Here’s an interesting question – do you actually NEED Adobe Photoshop for creating business graphics for your wife’s business?
The answer is probably “No.”
There are a ton of different applications out there you can use, many of which will allow you to create business graphics. Most of what you’re going to need you may already have. On both platforms there are a ton of freeware applications or inexpensive applications that you can use to create most of what you’ll want to create.
That said, here’s what I’d recommend if you’re looking to start doing basic business graphics:
1. Look at what you already have. You may have something on your computer that will work perfectly fine. As long as it will save files as .jpg format, you’re probably good to go.
2. Look into free apps next. See what’s out there. A popular tool is GIMP. It has a lot of powerful features, but is generally lacking in interface and isn’t as user-friendly as other options.
3. If you don’t have #1 and #2 doesn’t work for you AND you’re on a strict budget check out Photoshop Elements. This provides the majority of the full version of Photoshop’s features (though not all) at a drastically cheaper price point. They also have a combination product that includes both Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements (which is used for video editing) if you are looking at creating videos for your business. Currently Amazon lists the combo at $92, which is a lot of graphics horsepower for the money.
4. Now, here’s the deal. There’s quite a jump up in price to the next level here. While there are other standalone applications claiming to be professional apps, if you don’t already own one of them, I don’t recommend them. If you are interested in painting in digital form Painter is good, but it’s not really a business graphics tool for the most part. So the next step to consider is Adobe Photoshop. If you are a teacher in your day job, you can get the Student & Teacher Edition for around $190. Otherwise, the full version of Photoshop starts at $575. Yep. Ouch. Quite a jump in price, I know. I don’t actually recommend you buy Photoshop CS6. Keep in mind that this is a deduction for your wife if she is purchasing this application for her business. And she should be if that is your intent.
5. If you’re looking at stepping up to a full version, it should be sometime after you have used other graphics applications for a while and develop some skills and comfort. And preferably your wife is comfortable with the stuff you create. But if you get to that point, I recommend subscribing to Adobe’s Creative Cloud service which provides you with access to essentially ALL of their professional applications for $49.99 a month. That’s about what it will cost you to buy just the plain version (not extended) of Photoshop. This is really a great deal. Also deductible if your wife purchases it for her business.
Depending on her level in her direct sales company, this may be a trivial amount or it may be significant. Don’t just go out there and jump in purchasing something expensive on the day she starts her business. She’s not going to need a lot at first. This stuff is more and more useful the further along she is in leadership. Larger teams require more communication. You start looking at developing a team website. Team incentives. Email templates. All that sort of thing.
Are there any other tools you should get in addition to this?
I don’t really think you need to buy any plug-ins for Photoshop, honestly. I have all the big ones, but every new iteration of Photoshop seems to include more and more of the features you used to need a plug-in to accomplish. Resist the urge.
Adobe Illustrator is extremely useful for creating vector-based graphics and working with fonts in different ways. I use it for creating logos and recurring graphics whenever I can. It’s also expensive, but also included in Creative Cloud.
Why not go with non-Adobe apps?
If you already have those apps, then I’d say stick with them until you’re doing this stuff on a really regular basis or until you need more power. PaintShop Pro, CorelDraw and other tools are out there that really can work for you. But the vast majority of professional users use Photoshop for a reason. Mainly because it’s so much easier to just get things done and done quickly with Photoshop. There’s a consistency of functionality with Adobe’s products that those mid-level apps don’t have. And the interface is well-unified across all of the Adobe apps, so when you decide to try video editing or effects, things will work as you expect them. Finally, there is so much free information, tutorials, podcasts, tips and techniques out there which are specifically for Photoshop (and PS Elements) you’ll be able to learn to use the tools better and faster.
What software do you use for business graphics for yourself or your wife’s business?