So, I use Photoshop ALOT, and my students do too. It's been about seven years since I've had to purchase any new software. Actually, I still don't need to purchase any new software. Back in the dark ages (2007) I dropped about six-hundred dollars worth in licensing for Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. It has been one of the greatest investments I've ever made.
Why? (in order of importance)
1.) Print design - booklets, business cards, typography, logos, etc.
2.) Presentations - resizing images, cleaning up images, cropping images, etc.
3.) Helping out friends and my favorite organizations.
4.) Preparing things for the web - resizing, cleaning up, cropping, typography, logos, etc.
Absolutely invaluable. Photography is a rich way of communicating. Like the old adage goes, "A photo can speak a thousand words." So how has Adobe changed with the advent of app technology? Well, I can tell you right away monthly plans are the new way to go. However, your commitment to a product goes down. I dropped six-hundred dollars and have made my purchase more than pay for itself over the past seven years. How are you going to do with a monthly plan, where you pay to keep using a product? I'm not sure it's the best way to go, but that's how their software is packaged nowadays.
I can tell you right now, getting down the basic tools is the key to using Photoshop, not about having the latest software. The latest software might help you out with a few new tricks, but your basic understanding of what you can and can't do needs to be there. I learned through play. I use Photoshop to see how ridiculous the things in my head look. After trial and error, and trial and error, and trial and error I like to think I'm a little better at assembling more realistic visions. I know I am. So, get the software whether by a plan or not, and use it. Only when you figure out a use for the software is your time and money going to pay off. Then you will see what Photoshop can really do.
So, here's what Adobe goes for nowadays:
Photoshop Digital Membership from Amazon, $19.99 a month or $239 a year. If you can find a use for Photoshop for seven years, that's $1680.00 worth of membership. I paid six-hundred for the entire CS Suite back in 2007. Do not forget many public places house the software on a Mac somewhere. You can use Saint Charles Public Library to use all three Adobe Suite software programs, and a reason to get out of the house (away from all the distractions)!
Adobe Illustrator goes for the same price as Photoshop (above). Same goes for InDesign.
My best advice, purchase the software and make the best of it. If you can continue using the software without having to pay for it every month do it. You may want to find an old one.
The two best places to work on graphic design work? Starbucks and the library. Get out, into the people. Worst place to work? At home with an internet connection to distract you. However, if you can disconnect, it's not so bad. Also try the RV on your next camping trip, but don't miss out on walking the frozen lake perimeter, or the autumn breeze. You don't want to miss the world that you're working to keep yourself in. You need to work, and you need to appreciate all that your work goes to sustain.
Make the best of your purchase, and use your graphic design/illustration skills to keep the things you love the most alive. Example: Icelandic Association of Chicago's Þorrablót booklet, Christmas cards, children's books, or maybe even environmental awareness. That's me. Maybe you need it for a sports team logo. Hey, if I needed it for a sports team logo, you know I'd be on it.
Charge for your services. Professional graphic designers make around twenty-five dollars an hour (consult AIGA for the latest hourly rate for services if you need to). Design your own invoice form, and keep a record of your work! Invest in some pocket sleeves and a binder. Make friends with your local printer. Oh, and the best sentence in the English dictionary, "Can I get a quote on that?" don't be afraid to ask for a proof either.