Photo editing is the process of manipulating and enhancing photos to increase their beauty or fix certain problems such as distorted effect or too much red eye. Photo editors work like digital painters, by layering different effects, textures and filters over a picture. These tools also allow the user to add color corrections and resize an image in order to fit it into various dimensions.
Are you looking for free photo editing software? This list features the top 17 best free photo editor software for both Windows and Mac computers that will enhance your graphics design workflow. Whether you’re new to graphic design or just looking for alternatives to Photoshop, these free photo editing apps are worth checking out.
List of 17 Best Free Photo Editor Software
GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a free photo editor that can be used to edit all kinds of images, including photos, illustrations, and scanned drawings. GIMP offers you several ways to manipulate your photos – through the menu or via keyboard shortcuts. It includes lots of features you would expect from a good image editing tool such as layers, color correction tools, resizing and so on.
#2 Photoshop Express
Adobe Photoshop Express is a free photo editor from Adobe, the company behind the popular Photoshop software. It offers basic photo editing features such as cropping, rotating and adjusting exposure, saturation, and contrast. You can also add effects and filters to your photos, and share them online. Photoshop Express is available as an app for Android and iOS devices, as well as on the web.
Pixlr is another popular free photo editor with a wide range of features. It offers both online and desktop versions, with the latter offering more features than the online version. Pixlr lets you do everything from basic adjustments like brightness, contrast, and saturation to more advanced tasks like layer editing and HDR processing. The interface is intuitive and easy to use, in the style of Instagram.
Fotor has both free online and paid desktop versions that offer more features than its free online version (which is still functional despite not having all the bells and whistles). With Fotor you can make color tone adjustments, add borders, choose from over 100 effects filters, remove red eyes, crop photos using preset ratios or freely, resize images by percentage, clone parts of your photo for retouching purposes, fix lens distortion (useful for fixing photos taken with a fisheye camera), adjust shadows/highlights, lighten dark areas of your photo manually via multiple options for exposure adjustment. There are also dedicated tools for curves and levels adjustments.
Photoscape is another great free photo editor that offers a wide range of features in its free version. These include basic photo editing tools such as cropping, rotating, and adjusting brightness and contrast, as well as more advanced features like layer editing, text addition, and batch processing. The interface is easy to use and beginner-friendly.
Polarr is a free online photo editor with a very intuitive and user-friendly interface. It offers a wide range of features, including basic adjustments (exposure, contrast, saturation), color correction tools, filters and effects, RAW file support, and masking tools. There’s even an intelligent auto-correction feature that can automatically improve the look of your photos.
Snapseed is a free photo editor from Google that offers a wide range of features, including basic adjustments (exposure, contrast, saturation), filters and effects, RAW file support, and healing tools. The interface is easy to use and beginner-friendly.
BeFunky is a free online photo editor with a wide range of features, including basic adjustments (brightness, contrast, saturation), filters and effects, text addition, frames and borders, and advanced tools like curves and levels adjustments. The interface is easy to use and beginner-friendly.
Inkscape is a free vector graphic editor similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw or Xara. It is mainly targeted at creating illustrations, diagrams and other graphics which are mostly made up of simple geometric shapes and bitmap images. Inkscape features a comprehensive object model for easy manipulation of objects and the creation of graphical compositions with complex rendering effects.
Xara Photo & Graphic Designer includes all the image editing features you need from basic adjustments like brightness/contrast, cropping, red-eye removal, hue/saturation to advanced tools like curves (to create different color gradients), masking (to selectively edit part of an image) or RAW development. The downside is that it’s not free anymore; you’ll have to pay to use it. However, a free trial is available.
Krita is a free bitmap graphic editor for sketching and painting, offering an end-to-end solution for creating digital painting files from scratch by masters. It works on raster graphics, where the entire image is composed of pixels, as well as vector graphics, where images are composed of lines or shapes. Unlike Gimp or Paint.net, it’s geared more toward professional artists rather than casual users.
#12 Serif DrawPlus Starter Edition
Serif DrawPlus Starter Edition is being given away for free to promote the next paid application in the same range called Serif DrawPlus which has many more features compared to its little brother. The program includes all basic photo editing tools like cropping, brightness/contrast, red-eye removal, hue/saturation etc.
Pinta is a free, open-source program for drawing and image editing. It’s more basic than its competition like Photoshop or Gimp but still has some useful features. Its primary purpose is to be a more accessible graphics application for casual users who don’t need the complicated tools that Gimp provides. Pinta comes with basic drawing and image editing tools but lacks features like layers or effects that you’ll find in Gimp.
#14 Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
Lightroom is a free photo editor from Adobe that allows you to organize and enhance digital photos. It sports a clean, intuitive interface that looks similar to other online editors like PicMonkey. Lightroom’s tools include basic adjustments (exposure, contrast, saturation), color correction tools, effects and filters, RAW file support, and more advanced features like masking and curves adjustments.
Colorcinch is a free online photo editor app with a minimalist interface. It offers basic features like brightness/contrast, saturation, and hue adjustment, as well as filters and effects. One unique feature of Colorcinch is its “painting” tool, which allows you to paint over your images with different colors and opacity levels.
#16 Apple Photos
Apple Photos is a lightweight, easy-to-use photo editor from Apple with basic tools like crop, exposure, color adjustment and red-eye removal. It’s included free with every Mac purchase and it’s an excellent way for a beginner or casual user to touch up their images in a pinch.
#17 Google Photos
Google Photos is practically the same as Apple Photos; it’s included for free with every Google account and has all the same features, except it doesn’t offer RAW file support. It has excellent search tools that allow you to identify faces, places, or objects in your images using machine learning algorithms. You can then use these search terms to sort through your photos or create albums automatically.
What To Look For In A Photo Editor Software
When looking for a photo editor, you’ll want to consider the following:
- Ease of use: The editor should be easy to navigate and have an intuitive interface.
- Features: The editor should have all the features you need to edit your photos. This includes basic adjustments like exposure, contrast, saturation, and hue adjustment; color correction tools; effects and filters; RAW file support; and more advanced features like masking and curves adjustments.
- Price: Photo editors can range in price from free to expensive. Choose the one that fits your budget.
- Compatibility: The editor should be compatible with your operating system and/or device. For example, Adobe Photoshop is only compatible with Windows and Mac computers, while Pinta is only compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux computers.
- Ease of sharing: The editor should make it easy to share your photos online or with other people. For example, most photo editors have built-in social media integration that allows you to share your photos directly to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Some editors also include tools for printing your photos or creating physical albums.
- User community: A good photo editor will have a large user community where you can learn from other people and get help with editing your photos. Editors like Photoshop and Gimp have huge user communities, while editors like Pinta and Colorcinch have smaller communities.
As you can see, there are quite a few free photo editors available online. The good news is that one of these editors will fit your needs and budget. It’s just a matter of finding the right one. If you’re not sure which editor to choose, try looking at what other people recommend on social media or in an app/software forum like Reddit.
Once you’ve chosen your photo editor, spend some time playing around with it and experimenting with different features and filters to get comfortable using it. With practice and patience, you’ll be editing like a pro in no time!
Every one of these programs has its own strengths and weaknesses. I hope you find this list helpful in choosing what’s best for you!