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Monday, 30 March 2015


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Adobe has a "photographers" program that gives you Photoshop and Lightroom for $10 a month which is more reasonable:


I think you can get PS (+ LR) for $9.99 per month.

If you have the old laptop, start PS and choose deactivate in the help menu. If you wiped the drive, call Adobe support and explain and after making you jump through some hoops they will release the license so you can activate the new install. Also, PS+LR subscription only is $10 a month last I heard. Good luck, Mike!

Creative Cloud for photographers gives you LightRoom and Photoshop for $10 a month. https://creative.adobe.com/plans?single_app=photoshop?trackingid=KRQMD This is a fantastic deal as far as I'm concerned. It's saving me money over keeping both products updated with the old pricing plan.

Since you don't want to use LR it won't be quite as good of a deal for you, but still $120 a year to always have the latest version of PS isn't too bad in my mind. Also, I find LR to be very useful, and a better interface into Camera Raw than Photoshops. Since you'll get it for free I'd recommend you try it out again.

Photoshop / Lightroom combo is $10/month
Like you I had resisted paying the monthly bill, and wanted to buy the software outright. But, $10/m ? I gave in.

Adobe Creative Cloud "photography plan" (Photoshop CC plus Lightroom) is only $10 per month:


You should be able to call Adobe (yes, it will be to folks who are almost impossible to understand and who don't know what you are talking about, and you will be on hold for eternity, but...) and get this resolved (i.e., the licenses issue). I had that happen and it got fixed. Good luck!

I'm sure you'll be told this 100 times, but you can get a Lightroom / Photoshop deal for $9.99 per month.


You can get a Photoshop/LR cloud license for $10/mo, see http://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/photography.html. Not that I'm advocating it; I don't do subscription software.

I believe I remember you're on a Mac; if so Pixelmator and Acorn are two of the nicer photo editors on the platform. The former especially takes pretty good leaps in between each release, and they now have an iOS version as well.

But, really, Adobe ought to be able to reset your licenses. (Apple has the same issue with iTunes, and they allow you to reset your licenses once a year for just such circumstances.)

Mike, you say: "So I guess that means Photoshop has finally "broken" for me, and I need to start in on the potentially hellish task of finding new editing software." But that's not so. If you contact Adobe customer services I'm sure they'll reset for you. After all, there must be lots of people who have machines die on them who are simply unable to disable Photoshop because their machine won't boot. I'm sure this should be fairly simple…

I'm a little confused. Now has Photoshop broken? You have run out of licenses. Would you have been OK if they said you need to purchase a new license for $600 for the newest version? Or, if not OK at least you would have done it? What is it about $30 a month that is so off putting? It's a hell of a service. I would never pay it though because I have never used Photoshop and so I don't feel the pull.

Wait, I though it was $10 or $15 a month for Lightroom and Photoshop. Isn't $30 for the whole suite including dream weaver, illustrator, etc?

If you want to keep using photoshop, use it. Either work it out with Adobe (can't they disable a license from their end?) or pay their reasonable rate per month. Why abandon it?

It's as I thought, the photo bundle is only $10 a month. Lightroom and Photoshop for $120 per year with continual updates.


That is very competivly priced as compared to the old way of buying a license at a time. Keep using Photoshop if you want to use it.

Not quite sure what your problem is. If you have the old computer, you can deactivate CS6 then activate it on the new computer. If not, you can probably call Adobe and explain your problem. I have heard that they will often allow you to activate.
Let us know if you find a substitute. I don't think there's anything that really replaces Photoshop, but you may find something that does what you need.

Photographer vs Imagemaker. I think to be a Photographer the goal would be to get the image correct right out of the camera. Then use a simple software to do only what could have been done in the darkroom. I have not enjoyed my hobby of 40+ years as an avid photographer to become a computer geek at this stage of my life. Although in my business I use a computer a lot. Exchanging factual information and opinions, not artificially manipulating them.

Hi Mike,
I am pretty sure that the Photoshop that you want is only $9.99 a month. That's the photography bundle df Lightroom and Photoshop CC. It's really a pretty good deal. Actually, call Ctein and he'll confirm.

Mike: I believe you're permitted two simultaneous computer licenses with that CS6. (That's what I still use, btw.) You may have to log-in to Adobe's site to check your license status and release one to enable your laptop. Failing that you can temporarily disable your home license before you leave on a trip, thus enabling you to enable your traveling computer license.

