Adobe CC Pricing

Updated (see end for two updates to this article)

It started in other regions and countries, but now appears to be fully in place in the US, as well: the old US$10/month Lightroom/Photoshop Creative Cloud plan with 20GB of cloud data is no longer available not shown to new users who come in via the Creative Cloud page (which is what is above the fold on the main Adobe page)

bythom adobe cc

From that page you can now only sign up for Lightroom CC (not the desktop Classic CC) with 1TB of cloud storage for US$10/month. Or you can get Photoshop CC and Lightroom Classic CC together with 1TB of cloud storage for US$20/month. (You can also get Photoshop CC alone with curiously only 100GB of cloud storage for US$20/month, which obviously makes no sense.)

In essence, for new users that get caught in this Web site trap the Photography Plan doubled in price from US$10 to US$20 a month, and for that you got an increase from 20GB to 1TB of storage in the process. (By comparison, Apple and Google charge US$10/month for 2TB of cloud storage.)

Those who have the original US$10/20GB CC plans appear to be currently left alone and grandfathered for the moment (and as I note at the end of this article, there's a way to get to the old pricing). You should go to adobe.com, log into your account, select Manage Account from the user account menu (funny blue icon), and see what your current plan information says. Since I'm on a pre-paid annual plan that isn't due to expire for quite some time, I'm curious to see what happens in the future. But currently, my account information says that it will renew automatically and the next far-in-the-future payment will be the old US$10/month charge. I suspect that may change at some point, so I'm going to keep watching. 

Coupled with the upcoming change to macOS that will make my old Creative Suite 4 apps no longer work, I currently plan to keep one older machine off the Internet and running Photoshop CS4 rather than retiring it. That's not an optimal solution, as I have many cameras that CS4 won't recognize, and there are CC features that I've come to rely on.

Quite obviously, Adobe—and for that matter, all the subscription services out there—wants more money from their current user base. That usually happens when the user base stops growing (or stops growing as fast as they'd like in order to look good to Wall Street). Just as obviously, that's going to generate more folk who decide to do without a subscription. Given that many of the serious photographers on the old CC plan are aging and moving into retirement, thus any doubling of the price isn't going to fly with them. That will eventually generate demand for "alternatives."

A Macintosh user, for example, could go with something like the US$40 NeoFinder for the database/catalog functions, and then buy another product for their raw conversion and editing. Anything from Photoshop Elements (currently US$70 at B&H on sale) to something advanced with a perpetual license, such as Capture One Pro 12 (currently US$300). Let's see, US$340 (NeoFinder and Capture One Pro) divided by US$20, that means that you'd be in the black in 17 months compared to subscribing to the new CC. Of course, you wouldn't have any cloud storage ;~).

Update: Someone pointed out to me that if you know the right URL to go to or start from, the US$10/month Lightroom/Photoshop/20GB plan is still available. Here's that URL. It's coming at things from the main Adobe Creative Cloud page that you end up without that option and the higher price. Frankly, anyone that ends up signing up via that CC page has a very viable beef with Adobe. Curiously, it does not appear that we have a federal law against advertising two different prices like that.  

Further Update: Adobe's official response: "From time to time, we run tests on Adobe.com which cover a range of items, including plan options that may or may not be presented to all visitors to Adobe.com. We are currently running a number of tests on Adobe.com. The plan can be purchased here, via phone at 1-800-585-0774 or via major retailers." 

Translation: We're seeing how many suckers will buy the plan with more storage at twice the price if they think it's the only option available. While this kind of marketing may not be technically illegal (due to the change in storage capacity, which makes it a different product), it is immoral. When we ran pricing tests in the magazine business, we always gave any responder the lowest price we offered to anyone. In Adobe's case, they should be making sure that anyone that signs up at the US$20/month rate knows that there is a very similar US$10/month version they can opt for. Anything less is immoral, IMHO. 

Moreover, I think Adobe's response is likely deceptive in another way. They use the word "test." I don't believe this is actually a test (otherwise they'd let people know there was another option when they sign up). When I first wrote this article several weeks ago, it did indeed appear to be some sort of test, as very few people were seeing the restricted offer. I just happened to be one of the first. Now it appears that quite a few people, maybe even most, are seeing the restricted offer, meaning that Adobe likely expanded the "test" from some sort of n-type sampling—the usual method used in pricing tests—to something more generalized. Given Adobe's huge push into marketing databases, I'd bet that they're looking at cookies and then finding that person in their nationwide database, then making a decision about whether they should give them the sucker offer or the best offer.

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