Even the best free photo editor can’t replace our favorite Adobe Photoshop software, doesn’t it? If you think about Lightroom or Photoshop analogs that provide almost the same color correction and basic photo retouching free, I’ve gathered and reviewed the most frequently used and the best free online photo editors.
$10 \ month subscribing to Adobe softwares is not a huge price, however, if you are starting out your photo retouching career, or you do not need all this number of tools, or you can’t understand how to use them, then one of the following free photo editors will work for you.
GIMP is the most powerful free photo editor that can completely replace Photoshop, as it offers many functions similar to Photoshop while having a massive base for learning. It has an open source code. Many users underestimate this feature – you can change the program yourself, fix various bugs and errors that you noticed, as well as add your own tools. One of the main advantages, except all of the above mentioned, is that the program supports RAW files. However, to open all the formats, you need to prepare this free photo editor in advance by downloading all the necessary updates.
When people talk about GIMP as a "free Photoshop", it's not just flattering phrases about the program. GIMP includes layers, customizable brushes, filters and automatic actions to improve an image quality faster. Also, it supports a huge number of plug-ins, among which there are even ones that make GIMP more convenient than Photoshop.
GIMP has a very active community, which means the elimination of any errors in this photo editor program, which will take a few hours after they have been detected. What I really like is the possibility to open PSD files and edit them. You have access to a lot of lessons and training videos, so the realization of even the most complex ideas associated with image retouching will not be a big problem for you.
The web and mobile versions of GIMP are the worst among all the free photo editors on this list.
Though you can still use the online version, but working, you will not be able to download RAW files as when you try to do this, the program turns off and shows an error. The next problem is that unlike the desktop version, the web version does not have such a large fan base and therefore most of the errors are not fixed. The mobile version is the worst thing that could have ever been created – it has a terrible optimization; it seems that this free photo editor has not been updated since 2005 as the control on the smartphone is done with arrows and a mouse. The program literally does not open anything and often turns off.
In a nutshell, GIMP is undoubtedly the best free photo editing software, which can replace Photoshop. However, this is only if you are using the desktop version. As for the online and mobile versions, it is better to look for something else.
Pixlr has several versions: Pro, Editor, and Express. Pixlr Pro has a number of advantages and almost does not differ from Photoshop both outwardly and with tools. The best thing about Pixlr Pro is the chance to open RAW. However, with all these pluses there is a major disadvantage - it is paid. Though it's only $5/month, this is a little less than Photoshop - $10/month, so we will only consider Pixlr free photo editors.
Pixlr Editor is a simplified version of Pro. This version has a quite large space for advertising which occupies about 20% of the entire working space. I will not say that it hinders, but working pace becomes worse. Editor version does not support RAW, like most of all web free photo editors. It has almost all the functions of Photoshop, but less convenient. The main problem here is moving along the photo when editing because it is poorly synchronized with the browser; however, you can use the navigator. Combinations in the program also do not work the way they would work in your browser. It's the same with the second mouse button. However, here you can do even complex photo retouching. This is an excellent choice for beginners and for those who need a pretty good free photo editing software.
Pixlr Express is some kind of Lightroom analog from Pixlr. After the last update, the program began to work more stable than before - now you can conveniently make the basic color correction. Pixlr Express has a problem with the lack of the presets. There are several main effects that work pretty well, but I'd like to have a bit more. You can save files only in JPEG, but for the web free photo editor, it's quite normal.
Pixlr is a good choice for beginner retouchers, as you get two absolutely free photo editors to do all the necessary actions. The stability in all Pixlr programs must be mentioned additionally. In fact, you can stop working and continue the process right from the place you stopped at even after several days.
If you don’t need to perform the complicated actions related to the image retouching but are interested in the small changes of the image, most likely your choice will fall on Paint.Net.
Until the release of 4.0version in 2014, this free photo editor would not even get on this list, as it was similar to the built-in Windows Paint, rather than a serious free photo editing software. Paint.Net does not support RAW files, but you can work with other popular formats. Using it, you can quickly convert your image into JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF and the like.
The interface is simple, even too much. You can use layers and a large selection of tools, but their functions are not as comprehensive as I would like. Paint.Net reminds me of the earlier versions of Photoshop where the interface was very simple. However, simplicity does not mean the lack of opportunities - you can safely do basic image retouching: remove skin imperfections, the background, and red eyes. So, in combination with a graphics tablet, you will find a complete pleasure.
Compared to the closest similar free photo editing software GIMP, the Paint.Net interface is much friendlier, so it's way easier to understand everything without the third-party help. Also, a plus is a large number of plugins for the program which, unlike in GIMP, almost all work without problems. Among such plug-ins, you'll find something like Actions in Photoshop that can instantly transform your image.
It seems that Paint.Net is one of the main opponents of GIMP, but only if it will be improved since there have been recently no updates.
Fotor has a number of programs available for various purposes, including a program for creating collages, design and image editing. Fotor also exists in two variations, as an online version and a desktop photo editor for Mac and Windows. We will examine each of the programs separately:
Fotor Edit is a simple photo editor for basic image editing, but with some limitations. Previously, this program was a bit more convenient, but now they have made a really large amount of advertising on both sides of the workspace. Also, 60% of the available functions, such as effects and retouching tools, will be closed for you until you purchase the full version of the program. The web version of this free photo editor is not suitable for editing RAW files, but it is quite good for JPG and PNG.
Fotor Collage is an excellent choice to quickly create simple collages. The only problem with all web versions of Fotor free photo editors is the limited functions. Many programs will give you a wider choice of tools for free, but it's most convenient to do this all in one application network, especially since Fotor has a social network for its users. Fotor Design has a similar set of functions with Collage, but with more possibilities to create a picture design.
Fotor Desktop Photo Editor is an offline free photo editing software with RAW support. However, only the desktop version provides the possibility of RAW conversion. I really like this free photo editor - almost no ads, a lot of great effects and scenes similar to the presets in Lightroom. I like the possibility to export photos in four formats, choosing the size. I recommend installing Fotor Mobile App, as it is the best free photo editing software for mobile devices.
Canva is a photo editor software for graphic design of Drag & Drop format and hundreds of ready-made layouts. Canva is appreciated for the simple work with design, but the guys have also created the separate program – Canva Photo Editor, that’s why they got into this list.
If we treat Canva as a photo editor program, it is an openly weak program with a minimum of functions. So if you need a photo editor with extensive color correction functions, Canva is not for you. This program has only three characteristics - Brightness, Contrast, and Saturation, as well as 15 effects which, frankly speaking, are bad. However, Canva is bad only if we talk about photo editing. If it comes to design, Canva is the best free online program for this purposes.
With the help of this photo editor program, you can create presentations, covers, advertising posters, leaflets, logos, postcards, banners, posters, and invitations. In Canva stock, you will find over a million photographs, thousands of fonts and a variety of frames as well as pictures for design. I like that a huge part of this variety is available free of charge, so only a small part of the templates will be closed for you. There are no ads on the site, or they are very inconspicuous.
Hundreds of professional designers cooperate with this free photo editor directly, replenishing the service collection with quality illustrations, mock-ups, and photographs. Moreover, Canva has an online design school, where users watch seminars and get publications. Also, the service is available in the mobile application format for iOS and Android, which allows you to create a unique design from a tablet or a smartphone.
Canva Photo Editor is a very simple and weak photo editor program, so if you want to use Canva, just use it for design.
iPiccy is a simple and free photo editing software that is considered to be one of the most popular on the web. IPiccy has a basic set - Editor, Collage, and Designer. Such a set resembles BeFunky free photo editor, but iPiccy has a more user-friendly interface. Despite simple and slightly outdated interface design, iPiccy free photo editor has a really wide range of editing tools. Here you can use all of them absolutely free of charge, and it is not only about the exposure, saturation, and sharpness, but about the Dodge and Burn, Clone Tool, Erase Background tools as well. Of course, the color correction is a little annoying with its slow performance, and you will have to wait a few seconds until something is done, but the photo retouching is absolutely great. It is the best free photo editing software for such work.
