If you need Adobe’s industry-standard graphics editing program but are turned off by the steep price tag, fear not: there are ways to legally purchase Adobe Photoshop for cheap if you know where to look.
Option 1: Buy Student & Teacher Edition75% Discount
If you’re a primary/secondary school student, a homeschooled student, a college student, or an educator, you qualify to purchase Adobe Photoshop Extended for only $249 instead of the normal $999 price. (Yes, Photoshop Extended — the high-end version.)
It’s the exact same software as the full-priced Photoshop Extended; the only “catch” is that once you make the purchase, you have to send Adobe some proof that you’re a student, such as a copy of a report card or a student ID, for example.
Mac OS X:
Option 2: Buy a subscription$49 Per Month
If you can’t afford Photoshop’s hefty upfront price tag, try Adobe’s new subscription pricing. For only $79/month (or $49/month if you buy a whole year), Creative Cloud gives you access to not only Photoshop CS6 Extended, but all of Adobe’s Creative Suite 6 software.
Creative Cloud gives you the same desktop version of Photoshop that you’d get if you bought it as a download or a disc (it’s real Photoshop, not an online version). Just subscribe to Creative Cloud, download and install Photoshop (and whatever other Adobe CS6 programs you want), and you’re good to go. You can keep using Photoshop for as long as you’re subscribed to Creative Cloud.
Extra Discount: If you’re a student or educator, you get Creative Cloud for even less: only $29 per month when you purchase one year of access.
Option 3: Buy the basic versionUnder $100
If you’re an enthusiast who’s dabbling in photography or digital image editing and who doesn’t need the industry-level features of the full version of Photoshop, the basic version known as Photoshop Elements may provide all the functionality you require.
Photoshop Elements is the consumer-oriented, low-end version of Photoshop that lets you edit photos and create digital images with a selection of tools that should be more than enough for the typical home user.
I personally find that Photoshop Elements is enough for my needs. For instance, I used Photoshop Elements to do all the graphic editing work for this blog post (making the buttons, resizing the product pictures, etc.)
Bonus Tip: Use the free online versionFree but basic
If you’re a home user who just wants to tweak photos, the full-fledged version of Photoshop is definitely way more than you need. In fact, you can probably just get by with the Adobe’s free, online photo editing tool, known as the Photoshop.com Express Editor.
Bonus Tip: Use a free alternative
Photoshop isn’t the only graphic editing program out there. If you just need a graphic editing program and don’t need Photoshop in particular, you might want to check out two free alternatives called GIMP and Paint.NET.