A once simple question has grown to include multiple answers after Adobe has switched to a subscription-style service. After the launch of Photoshop CC in 2013, Adobe no longer offers a one-time purchase option for its popular photo editing software. Let’s take a look at the different options you have for obtaining Photoshop, and what other options you have if subscription services aren’t your thing.
Signing up for Adobe Creative Cloud
The only way to obtain the latest version of Photoshop is to sign up for Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription. This service provides creative tools, such as Photoshop and other popular Adobe options, including Illustrator, InDesign, Lightroom, Premiere Pro, Dreamweaver, and more. Depending on the package you select, and whether you are an individual, a business, or a student, there are a few subscription options available.
Photoshop for individuals
If you are an individual user, you can purchase an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription with photoshop for $21 a month – but wait, that’s not the best deal. Adobe offers most of its programs for the price-tag as mentioned above, but a special Photography bundle exists, providing both Photoshop and Lightroom for only $10 a month. Even if you don’t plan on using Lightroom, it still presents the best option for obtaining Photoshop.
Alternatively, if you need more than a single app from Adobe’s collection, you should consider the All Apps bundle which gives you access to Photoshop as well as every program Adobe currently offers for $40 a month; it’s a semi-expensive option, but even subscribing monthly to two of the company’s apps will surpass that price.
Photoshop for students and teachers
Are you currently a teacher or a student? You can gain access to Adobe’s All Apps bundle for only $20 a month. If you only need Photoshop, this isn’t exactly a deal as the Photography bundle mentioned earlier still comes in at half the price; however, if you need more than just Photoshop and Lightroom, your teacher or student status can net you a decently sized discount. It is important to note that this is a limited offer, and the education price will increase to $30 a month after the first year.
Photoshop for Businesses
Are you working with Photoshop professionally? Adobe offers deals for teams that allows them to better collaborate with Creative Cloud. You can obtain Photoshop for $25 a month, or the entire All Apps bundle for $60 a month. What does the extra cost net to you? Adobe provides a team that aims to increase team collaboration. Additionally, you’ll be able to use the company’s Adobe Talent service to find new members for your creative team. Overall, the business bundle includes a few attractive options, but at its increased price, only you can decide if it’s worth it.
Obtain an older version of Photoshop
While Adobe doesn’t officially offer versions of the last non-subscription version of Photoshop, CS6, for sale, it can be found on some second-hand sites such as eBay. Just be warned that purchasing such software can be a risky proposition as the included activation code could always be invalid. Additionally, you won’t be able to access Adobe’s mobile applications and newer Photoshop features if you take this route. If you absolutely need Photoshop and refuse to subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud, this would be your only legal option, but tread with caution.
Consider Adobe Photoshop Elements for lighter work
If you don’t find yourself performing heavy editing work, you might want to consider Adobe Photoshop Elements, which the company continues to offer for a standalone price of $100. You can import photographs and utilizes the software’s smart features to organize your library, as well as impose edits and effects. Due to the nature of Photoshop Elements which offers quite a different feature set, we would recommend trying a free trial before purchasing.
Opt for an Adobe Photoshop alternative
Adobe isn’t the only company designing excellent photo editing software. The team at Serif has been producing several fantastic creative applications under its Affinity brand. Affinity Photo is one such great application that features a one-time purchase fee of only $50 but regularly includes promotional deals at as much as up to 50%-off. Download a trial today and see what you think of this great alternative. You can also check out our latest guide for some other great Photoshop alternatives.
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