Since Adobe announced their Creative Cloud subscription-only business model, I’ve been saying the same thing again and again — “… the deal just isn’t there for photographers yet.”

Well, that all changed during the opening keynote at Photoshop World last week in Vegas when Winston Hendrickson (Adobe’s Vice President of Engineering for Digital Imaging, and a serious sports photographer himself), announced a better deal than I was ever expecting: if you have any previous version of Photoshop (all the way back to CS3), you can get the combo of both Photoshop CC and Lightroom 5 for just $9.99 a month (as long as you take them up on the offer by Dec 31, 2013).

Much better than I was expecting
I had been talking with Adobe about a deal like this for photographers since they first announced the subscription-only plan, and the number I had been hearing was $19.99 for the two. I had been pulling for (and hoping) they would offer it at just $14.99 instead which I thought was a very fair price. $9.99 wasn’t even on my radar at all. When I heard, just a few days before the keynote, that they were going to offer both at $9.99 a month, I was pretty stunned. I never saw a price that low coming. That’s about 33¢ a day for Photoshop. And Lightroom. The latest versions. I know we waited a while for this deal, but at least it was worth the wait.

Doing The Math
To upgrade Photoshop to the latest version was usually $199. Lightroom’s yearly upgrade is around $79. That’s around $280 every 18th months to stay up to date. Now it’s just $180 over 18 months and you’re always on the latest version of both with all the latest features. Plus, you get 20GB of online storage (if you want it), and a Behance.com ProSite membership as well. The math works.

I’ve talked to a lot of photographers since the deal was announced last Wednesday, and they all really felt Adobe stepped up on this one, and that this was a more than fair deal. I totally agree.

So, how long does that price hold?
Forever! (OK, Adobe didn’t use the word “Forever” because there’s no way their lawyers would ever let them do that, so this is just me talking, but my understanding is they will hold that $9.99 rate for anyone who gets in on the program before that cutoff date, as long as they stay as subscribers. If they drop off at some point, and they want to come back into the program, they’ll have to come back at the regular price of $19.99. Again, that’s not Adobe talking, that’s just my understanding, but that is my understanding. That being said, I can’t image that in the year 2525, if man is still alive, that it won’t shoot up to $11.00 or $12.00 a month, but I believe they plan on holding it there for the foreseeable future).

I don’t have all the answers about specifics like “What if I’m already subscribed to Photoshop CC by itself?” or any of the myriad of questions existing subscribers might have, but Adobe published an FAQ with lots more details and specifics right here.

However, Here are five things I think you should know about this deal:

(1) Don’t let the word “Cloud” throw you off
You don’t run Photoshop or Lightroom in a browser (huge total myth). In fact, just forget the word “Cloud” altogether — think ” App store” instead, because the only time you’ll use your browser is to download Photoshop and Lightroom onto your computer, where they work and run just like always (unless you choose to use their online storage option).

(2) You don’t have to stay connected to the Internet
Another myth. It just checks once a month. One time. Just a few seconds.

(3) There is a difference between “Limited Time Offer” and an “Introductory Price.”
Adobe is making this deal available until the end of the year. That’s a “limited time offer” not to be confused with an “Introductory Price” which is a price that goes up at some point, like after a year (this deal doesn’t do that, but I’ve seen a lot of folks confusing the two). Also, a lot of folks didn’t realize that Adobe added Lightroom to to the CC offering a while ago, but you can still buy it outright if you want to own it for $149. But then when Lightroom 6 comes out, it’ll cost ya another $79 to upgrade. You’d be better off to take Adobe up on this $9.99 deal.

(4) Adobe heard you
Adobe’s own Photoshop Senior Product Manager Bryan Hughes did a great job of explaining how Adobe is listening to its customers at the closing ceremony at Photoshop World. They are totally tuned-in to what’s happening with their 5-million+ Facebook followers; what’s being said in the Adobe forums, out in the field one-on-one and in blogs and social media throughout the industry. What you’re seeing here is Adobe doing something really meaningful, really significant, and really affordable for photographers. $10 a month. Two cups of coffee to use software programs designed for professionals. That’s incredibly fair.

(5) But Adobe isn’t going back
I know no matter what Adobe does, no matter how good an offer, there will still be some people who are going to post angry comments here, yet again, about how they don’t like the subscription model and that they’re not buying into it and so on. I have news for you. Adobe is NOT going back to selling Photoshop as a stand-alone product.

These folks think if they keep relentlessly complaining that Adobe will change their mind and go back to the old plan. I can tell you this — that is simply not going to happen. They also think everybody is mad about this subscription plan. That’s because they’re not actually reading business news about Adobe. They’re basing this on what they’re reading, and posting, at the same sites where other angry users hang out — and not on what what’s actually happening business wise at Adobe, or they would know that a year ago Adobe’s stock was in the low $30s. Today they’re near their yearly high and approaching $50 a share.

Back in June Adobe announced they had over 720,000 paid CC subscribers. This month when they announce their quarterly earnings where do you think those numbers will be now? I wouldn’t be surprised to see them at nearly a million paid subscribers. That’s an insane number.

Adobe’s Creative Cloud business plan is working big time for Adobe and for nearly a million of their customers, and now they have a killer deal for photographers (the one group that had been left behind). This is Adobe’s business plan going forward, and they’re not looking back.

The deal we’ve been waiting for…
Photographers have been waiting a while for a CC deal that makes dollars and sense and now it’s finally here. You jump up to Photoshop CC (so you get all the new Upright Lens features, and the ability to apply Camera Raw as a filter [my personal favorite], and the Shake Reduction filter and more, plus whatever else Adobe dreams up as soon as its ready — not 18 months from now). Plus you get Lightroom 5 and whatever’s next for it, automatically, all for $10 a month. A ton of photographers will take advantage of this,  and I can’t wait for the opportunity to teach them all the cool new stuff in CC.

Then there are “the other guys.” To them, the only thing Adobe could do to make them happy is go back to the old way, which isn’t going to happen for the reasons outlined here, and for other reasons we have yet to discuss (but we’ll be talking about on “The Grid” this Wednesday at 4:00 pm).

So that’s my take on it
Adobe just invited the rest of us (photographers using some previous version of Photoshop) to the party with an incredibly fair deal. A better deal than I ever dreamed they’d offer. 33¢ a day. Amazing! They also showed the roadmap of  products and services they’re developing for photographers, and we’ll have access to in the coming months. Sadly, a few folks will still keep posting angry comments and complaining on and on (and I’m certain we’ll hear from them here today), but with this deal, a lot of new folks will now join CC to take their place. I hope you choose the other route and start using the coolest software Adobe’s ever made, and at the best price in their history. It’s a day to celebrate, and I’m doing just that.

Cheers everybody, and here’s wishing you your best Monday yet! :)