Tag Archives: piracy

News Flash: Photoshop is Overpriced (which could be hurting Adobe’s profits)

In a recent poll here on Epic Edits, I asked How Much Would You Pay for Photoshop? It’s no surprise that the results indicate that Photoshop is priced way above a majority of the market willing to pay. This poll spawned from a previous Photoshop poll that told us 60% of Photoshop Users are Pirates! Many of the responses to that study mentioned the outrageous price Adobe charges for Photoshop and Photoshop upgrades.

The poll at hand used the basic Photoshop upgrade price as the basis for the question (which is $300 at first, then dropping to $200). Nearly 340 people responded to the poll, and the numbers came out with an interesting consistency. Click here for a capture of the raw poll numbers at the time this article was written. What you see below in the blue bar chart are numbers that have had some math applied to them in order to arrive at the green area graph (I’ll explain below).

DISCLAIMER: This is an editorial review of a very open poll conducted on this website. I’m not claiming that any of this is 100% true or trustworthy — it’s just an interesting concept and I’m only going by the numbers I’ve collected.

Photoshop Price Poll Results


So the chart basically says that if Adobe decreases the price of Photoshop to 1/3 the current cost, they could increase their revenue by over 3 times! This is due to the fact that over 10 times the number of Photoshop users are willing to pay that lower price. More sales at a lower price can equal higher revenues. Let me explain the chart a little further.

The numbers along the bottom (x-axis) reflect the cost of a Photoshop upgrade, and they’re the same numbers we used in the poll. The numbers on the right side of the chart (y-axis for the blue chart) represent the percentage of Photoshop users willing to pay at those given price points. The numbers on the left side of the chart (y-axis for the green chart) represent the possible revenue from 1000 Photoshop users (which is a random number for generating real numbers on the chart).

The blue chart shows the percentage of Photoshop users that are willing to pay at each price point. Notice that this chart looks different than the raw numbers in the poll. This is due to the assumption that users willing to pay $300 will also be willing to pay $250, $200, $150, $100, $50, and $0. But users willing to pay $200 will not be willing to pay $300. So you can see that free Photoshop has a 100% value (who wouldn’t take it for free, right?). This blue chart is derived directly from the poll numbers.

The green chart shows how much revenue Adobe could make per 1000 Photoshop users. This chart is based on the blue chart values, the price points, and the semi-random value of 1000 users. So if 75% of our 1000 users are willing to pay $100 for the Photoshop upgrade, this means that 750 people are going to drop $100 on the software resulting in 750 x $100 = $75,000.


I’m not claiming that I’m smarter or more business savvy than the folks at Adobe — I’m quite sure they know what they’re doing. But we all know that Photoshop is one of the most heavily pirated pieces of software on the market, and most of us think that it’s overpriced. I’m sure Adobe is aware of these things as well.

So why be stubborn with the price? If you could potentially increase your revenue by 3 fold just by lowering the price, why wouldn’t you?

Would dropping the price of the software somehow “cheapen” it because of perceived value? I sure don’t think so. Photoshop is a verb for crying out loud! “i.e. That photo is totally Photoshopped.” When your product name turns into a verb, it’s a good sign that you own the market. A cheaper price tag wouldn’t correlate to a cheaper quality.


I find it really interesting that our poll indicates that the most revenue can be produced by a $100 price point for the software upgrade. Why so interesting? Because that’s exactly the price of the Lightroom upgrade. Is Adobe well aware of this market trend and they’re using it to set the price of Lightroom? Sure, it offers fewer features than Photoshop, but I’m guessing that people would still pay for it if the price were $150 or $200. If this were the case, they’d probably just be pushing more people to pirate the software rather than buy it (as is the case with Photoshop).

I’m actually aware of several photographers who pirated Photoshop in the past, but purchased Lightroom. And while I know that Lightroom will be pirated, I’m guess that it won’t be as much as Photoshop now that the upgrade price has hit the market.


While Lightroom is certainly a cheaper alternative to Photoshop, they’re different pieces of software. They each have their own use. It’s hard to say if the numbers presented in this study would actually reflect purchasing habits of Photoshop users, given a lower price. But I think the trend would hold true — lower price would result in higher revenue for Adobe.

I’d love to see Photoshop offered at $100, but I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon. What do you guys think: will we ever see lower prices on Photoshop?

How Much Would You Pay for Photoshop?

