Help me be the first to *buy* Photoshop
September 3, 2009 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Is there a legitimate way to buy discount software for a high-school student? My son, a sophomore in high school, is enjoying a class that makes heavy use of Photoshop CS4. We'd like to get him CS4 for the computer he uses at home (Vista, 4 GB memory), but it's very expensive. I know there are discounts for college students. We'd rather not use 'warez' sites. Thanks!
posted by lukemeister to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You can buy Photoshop for $200 at the student store, but that is still pricey.

If there are any MeFites who work at Adobe, employees get ridiculously cheap the entire Creative Suite for $100...Maybe one of them is looking to purchase CS4 *cough* *cough*
posted by radioamy at 1:26 PM on September 3, 2009

Does your son have a laptop? Is he friendly with his teachers and/or the tech dept? If they have a volume licensing he could bring his computer to school and they could load it on for him.
posted by radioamy at 1:27 PM on September 3, 2009

It is still expensive but amazon has all the student versions.
posted by moochoo at 1:27 PM on September 3, 2009

radioamy - lukemeister's son is NOT eligible for the $200 student price, because it's only available to college students.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:28 PM on September 3, 2009

While this link suggests Adobe does student pricing for some universities, it mentions nothing about high schools. I would suggest emailing or calling Adobe directly. You may need somebody from the school to verify your son's enrollment, but it sure wouldn't hurt to try. Some corporations are rather closed minded on these things, some are open to the idea of getting a loyal customer at a young age who will be far more likely to move on to the expensive software suites once he graduates from college.

Also, if you or your son are enrolled in any of the universities they list, you can get a student edition that way with no hassle. Of course, it's unlikely that a university would permit a sophomore to enroll in even one class, and that's a rather expensive way of doing things.

Ask. The worst they can do is say no. The best they can do is say yes.
posted by Saydur at 1:31 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

lukemeister's son is NOT eligible for the $200 student price, because it's only available to college students.

When I go to the Adobe education store for north America I get an option for "K-12 student", with Photoshop CS4 costing $300.
posted by Mike1024 at 1:39 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sorry, messed up the link there - should have been this.
posted by Mike1024 at 1:41 PM on September 3, 2009

Adobe's website makes this all very confusing because it keeps hinting at K-12 pricing but I can't find any firm #'s...I'd just call them and ask.
posted by radioamy at 1:55 PM on September 3, 2009

Creation Engine sells software at educational prices for both college and high school students. No relation to them, but I've been buying from them for years and they are really nice folks. They just need a copy of a student ID and/or class schedule to confirm student status (I think for Adobe they will have you fill out a form as well). Some universities can get far lower prices (here at Cornell I just bought Logic Studio for $150 where the normal educational price is around $450 and there's a similar arrangement for most of the Adobe packages), but Creation Engine will happily sell to high school students too. They have graphics tablets as well, which he might enjoy.

If anyone you know has any vague connection to a university, do pursue that route first, as their price is likely to be a lot cheaper than even Creation Engine's. Most school bookstores are fairly lax about this kind of thing, and since he's eligible for educational pricing anyway, I don't think it's unreasonable to try to shop around at the college bookstores. Good luck! Sure he'll enjoy it.
posted by zachlipton at 1:57 PM on September 3, 2009

Try The Gimp? It has a Photoshop-like interface...and is free...
posted by catkins at 2:17 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I wonder if you know anybody else in college right now who can buy it for you? And pay them back?
posted by twins named Lugubrious and Salubrious at 2:30 PM on September 3, 2009

Keep in mind the "Education" versions aren't upgradeable like the original version. You have to keep buying the "extended" copy which turns out to be almost twice the cost of a normal upgrade. And (even though this probably isn't an issue), you can't use the educational/extended versions to do commercial work.
posted by june made him a gemini at 4:30 PM on September 3, 2009

It turns out that in North America you can use the student editions for commercial work.
posted by chelseagirl at 5:14 PM on September 3, 2009

Funny, I was just thinking about this topic last night... especially how Adobe and other big software companies are shooting themselves in the foot with all this activation nonsense.

As a youth I learnt my trade on warezed copies of software like photoshop... not doing any commercial work, but just to play around with. I got maybe $10 a week pocket money, so spending $300 on a 'student' version was absolutely out of the question. Fast forward 10 years, and i've ensured Adobe and the like have had tens of thousands worth of business out of mine and my employers' pockets.

Now that they've managed to stop the kids even getting to play around with their software, when they grow up, they'll be evangelising gimp and other programs that they actually got to use.

Anyways, my advice. Download the 30 day trial. When it runs out, try adding a certain line to your hosts file pointing to If he eventually uses this stuff professionally, he'll more than make up for this ethical glitch.
posted by derbs at 5:59 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

When I worked in marketing, my employer would send us to one-day refresher courses on this software at the local community college.

Even though the class was just a few hours long, we could then buy the software for our machines at home through the university bookstore. Might be worth a try.
posted by Ostara at 6:46 PM on September 3, 2009

Try The Gimp? It has a Photoshop-like interface...and is free...

Consider GIMPshop, a free modification of ye olde GIMP which makes it more Photoshop-like. You can't use Photoshop plugins with it, still, but it'll seem more familiar than the default GIMP.
posted by axiom at 7:58 PM on September 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Sure, we could try another program, but the real point of my question was that there should be a legitimate way to buy Photoshop for my son for $100 to $200, as there is with Microsoft Office for Students. Perhaps Photoshop Elements would be adequate for my son's current needs, but it would be ideal if he could use exactly the same program at school and at home.
posted by lukemeister at 9:36 PM on September 3, 2009

posted by jdlugo at 8:42 PM on September 4, 2009

Response by poster: I've never bought software from eBay. Has anyone here?
posted by lukemeister at 8:02 AM on September 5, 2009

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