Software Review

Adobe Creative Cloud 2021 Review

Adobe’s Creative Cloud is a collection of 20+ desktop and mobile apps and services for photography, design, video, web, UX and more. Explore your creativity with software like Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. Voted #1 in graphic design software.


  • Industry-standard and highly recommended by creative experts.
  • Complete package with more than 20+ creative apps.
  • Free trial available. No credit card needed.


  • Only available for a monthly or annual subscription.
  • Less suitable for beginner or amateur use due to the relatively high cost.

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More About Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud Reviews

Find out what each expert had to say about Adobe Creative Cloud.

Monica Lent

Editor - Fun With Fuji

✓ Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Lightroom Classic is still the best photo editing software for the majority of photographers.

It supports a wide variety of camera makes and models, is easy for beginners to learn through free content online, and allows you plenty of flexibility and performance as a professional as well.

The downside of Adobe Lightroom is that the latest version is only available on a subscription model. While it’s good because Adobe regularly releases new features and performance improvements, the cost is higher in the long run for most users.

But if you like getting new features and improvements on a regular basis, the $20/mo photography package from Adobe is a great option and includes Photoshop as well.

Capture One Pro is an excellent photography processing tool, especially if you’re shooting with a system that isn’t well supported by Lightroom.

For example, Fujifilm RAW photos often lose detail as a result of the way Lightroom decodes the files captured by an X Trans sensor. Instead of adding a pre-processing step to your workflow with an additional tool like Irident X Transformer, it might be more efficient to work entirely in Capture One.

Apart from processing certain types of files, the distinction between Lightroom Classic and Capture One Pro is mostly up to personal preference. The former is simply more popular and has more learning material online than the latter.

If you want to own the software outright instead of paying a monthly subscription, Capture One Pro offers both a lifetime license and a subscription option. I’d recommend any user start with a monthly subscription to get a feel for the tool and see how it suits their workflow.

Jase Rodley

Founder/CEO - Dialed Labs

✓ Adobe Suite
Of course, there is going to be no better alternative than the leader of the pack Adobe suite, which offers everything you want, and is the likely the package you would be used in most workplaces.

Although there is little to offer in the way of competition for professional editing, there are some great phone Apps which allow enough of a resource to the more casual editor.

✓ Instrafitter
One of my current favourites being instrafitter, which allows you to put a number of border styles around your photo, given them the perfect vintage feel of a polaroid, and adding an extra pop to your photos when sharing.

Aaron Hockley

Founder - Tech Photo Guy

For basic editing using tools that you might already have, take a look at using Apple Photos if you have an iPhone or Google Photos if you use Android. These programs have increasingly-sophisticated editing tools and take advantage of artificial intelligence to make your photos even better. Both offer cloud sync options and have companion apps that can be installed on your desktop computer for backup and sync as well.

✓ Adobe Lightroom
✓ Adobe Photoshop
If you want to take things to the next level, regardless of whether you’re using Windows or a Mac, the Adobe Photography Bundle is one heck of a deal at $10/month. You’ll get access to the full versions of Lightroom and Photoshop. Lightroom will help manage your image collection and provide a powerful set of editing tools for your images. Photoshop takes things to the next level to provide detailed retouching and composite tools for advanced users. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but these are the industry standard tools and time you spend learning them will pay off in the long run.

Roxanne Brown

Creative Art Director - PageSparx

✓ Adobe Creative Cloud
For a solution that covers most broad-based graphic design needs, most industry professionals including us, would recommend Adobe’s offerings. Adobe has become the standardized format for the industry, pushing giants like QuarkXpress and others to the wayside. Unfortunately, like many companies, Adobe has moved to a SaaS (Software As A Service) model that a lot of graphic artists/designers grumble about. Gone are the days where you can just buy software in a box and update when you wanted or needed to. With the new model (which isn’t exactly new because they rolled out the Creative Suite SaaS model back in 2012), you’re forced to pay a monthly fee for a subscription to their family of applications.

There are plenty of good alternatives to Adobe products, but they’re not conveniently all under one roof – or company. If you don’t mind using apps from various companies, there are even quite a few free options out there. These programs may be compatible and open certain files but may cause problems when you want to save to a specific proprietary file format.

Dan Cruz

co-founder - inbeat

✓ Adobe After Effects
After Effects is a powerful tool, which allows you to create custom animations faster than any other “easy to use” software out there. To top things off, it allows you to export animations in SVG format, which loads much faster than a gif or a png on a web page. It also allows me to create custom product interactions efficiently to show our developers how a user will interact with the product.

✓ Adobe Creative Cloud
Of course, I use Adobe Creative Cloud every day (Photoshop and Illustrator mostly), but Figma and After Effects are those two tools that empower my design workflow.

Nicholas Allen

Founder / Designer / Developer - Sublime Dzine

✓ Adobe Suite
For graphic design, no one beats out Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop. They’ve been doing graphic design since the beginning. That said, both are pretty hefty pieces of software with steep learning curves and can be rather expensive. Adobe’s creative suite is a great option for getting the best and keeping it cheap.

✓ Canva
As a professional, I find myself also using Canva pretty consistently as well. Their tool is fast and browser-based with a nice mobile app too. I use them for most of my social media and website graphics that aren’t fully custom or when I’m short on time. Canva is also great when you need to create a large number of graphics in a single sitting. I’ll make a month’s worth of graphics for a client’s social media calendar in about an hour for instance. Oh, let’s not forget the library of stock images from Canva with image templates and the ability to post directly to your social media.

Michelle Kraft

Graphic and Web Designer - Michelle Kraft Design + Dev

✓ Adobe Creative Suite
If you want software that is going to get the job done right, you need to go with the non-surprising industry standard—Adobe Suite. For the last 15 years, I’ve consistently used Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign to create everything I need for both online and print. Recently, Adobe has come out with templates, presets, and tutorials to compete with Canva and allow a user to dive in and get started right away. You can create your own brushes, patterns, and effects to make sure your designs stay unique to you and your brand. There are zero limitations with what you can create in your Adobe designs. I’ve arm-wrestled with trying to create a simple drop shadow in Canva, and I always go back to Adobe software to create what I need to import into Canva.

Jeremy Lessaris

Founder & CEO -

✓ Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe dominates the professional graphics software world with Creative Cloud that includes a comprehensive suite of design, video, animation, web, and other media applications. They are platform-agnostic (Mac/PC) and run on nearly every device you can think of. Adobe is the standard for nearly all professional creative projects. However, when it comes to digital design including website, app, and UI design (not development) I would also include Figma which offers the best balance between features, usability, and overall performance.

Honorable mention:

Going beyond software I would also recommend collaboration tools for working on ideation with clients. Our secret sauce here at is a Jamboard. We love whiteboards but this is next level collab and allows our teams to be just as effective remote as they are in the office.

Theo Fels

Creative Director - Feisty Brown

✓ Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. This service allows you to use any of Adobe software for a monthly fee. The software is easy to install and is automatically updated so you are never using out of date software. Adobe also has free tutorials for all its applications and free downloads of all adobe fonts.

Also, all adobe products integrate with each other so importing files is easy because you can use the adobe native format (.psd .ai, etc). You don’t have to export into typical formats such as .jpg, png or .mpg.

Adobe Creative Cloud has a ton of stuff, here’s a rundown of the must haves:

InDesign – Print design
Photoshop – imaging and graphic software
Illustrator – vector (resizable graphic) software
After Effects – Motion graphics”

✓ Webflow
It’s also a subscription service. You don’t have to know anything about coding to use Webflow. The genius of Webflow are their tutorials, they are smart, informative, and entertaining. Our studio uses Webflow to make comprehensive prototypes that are fully interactive and responsive. We can show our clients exactly how the website will work and act before we hand it off to our developers. You can also use as a development tool but ONLY if you have the development capabilities in-house.

Curtis Bickler

Director - Expert Media Design

✓ Adobe Photoshop
For photo editing, there’s no substitute for Adobe Photoshop. Any designer or illustrator could name a few alternatives, but there’s a reason the name has become the verb we use to describe altering photos.

Adobe Creative Cloud FAQ

What is Adobe Creative Cloud?

Adobe’s Creative Cloud is a collection of 20+ desktop and mobile apps and services for photography, design, video, web, UX and more.

Is Adobe Creative Cloud any good?

We asked 53 creative experts on most have recommended to use Adobe Creative Cloud. It’s by far the most popular solution for graphic designers.

Is Creative Cloud free to use?

Adobe Creative Cloud doesn’t have a free plan. You can either sign up for a monthly or an annual plan.

What’s included in Creative Cloud?

Adobe Creative Cloud includes 20+ apps like Photoshop, InDesign and Premiere Rush. You only get access to Adobe Fonts, Adobe Portfolio, Creative Cloud Libraries and cloud storage space.