part that bothers us as photographers is that most of us are very small businesses with soft revenues. Nevertheless, Adobe makes the best products out there with few competitors that can match them; mainly because they got their first. By the way, Adobe’s largest shareholders are institutional investors such as mutual fund companies. These holders put huge pressure on companies to be profitable. I clearly understand that many artists feel “squeezed”. However, our real problem is a lack of viable competition in the industry. There were several options mentioned in the article. It appears that these companies/institutions don’t have the technical depth to offer products that can compete on par with Adobe. If they did, users would leave in mass. In order to do that requires them to invest more financial resources into developers and associated tools. Guess what, they will end up having to employ a subscription model. I am largely an amateur and spending the $120 bucks per year Lightroom/Photoshop is in my budget. I have friends that spend far more on their golf club memberships and fishing boats. To force Adobe to reduce their margins would require a huge walk-a-way by users. This is unlikely because there are many users where Adobe subscriptions are a small part of their costs. These are just my opinions. I hope y’all don’t get too angry about them.

I look at things the same way. I too am largely an amateur photographer and $120 per year is in my budget. I don't spend money on golf, fishing, hunting or other "hobbies" so that's how I justify it. With the addition of the new masking features and other Lightroom improvements I just can't find a better program for my needs.

The Photographer Plan barely exists (Adobe has twice tried to turn it into $240/year and for many it is now). Adobe only keeps the photographer plan around to kneecap other software developers. As soon as Adobe can get away with doubling or tripling the price they will.

Perhaps you are correct, and others have been warning it for awhile. First, I don’t believe they would double in one increase. Again, when I compare it to other activities, even that price for me would be tolerable. The real problem is Adobe has no real competition. The bottom line is that if others really stepped up their development, they couldn’t do it for much less.

Sorry Ed, you seem to have fallen into a myopic Adobe stupor. There is competition and very good competition for those who would open their eyes. Affinity Photo 2 easily replaces Photoshop for 95% of workflows (panorama tools for instance is awesome).

DxO PhotoLab for years has done a better job on high ISO photos than Lightroom. PhotoMechanic is far better for metadata than any of the competition including Lightroom. PhotoMechanic Plus offers the possibility of creating huge and very fast catalogues. FastRawViewer is a far faster and more pleasant triage tool if a photographer doesn't need the advanced metadata tools of PhotoMechanic.

What bothers me about those who consent to digital slavery on Adobe's plantation is that you are financing the forging of all of our future chains. Freedom to own and not rent software is a core civilisational issue, which will affect our future and the future of our children and grandchildren.

Alec, it seems that there is always an individual like you who comes into an otherwise civil conversation and starts spewing personal attacks. I assure you that I am not in any kind of stupor. I merely gave an opinion and provided salient facts. Sorry that you don’t like my opinion. That’s fine. However, to say that when a person makes a purchasing decision that it somehow will affect civilization is pure nonsense. I stand by my comments and I will spend my money in any way that I want. That, my friend, is the very definition of freedom. If there were adequate competition, we wouldn’t see articles like this. The laws of economics will never be repealed.

Ignoring the personal attack, for many professionals, who can write the subscription off as a business expense anyway, there is no real alternative, as it is the defacto standard for file interchange. If I want a graphic printed, I don't send a Designer document, I send an Illustrator file. Many game programs now can save in PSD format simply because it is a ubiquitous defacto format. You can't rely on anyone supporting the Affinity format (all Affinity apps use the same format, which is very powerful; they use different extensions for convenience).
I love PhotoMechanic, but now they too have announced going all-subscription. As long as the current version works, I'll stick to it. I still use an older version of 1Password as I don't want to subscribe. I haven't tried PhotoMechanic Plus, it is too expensive for my needs. I use FastRawViewer when quickly rating portrait work, as it is the only software with a Raw histogram, and faster and easier to check focus than PhotoMechanic.
I've tried PhotoLab, don't care for it; nice demonising sure, but the user interface sucked, and I don't care to give up CaptureOne, which has very good denoising along with cataloguing, layers, far better editing tools etc, for an inferior user experience with fewer features. If I really want to denoise, or unsharp, I use Topaz AI.
As for the diatribe attacking anyone who dares to use subscription software and the resultant downfall of society, I feel there's no point commenting.

Adobe has a monopoly – you must accede to the borg. Spare me guys. This is the kind of mentality that built the pyramids (Egypt was a slave society, where Pharoah's servants were entombed with Pharoah). If you can't live or work without Adobe, Adobe owns both you and your work.

Yes, that's very bad news about PhotoMechanic. Looks like I'll be looking for another metadata editor within a few years as I won't be subscribing. Like you, I'll keep the existing version I paid for as long as possible. Plus isn't that much if you already own PhotoMechanic but the essentials (adding metadata) doesn't need plus. Plus is just another way to catalogue and then search for images. With PhotoMechanic going subscription, I'd recommend staying away from Plus to be honest. The metadata edit tools are likely to work smoothly for much longer without update than the cataloguing tools.

