Buying Photoshop

Wondering how to buy Photoshop? In this free lesson, you'll learn all about buying Photoshop.


If you're thinking about purchasing or upgrading to the latest version of Adobe Photoshop, there are some important things you'll need to consider before you buy. For example, you'll need to learn more about the different purchasing options and choose the version of Photoshop that's right for you.

Photoshop purchasing options

If you're interested in buying Photoshop, you have several different options to choose from:

Adobe Creative Cloud and Photoshop CC

Unlike many other applications you may have used, you cannot buy a boxed copy of Photoshop CC. Instead, you'll need a subscription plan through Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe's cloud-based software service. Then, you'll download Photoshop CC to your computer. A Creative Cloud subscription includes other benefits, such as cloud-based storage for your Photoshop projects. You'll also receive the newest version of Photoshop whenever it's made available, so you'll never have to worry about upgrading to the most recent version.

You can subscribe to Creative Cloud for about $10 per month (or about $120 per year). Previously, you could purchase a boxed copy of Photoshop without a subscription, but it would typically cost more than $700. While this means the cost of entry for using Photoshop is much lower than it was in the past, keep in mind that this subscription fee will add up over time, especially if you plan to keep the subscription for several years.

screenshot of Adobe Creative Cloud

You can also buy other Adobe applications through Creative Cloud, such as Lightroom, Illustrator, and InDesign. There are different plans and pricing options available, depending on your needs. Go to this page on the Adobe website to learn more about purchasing a Creative Cloud subscription. If you still have questions about how Creative Cloud works, you can visit Adobe's Creative Cloud FAQ page.

Photoshop Elements

If you don't need all of Photoshop's features, you might consider purchasing Photoshop Elements instead. You can think of Photoshop Elements as "Photoshop Light"—it gives you access to some of the most popular features from the full version, but it usually costs less than $100 and does not require a subscription. If you don't have a lot of previous experience with image editing, Photoshop Elements may be a good option for you.

screenshot of photoshop elements

Missing features in Photoshop Elements

Below, you'll find a list of some of the main limitations of Photoshop Elements. These are somewhat advanced features, which is why they're not included in Elements. If you've never heard about some of the things we mention below, don't worry—we'll talk more about many of these features later in this tutorial.

Photoshop for mobile devices

If you want to edit photos on the go, Adobe offers a few different mobile apps. While these apps don't include nearly as many features as the desktop software, they may be a good option for making quick edits on a mobile device: