It’s Official – CS5 has been released!

Yup, the day it became available for purchase/download, the trials also became available – a first for Adobe!  I’ve already downloaded it and am starting to play with it for the first time (was not a beta tester).  Suffice to say, it’s pretty slick and yes, as I said yesterday, I am getting the upgrade!  Rather than show you screen shots and pore over the list of new features which has been done ad infinitum, I did a short video of some of the settings I like to adjust on an initial install.  So, here is that video straight from YouTube!

The Easter Egg had some cool trivia too. For instance – does anyone (outside Adobe) know how many babies were born to members of the team during production? WHo is the queen of the tenth floor? Is the wizard still there? If so, where is he now? Neat little nuggets just waiting to be discovered all in CS5!  Got the answers or your own nuggets?  Sound off in the comments! 🙂

Also, a final reminder about the April giveaway – some lucky participant will win an Expo Disc from the folks over at Expo Imaging.  Get your balance-themed photos in before midnight tonight to have a chance at winning!  Here’s the link:  April Giveaway

What makes you a professional?

Photography has become a huge industry, within a very short period of time relative to the presence of the field.  Think about it – the technology to capture images has been around since the 1800’s with the first pinhole cameras, and metal plates of silver halide that were then reversed onto copper to produce an image.  Even when film became a more cost effective method of producing images, we still have not seen such an explosion of interest in photography as we have in the past 5-10 years.  With the growing interest, many have hung out shingles, offering their photography services, trying to make a living at it.

Now, while I grant you that some are more talented than others, and even have vision that others lack, there is a disctinction that exists around photographers – lines in the sand, so to speak.  And these lines pretty much have divided us into one of the following categories:

  • Professional
  • Enthusiast/Hobbyist
  • Amateur

Here, the ‘amateur” or beginner is pretty much evident by recency or lack of experience, but it’s the other two where there has been a blurring of the lines.  Traditionally, the difference between a professional and an enthusiast is the former made a living at it.  But then, enthusiasts and hobbyists decided to throw their hats in the ring and earn a buck or two.  So, the definition became more strict – a pro is someone who earns more than 50% of their income from it.  While that still exists in many cases (and I think fits for tax purposes), the quality of the results is much more blurred than before.

With the advancement in gear, things like image stabilization (vibration reduction for Nikonians), and some just astounding increases in ISO handling, shutter speeds, and everything else, including cleaning things up in post production, some not very good photographers have been able to maintain a living at it.  Meanwhile, “enthusiasts” are out there pouring their heart and soul into work but are tossed aside, simply because they don’t make money (or enough money from a percentage perspective) at it.

Clearly, enthusiasts can produce professional results, and equally, there are professionals that have produced, well…less than professional results.  So, with that in mind, I would submit that the definition of a professional (for me) really is defined by the quality of the product.  Consistency, reliability, knowledgeable, and high quality is what I look for when hiring someone to do anything.  And if someone can do that, regardless of how others classify them, to me that is the very definition of professionalism.

So, where did this come from?  Well, after the success of the article I put out for people in Shutters and Apertures Explained, I decided to start assembling all the articles I had previously written in various capacities  with the idea of putting them out as a collective bundle for people to enjoy.  Once I got everything assembled, I was astonished to find that I have produced over 20 articles on photography alone, and countless others on various computer topics, including Helpdesk documentation, Service level Agreements, Helpdesk and Desktop support documentation, along with many other types of technical content.

All told, I have over 150 publications under my belt in the writing world.  Yet prior to “Shutters and Apertures“, I had not earned a single dime.  Does that mean I am not a professional writer?   While my earnings have been a mere pittance compared to many in the field, the quality of content is something I am proud of.  Even this blog has been a huge commitment of time and energy which requires research, editing, proof-reading, and much more, way before I ever press the “Submit” button!

So, with over 150 articles and writing credits, and over 6 years of writing experience in various capacities, why do I not consider myself a professional writer?  I think the answer lies in how you perceive yourself.  Where you think your strengths are, and where your ambition and passion lie.  When does one become a professional anything?  I’ve got my own reasons for choosing IT as a career path, (and photography and writing as secondary income sources), and while most define me by my predominant income source – I would classify myself as a professional in all of them.

Quite an extensive narrative, eh?  But,  it does bring up an interesting question of “What makes anyone a professional?“!  So, with that in mind, let’s turn the question outward and see what answers we can find!  What makes you a professional?  Is it your income ratio, the quality of your work, or something else?  What defines you?  Sound off in the comments – I’d love to hear what others think on this topic!

Adobe CS5 FAQ

Ever since Adobe announced the impending release of the latest Creative Suite 5, there have been many questions circulating in various online communities and outlets.  Although I was not one of the beta testers, I’ve been following the developments rather closely, and have seen a lot of questions repeated over and over.  Many of the answers to these questions I’ve put together from reading various reliable outlets, including Adobe web pages, reading content from Adobe folks blogs, and from the fountain of information available to me as a NAPP member (and if you’re not a NAPP member, you should consider becoming one – it’s probably one of the best deals out there, including educational materials, discounts, and a ton of other member benefits)!

So, without further ado – here’s the most common questions I’ve seen on Adobe Creative Suite 5:

1.  I own  ***** – can I upgrade to CS5?

Pick your product, it doesn’t really matter too much if it’s a single product upgrade (not part of a suite).  If you want to upgrade  to Photoshop, CS5, here’s the list of products that are eligible for the upgrade path to CS5, courtesy of Adobe (I added the product to my shopping cart, and got this list of eligible products and the pricing path (upsell versus an upgrade):

  • Photoshop Elements 6, 7, or 8 on Windows – (upsell = $599)
  • Photoshop Elements 4, 6, or 8 on Mac  – (upsell = $599)
  • Photoshop CS4, CS3, or CS2 (Regular or Extended) – upgrade = $199

2.  What if I purchased CS4 recently – do I have to pay for the upgrade to CS5 now too?

While there is no official “window” from Adobe, all indicators suggest that if you have recently purchased CS4, you may be able to get an upgrade.  Some sites claim the window is between certain dates such as April 12th and August 10th, but I’ve not been able to verify this information independently so the site is not linked here

3.  What about Lightroom – can I upgrade to Cs5 from that since it’s part of the Adobe Photoshop family?

No.  Although there are similarities, Lightroom is a different software path than the Creative Suite, and you cannot upgrade from LR to CS5 anymore than you could upgrade a Dell to a Mac

4.  Speaking of Macs, can I upgrade my Windows software to a Mac equivalent or vice versa?

Adobe does allow for this in what is called a “cross-grade”.  You must sign a release that states you have destroyed the other media, and pay a small fee (I think it’s something like $20) to do this.

5.  What about converting from one Suite of products to another, or converting to a single product?

While I don’t have the space to cover extensive details on the many options, and this is not official Adobe policy (I could not find anything specifically addressing all the possible conversions), I think it’s a safe assumption that you can downgrade from a more expensive suite to a lesser expensive suite or product, but not vice versa.  So, say for instance you had the Master collection.  It is likely that you could downgrade that to a web collection or a design premium.  It is also likely that if you had a suite of products, you could downgrade to a single product within that suite.  However, adding additional products to your existing ownership for free is not likely.  As the old saying goes, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

6.  Are there any discounts available?

Of course there are – and if you are an eligible member of any one of a number of communities, you are eligible for discounts on products from Adobe.  The most common ones I know of include educational discounts, governmental agencies, and NAPP.  The other question that usually arises from the “discount” one is whether you can apply multiple discounts, and the answer here is no…Adobe does restrict you to one discount per purchase, so if you are a NAPP member and also a teacher or college student, you cannot apply both discounts.  Pick the one that gives you the best savings, and be happy to are eligible – many people are not.

7.  So, where do I purchase CS5?

You can’t yet – the announcement that Adobe made was kind of a teaser, to build excitement and to sort of “ramp up” for the eventual release date.  It’s all part of the marketing, hype, and advertising of upcoming products.   Also, keep in mind that Adobe, like any other software developer, has approved channels for distribution.  So, when it does become available, make sure you find a reseller in your area through their partner page.

8.  When will it be available for purchase?

Well, you can pre-order it any time you want.  But if you want an official release date, take a seat with everyone else outside of Adobe headquarters, because that information is not available (that I can find anyway).  There are several indicators that suggest the release will be in early to mid-May based on their history (Adobe usually does product releases on about an 18 month cycle, or ever year and a half) with the Creative Suite of products.

9.  What are the differences in all the packages?

Excellent question!  This is the one that vexes a lot of people, but thankfully, Adobe has put together a comparision page that not only show syou the products that go into each package, but the retail cost of each.  Rather than regurgitate all that information here in some confusing chart, simply bookmark this link:  Adobe Product Comparison Chart

10.  Are you going to upgrade?

Yes I am.  I will probably not be an early adopter, primarily because I have a couple other purchases to make first (hardware, a lens, and some lighting gear), but the advancements in CS5 are probably among the most significant of any version in the last 7 years!  I may also need to upgrade my computers to handle the  processing requirements.

That’s it – the top ten questions I’ve seen (and been asked) about Creative Suite 5!  Got your own questions?  I may not have the answers, but I can either give you my best guess, or pass the question on to someone who may know the answer, so feel free to sound off in the comments.  Also, if I got anything wrong, or if you can shed additional light, all contributions are welcome!

Happy shooting all and we’ll see you back here again tomorrow!