Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5 for $9.99/mo . . . But There’s a Catch


One of the biggest criticisms since Adobe killed perpetual licenses and forced Creative Cloud memberships on users who want access to future versions of Photoshop has been the price. The full Creative Cloud subscription that includes all the apps runs $50/mo. Single apps, like Photoshop CC, run $20/mo.

Jimmy Beltz and I discussed this very issue during a live cast shortly after the launch of Creative Cloud. I believe it was Jimmy that came up with the suggestion of offering Photoshop CC and Lightroom for a combined price of $10/mo.

Well, that is just what Adobe has done.

Today at Photoshop World, Adobe announced that customers who own a previous version of Photoshop or Photoshop Extended, version CS3 or later (CS3.x, CS4, CS5.x, or CS6) are eligible for the “Photoshop photography program” through Creative Cloud.

There are a few catches though, which you’ve probably already picked up on.

First, you have to have a valid license of Photoshop CS3 or later. Second, you have to commit to one-year terms. Third, it is only available until December 31, 2013.

If you cancel later and want to join back up, you have to pay the full rate.

This price is not a special introductory price for your first year only; it is the standard price for this level of membership. But if you cancel your membership in the future, you will not be able to re-join at this special price. -Adobe CC FAQ

What about customers who don’t have a Photoshop CS3 or later license? (For example, Photoshop Elements users who want to step up to a more serious offering…?)

It appears that there is no Photoshop photography program other than this one. It’s not like you can get Photoshop and Lightroom at a non-discounted rate like $20/mo. combined cost.

No. It appears that if you do not have a CS3 or later license as a past customer, then you have to pay the standard $20/mo per app. That’s $20/mo for Photoshop and $20/mo for Lightroom.

Frankly, I see this as less of Adobe taking care of photographers and more as a pacifier to those who were part of the vocal outcry when Creative Cloud killed perpetual licenses earlier this year. If this move proves anything, it is that Adobe is entrenched in the Creative Cloud and shows no signs of bringing perpetual licenses back to photographers or other creative pros.

$10 per month is a deal. It’s just not one everyone can have. And if you want it, you better get it now before it’s gone.



    • Barb Smith says

      No thanks. I have CS6 but am unwilling to chain myself to a product any more deeply than I have. Now I am wondering if even going with Photoshop was a mistake. Thinking about PSP.

  1. Anthony says

    Anyone who thinks PSP will be enough for them probably never needed Photoshop CS in the first place.

    • Jim L says

      Anthony… its a fact that 80% of Adobe Photoshop users don’t use 80% of the program so you just might be right. If you can use PSP and/or AfterShot Pro instead of Lightroom, you probably never needed Adobe in the first place. 80% of us agree. photoshop is the best, fastest and most efficient but to 80% of us that does not warrant $20/month when we can get what we need for no monthly charge. i will probably use Photoshop and Lightroom version 5 in both cases along with my Corel programs for many years but I will never pay a monthly fee for software. That is insulting and should be illegal.

      • says

        I don’t use 80% of the features in Photoshop but the 20% I DO use is fabulous. I have yet to find another program that offers most of the features I DO need.

  2. Geno T says

    Even if they offered it at $1 a month… what might it jump to next year when they have you? $10 a month is still more than I was paying to upgrade every couple of years… almost by twice. And I OWNED the upgrades. Adobe. Go away.

    • says

      You would not subscribe if it cost $1?
      I suppose this is the same attitude people took when the car companies introduced Leasing. And yet, millions of people now lease their cars, instead of buying them. In spite of the fact that buying is a much! better deal in the long run. (Granted, I think the long term cost of subscribing to CC will be too high, but I bit the bullet and subscribed for a year.)

  3. sjms says

    this I will bite on. my cs6 license will remain intact so I have a fall back. its the spot that I would fin it acceptable which is pretty much where the new upgrades would have cost for newer versions. I’d rather pay on a yearly basis rather then monthly though.

    • says

      The one thing I really like about Photoshop CC is that they will provide updates anytime some new feature becomes available. Not just once a year or so, when a new version of Photoshop is introduced.

  4. Adam says

    Sorry Adobe, but you won’t have me in your prison. There are still bugs in previous versions and you force me to be your prisoner for the rest of my days. Adobe is like Stalin. And we have Stalin.

  5. Darren says

    I want the anti shake filter. I might actually sign up for this to get that single filter, but I will do the trial for 30 days first to see how we’ll it works.

    Adobe is still screwing up in my view. I would have paid the usual upgrade for a CS7, but not likely do the whole thing


  6. Jerry says

    Not now at any price! Adobe has shot themselves in the foot and is just now coming to realize their stupidity. Photoshop CS6 is fine, goodby Adobe!

  7. says

    Geez, why all the complaining? For the past four or five years, I’ve been buying the Adobe Creative Suite Academic Master Collection for around $900. Updating all those programs the old-fashioned way was a pain. Now I “rent” the same thing for $240/year, which means I get it for 3.75 years at the same price as before. No version of any boxed software was ever up-to-date for that length of time and–with the new Adobe Application Manager–updates are now a breeze.
    Since the non-academic price of the Master Collection used to be around $2000, even at the professional’s price of $50/month you still get more than 3 years of usage. And, individually, professional PS CS6 usually sold for around $450, which means that at the current $20/month you get to use a totally up-to-date version for almost 2 years before investing the same amount of money.
    It’s a great deal! And you get to choose each year whether you want to continue taking advantage of it. Of course, the rental price will probably go up after the 1-year contract. What else in life doesn’t?
    P.S. I do wish Adobe would offer the Photoshop/Lightroom combo to totally new users. Maybe they’ll hear us and change their minds.

  8. says

    I subscribed to Photoshop CC at $10 per month … and now they come up with this better deal. (I own CS6.) What they do not say is whether they will automatically add Lightroom to my subscription.

  9. says

    Just contacted Adobe – we have to wait until the 17th of this month and then start this new subscription; and then cancel an existing CC membership so as not to pay the cancellation fee. A bit convoluted and it does make me nervous.

  10. says

    Adobe – Goodbye! The idea of not being able to open or use your files if you quit… Not a good one… I will never rent a software with those terms. It’s not a price issue…!!

  11. Terry says

    Adobe has opened up the $9.99/mo rate to everyone…. until Dec 2. How kind of them!

    For professionals the rental arrangement is probably not a problem. They are making money every month from their photographic work, but for amateurs it is a unacceptable to pay whatever they demand every month “forever”.

    I hope this troubling rental approach will encourage some other companies to step into the void and provide solutions that can be purchased.