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Adobe Photoshop CC for Mac: How to Download, Install and Use

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Over the years, Photoshop has become so popular that you’ll often hear people referring to photo editing as “Photoshopping” their photos. While Photoshop is a great tool, there are worthy alternative photo editors that also deserve your attention, and today we’re going to discuss a couple of options. But first, before touching on our favorite alternative photo editors to see which one is right for you, let’s talk about how to download Photoshop.

How to download and install Adobe Photoshop CC for a Mac

To get started, go to the Photoshop app listing on Click the “Download” button near the top of the page – this will take you to the download page, where you’ll have to click on “Leave MacUpdate and download”.

After the file has downloaded, you can then go to your downloads folder and launch the Photoshop Installer. You’ll be prompted to open the application for the first time – please choose “Open”. Then you’ll see a prompt for your admin password, which you allows the Adobe Creative Cloud App to install. It’s this app that’ll then handle the download and installation of Photoshop itself.

Click “Ok” and create a free Adobe account – you can use Facebook, your Google account, or sign up with Adobe. All these options here are fine to use; it’s up to you. You’ll have to answer a couple of quick questions about your experience with Photoshop and whether you’ve ever previously used it. After answering those questions, you can click continue and Photoshop will start installing!

Once the app is done installing, you will then be able to use Photoshop CC!

Using Adobe Photoshop CC

Adobe Photoshop CC is a very powerful image editor, capable of performing many different types of editing tasks. When you launch Photoshop CC for the first time, you may be overwhelmed by all the options available to you.

In my experience, videos are often the best way to learn how to use a new app. Besides being a great visual aid, it can also be helpful to hear someone talk their way through what they’re doing.

On their site, Adobe provides a variety of video tutorials to get you started and walk you through common photo editing tasks, such as:

  • Cropping and straightening photos
  • Improving lighting and color
  • Removing unwanted content
  • Adding creative effects
  • Sharpening and saving photos

If you’re looking to get started editing photos, Adobe Photoshop Elements is a good place to start. You’ll often hear people talking about how they need Photoshop, but initially, for most people, Photoshop Elements provides powerful editing tools without the added cost and difficulty that comes with Photoshop CC.

Some of the highlighted features of Photoshop Elements include:

  • Low cost! Elements only costs $100, and that gets you a full licence, no ongoing subscription necessary. Once you have it, you own it.
  • Adobe has implemented features to walk you through how to correct and retouch photos and how to give your photos novel effects – you’ll get more done with a shorter learning curve.
  • Great for parents, teachers, or anyone that wants to easily create a scrapbook.

If you’re interested in trying out Photoshop Elements, you can download it here.

So at what point might you prefer the fully-featured Photoshop CC?

  • If you’re a intermediate-to-advanced image editor and need more from a photo editor than what Elements can offer you
  • If you working on high-end photo retouching, advertising, or Hollywood studio editing

Alternatives to using Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements

A great alternative to the Photoshop family is Affinity Photo, which has been gaining traction over the years thanks to its one-time price of $49, which compares very favorably to Adobe’s more costly, subscription-only options. While there are pros and cons to both apps, some people prefer to own their software outright and don’t mind if they don’t always have the most current version and all the latest features available.

Affinity Photo offers more or less the same suite of editing tools as Photoshop does, along with some other standout features such as:

  • Less memory usage to keep your computer happy and fan-noise free
  • Support for plugins
  • Faster interface than Photoshop

Meanwhile, Pixelmator shows solid performance as a photo editor and costs just $29.99, making it the lowest-priced option to consider. So why is Pixelmator so well-loved?

  • It can work with a wide variety of image types
  • You can use it to remove objects from the photos you’ve taken.
  • It offers a simple-to-use interface that makes sense and is easy for you to quickly pick up and learn.

With the low price though, you will have to give up some features:

  • The app does not have a built-in photo organizer.
  • It lacks some advanced editing tools like adjustment layers, lens distortion correction, panoramas, and the ability to create HDR images.

Let’s recap

There is more than one option for photo editing and it’s important to look at what is available to you as a consumer.

Photoshop CC is one of the best. It may not have an easy-to-pick-up interface, but it offers a plethora of features, and once you know how to use it, it's a very powerful editing tool. While some may not like its subscription pricing, there are benefits – like always having the newest version of the app and the latest features available to you.

Photoshop Elements is a great tool for those who want the Photoshop experience but don’t need all of the advanced features that it offers and want to save some money. Another benefit is that you’ll own the software outright, with no need to pay for a subscription.

Affinity Photo is the new kid on the block and is making a big impact on the photo editing environment. If you’re wanting something new, want to have the features that Photoshop offers, and want to pay a very fair asking price, then this one is for you.

Pixelmator is an affordable option and gives you true value for your money. If you’re wanting to get into the photo editing scene and want the basics plus some, this is the way to go.

The verdict:

Affinity Photo offers a powerful suite of editing tools, a low price, and a faster interface. In a world of photo editors, this is the one I would choose today as I feel you will get the most value for your money.

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