Disagree about the DxO PhotoLab interface, I like it quite a bit. It's the closest to a darkroom for me out of the big three.

Regarding subscriptions, there's also the hassle factor. I have half a dozen just on my Roku box and I've had to draw the line, no more subscriptions for anything. The amount of work just to replace a lost or compromised credit card just keeps increasing.

I once paid $600 for Photoshop and a little over $100 for Lightroom. After that I was paying about $212 every-other-year for Photoshop upgrades and about $85 every year for Lightroom upgrades. All together it came to about $382 every two years for both products (or almost $16 per month). So crazy to think that today, many years later, Adobe still wants just $10 per month for both products.

Honestly, when it comes to productivity, the LR+PS subscription is so heavy on the value-per-dollar that it makes every other bill I have pale by comparison.

Great points

I wonder if you, Fstoppers, gave more space and time to companies like Affinity -- that creates a very capable and reasonably priced suite of products that cover photo, design, graphics and publishing -- there might be less complaining about subscriptions. And more sense that there are choices if a person is willing to buckle up to a bit of learning curve and leave the herd mind behind?

I agree totally - and I'm so tired of every Adobe press release being splattered all over the web...

Y’all ever heard of piracy? It’s pretty sick. Saves me hundreds of dollars per year in adobe subscriptions.

As a hobbyist who still hasn't made one cent from photography I swear by open source and free editing tools. Darktable and Gimp for general editing, and for panoramas, Hugin, it's frankly amazing.

I'm a hobbyist on a pension, and while I've left Adobe for Affinity, I do recognise the alternatives are not as good or feature-rich in a number of ways, while at the same time Affinity is a modern code base that is small and fast, while something like Photoshop is large and bloated, but it is better. Affinity Photo is good enough however, I put up with its quirks and shortcomings.
Back when I was experimenting with Linux, and for a while when switching back to Windows, I loved using Inkscape, which to be frank is not, and wasn't meant to be, an Illustrator replacement. I experimented with Gimp (horrible name), and participated in the bug issues database. But the Gimp is a dead end, and not a viable alternative to anyone wanting a colour managed workflow and cares about colour. They are only now, finally, m moving towards Gimp 3, which uses GTK 3, while GTK itself (an offshoot of the Gimp) has long been on version 4. GTK 3, let along 2 on which it has been stuck for so long, has no hardware acceleration optimisations. Hence it is slow and not usable in a professional manner, and because of GTK hasn't got proper system integration outside Linux.
Darktable has the same issues. I got very interested after the release of Darktable 4 due to Filmic, I've spent a lot of time watching tutorial videos and editing some of my images to the standard I do in CaptureOne. One thing you quickly realise from the videos is that they all use high-end PCs with high-end GTK cards for a reason, and you hear the whirring sound of the fans for a reason. Without it, Darktable quickly bogs down. precisely because it is weighed down by GTK 2 with only some SSE optimisation on Intel machines. As I am on an M1 Mac now, both Inkscape, Gimp and Darktable are all but unusable for all but experimentation. They all have potential, but not until they get off GTK; they might get away with GTK 4, but even Linux hasn't got a development environment for it, not Glade or anything else.
I gave up on Linux as I got into Photography more, as I needed Photoshop and proper colour management, which MacOS is the master of. Linux is a hodgepodge controlled by corporates who want server systems first and foremost, for which it is well suited, and which often conflict with the needs of a good desktop operating system. I just lost interest in playing with endless config files and system errors and wanted to just have a system that worked well with graphics drivers and an ability to concentrate on my photography instead.

I will say I love Hugin, clunky as the interface is, as most automatic solutions assume a standard panorama from the one spot; Hugin can stitch panoramas of large murals taken in narrow laneways by moving along the wall, and in the process remove some obstacles like street signs. I don't do panoramas anymore though.

Do you want support? Do you want steady improvements? Subscriptions finance them. Since Lightroom went to a subscription model, it has improved faster than ever.

If you don't care about support and steady improvements, use freeware. Many people get excellent results with them.

But the whining about subscriptions is childish.

Darktable is free and open source, and provides two major functional updates per year, provides the ability to converse directly with developers, allows you to track the progress of reported issues which are frequently addressed within the next development cycle. Plus, you can beta test development versions to verify corrections or to assist with development

I don’t know of many other programs that provide that level of support and feedback

Thanks for bringing up Darktable, David. Darktable is not all that pleasing/native on macOS (last checked about three years ago) but it's certainly powerful software and opens up Linux as a viable OS for workers photographers.

For absolute conversion quality, RAWtherapee is even more powerful but more difficult to use. RAWtherapee beat the commercial tools for quality of conversion of high ISO images a few years ago (even DxO PhotoLab was in the competition, as was Darktable).

If more of us would contribute a small part of what we pay for commercial software to open source software developers, we could have more and better polished open source software with no licenses (nuisance) and no onerous subscription fees.

