Thursday, April 16, 2009

Photoshop Tips: 1. How to Afford Photoshop (plus options for other photo editing software)

I wondered if this question might come up eventually.... and it has! Yes, Photoshop is notoriously expensive (about $550 - 700 for the latest new edition, CS4). However, there are several ways to obtain a working copy without breaking the bank, and all legally:

(illustration, "The Thrifty Mouse", R. Garriott)

  1. Photoshop Elements: $70 and up
    This is Photoshop stripped down. It has all the basics you need to make your photos look great (and this product is touted as more friendly for the casual user.) Available at for about $70-80 for the newest version 7 (sometimes you can find a rebate, too) with Free shipping!

  2. Photoshop Student Edition: under $200
    If you are a student you can buy this; it has all the features of the full flagship Photoshop (check the Adobe website for requirements). The major sticking point on it is that it is not upgradeable; if you want the new versions as they come out, you have to buy them. But the price is about the same as the full fledged version upgrades, so it comes out even. Starting at $197 at

  3. Older version of Photoshop: $299.99
    Confession here; I'm still using Photoshop CS2 and didn't even realize until today that we're up to CS4. Although I'm sure the latest version has new groovy bells and whistles, I'm quite content with CS2. The good news is there's still a few copies available out there, and today's going price is about $300 at

Please note that the links I've provided are for PC; if you have a Mac you'll need to specify that when searching on Amazon. The software prices are about the same for either platform.

Other Options for photo editing:
Thanks to other bloggers who've written in!

Although Photoshop is the Holy Grail of photo editing, it's not the only photo product out there.

  • From other astute readers I've learned that some of these tips will also work with Microsoft Photo Gallery and Paint Shop Pro.
  • Actually many photo editing programs have these features; although the names might be a bit different. If you have a printer, you most likely have some kind of photo editing software that came with it.
  • Artist Kate wrote: "Another option: download a free software called GIMP. It does a great deal of what Photoshop does.I personally love it. "
  • Silk artist Deborah Younglao wrote in that she still is using Photoshop 5-- and I think that's just fine! There's been a few useful bells and whistles added over the versions, but for most of us, we just need the basic tools.
  • I have also heard that photosharing sites like Google's free Picasa has retouching capabilities.

If anyone knows of additional options, especially on the cheap, please write and let me know. Mostly what I hope to do is give people an idea of the terminology, so they can go in and figure it out themselves on what ever they use. If you don't know how to ask the question, it's hard to get the answer!

1 comment:

    It is a pretty stripped down, freebie I suggest to students. Easier than GIMP for me.

    It has the really essential basics for artists who work a lot with photos, not just digital artists.