Even if you’re not a professional photographer, as soon as you hear "photo editing", you immediately think of the Adobe software: Photoshop! And you're right, as the undisputed market leader, Photoshop is used by the majority of professionals because it allows you to make thousands of changes (when you know how to use it). From editing to photo editing, softwares such as Photoshop offer the ability to give your photos the rendering you want.
If you're new to photography, you may not want to spend $150 a year on Adobe's subscription. Rest assured, there are many other free alternatives! Below, we have listed the best free photo editing tools to download and/or use online.
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You can recognise it thanks to their mascot Wilbert, a wolf with a brush in his mouth. Gimpshop is actually a branch of the GIMP software whose interface has been reworked to become more suitable for Photoshop users.
Image Credit: GIMPSHOP
This is the most popular free Photoshop alternative, with the most features and shortcuts specific to Adobe software; customising the interface, improving photos, editing and more! While it’s not quite as easy or powerful as Photoshop, you can still make anything happen with GIMP, as long as you've a bit of know-how and a little elbow grease.
If you’re already used to Photoshop, you might take little time to adjust to Gimpshop. Another advantage of Gimpshop is that it can support all file formats, including PSD. Determinately, even in the keyboard shortcuts, it’s a similar, but cheaper alternative to the giant, Adobe. The goal of the developer was indeed to recover all users of hacked copies of Photoshop.
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2 - PIXLR and PIXLR Express
To use Pixlr, you will simply need an internet connection, no need to download software or to register, just load your image and work through your browser. If you are familiar with Photoshop, you will find the Pixlr Editor menu options familiar both in layout and in how they work.
On the website you will find two tools, PIxlr Editor and PIxlr Express. The latter, as the name suggests, allows a quick processing of your images; the tool is easy to use, it offers a wide range of blur effects, frames, cropping, adjustment of brightness, contrasts, adding text and making overlays in no time! However, you can only save your image in JPEG format.
With Pixlr Editor you will be able to use a much wider range of features. Like any conventional image processing tool, it has a toolbox, brushes and correctors, to name a few of the 25 features. This is where the similarities to Photoshop will be most obvious: clipping, working with layers, image isolation, image editing, colour correction, contour lines, effects and filters.
Image Credit: Pixlr
The site is primarily designed for web image processing, but still remains very effective. The available formats are JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP, as well as the specific format to Pixlr, PXD. And if you still doubt the effectiveness of this tool, you can find plenty of examples on the page "Made With Pixlr".
3 - Paint.net
Paint.Net is great for making minor changes to your photos, with fewer features than other softwares. In short, it is a hybrid software, combining some features of Photoshop with those of the default version Paint (on Windows).
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The biggest difference is still the ability to manage layers, like in Photoshop. Follow the basic tools (rectangle or selection ellipse, pipette, magic wand and duplicator pad) and the various effects and colourimetric adjustments needed (brightness, contrast, fuzziness and distortion). Once your photos are looking good, you can get creative with Instagram-style vintage effects using the vignette and sepia filters to give a retro look.
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The major disadvantage of this tool is that it’s only available on some versions of Windows. However, those with the option to install it, should know that there's a large community centred around the software, whose members share advice and tutorials.
4 - Ipiccy
Image Credit: Ipiccy
Very accessible for beginners! Ipiccy is a good compromise that should interest those whose photos don't require much editing (however, its palette is complete, for basic or advanced editing).
Image Credit: Ipiccy
Upload your photo directly to the website, and make your edits. You can crop, adjust color, change brightness, add effects and filters. In all, Ippicy has 21 basic tools and 65 effect filters. Only downside: the impossibility of working with a layer system.
5 - Photoscape et Photoscape X
This free tool that needs to be downloaded is very popular with amateur photographers. There is also a pro pay version that costs about $40.
Image Credit: Photoscape X for Mac
Photoscape has a wide range of easy-to-use features and lots of portrait, ID, and business card templates. Photographers need not worry, there are plenty of Instagram-like effects and filters (photo film, newspaper, etc.) thumbnails, and the tool is quite intuitive.
Image Credit: Photoscape
Cropping, correcting contrasts, colours, brightness and adding effects has never been easier. You can even work directly on groups of images to adjust the colour settings of your photos evenly. There is one version for Windows 10 and Mac, and another for version prior to Windows 10.
6 - Polarr
Polarr is primarily aimed at photographers looking for an accessible online tool to retouch their shots overall, but also with the possibility of varied and localised editing.
Image Credit: Polarr
Polaar has a very complete palette of tools, knows how to handle multiple formats, including RAW and offers a complete history of changes that can be returned: so do not panic, if you realize too late that you have forced on saturation and that your subject looks more like a sim than a human. There are dozens of filters available and a plethora of retouching features such as cropping, radical and graduated filters, settings for brightness, contrast and temperature.
7 - Photopea
Photopea lets you load, edit, and save Adobe Photoshop (PSD) files, Gimp (XCF) files, and Sketch (Sketch App) files without using any plug-ins. You can use it for simple tasks, such as resizing images, as well as complex tasks, such as designing web pages, creating illustrations, processing photographs and more. You can save your work as PSD or JPG/PNG. It has all the necessary tools such as layer styles, text layers, masks, adjustments to brightness and contrast, vibrance, saturation and so much more. You can also upload whichever fonts you desire.
Photopea runs completely on your device and on any of them (desktop, laptop, phone, tablet & more). Also, for those worried about copyright, it does not upload any of your files to the internet. There is no upload and no server. After you open the site, you can disconnect from the internet and keep using it, open and save any files. And that’s what sets this tool apart from conventional photo editors.
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8 - Adobe photoshop Express editor
No no, you're not imagining it, since 2011 Adobe has made a free Photoshop platform available. Although it's a condensed version of the program, so that your photos are edited quickly, with some simple and intuitive features you need not be an expert to use it.
Image Credit: Photoshop Express Editor
"Whether it's seasoned professionals or passionate photographers, all of our customers want to make the most of their digital photos, both on the web and on mobile devices." Matt Domenici, director of product management for online and mobile digital imaging at Adobe.
You can make all the basic adjustments, such as crop, zoom, managing the colourimetry or adding effects and filters. But the disadvantage is that it does not support all photo sizes (you can only work on JPEG formats less than 16 megapixels) and the absence of the layer system will quickly limit your use of this beta version of retouching.
These are all powerful tools, but limited ones. The possibilities on Photoshop are endless. From variation of the font, shapes and contour smoothing, to the recently updated software, which offers precise descriptions of the tool, and even a link to a video that explains how to use it. Photoshop undoubtedly offers more features than its competitors, how else would they manage to turn a piece of pizza into a model in a bikini?! That said, photo editing is the art of sublimation; a bad photo is a bad photo. So if it's about making your sunset more dazzling, your strawberry pie more appetising, or your dog even cuter, then you'll find all the tools you need in Photoshop!
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