What’s the Cheapest Way to Get Photoshop? Secret Free Method?

Maybe you’re interested in Photoshop but don’t want to pay the expensive fee. Maybe you have heard of Photoshop, but don’t know what you can fully do with it.

The cheapest way to get photoshop is by being either a student or teacher. You could also get Photoshop Elements and pay a 1-time fee. Lastly, there are cheaper alternatives to look at.

Keep reading and I’ll share why the Photography plan is less money and you get more stuff, what Photoshop is and 6 buckets on how it’s used, 2 alternative options, 1 way NOT to pay a monthly fee, and a free option.

What is photoshop?

Photoshop is software that is used to edit photos, create images and is used for graphic design. Graphic design is a skill where people create visual content to send a message.

This software works on both a Windows or Mac computer and you would be surprised to know that it can even work on your phone.

The amount of ways that someone can use this software is “a ton.” Since we live in a world that is VERY visual-centric being able to manipulate images to your will is almost like magic.

Uses for Photoshop?

There really are thousands of ways to use Photoshop. The reason I got interested in Photoshop was my Youtube thumbnails JUST suck.

Since people do judge a book by its cover (it’s true), making a decent-looking thumbnail is a good thing. The first BIG use is to manipulate images!

This “manipulate images” is an umbrella term and there are thousands of things you can do. Here are just a few examples…

  • Add or remove people.
  • change the color of an object.
  • Add Text.
  • Remove or change a background.
  • Add effects such as smoke.
  • Fix an old photo to make it new.
  • Combine photos to make 1.

Basically, anything you want to do with a photo you can do with Photoshop.

Next up is digital Art.

Have you ever heard of Beeple? You know the guy that created an NFT and sold it for 69 million dollars. If you’re not sure what NFT’s are or Beeple or how to buy/sell them I created a whole blog post about it HERE.

Beeple does use Photoshop to create his art, now he does use other programs such as Cinema 4D.

Sure, you can make NFT’s with Photoshop, but you could also make cartoons, paintings, book covers, flyers, logos, website images, and much more.

The program even allows you to apply digital paint effects such as oil effects, charcoal, watercolors, and inks.

There is also graphic design, website design, gifs, and even memes. Gifs are short animated cartoons, and memes have taken over the internet even motivating people to buy Gamestop shares.

How to Get Photoshop?

There are 2 MAIN ways to get Photoshop. The first way is to buy a Photoshop subscription. You do get monthly updates and there are 3 different plans to choose from.

All Apps plan does EVERYTHING (Photoshop, Lightroom, and TONS more HERE is a link to discover all the stuff you get) and if you’re a student or teacher you get 60% off.

This 60% off is a large discount and here is a good post on the requirements. You need proof that you’re a teacher or student to get the discount. It actually comes with over 20 applications.

There is NO local storage with this plan and this means everything is in a cloud. You can use it if you use another computer. It even works on IOS and Android.

You get 100 GB of storage, but the bad news is it’s subscription-based and you pay every month. The cheapest option “if you’re NOT a student” is $49 a month if you pay every year in advance.

The second plan is the “Photography” Plan and you get Photoshop and Lightroom. The amount of space you get also determines the prices at $10 or $20 a month.

The last plan is JUST Photoshop.

You’re probably wondering why the Photography plan is cheaper since you get Photoshop and Lightroom right?

It’s probably a marketing idea to get more people to learn Lightroom, since Photoshop is their most popular product. If it’s cheaper and combine with Photoshop then more people will get this one.

The photography plan you get the most bang for the buck!

The second way to get Photoshop is by purchasing Photoshop Elements. The good news about this plan is it’s a 1-time fee of $99.

The bad news is that it’s MUCH more basic.

This basic use could be good since it’s more beginner-friendly. Photoshop is SO advanced that most people don’t even know half the stuff it can do. You also need to invest some time to learn how to use it.

Photoshop Elements is similar to buying a Honda Fit and Photoshop is like a Mercedez. Here is a good video that explains the differences of the 2.

Other Software?

Photoshop is the gold standard and nothing really comes close. If you just want some basic photo editing for Youtube thumbnails or social media then you might want to look for FREE options.

Yes, I LOVE the FREE options because I’m cheap! I’m so cheap then when I die I probably will walk towards the light and turn it off.

The first option is Canva when it comes to editing photos.

You can remove and replace the background of an image in Canva but you need Canva Pro or Enterprises and this costs money at around $10 a month.

There is a trick and that is FREE websites that remove background images and HERE is a good one. Then you can take that image and use Canva.

Here is a good video that compares them both.

A second Photoshop alternative is Affinity Photo. The great thing about Affinity Photo is it’s a 1-time fee of $49 compared to a monthly fee for Photoshop.

Also, Affinity Photo looks “very similar” to Photoshop.

Affinity is constantly improving and updating for free and a really cool feature is built-in stock photos. Such as Unsplash or Pixabay that I use on this blog a lot.

Now Photoshop is going to be way MORE advanced and has a better camera raw filter. When a photographer shoots in RAW format the camera captures all the data. No details from the image are removed (this happens with Jpeg’s).

With a camera raw filter, you can really tweak the photo more than Affinity. Photoshop is also better at animation.


When it comes to something like Youtube thumbnails or Social Media I would recommend the FREE method. Stop going broke trying to market things online.

Put yourself in profit as cheaply as you can and then re-invest your profits.

Usually quality is more attached to someone’s ego!

The free versions are also FASTER and time is money.

Now if you’re into advanced Photoshop then I would recommend getting Affinity you can learn more HERE or take a college course on Photoshop and get the college discount.

Photo editing can be a deep topic and hopefully, this blog post was a little helpful to you. Bye for now.


Affiliate marketer for 10 years, domain investor for 2 years, a recent crypto guy, and part-time surfer. Hopefully, this blog can benefit you.

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