Not sure if Photoshop is the program you need? There’s a very simple (and free) way to download Photoshop CC and find out!
Photoshop CC is the world’s most famous image editor and is used by professional photographers, artists and illustrators the world over. For photographers, its strengths are not just its sheer image-editing power and control, but the huge range of tutorials, plug-ins and expert know-how that surrounds it.
But you can no longer buy a Photoshop license for a single one-off fee. Instead, it’s only available via one of Adobe’s subscription plans (there’s more on these below). The ‘CC’ in the name indicates that it’s part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud system.
So does that mean you have to pay before you try it? No! Adobe offers a 7-day free trial for its subscription plans, which should give you time to try out Photoshop properly. At the end of the trial period you can simply stop using Photoshop and cancel your subscription, or do nothing and have your subscription start automatically.
So here’s how to download Photoshop and try it free for 7 days.
1. How to download Photoshop now
Click this link to start your free trial. You’ll be offered a choice of subscription plans for your 7-day trial, including the Adobe Photography Plan, Photoshop only or Adobe’s all apps plan. You will have to enter your card or PayPal details, but you won’t be charged until the end of the 7-day trial period. If you decide not to go ahead at the end of the trial, you’ll need to cancel your subscription online or via Adobe’s customer support.
2. How to choose an Adobe subscription plan
When you sign up for a free trial you'll need to choose a subscription plan to try out. Here are the choices (just to recap, you won't actually be charged until the trial period ends):
This is by far the best choice for photographers. It includes not just Photoshop CC but Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC too, so you’re getting two professional programs for the price of one subscription.
You CAN get Photoshop on its own as one of Adobe’s single app plans, but it makes no sense financially because single app subscriptions cost twice as much as the Photography Plan.
With this subscription you get access to all of Adobe’s professional apps. For regular photographers this is overkill, but for anyone who also works with video, web and print design and illustration, this could be the plan to go for.
3. How to buy Photoshop
At the end of the 7-day trial period your subscription will start automatically and there’s nothing else you need to do. If you decide not to subscribe, you will need to cancel your subscription online or via Adobe customer services.
Adobe discounts for students
You can get the Creative Cloud All Apps plan at a substantially discounted price of $19.99/16.24 per month (including a first year discount, changing to $29.99/£25.28 after that), but you do have to be aged 13 or over and able to provide documentary evidence of your student status.
What about Photoshop Elements?
This is a separate product to Photoshop and not part of the Creative Cloud system. You can buy Photoshop Elements with a one-off payment from Adobe or resellers. Photoshop Elements is designed for beginners and ‘memory keepers’, however, and does not offer the same professional tools and features as Photoshop CC.
Are there any Photoshop alternatives?
There certainly are! See our guide to the best photo editing software to get an idea of what’s out there, and how different software publishers approach photo-editing. Photoshop might be the best-known photo editor, but there are plenty of very strong rivals.