Well Adobe’s Creative Cloud announcement has certainly had a reaction! There are a lot of photographer’s being understandably vocal about the changes. Are Adobe listening? Er, yes, they can’t miss it!
In a dpreview interview, Winston Hendrickson (VP of Creative Solutions) said “[we know there’s] currently there’s not a lot of photography-specific value in our subscription products”. Adobe clearly knows that they have a LOT of work to do to win back photographers. But to be honest, that could be the best result possible for us as users.
“I’m taking my business elsewhere”
I’m hearing a lot of people saying “I’m taking my business elsewhere” or “I’m looking for alternative software”, but the reality is, you won’t hurt Adobe by shooting yourself in the foot. Your current software has been working, and will continue to do so. You’ve already paid for it, and you know how to use it. Lightroom meets most of our needs as photographers, so if you don’t like the changes, hold fire and stick with CS6 for the moment. Adobe have promised to continue supporting CS6 for the next Windows/Mac operating systems, and make ACR8 available for CS6 with new camera support and Lightroom 5’s Edit in Photoshop compatibility. So even if you don’t like the idea of subscription, there’s no rush to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.
A New Playing Field for Developers
These changes have just completely opened up the playing field. Other developers are going to jump on it and make the most of it. Some will do well and some will fail. I would suggest that now’s not the time to be making reactive decisions about your future photography software. Adobe are no longer the only game in town, and they’re going to have to work really hard to make their software great value, if they want to get photographers on board again in the future. That’s a great thing for us as users. And if they don’t do it, then we’ll be in a far better position to see which developers ARE then meeting our needs. The playing field will change significantly over the next year or two, so it makes far more sense to take a deep breath, sit tight and see who comes out in front.
There’s been some confusion over whether Lightroom’s going subscription-only in the future. In the dpreview interview, Bryan O’Neill Hughes (Photoshop Senior Product Manager) said “We don’t have plans to make Lightroom a subscription-only option but we do envision added functionality for CC members using Lightroom.” Yikes, what did he mean by that?! There hasn’t been an official announcement on that yet, but logic would suggest he was referring iPad/tablet/cloud facilities that Tom previewed on The Grid last week, which of course would require some kind of cloud subscription, otherwise it wouldn’t work! That doesn’t mean the Lightroom perpetual license software is about to be dumbed down or hobbled.
EDIT – I’ve just had confirmation that Bryan’s comment was a mistake and there won’t be a different CC version of Lightroom. The future iPad/tablet/cloud facilities might not even be linked to Creative Cloud.
Hold that thought…
The software you already own has been working just fine, and Lightroom 5’s looking like a great perpetual license upgrade, so there’s no reason to throw our toys out of the pram and look elsewhere yet. They’ve heard the reaction. Let’s hang tight and see what Adobe does next before making any decisions.