The Painter field is especially good. It provides access to the classic picture retouching, using the main tools, such as brush, sponge, and dodge and burn. There is also a good selection of brushes – 48 items, and you get an opportunity to work with layers in this Windows photo editor.
iPiccy Designer is not as good as Photo Editor in terms of its functionality, and additionally, it has almost no tools. You can add text and vector drawings, work with layers, but, actually, this is all you can do in this free photo editor. So, you probably will not use iPiccy Designer for your needs.
To summarize, I would say that iPicci is a really good free photo editor with a great range of opportunities for editing and retouching pictures.
The Photoscape PC photo editor is a vivid example when an excellent program just requires a little more advertising. Most of the reviews and maybe even all the reviews on the web were dedicated to the old version of the program, however since May 2018 Photoscape gas been fundamentally updated to Photoscape X version and quickly raised its capabilities to the level of GIMP. The first thing that surprises about this free photo editor is that it supports opening RAW files without any additional plug-ins. This is the only program on this list, which opens the folder with RAW photos within just a couple of seconds.
If compare Photoscape X with any paid photo editor program, it appears to be similar to One 1 Photo RAW most of all, especially with its photo organizer and a huge selection of effects. The last one is deserved to be mentioned separately, as you will see more than 50 free professional effects. I do not like the way the tools are grouped, as you'll find duplicate tools in different sections, for example in the Edit field and in the Tools field there will be several repetitive tools, and this causes a bit of confusion. The color correction menu is even more attractive – there is a considerable number of various settings that remind Lightroom rather than other similar programs. There is no advertising in the application, and the only thing that can somehow irritate you is a dozen “closed” tools, but this does not interfere with the work. The file saving menu with its detailed format settings is especially surprising.
The conclusion is that this is an underrated and really great free photo editor, which is worth paying attention to while choosing the program for the picture post-processing.
Photo Pos Pro is a great example of how you shouldn’t promote your program. Actually, this is an excellent photo editor software that reminds Pixlr Pro a lot, and at the same time, it is absolutely free. However, when you go to the site to download this program, you will see a completely disorganized website with random buttons on the display, dozens of pop-up windows and a lot of problems with downloading the program.
If I did not want to write a review of this photo editor, I would most likely stop and choose another photo editor after I have seen their website.
You will find, probably, everything that you may need to perform the tasks related to image retouching in this photo editor for Windows. This includes a really large set of tools, support for creating Actions, layers, effects, and even the support for RAW and PSD. Besides, all this is done in the same way as in Adobe products. I like the broad configurations and that you can do all the things you do in Photoshop. This free photo editor has a stylish dark design and a simple interface. You can save your images in any of the known formats, such as RAW, JPEG, GIF. PNG, TIFF, or formats that are rarely used, such as EMF or WMF. You can even save your project as HTML page and later post it online. I also admire that you can choose an interface for beginners, advanced and pros, which will help you understand how to use all the functions much faster.
If you are only interested in the color correction, there is also a camera RAW variant. There are even functions of automatic contrast, exposure and so on. They all work really well.
In general, if you need a full-fledged offline free image editor, the Photo Pos Pro is an excellent choice and the best free photo editor for such a task. The only condition is that you do not pay attention to the design of the main website, as well as the lack of the user support.
BeFunky now occupies top positions in the lists of the free photo editing software on the web.
The program is equipped with a lot of functions for basic photo editing, so you can perform such general actions as cropping, editing the exposure, enhancing colors and so on. The problem is that 70% of the functions are available only for money. There's a lot of advertising here too, similar Fotor – the right and bottom lines are occupied with the banners about purchasing of BeFunky Plus. There are so many effects in this photo editor program that impress with their diversity, but you cannot use them as usual, because they are all marked with an asterisk, which literally tells you to pay for the full version. The photo retouching work is also completely restricted, and is, actually, very inconvenient.
BeFunky Designer is the best photo editor for design, but only for the additional payment of $4.95 per month. But if you want to use it for free, I recommend looking for something else. Although there are plenty of the possibilities in BeFunky, you cannot use them all, so this program seems to be absolutely useless. BeFunky Collage has the same problem. Unlike similar programs, I would not use it at all, as it is not free. The mobile version is a little more interesting, but it's also limited in its capabilities. We do not recommend using BeFunky if you want to perform basic color correction for free without the irritating advertising, which instigates you to buy Pro version.
