Fstoppers: Someone Please Save Us Photographers From All These Subscriptions

Decent article, he even gives a shout out to darktable, GIMP and Krita (as FOSS examples).


SAAS is horrible and there’s no end in sight… There is also the fact that companies use these subscription services to ship half assed software that will later be “fixed” through “free updates”, when in reality the users were used as beta testers without realizing(Or maybe caring).


At the risk of a gross generalization, I think pretty much anything that’s bean-counter-driven will never go away…

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Indeed, we get that for free with FOSS :joy:


Emphasis mine.

Everything is value-added for the vendor, or more aptly the executives, board of directors and their friends. Sounds like my three tiers of government. It is no wonder the small potatoes everyone else wants in too, from exorbitant tips to subscription self-selling, health care, heated seats and safety features.




I suspect 95%+ of the (raw) photographic world would say so, right or wrong. Of course, the article seems to be written in the context of professional / working photographers, which numerically do consider Adobe (and their ilk) essential. Just a market reality.


A lot of pros have a side source of income from selling presets. That’s not going to make them neutral.

That’s true, although I know nothing of the author here, other than recognizing his name (probably from other FStoppers articles).

Sorry, I wasn’t referring to the FStoppers author, I was referring to the pros selling presets, who have somewhat of a vested interest in the Adobe products continuing to dominate.



As far as Adobe goes, personally I don’t have a problem with their tech, but again I personally don’t care for software subscriptions (in most cases). There are some valid arguments for them, but I’d prefer a discounted upgrade with maintenance / support contract type of relationship. That gives a price break on discounts and provides support, but without the lock-in of a subscription. Of course, bean-counters love lock-in.

I had used Photoshop for over 12 years before my contempt for Adobe reached the critical mass required to make the switch to GIMP - that was almost five years ago now, and I’m still nowhere near as comfortable or productive in GIMP as I ever was in Photoshop.

Thankfully I do this as a hobby and not for a living or the switch probably would have put me out of business. That’s if you have the luxury of owning your own small business, if you’ve studied design and hoping to get a job at some kind of advertising agency or similar good luck telling them you’d prefer to use GIMP, or worse, that you’ve never used Photoshop.

Switching to FOSS video editing or compositing tools would likely be even more painful and costly, although Blender has found a relatively wide audience I believe.

I will of course add that I do find darktable to be vastly superior to the proprietary alternatives, despite being well behind in network effect benefits, which gives me hope for the future of other tools.


I think subscriptions make entering the field easier: instead of forking out a huge sum for Photoshop (in a 2010 DPR article I found ‘Estimated street price for Adobe Photoshop CS5 is US$699 and US$999 for Photoshop CS5 Extended’; Lightroom cost $299 when was introduced in 2007), one can get them both for $20/month.
I do dislike the very strong marketing that ensures that Adobe & Apple are the de-facto artistic tools (at least here in Switzerland): in art school, you are expected to get a MacBook Pro (there are some discounts, and if you cannot afford it, you can ask for financial support – in fact, for Adobe and Apple, any such support is just a long-term investment to sell products for a lifetime), and they teach Adobe products exclusively. But then, if companies actually expect familiarity with those products, the school has to prepare its students to use them; and if the schools supply people with knowledge of Adobe products, that is what companies can use most effectively, without additional (re-)training. Catch 22.


Yes, I’ve idly looked at photography courses, more on the artistic, visual grammar side, but they all involve a chunk of time teaching Adobe, which seems inefficient for a Darktable user. Understandable, but still.

@kofa The sad truth is art school teaches you the fastest way to become poor if you are not already, since the tools and words of the trade are so darn expensive. Unless one makes it, artists are trapped in this cycle of financial abuse, even though art, in most of its forms, is what we need nowadays, not more of the so-called professionals. No dig on the endless engineers who seem to populate this forum. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

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I must be part of the remaining 5%, then.

I’ve never used it. Never needed to. I’ve always managed to do everything I need (which is a lot) with FOSS alternatives.

So… essential? I simply don’t have the money to spend on ‘essential’ — but I still manage just fine without it. :wink:

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As someone with a university art degree (graphic design emphasis, 40+ years ago) my experience is that unfortunately only the commercial-friendly skills will help you make a living. I.e., things like graphic design, web, photography, etc. The more pure / fine art specializations simply aren’t in the job market. I have a relative with a more specialized art degree and they’re working in a totally non-art area.

In my pre-computer design degree days, single vendor lock-in wasn’t a factor (unless you consider pencil makers LOL) but now it’s a fact of the market. Unfortunate and undesirable but a fact nonetheless and I can understand the real world “value” in leaning those skills. Same basic situation as my later career in IT. I didn’t like Microsoft but it was a necessity to learn.

Yep. Probably applies to most of us here.


Absolutely. And what an amazing community we have. If it wasn’t for FOSS, and all of the incredible people that make it a reality, there would be no camera in my messanger bag… and a lot less hapiness in my life. :heart:


I don’t doubt that for a second. GIMP is powerful and I’m glad it works for you. But in the commercial world a BIG factor is compatibility and interop. GIMP lacks some essential features – adjustment layers, etc., “full” PS compatibility, etc. So with Adobe’s dominance that means PS.

It would be no different if GIMP was dominant and PS was trying to break in. It’s not a debate on which is better, etc., just an observation of market reality.