This might have changed with the advent of the cloud version, but I doubt it.

Mike: I share your pain - I've been there as well. However, I believe there's a cheaper solution than the one you mention. Bizarrely, if you take the 'Photographer' Creative Cloud bundle - PhotoShop + Lightroom - it's cheaper than a single-product licence for just Photoshop. At least, that's how it works in the UK - £17.15 a month for PS, or £8.57 a month for PS + LR - and I understand there's a similar arrangement in the US. You don't have to actually *use* LR. of course.....

1) Contact Adobe support regarding your CS6 license. Explain that you forgot to deactivate the license on a computer that is no longer in service. They are often able to resolve licensing issues satisfactorily.

2) If you are unable to resolve the CS6 issue, the monthly cost for a Creative Cloud subscription to Lightroom and Photoshop is $10, not $30. The $30 price is for the complete suite (with Illustrator, Premiere, etc.).

BTW, Photoshop CC + Lightroom costs only $10/month.

I will probably find that I'm the 300th commenter to say this, but I believe that the Adobe license allows you to install and use two copies of CS6 on your computers, as long as only one copy is in use at a time.

You'll probably have to call Adobe to de-authorize some installation so that you can authorize the copies on your home desktop machine and your laptop.

Normally you can de-authorize a copy from within Photoshop when you need to use it on a different computer, but if you forget to de-authorize and you wipe that drive or otherwise make that copy of Photoshop unavailable, it takes a phone call. At least that was my experience.

Photoshop with Lightroom is $10 a month if you check their website. You can ignore Lightroom and just download Photoshop CC. Works well for me. You could sign up now, download it to your laptop, then download it again on your desktop if need be.

(if this is the 10 billionth comment on this you can toss it)

Try Photoshop Elements. It costs less than $100. I don't understand why so many people dismiss Elements (many who comment haven't tried it). I'm not good with software but I find Elements easy to use and it produces from images good enough for my images to be accepted into juried shows.

You can call Adobe "Customer Service", explain what happened, and they should reset your activation count.

They also have a "Photographer's Plan" for that Cloud thing that includes both Photoshop and Lightroom for $10/month.

Adobe has a plan for photographers which includes both Lightroom and Photoshop for $9.99/mo which isn't bad considering the price of upgrades etc.


I shifted to open source software some 8 years ago and so have been using "GIMP", a free image editing software. Photoshop does not run on Linux, the open source OS.
GIMP cannot hold a candle to Photoshop but still it meets my needs. That is because my needs are minimal.
It would be worth trying GIMP out. After all it does not cost anything to download it and use. It is completely free and is available for almost all OSs. It might come handy when you are pushed to a corner. It does not take up too much space on your system. May be just a few MBs. Think of it. I am proud to be part of the open source community.

I don't know where you got the $30/month for Photoshop cloud service but I just visited Adobe and it still costs $10 per month and includes Lightroom.

You can also try it for 30 days free.

I know there are people out there that hate the subscription model, but Adobe's $9.99 / month photographers plan is a good solution for this. $120 a year gets you access to Photoshop and Lightroom on two different computers. The way I look at it, it's not much more than I used to pay for the yearly Photoshop updates, plus I don't have to mess with that whole one license per computer problem anymore. And you can even install it on whatever Windows / Mac machines you like, rather than dealing with different licenses for different platforms.

My only worry is that Adobe will start hiking the price up at some point, but so far it hasn't happened.

Pretty sure you could get Ps and Lr combined for 9.99/mo which afaik allows use on up to two machines i.e. a laptop and a desktop, plus you get the app for use on the iPad.

But I agree with you this whole concept of rents applied to tools is regressive. Perhaps Canon would like me to pay rent for my camera now?

The Creative Cloud license for photographers is $10/month, and gets you the latest Photoshop CC 2014, the latest Lightroom release, and all future updates. It's well worth it for me, as that's less money than I was spending on LR updates and the every-other-release PS updates.

I may be misunderstanding you, Mike, but ...
Your CS6 license allows you to activate Photoshop on two computers, so you can use it on both your home desktop and your travel laptop. But perhaps you're saying that you did not deactivate it from a previous computer? If you still have the previous computer, just turn it on and deactivate CS6 on that computer, then activate it on your newer laptop.

