Like us, you’ve probable spent all your money on the latest Scott’s Cheap Flights deal or finding the best cheeseburgers in the heart of Dallas. That makes it hard to afford the Adobe Cloud recurring payment and access to Photoshop, a must when you’re image obsessed, a social media marketer, or love making your travel photos moody and mysterious.
Luckily, there are free alternatives to Adobe Photoshop’s iron-fisted grip on the photo editing world, and some of them are as capable.
If you’re guessing what GIMP stands for, you’re wrong — GNU Image Manipulation Program, which isn’t exactly the sexiest name in the world. Names aside, GIMP is the pinnacle of free Photoshop alternatives, and one of the few built for professional photographers who utilize all aspects of Photoshop.
Available on every platform (Linux, Windows, OS X), this free photo editing software has mare features than Ansel Adams would know what to do with. With great features comes great learning curve. GIMP is likely the hardest editor on this list to learn, but once you do you’ll have access to a robust tool set sure to meet your editing needs.
Intuitive, easy to use, and feature rich, Photo Pos Pro is more intuitive than most of the other free editors on this list. In fact, basic edits should be quick and painless for even rookie photographers and hobbyists.
If you need more functionality, there is a Photo Pos Pro Premium version as well. It costs $34.90.
Yes, the site is a horrifying amalgam of bare bones early 2000s web design, but don’t hold it against the program itself. Paint.NET is a thorough and adored free Photoshop alternative that meets most basic editing needs.
If you get stuck or need something that the program isn’t offering, there’s an active online community that provides a plethora of tutorials and plugins for additional features.
Unlike the others on this list. Pixlr Editor is a web app, meaning you don’t have to download any extra software to use it — it also means you can edit on your mobile device, making it a must have for any travel photogs, social media marketers, or others with frequent editing needs.
Pixlr has a Pro version that costs $5 a month and comes with access to premium royalty free images, design templates, and online support, but you’ll find ample easy-to-use design options without upgrading.
Love Photoshop but don’t want to shell out a recurring monthly payment? Check out Photoshop Express, an Adobe editing app available on mobile and the computer. While it doesn’t come with the repertoire of photo editing abilities that the paid Adobe Photoshop comes with, it does meet most simple editing needs.
Via the app, you can crop and rotate pictures, remove red eye, and auto-fix contrast, exposure, and white balance. You can also add text overlays, making Express an ideal addition to any social media marketer’s toolbox.
Like GIMP-lite for Mac users, Seashore is built for OS X user’s with simple editing needs.
Built in 2009 on the back of GIMP’s technology and file formatting, Seashore is an open source (meaning anyone can use and contribute to its code base) image editor. It lacks the depth of its older brother, but it meets most everyday needs.
Another web app, PicMonkey is a decent editing alternative for when you need a quick fix on your photo.
Outside of editing capabilities, it also comes with a variety of templates and objects for social media graphics.
Though useable for image editing, SumoPaint (as the name implies) excels when used as a painting, drawing, or graphic design app.
The freemium (locked features, ads) version is only online, while the Pro version comes with a downloadable app and no ads.
Free and open source, Krita is owned and operated by artists, meaning it comes with everything you could want in editing and design software.
While not traditionally used as a photo editor, the program is overflowing with some of the same design features included in Photoshop. If you’d like to support Krita’s continued development, you can purchase it on the Windows Store or via Steam.
Despair over Photoshop’s price no longer! There are many free alternatives to the image editing platform, each with a unique array of options and abilities — find one that’s right for you, your editing style, budget and, due to the mishmash of learning curves and techniques required for each one, temperament.
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