Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular tools for photo editors, and it’s also used in other creative industries. But if you’ve ever had to pay for the service, you might wonder: Why is Adobe Photoshop so expensive?
Photoshop costs get higher when you consider that you can’t purchase the software outright. However, there are several reasons why the service costs so much – and we’ll go over those in this article.
In addition to learning why Photoshop is so expensive, you’ll also discover the least expensive way to buy the software. On top of that, you’ll find whether it’s worth paying for in the first place.
Adobe Photoshop’s pricing differs depending on where you live. But for simplicity’s sake, let’s look at how much the app costs if you live in the US.
For Photoshop users living in the US, Adobe Photoshop costs $20.99 per month if you buy the app independently. You can, however, get a discount if you purchase an annual subscription.
Annual Photoshop subscriptions cost $239.88, representing a slight discount when averaged out month-to-month.
In addition to outright price differences depending on your location, you’ll also need to factor in the VAT for where you live. You can get Photoshop for less if you purchase it as part of a bundle, which we’ll discuss later in this article.
Can I buy Photoshop outright?
Unfortunately, you cannot buy Photoshop outright. You can only get the app by purchasing a monthly subscription or paying upfront annually. This is a similar theme that you’ll find with Adobe’s other apps, including Lightroom and Premiere Pro.
It’s also different from other photo editing tools that you can purchase once, such as Capture One.
Adobe used to let users buy Photoshop with a one-time purchase, but it stopped that in 2013. This coincided with the launch of what we now know as Adobe Creative Cloud and a revamp of many of Adobe’s software solutions.
Why can’t I just buy Photoshop?
The simple answer is that Adobe doesn’t allow you to do so. As we mentioned earlier, the company opted to change its pricing models for Photoshop in 2013 – meaning that you can only pay monthly or annually.
Since then, Adobe has continued to enjoy significant success – and it’s undeniable that its solutions have continued improving. As a result, the company has no real reason to revert to the model where you could buy a license for Photoshop and other products within its ecosystem.
But why else is Photoshop pay monthly, and why does Photoshop cost so much?
From a business perspective, it made sense for Adobe to stop selling software licenses like Photoshop. The company now has steady streams of recurring revenue from its customers, meaning that it can continue to operate in the long run.
Since Adobe makes more money, it can also spend more on enhancing its software solutions.
What is the cheapest way to get Adobe Photoshop?
If you still want to use Photoshop in your photo editing workflow, you can save money in several ways. One, ironically, is to not subscribe to the Photoshop plan.
Instead, you can get the Photography Plan for $9.99 per month; an annual subscription costs $119.88 per year.
In the Photography Plan, you will receive full access to Adobe Photoshop’s extensive suite of features. On top of that, you can also use Adobe Lightroom Classic and Creative Cloud – allowing you to go into further depth with your photo editing.
The Creative Cloud All Apps plan is worth checking out if you use more of Adobe’s apps. With this, you can use as many of Adobe’s premium apps as you wish – including Audition and Premiere Pro. You can get these apps for $54.99 per month, while it costs just under $600 per year if you pay upfront annually.
Students can also get a discount on Adobe Photoshop if they can prove that they are one. You can automatically confirm this by buying your subscription from your college email address.
Another way to use Photoshop for less is by downloading Adobe Photoshop Express. Although this only has a partial suite of options you’ll find on your computer, you will still gain access to a wide variety of them.
Photoshop Express is free to use, regardless of whether you have a paid Adobe subscription.
If you want to make basic edits and design graphics for social media and whatnot, consider using Adobe Express instead. The tool is free to use, and it works in a similar way to Photoshop Express.
While some people might argue that Photoshop is too expensive and you can’t get a Photoshop one-time cost, it’s still worth paying for. Using the app has many benefits for your creative projects, as outlined in the subsections below.
Photoshop is an advanced photo editing tool
One of the reasons that Photoshop costs so much is that it’s one of the most advanced photo editing tools on the market. You will find many tools that allow you complete creative control over your images, including many that you’ll find in Lightroom.
You can make multiple basic adjustments to your photos in Photoshop, such as tweaking the vibrance and saturation. Beyond that, however, you also can create more complex tweaks – such as completely changing colors in your pictures.
Photoshop is an excellent tool for editing photos as a standalone software solution. But beyond that, you can also use it with other photo editing software. With a Creative Cloud subscription, you’ll also find it easy to move your creations between different devices.
Photoshop is the industry standard for many companies
If you’re a professional photographer, you will likely work with clients or companies that use Photoshop. Photoshop has been the go-to tool for over two decades for many companies. As you use it more, you’ll also notice that many magazines and other covers have been edited using the device.
Since Photoshop is the industry standard, knowing how to use it will go a long way in allowing you to make better edits in the long run. Beyond that, you’ll also be able to understand the terminology that many people will mention in conversations at networking events.
Another benefit of buying Photoshop is that you can provide tips and tricks for your clients to maximize their use of the platform.
Photoshop is a useful skill to have
If you’re serious about photography, knowing how to use Photoshop is handy – regardless of whether you’re an amateur or professional.
Being able to navigate the app and understanding which tools are the best for you to use will allow you to make much better picture edits than would otherwise have been possible.
Beyond that, you can also use Photoshop to help grow your clientele. In addition to editing your own pictures for clients, you can specialize in editing other people’s photos with Photoshop. Think about it: Editing takes time, and it’s something that many people would prefer not to do.
If you get good at Photoshop, you can also teach what you learn to others. For example, start a YouTube channel or release an online course showing people the solution’s fundamentals.
Photoshop is much easier to use than it once was
If your only previous experience with Photoshop was more than ten years ago, we understand if you’re hesitant about investing in the service again. Until recently, the app’s interface was slightly clunky and felt somewhat outdated. Moreover, getting around took a lot of work.
Now, however, things have changed. Photoshop is much easier to use than was previously the case, and the app is very responsive – even when needing to perform demanding tasks. You will also notice that everything is laid out much better than it used to be.
Using Photoshop on multiple devices is also more of a challenge than was once the case.
Adobe Photoshop is a pricey photo editing tool, but it’s well worth the investment
Why is Adobe Photoshop so expensive, then?
While Photoshop no longer has a one-time license purchase, that doesn’t mean it’s worth discarding altogether. The app is still one of the best photo-editing solutions on the market. You will get plenty of use out of it – regardless of whether you’re an amateur photographer or a seasoned professional.
Photoshop has a broad range of tools that will help you take better photos, including those that are more suitable for beginners and others that you’ll need a bit of experience. If you want to save money on your plan, you can always get the Photography Plan instead.
Another possible option to mitigate the cost of Adobe Photoshop is using Photoshop Express for quick edits.