As a photographer or designer, you may have heard of Photoshop, the industry standard for photo editing software. Whether you’re a professional photographer looking for a more budget-friendly option, or a hobbyist seeking a free Photoshop alternative, we’ve got you covered with the best photoshop alternatives.
Our list of photoshop alternatives has some free options, while some others are paid and offer the same features as Photoshop at just a fraction of the cost. In this blog, we dive into the world of free photo editors like Photoshop, discussing each software’s features, pros and cons, and ultimately giving you the tools you need to make an informed decision.
10 Best Paid And Free Alternatives To Photoshop (2023)
1. Luminar Neo
Lumiar Neo offers a comprehensive set of tools for photo editing, making it a great alternative to Photoshop. It allows one to create dramatic photos with crystal-clear sharpness. One can edit and enhance the minutest details, including the sharpness and feature highlights.
- Offers a wide range of editing capabilities, including RAW photo editing with high accuracy, collage creation, and stylization options.
- Includes AI-powered tools like Sky AI for automated sky replacement, portrait enhancement, and more.
- Offers additional functionality through Extensions, which can be purchased separately.
- Has a simple, intuitive interface that is easy to use for both professionals and beginners.
- Not a free software, but it offers a 7-day free trial.
- Offers a subscription model, with options for one month, one year, and lifetime.
- Overall, Luminar Neo is a great option for both professional photographers and beginners looking for comprehensive, easy-to-use photo editing software. With a range of AI-powered tools and additional functionality through extensions, it offers a lot of power and flexibility to your editing process.
GIMP is a powerful, free photo editing software that offers many of the same features as Adobe Photoshop. It’s one of the best free alternatives to Photoshop and is great for both photographers and graphic designers. GIMP includes advanced features such as layer masks and filters, and there are plenty of downloadable add-ons to fit your needs.
- Advanced features such as layer masks and filters are included.
- There are plenty of downloadable add-ons to fit your needs.
- Both photographers and graphic designers will find the tools they need to do the majority of their work.
- GIMP supports a wide range of file formats.
- It supports plug-ins downloaded from the Internet.
- Due to its low system requirements, the program can run even on outdated PCs.
- The interface is not as intuitive as Adobe.
- Do not support some features like 3D, and animation
- Not as much active community for support as compared to other paid alternatives.
- Some of the more advanced features are only available through 3rd-party plug-ins and can be complicated to install.
- Some users may experience a steep learning curve, as GIMP has a lot of functionality that takes time to learn.
Pixlr is a web-based photo editing tool that allows users to make basic photo adjustments without downloading additional software. It is one of the best photoshop alternatives and has features such as vignettes, colour correction, saturation, contrast, and frames. The mobile version of Pixlr makes it easy to edit photos on the go.
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- Does not require you to download any extra program on your computer
- Easy-to-use interface
- Support layers
- Mobile version available
- Constant internet connection is required
- Flash required for the original Pixlr Editor version
- Limited functionality compared to downloadable software such as Photoshop elements.
4. Photo Pos Pro:
Photo Pos Pro is a free photo editor like Photoshop that offers similar functionality for a variety of tasks, such as photo retouching, collage creation, and business card design. The program recognizes RAW files and offers a choice between Novice and Expert modes to help users ease into the workflow. However, to unlock the program’s full features, one must purchase the Premium version for $30.
- Free to use
- Similar functionality to Photoshop
- It can be used for a variety of tasks, such as retouching photos, making collages, and creating business cards
- Recognizes RAW files
- Offers a choice between Novice and Expert modes to help users ease into the workflow
- To unlock full features, one must purchase the Premium version.
- Two interfaces are available, but if Novice mode is chosen, the ability to work with layers is not available.
LightZone is another free alternative to photoshop that allows users to make basic adjustments to their photographs, such as colour corrections, white balance adjustments, and exposure improvements. It is easy to use and suitable for beginners or those who don’t need advanced editing tools. LightZone supports RAW files and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
- Easy to use for beginners
- Supports RAW files
- Available for multiple operating systems
- Limited editing tools
- No real layer support
- Poor colour correction compared to other free editors
- Limited help and guidance for using the program.
Polarr is amongst the best photoshop alternatives that offers a simple design and user-friendly interface, making it a great option for novice photographers. It is available as an app for both iOS and Android devices, making it easily accessible for users on the go. Polarr offers a range of features including a skin editing tool for smoothing out imperfections and creating a more polished look.
- Offers an app for both iOS and Android
- Simple design makes it easy for novice photographers
- Includes a skin editing tool for smoothing imperfections
- Some features require a monthly fee
- Lacks advanced image editing tools
- You can experience lag when editing larger photos.
