What is Life after Photoshop?

Life after Photoshop is a website dedicated to alternative image-editing software, techniques, tips and ideas. Photoshop is all well and good but it has its limits. It’s the best there is at detailed, technical, image-by-image adjustments, but many of us want rather more than that. We want powerful cataloguing tools, instant image effects, evocative analog film simulations, better image quality from our RAW files and all sorts of other things that Photoshop was never specifically designed for.

A lot of folk are also very upset that Adobe wants them to pay a subscription for its software. Honestly, though, Adobe’s Photography plan is a really good deal, and you get both Photoshop and Lightroom for little more than £10/$10 per month, with constant updates and all the benefits of Adobe’s Creative Cloud synchronisation and sharing tools.

So Life after Photoshop has lots of Lightroom tutorials and you shouldn’t be surprised to see Photoshop pop up now and again. But it also features lesser-known but equally deserving software that goes where Photoshop does not.

Where is it?

Life after Photoshop is owned and run by UK photographer, editor and writer Rod Lawton. You will occasionally see British spellings and prices creeping in (oops), but the aim is to make Life after Photoshop as international as possible. It’s great to see so many comments from Europe, the US and territories around the globe.

Who is Rod Lawton?

Rod Lawton has been a freelance photography journalist since the days before digital, and has spent the last decade writing full-time for photography and computing magazines such as Digital Camera, Practical Photoshop, PhotoPlus, Amateur Photographer, Professional Photography and many more.

After three years as Technique Editor and then Editor on N-Photo magazine, then an 18-month stint as Cameras Editor on leading technology site Techradar, he is now Head of Testing for Future plc’s Photography division, organising reviews and group tests for Digital Camera, N-Photo, PhotoPlus and Professional Photography. He also contributes to Future plc’s newly-relaunched Digital Camera World.

6 thoughts on “About

  1. Thumbs up Rod, agree with you about you motives. So what is your choice of software today (this can change with any upgrade or new software release on daily basis)?

  2. But it means paying for your software licence like you pay for your mobile phone or Internet access. Lots of people don’t like it, and I’m not sure I do. There are still unanswered questions, such as how you open your Photoshop files once you stop subscribing…

    First of all, let me clarify that I’m a hobbyist. I currently use Lightroom 4, but I’ve never used any other Photoshop product. The below is coming from that perspective, so take it with appropriate grain of salt. However, I also happen to be in the software business (I’m a software developer), so I do know about issues with file formats and vendor lock-in.

    There already is a degree of vendor lock-in with the PSD format for Photoshop CS users, and I’m not convinced it’s going to be any worse for Photoshop CC users. Whenever Adobe released a new version of Photoshop CS there was always a group of people who complain along the lines of “I’m committed to Photoshop, but feature X was removed/changed the new version. How can I move forward with these changes.” The issue being, they aren’t sure where the product is going, but they recognize that they are “committed” in the sense that all of their previous work in in PSD files, and they don’t know how to move away from it.

    There are existing software products that can open PSD files, so although you may not be able to open them in Photoshop, you should be able to recover your work if you absolutely needed to. Would it be a pain? Sure. That said, I agree that there is a degree of flexibility that is lost in a subscription service vs. owning software, but the subscription service does have advantages, as you’ll see below.

    …what happens if you were perfectly happy to skip versions to save money, but now you can’t?

    Cost is actually one of the advantages of Photoshop CC over Photoshop CS. At first I was thinking the same as you, but when I checked out the rate that Adobe was charging for the CC ($9.99 a month), I quickly changed my mind. Part of the problem is that you are forgetting just how expensive CS really is/was.

    Consider this scenario, Photoshop CS3 was released back in April 2007 for $649. It would take 5 years and 5 months of using their subscription service to spend the same amount that CS3 cost. In the same time frame CS4, CS5 and CS6 were released (CS6 was released 5 years and 1 month after CS3), so a CS3 user couldn’t upgrade until over 4 months after the release of CS6 to save money vs. the subscription service over the same time period if they bought CS3 as soon as it was released, and then you would have to pay $699 for CS6, which would require you to own that for 5 years and 10 months before upgrading in order for the cost to amortize to $9.99. And that’s just taking the price of Photoshop into account, considering that the subscription service includes Lightroom, it’s an even better deal.

    Now, obviously there’s the question of rate hikes. The rate will eventually go up (due to inflation), but I’m not sure how much Adobe will risk losing business by hiking the rate up too high, especially as they seem to be going after the large market of photo hobbyists/enthusiasts who never would have considered spending $699 on Photoshop CS6, but would consider spending $9.99 a month on a subscription that if they don’t like they can unsubscribe at any time (people like me).

    1. I might have to take back my defense of Photoshop CC pricing in my post. I looked into the pricing further, and the $9.99/mo amount is a limited special offer. They also list a price of $49.99/mo for Creative Cloud which is, in my opinion, way overpriced. A subscription service just can’t be that expensive, given the negatives of not owning the software. At $49.99/mo it’s $599 a year, and given that Photoshop CS (@ $699) had a release cycle of about 18-24 months it’s even more expensive than buying Photoshop every time it’s released.

      1. Benjamin you were right the first time.

        Scott Morris, Senior Marketing Director said: “$9.99/month is the standard price of the Photoshop Photography Program. That means that this is not a discounted price on your first year only – it is the standard price of the program, and we expect to renew customers after their first year at that same price.”

        The uproar from the photography community was HUGE when Adobe rolled out the Creative Cloud program, because originally you had to pay $49.99 a month, but that included almost EVERYTHING Adobe has (i.e. Illustrator, Premiere, etc.). Personally, I was offered this package, for only one year, at $19.99 a month.

        Adobe has said elsewhere that there is the possibility that the PHOTOGRAPHER program (LR & PS) may go up slightly, but after the uproar, I think it will be more like $10.99 a month, or something like this.

        If you do the math, even upgrading Photoshop every OTHER 18 months, and upgrading Lightroom every year (and this is NOT including the initial cost of buying the programs), it is substantially cheaper under the new program, and you always have the latest features, not having to wait until the next version comes out.

        And if you’re an amateur, you can always “own” just Lightroom, and upgrade that every year, but for only $40 a year more, you can also have the full Photoshop, plus a $99 a year Prosite website, and 20 Gigs of storage (think Dropbox super sized).

        And not to offend anyone, but if you’re a professional photographer, but you can’t afford $9.99 a month, you’re not a professional photographer.

  3. the above calculations leave out that one who bought cs and would skip (or not) that person doesn’t pay the retail full price, but upgrade price. That’s much less. CS is just about money. It’s about not having to save up enough features to have piled up to motivate users to buy again what they already own. Their chatter about code bases and ability to just release new features right away as they are made (again, that’s cuz they don’t have to have them saved to encourage a re-buy) remind me of Linux distributions that have “latest and greatest” releases and then “stable” releases, some with several others, and it’s not a problem like Adobe makes it out to be. However…they don’t have to worry about a feature set to encourage people to upgrade with their stake on the line. Adobe basically has everyone upgrading and doesn’t have to do any buy-again tactics.

  4. I’ve just had a frustrating experience with Adobe LR5. It does not support Nikon D7200 raw. I don’t need for now the features of LR6, and being forced to upgrade made me rethink LR. As an amateur, LR is a great all-in-1 product. The workflow is easy. Import into folders by date, select, edit, build catalogues if I wish. Any advice on whether DXO Optics (I have an old version) or Aperture offers the same suite of capabilities … cataloguing, exposure adjustments, sharpening?

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