Ever since Adobe launched Creative Cloud in 2011, ditched the Creative Suite branding and moved to being a software-as-a-service provider, it hasn't been possible to pay a one-time cost and have a standalone version of Photoshop. At least, not the full-fat, professional version.
There are options if you want to avoid a monthly subscription fee for Creative Cloud, though.
You can use Photoshop for free on Mac and PC as a part of Adobe's Creative Cloud trial, but apps such as Photoshop Express and Photoshop Camera are completely free to use on mobile devices, with no subscription required.
While the trial lasts only a week, you can get discounts on Creative Cloud subscriptions if you know where to look. Students and teachers get an all-year discount that makes the steep price much cheaper.
Here we explain at all the ways you can get Photoshop on your Mac or PC right now and how much it'll cost if you go down the subscription route.
How to get Adobe Photoshop for free
You can download a free 7-day trial of Photoshop CC. The download provides you the entire version of the software. You'll have to pay after the trial ends but Adobe typically offers a 14-day window (from purchase) to cancel and get a full refund.
PC users will need Windows 10 or later and at least 8GB RAM (though 16GB is recommended). It's also compatible with Windows 10 ARM devices with at least 8GB RAM and 4GB GPU memory.
Mac users will need macOS version 10.14 (Mojave) or later, though macOS 11.0 (Big Sur) and macOS 10.15 (Catalina) are recommended. Minimum RAM requirements are 8GB , though 16GB is recommended.
Of course, you can skip all that and download the free 7-day trial of Photoshop now.
Get Photoshop Express free on Android, iOS & Windows
If you need only basic photo-editing tools, Adobe offers a free app called Photoshop Express which is available from the Apple App Store, Google Play and Microsoft Store. That means you can use it on your PC or laptop
For a free app, it's pretty good, though it bears no resemblance to traditional Photoshop at all. It's much more like other quick photo-editing apps such as Snapseed and the one built into Google Photos. That means you can add filters, crop, transform, adjust perspective, adjust (brightness, contrast, saturation, and more), add masks and more. You can see all Photoshop Express features here.
What you cannot do is edit specific portions of images, except when using the red-eye reduction and spot healing tools. There's no image resizing (but you can specify the output resolution to nearest 200 pixels of width) nor any support for layers.
As it's free, and you need only sign up for an Adobe account to use it, you may as well give it a whirl and see if it'll do what you need it to.
Get Photoshop Camera free on Android/iOS
The Photoshop Camera app allows you to add all sorts of effects and filters directly in-camera – allowing you to effectively "Photoshop" your image as you capture it! It's also free to use.
Adobe Photoshop Elements
It isn't free but the best option for those who want 'proper' Photoshop without the subscription costs is to buy Photoshop Elements. This is the true cut-down version of full Photoshop, supports layers and many of the regularly used features and tools.
There's 20% off if you are a student or teacher.
Adobe Photoshop discounts on Amazon
Amazon has the entire Adobe CC available for £548.79 (for one year), which saves you £47.54 from the standard price.
Amazon also sells the Photoshop and Premiere Elements 2022 bundle for £129.99. We've previously seen the 2021 bundle as low as £78.99, but that's no longer sold.
We currently can't see any equivalent deals in the US.
Adobe occasionally has its own sales with 20% off, though we've previously seen up to 40% off.
Photoshop student and teacher discount
While Adobe doesn't offer a student discount on Photoshop alone, students and teachers can get a 65% discount on the full Creative Cloud bundle (60% in the US). See our full guide the Adobe Creative Cloud student discount.
Students and teachers can choose from two annual payment plans:
- Annual prepaid: £196.30 per year (VAT included) or US$239.88 per year
- Annual, paid monthly: £16.24 per month (VAT included) or US$19.99 per month
The student discount makes the entire suite's price cheaper than the 1TB Photography Plan (£19.97/$19.99 per month, or £238.42/$239.88 per year) and the Single App Photoshop subscription plan by £68.20, annually.
You will have to show your student eligibility or institutional affiliation to get this discount, however. You can find all the eligibility requirements here.
This not only gets you Photoshop, but an arsenal of other powerful Adobe apps such as Illustrator, Lightroom, InDesign, Premiere Pro, Acrobat Pro, Spark and Adobe XD – all at a significantly reduced rate. See all the apps included with the full Creative Cloud bundle here.
How much does Adobe Photoshop cost?
A Creative Cloud subscription means you can either pay an amount every month or a lump sum cost for a year. This promises ongoing access to updates at no additional cost.
Adobe's Photography Plan has a few options (we've outlined these below) depending on how much cloud storage you need.
Single App subscription price
If you want only Photoshop CC without Lightroom bundled in, opt for the Single App plan from Adobe CC. The Single App includes the latest version of Photoshop, 100GB of cloud storage, access to premium fonts, as well as Adobe Spark (a social media graphics creation tool) and Adobe Portfolio.
There are three payment plans:
- Annual monthly: £19.97/$20.99 per month
- Annual, pre-paid: £238.42/$239.88 (lump sum)
- On-going monthly: £30.34/$31.49 per month
If you want to pick up an Adobe CC All Apps subscription, see our full guide to Adobe CC.
Photography Plan (20GB storage) price
The 20GB Photography Plan includes Lightroom, Lightroom Classic, and Photoshop with 20GB of cloud storage:
Photography Plan (1TB storage) price
If you need more storage, you can opt for the 1TB Photography Plan. It has everything the 20GB plan has but more storage. Here's how much it'll cost you: