And now for the WHY.
Firstly: What the heck is Creative Cloud?
(The CC behind Photoshop CC).
Creative Cloud is the subscription-based delivery for Photoshop and the other Adobe applications. You subscribe, click the Install button and you get the full version of Photoshop installed on your computer. Every time you connect your computer to the internet (which is all the time for almost all of us), it checks whether there are updates and gives you the option to install them right away.
The good news: You get updates as soon as they come out - no hunting, no extra purchases. Just your monthly fee. Which if you JUST want Photoshop, is $10 a month. So cheap.
The bad news: You never get to actually OWN any software. If you stop paying for your subscription, it goes away. (You own all your files, of course - you just can't edit them unless you buy PSE or install your old copy of Photoshop).
It's actually this bad news that had most people really freaked out. Nobody likes feeling like they have no contingency plan. What if Adobe goes away? What if somehow things go massively downhill and I lose access to all my files? This is a whole life's work here. You might remember the furore over the whole thing. But I REALLY DO think you should subscribe. It's been 2 years now, and there's no sign of slowing down. And I have a few good reasons for changing my mind.
So. Now for WHY. Gonna do these in reverse order like Letterman:
Reason #3: It is Really Cheap to Own Big Mama Now
In the past, I've always treated Photoshop C+ as the investment you made when you knew you were serious about digital crafting/art/photo editing, etc. But about a year ago, Adobe released the package for photographers, with Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CC. For $10 a month. Less than I pay for Netflix. Less than lunch at anywhere but fast food. And while for a long time my purpose was to get as many people using Photoshop as possible, Photoshop Elements was the best deal in town. Don't get me wrong. It still IS a good deal. You can get it at Costco in September for like $60. So if you upgrade every year, you'll pay $60-$80. If you subscribe to Creative Cloud, you'll pay $120 a year.
Reason #2: Sweet Features
Everything I've ever taught in Photoshop HAD to be available in Photoshop Elements, because that was what the majority of people were using. In a recent poll, however, the numbers are now neck-and-neck, with nearly 50% of people using some version of Photoshop CS or CC. So let's talk about Sweet Features. PS CC offers features like paths, the pen tool, better selections, better color management, better brush handling, and the BIG HUGE new deal: Glyphs. Which are almost single-handedly the reason why I changed my mind about what to recommend. Read on:
Reason #1: The New Glyphs Palette
This is a sweet feature and therefore kind of belongs in Reason 2. But it belongs in its own reason because it's such a huge game-changer. Glyphs are essentially the same as "characters" in fonts. But the Glyphs Palette (which has been available forever in Illustrator and InDesign) is what enables you to access all the alternate characters that are offered in those really nice, expensive fonts like Mercury Script and Samantha.