Photoshop can either be really cheap or really expensive, depending on how you look at it. The price barrier to entry is really low. But over time the Creative Cloud subscription fees can really add up.
Hi! I’m Cara and as a professional photographer, I’ve been forking over a monthly subscription fee for several years now.
Are you interested in joining the club? Here’s what you need to know about how much Photoshop costs.
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Photoshop Works on a Subscription Model
Back in the day, you could drop about $700 dollars on Photoshop and never have to pay another cent. That is, until the updates became too enticing as the software developed and you had to get the new version.
Regardless, to buy Photoshop, you really had to commit because it was quite pricey. Anyway, the one-time purchase option is not available anymore.
These days, Photoshop is only available as part of a Creative Cloud Subscription. How much you’ll pay depends on the plan you choose and if you qualify for any discounts. (Spoiler: pretty much only students and teachers get a good discount.)
Here’s a snippet from Adobe’s website. The first plan tends to be the most popular among photographers and it’s the one I have. For $10 a month, you get access to Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop on desktop and iPad, and 20GB of cloud storage.
If you want all that with 1 TB of cloud storage, you can select the last plan at $20 a month. Both plans include Adobe Portfolio, Adobe Spark, and Adobe Fonts.
You can also get Photoshop without the Lightroom bundle for $20.99 a month. It comes with 100 GB of storage and Adobe Fresco, a digital drawing and painting app.
Finally, you can purchase access to the entire suite of Adobe Apps (20+ apps for creatives and designers). That will cost you $53 a month. It’s the best value, according to Adobe, but only if you actually need all those apps!
The Monthly Cost of Photoshop Gets Expensive Over Time
The big win about the subscription model is that it’s inexpensive to get started. You can try Photoshop for free for 7 days and then it’s only $10 a month after that on the cheapest plan.
You’ll also have immediate access to all the updates and upgrades. The creative folks at Adobe are constantly improving Photoshop. Some of the incredible new features for 2021 include an impressible sky replacement tool and powerful neural filters for portrait retouching.
But…you never stop paying that monthly subscription. Granted, it takes almost 6 years to spend as much on the subscription as you would on a one-off copy of Photoshop when they were still available. But as long as you want to use Photoshop, you’ve got to keep paying.
Photoshop Elements: A Cheaper Version of Photoshop
What if you don’t need the full version of Photoshop?
Photoshop Elements packs a powerful punch in its own right. This “pint-sized” version of Photoshop provides many of the same editing features as Photoshop. For many casual photo editors, Elements provides just what they need without the price tag of the full version.
You can get Elements for less than $100 and you don’t have to pay a subscription!
Plus, if don’t have much photo editing experience, Photoshop Elements is a great introduction to the full version of Photoshop.
There is a vast number of things you can do with Photoshop and learning how to use it is practically a full-time job. Elements strips out some of the more advanced features and is less overwhelming to learn.
The Value of Photoshop
No doubt about it, Photoshop is a powerful program that is well worth the money Adobe charges for it. Whether it’s worth the money you spend on it, depends on what you use Photoshop for and how often.
Once you learn to use Photoshop well, there are a number of ways you can make money with it. And at $10 a month, at least it isn’t too expensive to invest in during the learning process.
Interested in digging deeper into Photoshop? Check out our post on how to learn Photoshop here. The possibilities truly are endless!About Cara Koch