I've experimented a lot with Darktable since Version 4, it's been very interesting as long as I don't need to get work done. As for OSX compatibility, it is slow as molasses due to the reliance on GTK 2, which the developers are aware of but can't fix; at best they may move to GTK 3 in time, but that won't fix the issue, and GTK is now on version 4 for some time, which unlike previous versions does have some hardware acceleration, a must for a Raw editor.
All the videos on YouTube are people who use high-end GTK graphics cards on PC hardware, with the noise of the fan audible, and still it is laggy for any decent edit.
On M1 Macs, there is zero hardware optimisation, and performs very poorly, unacceptably so. On Intel hardware with Nvidia graphics cards, there is some, but not enough. It cannot be fixed without ditching GTK altogether, which some developers are working on, but a long way off anything fully featured or stable.
RawTherapee has the same issue. I have only tried it briefly, the horrible interface meant I gave up quickly.
Only if you are driven by ideology for free software would you choose Linux for photography. Which is fair enough, to each their own, but not the most efficient, painfree, or professional path, as there is a lot you have to do to maintain it with significant compromises. If you are deadline-driven or have to deal with printers or the like, not ideal.

Thanks for the field report on current acceleration in OS X. Yes, GPU acceleration is fairly important. I wonder if on a powerful Mx Mac (Max or Ultra) if CPU isn't enough for good (not great) performance.

As a Nikon shooter I couldn't be more pleased with the workflow combination of Nikon's free NX studio for exposure / color adjustments combined with Affinity Photo for fine tuning and blemish removal / manipulations. NX studio actually renders Nikon's RAW files much better than the Lightroom profile for a better starting point and affinity was an easy transition after years of Photoshop use. Highly recommended.

I doubt many people actually use the freeware supplied with their cameras, and almost all do provide them in some form or another.

I've just added an Olympus OM1 to my Sony system (since the original A7 and A7r) and they offer the OM Workplace software for processing the OM RAW files, and supposedly does a better, more accurate, conversion according to many OMS sources. It's very good and I use that first before then exporting to ON1 (which is not subscription either) !

The author is perhaps under the mistaken impression that photographers make up a significant percent of Adobe’s market, it doesn’t. Prolly south of 10% last time I heard…yes, if you are a working pro and need the entire Creative Suite, it’s expensive but at $60/month or $720/year it’s still a small price and a drop in the bucket of what professionals pay to stay in business. The complaining about the lack of a perpetual vs monthly license is really rather pointless. The perpetual model is unsustainable in software development. I’ve been using Photoshop since 1992 and the thought of boycotting Adobe over the subscription model is silly. And since I also use Lightroom, the $10/month is really a deal…unless I suppose you are a hobbyist of a fixed budget and if you are you really don’t need pro level tools for your hobby, do you? The author needs to rerun the numbers regarding the costs of monthly vs 18-24 upgrade cycles. The profits Adobe are earning is a direct result of offering the best pro toolset and growing their marketplace-way beyond photographers…

"if you are you really don’t need pro level tools for your hobby, do you? "

I think you've missed the whole point of a "hobby".

A pro might be taking cookie cutter photos of other people's weddings. A hobbyist might be trying to create something beautiful and unique. Does one "need" better tools than the other?

I'm completely content with my sub to Adobe. Why? Because I consistently get updates from the entire suite of software I use, I don't pay for upgrades like I used to when Adobe switched to the next version. You argued that some photographers don't want upgrades. Sure, some don't. But how many stagnant photographers are out there that are not progressing with the times? How many of us shoot both video and stills, and use the suite for their workflow? How many of us like the new features, and progression than just a digital darkroom? How many of us use the audio software, the illustration, and everything else?

You think Adobe is expensive? Try Maxon($1400 a year) or Autodesk subs($2k+ a year). Industry standards for 3D artists that are hard to beat, and are NEEDED for professional work. Sure there are plenty of free to low cost alternatives out there for photographers and 3D artists (like Blender), but assets, be to stock or poly, is still a cost associated with it.

Software is yet another tool in an artists arsenal. If you can make it with free or lower cost software, no issue. If you utilize everything to benefit the workflow, the cost is worth it.

Adobe is not essential software. There are many options out there, some subscription, some traditional one time payment and some free. Yet if you read most photography related sites, you'd be forgiven for thinking there only Ps and Lr are out there.

I don't know. I about had a seizure from reading this article due to the incessant pop-up ads literally everywhere.

Everybody needs to make a buck, right? You don't like Adobe's model? Move on. If I get sick of fstoppers model, I'll move on.

I'm seeing no pop-up ads (I have uBlock Origin, but it's turned off for this site). Maybe set up your browser to block them, or try Firefox?

Zero popups for me. I use Adblock Plus (free).

Great article, I whole heartedly agree with you.
This is exactly why I chose Luminar AI outright purchase, before the subscription based model of Luminar Neo, 1 time payment and it does everything I need.
I used to have Photoshop on subscription and realized how much I was paying and in the end after I cancelled the subscription, I didn't own any software, they are getting way too greedy.

More comments