I would like to buy a second-hand version of Photoshop as I am not ready for the $700 investment yet.

Is it possible? If it is, what is the process and were would be a safe place to buy a used version of Photoshop? I am looking for CS3 or CS4.

  • If you don't know the program yet, you can download the trial from the adobe page. And if that's the case, you could also try a GNU program like Gimp, which is free and open.
    – Yisela
    Nov 18 '11 at 10:48
  • Hi utopicam, thank you for the suggestion of using Gimp. I have been using my friend's version of Photoshop to prepare graphics for an iphone apps but I am not having enought revenues to justify the investment of a new version.
    – ErezSO
    Dec 8 '11 at 21:53
  • I have been (trying) to use Gimp and find it very annoying. I think it's better spending $100 on a used copy of Photoshop.
    – B Seven
    Oct 28 '12 at 21:05

Adobe allows you to transfer the license to another user. So you need to make sure that whomever you purchase it from properly transfers the license to you. The problem is everyone upgrades instead of buying the complete new version so I would imagine that it's pretty hard to find a legitimate used version.

Your best bet is to get the 30 day trial and if you want to use professional level software be prepared to pay the price or go with an open source product like Gimp which you can get the same end results from.

  • … And if one wishes to buy the software later, the trial version can be upgraded with the license to a regular working copy without extra downloads (if purchasing the standard edition). Dec 3 '11 at 9:43

I'm not sure that purchasing a used version is even legal, unless the seller is completely transferring his/her license (i.e., isn't selling you a serial number they already used to upgrade with). Older versions are available unused though. Check Amazon, local retailers and craigslist or eBay (be cautious with those last two, especially eBay).

Adobe has recently announced a subscription edition of Photoshop CS5 Extended, though, which at $35/month for a year's subscription comes to $420 -- about what you'd expect to pay for a legitimate copy of CS4. Month-to-month, it's $49. If you intend to make money with the software, it's a good investment.

If you're just starting out, and aren't planning to use the program professionally, consider Elements. It's astoundingly powerful, and is a great way to get into Photoshop without laying out a lot of cash for stuff you won't need.

  • 1
    To add to Alan's answer - be aware that Elements is quite a bit different than PS. You get a great package, to be sure, and a lot of the same features, but since the interface is different moving on to PS will be a bit of an unlearning-relearning curve. Still good software, though.
    – Rob Craig
    Nov 28 '11 at 0:24
  • IANAL, but selling a used installation media should be OK: the real dough is in the license. Actually without the license it is exactly the standard trial version, downloadable from adobe.com. If buying the license second hand, I don't know which ways are possible to confirm that the original licensee is really transferring his/her license. When looking at the listings, one should also be aware that only the standard licenses are transferable — in other words reselling student & teacher editions or education etc. editions is prohibited. Dec 3 '11 at 9:40
  • Thank you Allan, I did not know about the subscription that could be a viable option. As I plan to use some photoshop scripts it will be easier to stay with Photoshop. I will use Chris_O's link to transfer the license if I can find a legitimate one.
    – ErezSO
    Dec 8 '11 at 22:12
  • 2
    Buying used is legal in Europe. In fact trying to stop you from selling is expressly illegal in many European countries (because it would entail you didnt buy the thing in which case you couldnt use the term BUY in any country on earth). So for example in Germany you can buy used stuff that is impossible to buy in US, even license need to be transfered (vendor has no choice really). Even steam is currently under investigation because it does not allow such things. New CC licenses are a different thing tough as they are subscriptions.
    – joojaa
    Sep 19 '14 at 8:12

The other answers are a bit old.

In 2017 the cheapest option is the Photographer's package of Photoshop and Lightroom for less than $10 USD/month.


And of course Gimp is still a good option for free.

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