If you don't have the old computer anymore, call Adobe customer service -- they should be able to sort you out.

Also, you can subscribe to Photoshop CC and Lightroom together for $10/month -- it's called the Creative Cloud Photography Plan.

Call Adobe support. They are usually pretty decent about re-setting your license in a situation like you are in.

This is what has all but killed my interest in digital photography. I bought PS CS and one upgrade (CS6) just before they killed it. Oh by the way they did not mention that it was going away when I bought it. Not very nice folks at Adobe....I had been using PS Elements up to that point and it really did most of what I wanted to do, so I saved up and bought the PS CS program.
However in the end, it did not do all that much more for me. So I have I learned a lot about trusting in big companies from all of this. I have even stopped carrying a camera with me. I have also gotten a lot smarter about how I spend my money these days. I apologize for coming off as an old grump, but at 75 I am.
I have done some right things thanks to my wife's help, we are retired and we own our own home in sunny San Diego, California, and I can still ride my road bike 25 miles in under 2 hours. ( 1hr 45 min.) So the stuff that really counts is good. So Mike keep plodding forward and things will work out just fine. I am sure that there is a photo editing program out there that will fill your needs, or one that is in the makings. I will get over it myself and return to
using my camera some day. My PS CS6 still works on this machine and has not died yet. As I always say to the really good folks out there "keep moving" so mike Keep Moving.............Skip

I think you can get cloud licenses for both Photoshop and Lightroom for just $10/month or just Photoshop for $20/month. $30/month is for the whole creative cloud suite of software for people who have CS3 or later.

It is a tax reduction since you are "in business". Pay it and enjoy your position.

I thought it was $10 a month plus tax for the Lightroom and Photoshop software. That is what I am paying and continue to pay. They have several plans and one does cost $30. That plan gives you more software than just the 2 applications.

I find that Elements provides all the tools i need at a cheap enough price to update every few years for home computer and laptop. I bought a copy of Photoshop years ago but never needed all the features! I do only shoot JPEG's though!

The Photoshop CC and Lightroom package is only $9.99 a month.


Adobe allows you to license their programs on two computers. If you neglected to de-license Photoshop on your previous computer before getting rid of it, you at least removed it from your hard drive, so call Adobe and explain. They were very helpful when I had a similar situation a decade or so ago.

Have to point out that Adobe does offer the "Photographer's Plan" for Creative Cloud that bundles both Lightroom and Photoshop for $9.95 per month. Not a big fan of "rental" software but it does get you the essential photographer's tools for 1/3 the cost of the full Creative Cloud plans.

You can get Photoshop bundled with Lightroom for $19.95 a month; Photoshop CC by itself for $19.99 or the entire collection (PS, LR, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, etc) for $29.99/mo.

If like me you a lifelong learner, you can enroll in classes at a local community college and get the student bundle with Photoshop CC & Lightroom for $9.99/mo.

I'm not crazy about the SaaS (software as a service) model but it seems like that's the wave of the future unless enough people b**ch and moan enough that Adobe rethinks its pricing model.

But for $9.99/mo for Photoshop and Lightroom, its not such a bad deal. Caveat: If you cancel your subscription, Adobe disables the Developer Module so you can't do any edits. Sucks -- yeah

You should be able to uninstall CS6 and reinstall it on your new machine. You may need to contact Adobe for details. You can still buy a perpetual license for LR5 -- Photoshop CS6 is a different story though. Let us know how you make out. Good luck.

There's always GIMP -- it's free!


Hello Mike

Your problem with Photoshop has caught many out. I would like to think that a call to Adobe would get a helpful response - at least it should at the prices they charge! Worth trying?

Your blog is refreshingly varied in the topics covered. A must read for me here in the UK - and a much needed antidote to the political blather of our upcoming election. Great stuff.

Best wishes


Unless they've changed something, your license lets you use one copy of PS on one desktop and one laptop—been that way since long before CS6 and you can still have two active computers with a CC subscription.

Others have probably already posted this, but the $30 per month rate you quoted is for the entire suite of Adobe programs. If all you use is Lightroom and/or Photoshop, the rate is $9.99 per month.

If that rate is also not acceptable, I can recommend Picture Window Pro as a reasonably priced alternative that is - at least in my opinion - an excellent alternative. I've been using it since the late nineties and it had 16-bit editing for everything long before Photoshop introduced it for a limited number of functions.

The PWP user interface is different from Photoshop but the results are worth the learning curve, in my opinion. BTW, I really like Lightroom, but I have never cared for Photoshop. Different strokes for different folks . . . :-)

- Tom -

Several years ago I commented the following:

I won't bore everybody with the figures - those who want to can just try visiting their respective Adobe sites and check the corresponding rip-offs concerning ALL PRODUCTS, against the US site - I'll just say that I've been grilling Adobe over this for some 5 years now and they've not bothered to do anything about it. I've told them time and again that their stupidity foments illegal downloading of their products to such an extent that I bet if Photoshop cost just a hundred dollars and everybody in the world who uses it had paid for it they'd be making more of a profit.

Only conclusion: they're great software artists but complete idiots when it comes to selling the stuff.

Not only have they not taken heed of users' complaints but also persisted in their futile paranoid struggle against piracy. The end result has been to just exclude the likes of you and me from bothering any further.

Hey, Mike, don't despair. There are some really good PP options out there for the sort of PP you do. PS/CS is really a graphics arts program, and although you have become comfortable with it I think you know that you need very little of what it does.

Some of these options are free or nearly so. One of them is LightZone, www.lightzoneproject.org, which Doug Pardee and I helped rescue from the dead with the help of a bunch of other volunteers---you were an early supporter of LightZone if you recall, and it is better now. Totally free and open source, run by volunteers. If you try it be sure to download the latest beta for the most up-to-date raw profiles we have. (It's really not beta, I just haven't announced it yet as a public release) And there are other wonderful programs out there also. You'll like them, really!

Hi, Mike,

I'm very interested to follow your Adobe replacement software search. I am highly irritated that Adobe wants to stick us (me) with another monthly bill. I have resisted joining the pay-forever cult. Anytime you find something useful, please let us know. Good luck with your search.


Hello Mike,

Sorry to hear about your troubles. Have you tried contacting Adobe support? I had the same problem previously, but I contacted Adobe and they were able to deactivate the license associated with my previous installation. You'll need to have your serial number or Adobe ID handy, but that should get your problem resolved.

Good luck!
Joe Florez
@jflorez (twitter)

Link to Adobe Activation FAQ https://helpx.adobe.com/x-productkb/policy-pricing/activation-deactivation-products.html

I think a call to Adobe Tech support may be able to clear the old laptop license for use. Worth a try.

Michael wrote, "I'm not so adept with their electronic aspects that things come too easily to me that are difficult for many others, which is, ironically, a weakness of some "expert" reviewers. But it's why you've never read a review of software written by me on this site.

There are two important components of photo editing software -- what it does and how the user makes it do what it does. Who better than a non-engineer to write about the joy or anguish of turning bits into beautiful photographs?

Why not disable the licenses for the computer(s) you no longer use? If you don't have them any longer speak with Adobe. I have to believe they'd be willing to disable those licenses for you, which would then allow you to use CS6 on both a desktop and notebook.

I have no plans on subscribing to Adobe's service. I'll use a different software package if it comes to that.

For the Mac you might try Affinity Photo, from long-time PC software developers (and recent outstanding debutant Mac developers) Serif:


It’s currently in beta but already very _very_ good, and when released will be available on the app store which has a slightly more flexible licensing model. It won’t be expensive. Affinity Designer, their first package, is an absolutely outstanding debut effort; they really get the Mac.

Just break down and subscribe to Adobe CC. I protested too but in the end Adobe has been stable and fairly benevolent so now I'm placated. It doesn't cost anymore than the old updates, in some cases it comes out to less, and you know it will run with the latest machines.

I did switch to saving my master files as TIFs rather than proprietary PSDs just in case Adobe got medieval ;-p

Frankly I'm puzzled as to why a solid competitor has yet to emerge? Everything I've seen either has a bizarre interface, lacks high bit-depth support, or lacks some critical feature. I guess Adobe must have locked up some key patents, chalk up another for the lawyers.

Call Adobe and explain the situation. They can probably help. OTOH, $9.99/month for PS & LR is less than I used to pay on average for PS upgrades. And for you, it's deductible.

You should call Adobe customer service and explain your problem. They will likely enable you to use your existing license on your laptop.

I'm not sure if it's still valid, but after I subscribed Adobe offered a free license and upgrade to CS6. You might check around their site.

Mike, this may be moot because you have subscribed, but I do believe the Adobe EULA (End User License Agreement) allows two Installs (usually Desktop/ Laptop) for the registered owner, and there may be some language about simultaneous use.
So with CS6 you should be covered and adobe will usually re-credit you with an authorization if you explain the mishap.

I hate the Idea of rental software, but understand why Adobe wants it.
I'm still using CS5 and own lightroom 5 (although I dislike the lightroom interface)
You should also look at Capture One

As an early adopter of the Adobe Creative Cloud I can testify that it has worked faultlessly. However, I'm also paying nearly twice just for Photoshop what I see you can now get Lightroom and Photoshop bundled for. It doesn't seem to be much of a way to reward my loyalty. I shall be putting that to Adobe.

I neglected to mention that I used my licensed copy on both my laptop and desktop as long as it was not concurrent and connected on my network. Apparently, it is "aware".

You could try GIMP. It's free and does most of what Photoshop does. I've been using it for 10 years and find that any photo I can't tweak to my satisfaction using GIMP is probably better discarded.

I'll start by saying I've never had to do this, but when Adobe started their 2 system limit on Photoshop, there was a lot of discussion about how this would break in the case where a computer failed before you could remove the license.

It was pointed out that you could install a version of Photoshop as a trial and use it for 30 days (Is this still the case?). During those 30 days, you would have time to contact Adobe and get them to remove the license from the no longer working computer remotely.

I would call Adobe and see if you can get a license for your laptop before you give up on Photoshop.


I'm also a dedicated Photoshop user with no intentions to change. My workflow is Shoot RAW > Adobe Bridge CS > Camera RAW > Photoshop CS (and often as not Silver Efex). Which is all old school these days, but it suits me.

I've been a Photoshop CS subscriber for a year or so, and I consider it well worth the $9.95 a month.

A casual check of the forums indicates that the Adobe EULA will allow the installation of CS on two computers, with the only gotcha being that the two copies NOT BE USED SIMULTANEOUSLY. De-Activation should not be necessary. See section 2.1.3 of the EULA.

That should not be a problem if your laptop is primarily a 'traveling'

My iPad (avec Logitech keyboard/cover, which I've written about before) is my travel computer. When I blog while traveling, the majority of the photos I post are done with the iPhone and processing in Camera+ is adequate. I sometimes use the free Phoptoshop App. If I do post something from the 'big' camera (Sony RX-10) the clunky but perfectly functional Sony Play Memories app does fine bringing photos into the Pad.

I don't miss full Photoshop on the road. Serious images wait until I'm home in the office/digital darkroom because, for me, the end stage of the process is still a print - and there's no way I'm going to haul the big Epson around with me.

Actually from hiome in Mendocino - Leaving for New Orleans in 2 weeks

Mike, even if you don't need to do so for yourself it might be appreciated by many of your readers if you did try to contact Adobe about your software activation problem. Although several people have reported success in dealing with similar issues in the past I'm sure many of us are wondering if, with their new mandatory "subscription" system, Adobe is no longer quite so helpful to users who want to keep their old software running.

Thirty dollars a month is insanity for non-pro users.

There are surprising alternatives though. Pielmator. And one very pretty one on a dark background. I forget the name now, but ... Acorn, maybe?
Gimp also is a classic, never tried it.
There are lots of articles comparing apps.

Hi Mike,

As others have pointed out it should be possible to get Adobe to remedy your situation. To bad they don't do what Apple does with iTunes authorization. Without human intervention, one can de-authorize all computers and then re-authorize just the ones one needs now.
While I have had lots to complain about with respect to Adobe over the years (including pre-Photoshop) I still think Photoshop is the best piece of software I have ever used. I've been using computers since 1961 and Photoshop only since 1991. The first time I used Photoshop (version 2.0) I thought it was magical. I installed it on a black-or-white Mac PoweBook 100 with a whopping 4 megabytes of RAM and a full 19 megabytes of disk space. I didn't expect Photoshop to install let alone run, but it did everything I asked it to do! That includes printing a colour file as colour separations. I don't believe Photoshop has crashed on me more than perhaps five times in 24 years. I don't use nearly all the features available, but everything I do use works pretty much as I would want it too.

The subscription model has some problems, though I don't know if they apply to Photoshop. I have Apple's iTune cloud thing which lets them copy all my music (I have a couple tunes) and listen to it on all of my computers, but guess what -- it assumes that you ALWAYS have the internet, and it must initialize your iTunes every time you use it. Want to listen to the tunes on your laptop during a flight on a regional plane without wifi? Tough luck. Want to listen to it in Europe, in a hotel without wifi? Tough luck. Moving, and don't have your wifi set up yet? Tough. Drives me crazy, because I've done all of that. If you want to listen to music without wifi, you have to put it into the computer the old-fashioned way, one CD at a time, for each computer. I think when I subscribed to Photoshop/Lightroom, they said that they don't have to initialize it every time, but since I only use it in one place, and always have wifi, I'm not sure about that.

A couple of people have mentioned that for you, the cost is deductible, and I'm sure it is; and I have no idea how much money you make annually, but I suspect that the "deductible" will not save you enough money to buy a pizza and Cokes for S. and yourself. Deductibility for most people is an illusion.

Dear Folks,

Skimming, so I may have missed someone already saying this, but...

You can turn the $10 monthly subscription to PS&LRCC on and off, as you need it. So, if you only want them sporadically or for limited periods, you don't have to pay for months when you don't.

As for access to your files when you're not subscribed, at the present time PSD CC files are almost 100% back-compatible with PS CS6. There are some obscure blending modes and smart object features that won't back-translate (no, I don't have a list), but for 99% of you (and for me), you can do work in Photoshop CC, save your file to your hard drive, open it up in Photoshop CS6, and it'll behave exactly the same way.

Obviously the further back you go in Photoshop generations the less compatibility you'll have, and at some point CC will diverge enough from CS6 that something you care about will stop being back-compatible, but for now it's not a big deal.

pax / Ctein

An alternative to the Adobe subscription is a $10/month subscription to Phase One's Capture One Pro 8. I understand that there will be the switching cost of learning new software but you may find that it works better for you.

Hi Mike, a friend and I visited New England last fall and made a little road/rail/photo trip. Unfortunately we missed Rockingham, but I found the simple elegance of those old wooden buildings we saw elsewhere in New England one of the highlights of our week there. A favorite picture I took home is of one in a little hamlet in the White Mountians: http://nickmeertens.blogspot.nl/2014/10/public-library-chatham-nh.html

You're lucky to have a local guide :-)

Best, Nick

I'm about to give up on my objections to the subscription model. It's certainly good for the firm and the investors like it.
As others have said, it might be worth you giving LR another spin? I really like it a lot and only use PS when I must.

Photoshop Elements and the NIK plugins work great for me. I just don't need the power of CS or the desire to wade through Lightroom.

Working in a camera store, fairly high end and specialised, with a similar outlook on computers as yourself (a needed tool but not obsession), I find the battle between over reliance and over use of computer programmes rather than better photographic technique ongoing.
Photography at the taking end has not (and never will) fundamentaly changed in its needs, but the relationship of pre and post photographic effort has (or at least the perception of).

Mike, "Creative Cloud" part of Adobe subscription is quite low quality. I had problems with activation of PS and LR during 12 months until they seemed to fix this recently. I have to use script and remove whole cache, then re-register to start the tool. They don't require 100% connection and I was able to use LR in Europe, but this whole set of "Creative Cloud Management" tools is just plain ugly, in Windows computer it opens numerous processes and takes way too much resources.

Cloud based software is completely useless for me. I regularly am in places where net contact is either unavailable or very slow or very expensive. (Central Australia for one).These tend to be places where I am shooting lots of images and I want to process as i go. I loathe having piles of images to be worked through weeks after a shoot. I'll be very interested to see which way you go Mike.
PS, any Photoshop replacements that can give me 16 bit files and LAB colour would be of interest.

Some great suggestions here. You could also download a 30-day demo copy of Capture One 8.2, which, BTW, does one of the best jobs converting Fuji X-Trans RAW files. It also supports adjustment layers, which Lightroom does not.

If your in VT stop by the studio here in Pawlet VT... I'm in the studio most of this week printing....

Stephen Schaub

Hi Mike, You seem to have a large number of Adobe Salesmen who read your site ;-)

Ps is Graphic Design software. Most of it's features are of little use to most photographers. For-instance, how often do you use "clipping paths" to prepare a photo for use on TOP?

There are lots of good, inexpensive, simple, easy-to-use software out there. They could be a good source for future TOP articles.

BTW DAM is a PITA I have no use for. I'd rather use multiple Customer folders that contain a folder for each Job.

Oh, I want to add one more point:

When Adobe first announced the $10/month Photoshop subscription plan, I did the math by going back to the very first copy of Photoshop that I paid for many years ago, adding up all the upgrades I paid for over the years, and dividing by the number of months of total ownership over all those years. (And I didn't skip any upgrades.)

It worked out to slightly more than $10 a month.

That's when I gave in and subscribed.

Beware Adobe's "first year" pricing.
I signed up for their student and teacher creative cloud at $179/year (for the first year) but have just been billed $299 in advance for a 2nd year without any warning, any invoice or any contact at all from Adobe.
They are still advertising the original price on the web without any reference to the large bump in prices for subsequent years. I am typing this while on hold with customer service.

Dear John,

The CC subscription code in Photoshop works EXACTLY the same way as the activation code worked in Photoshop CS4-6. It doesn't require a constant (or even frequent) connection. The only difference is that at the end of a CC subscription interval the activation times out and has to be re-initialized, which is what a renewal does.

There's a certain amount of grace built into the CC timeout, so if you're off somewhere un-Internettable, your software doesn't instantly go dead on you.

Yeah, on the deductability thing. Listen, folks, all "business deductable" means is that you get a discount equal to the marginal tax rate on your income, plus saving about 14% on self-employed social security. So, for most folks, who are in the 25% bracket, "business deductable" is kinda like getting a 40% discount.

That's all very nice, but you're still paying out the 60%. "deductable" doesn't mean "free," just means "costs less."

pax / Ctein

There is a worthy competitor to Photoshop: onOne's Perfect Photo Suite 9. v9.5 is coming very soon with a luminosity mask feature (to give you an idea of the program's sophistication.) I have been using PPS for about a year, and it has almost completely supplanted PS in my workflow. It is very powerful and much easier to learn and use. The one proviso that I would add is that PPS is designed to work on converted files. It can do raw conversions, but I would not recommend it. So you still need a raw convertor. ACR fans can get that via Photoshop Elements. Non-fans can use whatever raw convertors they normally use.

Don't know if it is still in effect, but you used to be able to download CS2 for free from the Adobe site.

Eolake: "thirty dollars a month" might be the full CC package. That's far more than just Photoshop: you get to use several thousand dollars' worth of software spanning video and still editing, illustration, web, digital and print design and publishing.

Can't believe not one commenter has mentioned your photo yet, which I think is one of the better ones you've posted -- and certainly one of the more interesting, evocative "architectural" pics I've seen lately. Reminds me a bit of Walker Evans, both the subject matter and the full frontal approach (or rather, full side approach?). I love a lot about this photo -- the contrast between the fallen headstones and the upright windows (strongly suggestive of headstones), the overall tonality, the way you've counter-balanced the almost ethereal glare on roof left with the solidity and specificity of the tombstone on the right. But maybe the reason I'm so taken (even a little haunted!) by it is because of its portrait-like quality, and all the accompanying intimations of mortality, including even it's "seasonality." Whether you used PS 6 or PS CC or whatever the heck it took, I'm just glad you got it out there into the world. Now make yourself a nice pigment print (or ten) on fiber-based baryta paper... and be glad.

Gee, Mike,
That photo of the Meeting House - that's some good seeing there. What a fine example of how you see black and white. I really like it.

I am running CS-5. I am no longer online at home to protect the computer and its drives. The lack of upgrades is an issue, especially on their reverse engineering of the camera softwares for raw image processing. If you do not have the new profiles it effectively means your new camera of 2015 may not have readable files types in the older photoshop. I wanted to upgrade to a new Canon for IR photography. So my ability to read the files could be an issue. An Adobe is not offering us non-online users a home based product other than Elements. What if Elements goes away too?

"I attended Dartmouth . . . just after then-College-President John Kemeny, a former research assistant to Albert Einstein, had instituted universal student access to the college mainframes, the first college in the United States to do so if I recall correctly."

Ahh, when? I arrived in Hanover for my freshman year in September, 1965, when John Kemeny was chairman of the Math Department. All students already had access to the DTSS mainframe, which was located in the basement of the administration building. (I forget the name of the building, but it was next door to Robinson Hall. This was a couple of years before the Kiewit computer center was built.) During my time at Dartmouth, you used your student ID number to log in; no password required. I took courses that included BASIC programming from both Kemeny and Tom Kurtz. Kemeny was already predicting that computer access and use would become ubiquitous, although he assumed a time-sharing model since nobody in those days envisioned the development of the microprocessor.

Really nice photograph, Mike.

another plug for gimp.

Another vote for Pixelmator. You will feel right at home since the interface is a clone of Photoshop's, it seems Adobe didn't or couldn't get that patented.

Mike,try Affinity Photo.

I have both PS and LR, but I recently switched to Capture One which I find has more sharpness and richer fine details (I only work in b/w). I use a Sony A7R and the Capture One deal is €23 plus tax for a restricted-to sony version. The price was € 23,- plus tax. Not per month!

@ John Camp there are two ways to use iTunes Match. The way you are using it your music is stored in "the cloud", i.e., on Apple's servers and not on your device. When you tap on a song or a playlist or album the music streams from Apple's server to your device and yes, you need to be on either wifi or use your cellular connection. Your music takes up no space on your device.

Alternatively choose an album, song or playlist and tap on the little cloud with downward pointing red arrow next to the song, album or playlist you want and the song, album or playlist will download onto any of your Apple devices. Of course to download to your device you need to be connected to wifi or a cellular network at the time of download. Once downloaded you can play that song, album or playlist when you're no longer on wifi or cellular though the music is then stored on that device and uses memory.

That is really nice light Mike! It makes me want to drive around Vermont with a camera. (Instead I think I'll go for a walk. It's the time of year when I find this kind of ice.

As for Creative Cloud, I moved on from my debilitating fury around the issue and subscribed to the Photoshop CC plan over a year ago. My overall feeling about Photoshop is that it usually gets better each upgrade, I use it constantly, and I want it to be the best I can get. The price of the current deal is no worse, probably better, than what I was paying before. I almost always upgraded every cycle. There are some longstanding bugs (one I find in the save for web dialog in my web work goes back to at least CS5) that they ignore, but overall they do seem to be doing great work still on this best of class application.

I was so mad about the cloud model I could hardly spit straight, for a good while after they did it. My anger was fueled by distrust, and while the anger has cooled, and I'm using the thing, I still feel queasy with the lack of trust. It's not the same Adobe of the Knolls and Nack. Our beautiful imaging experience may not be the first thing on their minds.

There are a few areas of concern. First, we are still hostage to the model. Others include Adobe's Keystone Cops approach to security, and their data-mining business. With something like Little Snitch you'll see that anything from Adobe is phoning home, but worse, their ownership of Omniture has them near the top of the big data slurping and sifting monsters.

I'll see you in the cloud for now, and let's find something else someday.

I resisted at first, then for $10/month that's only a couple of IPA's I will have to give up (but haven't!). It is also effortless, auto updates and no screwing around so it is worth it. ALSO, love the image. The meeting house use to be one of the stops for Zone VI workshops with Fred Picker.

I too subscribed to the Photographer's bundle of LR and PS for £10 a month (note the price in the UK). However, I calculated the cost of incremental LR upgrades for new cameras plus the individual license cost of CS6 and concluded the price difference was not that great.

I now do the same with MS office, mainly because I can use it on up to 5 machines - which is actually very cost effective if there is more than one of you in the family.

But the kicker is that if any of my hardware, such as my Surface, goes AWOL, I get a replacement machine. To reinstall CC and Office takes about 30 minutes, and the previous sub is automatically disabled.

In the end I caved. I no longer use 1 computer. With multiple machines, a single subscription is easier to monitor, and the price (for now) is quite reasonable.

Try Pixelmator. It's a pain trying new software, I hate doing it myself, but if you want to break the Photoshop addiction, you have to take that first step and try something else. :)

I don't like the subscription model either, btw. I don't stay at the bleeding edge and like stable platforms. I know, I know, I'm a dinosaur, but I also don't believe in committing myself long-term to some company or other whose software is difficult to learn. And I'm sick of hearing people tell me that $10 per month (for the moment), in perpetuity, isn't expensive. I'll decide what's expensive, thanks.

There's an Adobe promotion on at the moment where you can get 12 months at 15% off the monthly $9.99 for LR and PS if you're a Fuji customer:


Lovely picture.

Excellent B&W photo of the Meeting House – I love it!

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