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7. Raw Therapee
Raw Therapee is a powerful and versatile photo editing software offering various features and tools for photographers and artists. The program allows users to instantly sort, improve exposure, adjust colour and white balance, increase clarity, and more. It is open-source and is one of the best alternatives to photoshop, designed to work seamlessly on slower computers.
- Open-source and free to use
- Instantly sort, improve exposure, adjust colour and white balance, increase clarity and more
- Option to create collages and add frames to photos
- Download extensions based on your needs
- Designed to work without lagging on slower computers
- Three basic Retouch profiles (presets) offer a fast way to improve images
- A limited number of users compared to other photo editing programs, resulting in a lack of tutorials.
- Complex interface, which may be difficult for beginners to navigate but also allows for complex photo manipulation
Darktable is an open-source image editing software that is often compared to Adobe Lightroom. It offers basic image enhancement tools, making it suitable for beginners. It allows the creation and saving of user preset, simplifying repetitive editing tasks.
- Simple interface that allows for quick corrections of colours, application of filters, and adjustments of brightness and contrast.
- The interface is similar to that of Lightroom, making it easy for users who are already familiar with the latter to use.
- Available for Linux platforms, in addition to Mac and Windows.
- Limited functionality compared to professional-grade photo editing software.
- It can contain bugs and crashes when working with large files.
- Not suitable for advanced editing tasks such as retouching, compositing, and manipulation of large files.
9. PhotoScape X
PhotoScape X is a versatile and user-friendly photo editing software perfect for beginners. It offers a wide range of features such as batch editing, screen captures, animated GIFs, RAW image processing, and image stitching, making it one of the best photoshop alternatives. The software also has many of the same brushes and tools as Photoshop, making it a great alternative for those looking for a free or more affordable option.
- Great for beginners with easy-to-use filters and tools
- Offers many features such as batch editing, screen captures, animated GIFs, RAW image processing, and image stitching
- Has many of the same brushes and tools as Photoshop, making it ideal for those looking for free photoshop alternatives.
- Allows for easy addition of text and graphics to images
- Some users find the interface cluttered and confusing to navigate at first
- It can become slow when faced with large files
- Selection tools are limited, making it difficult to edit only certain parts of an image.
Krita is a digital illustration and graphic design software that offers similar tools to Adobe Illustrator. It also supports PSD files, making it a great option for designers who frequently use Photoshop.
- This free editor like photoshop is user friendly
- Easy to switch between the two programs
- Allows for working on multiple projects at once
- Has a variety of effects and tools to choose from
- Supports drawing tablets, making them great for digital painting and sketching
- Does not support RAW files
- Better for creating projects from scratch than editing existing images in a traditional sense.
The world of photo editing is vast and varied, and Photoshop is just one option among many. Whether you’re a professional photographer or a casual snapshooter, there’s software out there that’s perfect for you. From GIMP to LightZone, Luminar Neo to PhotoScape X, each of these are the best photoshop alternatives and offers its own unique features and tools.
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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
- Are there better alternatives to Photoshop?
GIMP and Luminar Neo offer a variety of tools for both amateur and professional editors, while PhotoScape X provides a user-friendly interface for quick edits. It’s all about finding the software that fits your needs and preferences.
- What is the best alternative for Photoshop for free?
When it comes to finding a free alternative to Photoshop, GIMP and LightZone are both fantastic options. Both offer a wide range of editing tools, and the open-source nature of GIMP makes it a popular choice among users. Ultimately, your best choice will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
- What Are the Best Free Photoshop Alternatives for Mac?
Mac users have a plethora of options when it comes to free Photoshop alternatives. Some popular options include GIMP, LightZone, and PhotoScape X. Each software offers its own unique features and tools, so it’s important to explore and try them out to find the best fit for you.
- Is Canva better or Photoshop?
It all depends on the purpose of your project. Canva is great for creating graphics and designs, while Photoshop is more suited for photo editing. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to consider your specific needs before deciding which one to use.
- How Do I Edit Photos for Free if I Don’t Have Photoshop?
There are many Photoshop alternatives that offer a variety of editing tools. Some popular options include GIMP. Be sure to explore and try out different software to find the best fit for your needs and preferences.
- Should I Pay for an Alternative to Photoshop?
It depends on your specific needs and budget. Free alternatives such as GIMP and LightZone offer a wide range of tools, while paid alternatives like Luminar Neo and PhotoScape X provide more advanced features and support. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if the added benefits of a paid alternative are worth the cost.
- Is GIMP a free alternative to photoshop?
GIMP has come a long way in recent years and offers a variety of editing tools and features. While it may not have all the advanced capabilities of Photoshop, it is a powerful and reliable free alternative. Many users find it to be just as good, if not better, for their needs.