I first bought Adobe Photoshop way back in 1993 while living in Hong Kong and working for a major graphic arts hardware manufacturer called Scitex, a company out of Israel that specialised in high end workstations for graphic arts. Over the years I paid for upgrade after upgrade, and eventually bought two full Adobe Suites with Illustrator and Indesign plus a few more apps. Once again, year after year I paid to upgrade those suites so in total I would have spent over $10K in the purchase and upgrade fees to those programs.
What I realised along the way was that I rarely got any real benefit from those upgrades other than the fact that the new version worked better on the newer Mac OS. So in terms of features, I did not benefit much at all and performance seemed to be getting slower. This is not to say that new features were not added, they were simply features that did not matter to me, or for my needs.
Over the years it seemed like Adobe became a very arrogant company, particularly after they purchased their only competitor, Macromedia, thus removing any real competition. Then of course they introduced their subscription model, that was the final straw for me. While many will argue the ‘value’ proposition in the monthly fee for Photoshop and Lightroom which started at $10 per month, there was a few things that bugged me about it.
Firstly there is the fact that the moment you stop paying, the apps stop working, you own nothing after paying for however many years, and that to me does not sit well. But the real sticking point for me was that Adobe expected me to throw away my years of investment in their boxed product and start paying all over again, with no discount, and only to end up owning nothing at the end of it. Even worse, is the fact that I who have always bought legal copies of Adobe products gets to pay the same amount per month as the guy who has used cracked copies of their software for years.
Timing is everything as they say and just when I was ready to leave Adobe, along came Affinity, who’s Photo app was much faster in performance and did everything I needed a Photoshop app to do, and all for a once off fee of $79 to own it for life. After using it for a few months I eventually uninstalled Photoshop off my Mac. I then purchased their Illustrator equivalent, Designer for $79, and now I have the beta of their InDesign app called Publisher, which is proving to be an excellent app as well. To this day I have not paid a single cent to upgrade any of their apps, the upgrades are free.
At this time however, Affinity do not make a replacement app for Lightroom, although they have one in the works I believe. Fortunately there are a number of alternatives which are in my view much better than Lightroom anyway. I started with DXO Photolab, but have since moved to Phase One’s Capture One program which is a spectacularly creative tool for RAW image editing.
So, yes you can leave what is the industry standard and use apps that are as good as, and in most cases far better than those ‘standards’ and do so for far less money. OK Capture One is not cheap I will admit that, but it is most certainly far superior to Lightroom, and think how much you save on buying Affinity Photo to replace Photoshop!
Do yourself a favour and at least try out the alternatives, you may just find a better way of working, and save a ton of money. And remember, this is a not a compromise at all, it is a move to better performing apps and saving money, win win!