Stand and Deliver
Creative Commons License photo credit: teotwawki

Back in March, I ran a poll on software piracy. As a result of the votes, I found that nearly 60% of Photoshop Users are pirates. This article was picked up by various social media networks, and it still receives quite a few visitors and comments. A lot of these comments are based around the results not being surprising because Photoshop is so grossly overpriced. Every time I see another comment pop up on this article, it gets me thinking about what people consider to be a fair price. So let’s find out.

As the basis for this poll, we’ll be considering a license upgrade for the most basic version of Photoshop. This assumes that you keep up on your upgrades as they roll out every one or two years, you’re not getting a student discount, and you’re not buying the full blown suite or extended versions of Photoshop. Just the basics.

So what would you pay? The upgrade license typically goes for around $300 USD at first, then dropping to $200 USD. So if you don’t currently pay for Photoshop, I’d expect your answers to be below this threshold. And if you do pay for Photoshop, I’d expect your answers to be at or above this marker.


And be sure you catch up on the previous poll asking “Is Film Dead?” We had a few extremes saying that it’s either already dead or it’s the next big thing. But most of the votes were somewhere in the middle, stating that film is here… it’s just not really moving in one direction or another. Check out the comments too — lots of good insights as to where film is dead and where it thrives.

60% of Photoshop Users are PIRATES!

Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me.
We pillage, we plunder, we rifle, and loot,
Drink up, me ‘earties, yo ho.
We kidnap and ravage and don’t give a hoot,
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

So here it is… the one week results from our previous poll on software piracy. In that short time, we’ve had nearly 500 photographers cast their votes and the outcome is quite interesting. It looks like Adobe’s high-end photo editing software packages (like Photoshop and Lightroom) are hot items in the pirated software market.

I’m not here to make judgments or anything — I’m just presenting the results from our little study. I’d also like to mention that my computer is 100% free of pirated or “borrowed” software and that the poll results are no indication of my own habits.

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Each of the results below have two graphs. The first is a measure of how many of us use a particular piece of software: users versus non-users. The second graph takes the users and splits them into pirates and non-pirates. Also, I’m going to leave the polls running for a while to see how things progress over time.


58% Pirates

Wow… I expected the number of Photoshop pirates to be high, but not quite that high! 58%?!? So for every legal copy of Photoshop, there’s a pirated counterpart… and then some! An equally interesting observation from the poll is that 87% of the people who read this blog are Photoshop users of some sort. I’m sure we represent a higher density population of Photoshoppers, but my guess is that well over 50% of digital photographers have access to Photoshop.


55% Pirates

Although Lightroom isn’t quite as popular as Photoshop with the general public (with only 58% of the voters), the users of Lightroom are just as willing to pirate the software. I assumed that Lightroom would be less pirated because it’s newer software and because the price is slightly lower than that of Photoshop. I assumed wrong. Then again, if you’re going to pirate a copy of Photoshop, why not Lightroom too?


38% Pirates

We have quite a few “other software” users in the mix too. I didn’t break down the polls into every piece of software on the market, so I clumped everything other than Photoshop and Lightroom into this category. Interestingly, the rate of piracy (at 38%) is much lower than with the high-end Adobe products. I can’t imagine that other software would be more difficult to steal, so this lower number is probably a factor of popularity, price, and availability.


0% Pirates

And out of the four groups in the poll, this was the only one with absolutely no piracy. Go figure. I’m actually impressed at how many people use free and open source software for photo editing — 64%! And only 19% of those are using the software that came with their cameras. The rest is all open source and freeware/shareware. Good for you guys! Although, there’s probably some percentage of free software users who have pirated copies of commercial software.

What do you guys think? Are the results surprising? Should Adobe care about this? I’m sure they’re aware of Photoshop and Lightroom being pirated, but I wonder what their position is on the topic.

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Are You a Photoshop Pirate?

Creative Commons License photo credit: turbojoe

In the last poll, I asked “What Photo Editing Software Do You Use?” About 40% of you said Photoshop and another 30% said Lightroom. These are both expensive pieces of software to own and keep up with, and reader Steve Crane was wondering how many of the Photoshop users were actually purchasing the software.

So this week, let’s see if we can be honest with our voting and find out what percentage of Photoshop and Lightroom users are pirates. Seriously, answer honestly — I’m not going to track you down and report you to the authorities. I have better things to do with my time. But I am really curious to see the results of this one.

I’ve got four different polls below, and you can vote on all of them if you’d like. If the polls start giving you problems, just reload the page and you should be good to go.


Remember, answer honestly for the sake of the poll!