Adobe to offer Lightroom, Photoshop for $10 a month

Trying to win over customers disgruntled with its move to subscriptions, Adobe packages its top imaging software for less than Photoshop's monthly rate. But the deal expires this year.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
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Stephen Shankland
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Lightroom offers tools to catalog and edit photos, especially those taken in higher-quality raw photo format.
Adobe Systems' Lightroom offers tools to catalog and edit photos, especially those taken in higher-quality raw photo format. screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Adobe Systems announced a new subscription plan for photography enthusiasts, a $10-per-month bundle of Lightroom and Photoshop that's designed to cater to people dissatisfied with Adobe's previous Creative Cloud options.

The deal is a good price -- Photoshop alone costs $10 per month for existing Creative Suite customers, but only for a limited time, after which it jumps to $20 per month. The new subscription package offers Photoshop, Lightroom, 20GB of cloud storage space, and access to Adobe's Behance network. The new bundle is $10 a month with no expiration date. It will be available once Adobe releases Lightroom 5.2, which is in testing but should enter the market "in a couple weeks," according to Adobe.

The new package has three catches, however: first, it's a subscription, and there are plenty of people who don't like subscriptions. Second, you have to sign up by December 31. Third, you have to have bought Photoshop CS3 or later.

"Since introducing Photoshop CC, we've listened to feedback from a spectrum of our customers, from advanced professionals to casual enthusiasts. One common request was a solution specifically tailored for photographers. We listened, and at Photoshop World we're announcing a special offer for our loyal Photoshop customers," said Winston Hendrickson, Adobe's vice president of engineering for digital imaging products, in a blog post Wednesday.

The switch to the $50-per-month Creative Cloud subscription coincided with the end of the perpetual-license era for the bulk of Adobe's software, meaning that people couldn't buy a license to software that would last forever but instead had to pay monthly. Lightroom, geared for photography pros and enthusiasts, is one of the exceptions still available via perpetual licensing, but it's often used in conjunction with Photoshop, which isn't.

It was one factor that contributed to Adobe customer dissatisfaction and, consequently, many competitors pouncing on opportunities to lure consumers away.

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Adobe remains committed to the subscription era, but is tweaking its options to try to address some of the concerns.

For more details, check Adobe's FAQ on the photography-oriented subscription.