InPixio is the most interesting free photo editing software on our list. Below we will discuss the reasons why this photo editor occupies in the last position.
InPixio is a desktop photo editor that includes seven free programs: InPixio Photo Editor - for basic color correction, Photo Focus - to artificially blur the background, Photo Maximizer - for zooming in, Photo Cutter – for cropping photos, Photo Suite – for broader editing and Photo Erazer – to remove the unwanted objects in the photo. As for Photo Clip, it is a paid program for image editing without even a Trial version. We will analyze the main problems of InPixio.
There is no free version of InPixio programs. Even if they pretend that you can use their software for free, in fact, when you try to save the edited image, you will see that 90% of your photo is covered with watermarks. In such a way, your work just does not make any sense. It would be even better if they made initially paid programs.
InPixio wants too much money for its programs. Each of them costs from $20 to $100, and you will need at least 2-3 programs for proper work so that it will cost you $150 on average. Of course, you will get the full-fledged versions forever, but comparatively speaking, it's more than a year of using Photoshop and Lightroom with an additional cloud storage. The difference is that using these programs, you will do more than you can do with all InPixio programs.
InPixio is just a collection of useless programs, as they essentially just took some individual tools from a simple photo editor, such as cropping, zooming in, and stamping and created separate programs with such functions. It is ridiculous, but they have a program for zooming in the pictures, and you can't do anything else there, so why do you need just to zoom in the pictures?
As a conclusion, I don't really understand the reasons to use InPixio at all, and I consider it a completely useless software.
PhotoWorks is a really powerful and easy-to-learn image editor suitable for both new and advanced users. It has three versions: Standard, Deluxe and PRO. The choice depends on how complex your work is.
You will be able to do almost anything. Fine-tune the tones and colors, replace image background, remove unwanted objects like spots or wrinkles, fix a tilted horizon and improve the overall composition. If you are a newbie, you will definitely like the ability to search for tools and features. Now there is no need to waste time digging in the menus and lists - just type into the field a key word or two and here you go. The vast one-click effects collection is a nice help too if you want to experiment with the style or colors without diving into the image settings.
With the Portrait Magic tool, you will turn a boring and lifeless photo into a stunning shot just by selecting a preset. A convenient before/after preview will help you evaluate the result. If you prefer working with RAW, then PhotoWorks is your choice. Along with the popular image formats, it also supports around 450+ camera formats. This will allow you to preserve the natural looks of a scene and turn them into a spectacular shot.
Overall, PhotoWorks is a great alternative for the top-rated and expensive image editors. If you don’t want to waste time and money, this software is definitely your choice.
Whether you are a professional photographer or you just want to start your career, or do it for fun, there are three ways for you to master the photo editing – using paid photo editing softwares, free photo editors and photo retouching services.
If you want to retouch your photos on your own, you can pay a subscription or buy professional programs for photo editing. There is a variety of programs you can use, and they are not necessarily related to Adobe Co. There are excellent analogs as well, such as One 1 Photo RAW , Capture One, etc. You can find many plug-ins that can simplify your work as Lightroom presets, Photoshop actions or Capture One styles. They will cost you a certain amount of money, and successfully perform all the tasks you need, but the question is whether you really need these photo editing programs and whether you will have time for that.
At first glance, there are only advantages in using the best free online photo editors, especially when it comes to basic photo editing and color correction. It doesn’t last long, you can make it free, online or even on your phone. But it’s difficult to find tutorials or additional effects, plug-ins. These online photo editors can’t perform deep skin retouching or make creative photo manipulations. So think first for what purpose you need it.
If you are a beginning photographer who wants to edit photos like professional photo retouchers but doesn’t have time for training and tutorials, addressing photo editing services will be the best decision for you.
Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a photographer, photo retoucher and of course, journalist. Here on FixThePhoto blog you can find all of my reviews, photography and photo editing tips, pricing guides, and photography experiments.