Olli Thomson
Photography

Subscribed

I’ve been holding out on signing up for Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription programme. I don’t use Photoshop and with Lightroom still available as a standalone product there was no incentive for me to switch — compare $80 every 18 to 24 months for the latest LR standalone with $120 every 12 months for the Creative Cloud photography plan.

Until I discovered Adobe Portfolio.

Portfolio is a website building app and hosting service, geared towards photographers and designers, that comes bundled with a Creative Cloud subscription. Since I was paying $140 for web hosting on top of paying for Lightroom updates, a subscription then became the cheaper option.

One bonus of building a site through Portfolio is that it integrates with other Adobe products, including Lightroom, Creative Cloud, Behance and Stock. At the moment, it doesn’t integrate with another recently discovered Adobe product, Spark, but I assume in time that will come.

The biggest gap in Portfolio for me, is the lack of integrated blogging, though there is some suggestion that that too will come in the future. In the meantime I switched to Medium for a while, but the limited customisation options (and the constant nag to sign up to a paid plan) pushed me back to Blogger. For professionals the key weakness is the lack of an integrated e-commerce option. Also, for those who like to fiddle with code and fine tune everything in detail Portfolio offers only limited scope.

For me, the simpler the better and I find that Portfolio enables me to create and maintain a visually pleasing site very easily, certainly more easily than my previous host which, in turn, was easier to work with than the host before that. For me, Portfolio alone justifies a change to the subscription model.

The CC version of Lightroom offers a few extra features over the standalone version but none of these are significant enough to warrant the switch. While I have downloaded Photoshop I have yet to open it, and might never do so. The subscription model does allow syncing of images which in turn enable the use of the Lightroom mobile app for editing images.

Unfortunately, the CC photography plan only offers 2GB of cloud storage (compared to the 20GB with single app and all app subscriptions) which is the same as you get with a free subscription. I’m not sure why this is so. Even if the photography plan is cheaper than the other plans I would have expected some increase in available storage over the free option. Why not 10GB? Given that my RAW files are 32MB each, 2GB will only hold around 62 images. Not great.

I’ve looked at other editors in the past, notably Capture One and DXO Optics Pro, but I’ve always come back to Lightroom. I’ve been using it since version 2 and it provides, together with the many available plugins, all I need. I’ve seen plenty of complaints from Fuji users about the way in which LR renders (or fails to render) Fuji files. I’ve never seen it myself so for me it’s a non-issue.

It would be nice if everything was free, but $10 for Lightroom, Photoshop, a hosted website and more besides seems like a good deal. You can find my newly published Portfolio hosted website at ollithomson.photography.

UPDATE

With no sign that Adobe intended to add a blogging option to Portfolio and increasingly frustrated with having to blog separately I eventually decided to join the masses and set up a WordPress website with integrated blog. I’ve also been considering a move from Lightroom to Capture One and ending my Adobe CC subscription would also end my access to Portfolio so I needed to look at other options. As of now (October 2018) the new website is a work in progress both in terms of content and appearance, but it is live at ollithomsonphotography.com.

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