There are few free photo editing softwares for Mac to edit images fast and professionally. Photoshop and Lightroom are the best but there are so many cheaper and even free Mac photo editors that can make your photos look better in several clicks. Here are 10 free photo editing softwares for Mac that may be a good alternative to Adobe’s softwares.
After you have decided what image editing functions your Mac image editor should have, I suggest looking through the list of 20 photo editing softwares for Mac and image editors I’ve reviewed. Here you will see free, simple photo editors that are suitable for beginning photographers or Instagram funs, and more advanced photo editing softwares for professional shooters.
Website: Preview and Photos
Developer: Apple Inc.
Alternatives: Google Photos
Platforms: Mac OS/IOS
This photo software for Mac is the simplest and completely free program for Mac OS users. It is the built-in organizer and preview photos software. These two tools cannot be called the best, but as for me they are universal. Preview and Photos is, first of all, a platform for storing photos, which allows you to group images depending on the time and location where they were taken. You may also use face recognition to quickly find photos, send them or print. This software comes with a small number of image editing tools: crop, color, b&w, light, various filters and auto photo setup. You can use it to adjust the color and size of your photos before exporting them to various file formats.
GIMP is available only for Windows and Linux. But I’ll tell you not about its desktop software but about the GIMP web application. GIMP online is quite similar with its desktop version in interface, functionality, and photo editing capabilities. You still get a great tool with lots of features for photo editing and color correction, text processing, working with masks and layers. It differs only in the absence of source code.
However, many photographers consider this feature a strong side. It is also worth mentioning that the web picture editor supports RAW files and can work with several photos. This option can simplify the process and save your time. Among its cons, I should note that this free photo editing software is rather poorly optimized. As a result, you may have some problems with the speed of some tools.
If you are looking for an alternative image editor that has functionality and capabilities similar to Lightroom, Polarr can be a good replacement for you. It's nice that this free photo editing software has quite a simple interface and tools that do not require hours of learning. Its tools are focused mainly on color correction: adjusting exposure, shadows, curves, brushes, masks, layers, working with light, photo details, presets, and so on. In addition, there is a separate tab for drawing, creating logos, banners. It supports GIF files. As for the flaws, I would like to note that it does not support RAW files. Therefore, it is not appropriate for professional studio photographers.
If your computer or laptop has a weak configuration and you need a powerful picture editor comparable to Adobe Photoshop, Pixlr will be a great alternative for you. You need only Flash Player and a reliable Internet connection to use it. Upload your photos and you will get access to almost identical to Photoshop interface design and various tools: masks and layers, clone stamps, brushes, text processing, photo defects removal, filters, effects and much more.
You will have everything you can expect from a first-class photo editing software. It is worth mentioning that it supports the RAW file format. However, here I will clarify that if the file size is more than 20Mb, it may work with some delay. Unfortunately, Pixlr photo editing Mac does not support batch image editing. But you can always upload multiple photos at once and enhance them separately.
When we talk about the simplest interface in combination with the basic tools for both color correction and photo retouching, Fotor can be an excellent choice for you. It is not cluttered with a huge amount of advertising that is already a common thing for web photo editors. Fotor Photo Editor has a very simple interface and tools. You will be able to perform various operations: cropping and rotating an image, adjusting contrast and sharpness, changing brightness, applying photo effects, frames, stickers, and other.
A set of image retouching tools is an interesting feature. For example, you can add different makeup options and remove skin blemishes. This feature is sure to appeal to those users who are engaged in portrait photography. Among the disadvantages, I will note that this free photo editing app strongly recommends registering and limits unregistered users in a large number of functions.
If you do not need professional tools: masks, layers, clipping paths, PicMonkey can be a good choice for you. What is appealing about this photo editor is that it is designed for browsers and works with Flash Players. It means that you do not need a powerful PC configuration, in some cases, even a tablet or smartphone will be enough. This online image editor is equipped with quite decent tools for basic color correction and photo retouching. One of the strengths of this free photo editor for Mac is a tool for text processing. It has many advanced settings and manipulation capabilities similar to Photoshop. Besides, the similarity of cloud storage, HUB, is worth mentioning. The cloud works on the principle of Creative Cloud. After you have edited the photo, you can transfer and save it to the HUB. Also, it has a variety of tools for drawing, creating logos, banners, web design, etc. What you may not like is that the program does not support the RAW format and it is impossible to work with several photos at the same time. If this does not bother you, PicMonkey may be not a bad choice for beginners or amateur photographers.
PhotoScape is a powerful and free photo editing software like Photoshop. It can help you do photo editing, cataloging, working with GIF and videos, and converting RAW files. Each of the tabs has a user-friendly interface and quite powerful color correction tools. With the help of this image editing software, you can perform basic image editing, create design projects, logos and banners. PhotoScape is not only supported on Windows and Mac, but also suitable for Linux.
BeFunky is known as the best free photo editor for Mac. It offers many popular and useful effects, textures and advanced tools to enhance photos in several clicks. In addition to the main photo editing functions, this software has separate modules for creating collages and graphic designing. Unfortunately, BeFunky contains 60% of paid content. Moreover, you will be constantly distracted by advertising, which, by the way, occupies more than 30% of the working window.
Google Photos is not the best Mac image editor but it’s the best software for organizing and managing all your photo libraries, no matter where they are. Talking about its photo editing functions, it offers only the minimum. Google Photos helps you quickly prepare photos for easy sharing and basic photo editing: adjusting shadows, exposure, white balance, adjusting filters, effects. In fact, it’s best to use together with GIMP or another application that offers more advanced photo editing features. It is also worth mentioning that Google Photos is available as a standalone software for your Mac, as well as a web version that can be used from any smartphone and tablet. Google Photos offers free 5GB of cloud storage.
iPiccy is one of the best free photo editor for Mac. It offers you a basic set for image editing: cropping, color correction, applying filters and effects, removing minor flaws and working with text. However, the main advantage of iPiccy is almost complete access to all content for free. After some changes, iPiccy makes an automatic copy and in case of problems with the Internet, it suggests restart with the last photo editing step it saved. About the minuses, I see the speed of work. Any photo editing step made in iPiccy is sometimes too slow, which is a bit annoying.
Alternatives: Adobe Illustrator
Platforms: Windows/Mac OS/Linux
Inkscape is a free vector graphics editor suitable for creating both artistic and technical illustrations. Inkscape is mainly used for basic photo editing, creating logos and banners, as well as for performing any tasks related to vector graphics. You can scale and visualize them with different resolutions without loss of quality. Inkscape supports the standard Scalable Vector Graphics, as well as a complete set of tools for converting complex tasks and rendering in high resolution. An obvious disadvantage is the small number of tools for image editing and color correction.
If you are a professional designer, web developer or photographer, this software is for you. Photoshop is a collection of tools for working with photos: image retouching, design projects, drawing, 3D modeling, working with masks and layers. This is only a part of what Adobe software can provide you. This best photo editing software for Mac receives a stable update with fixed bugs, new tools, and functions. In addition to the undeniably best features for image retouching, Photoshop is famous for its stable work. No matter how much you load the program, it will work quickly, without any delays. Cloud storage and integration with other Adobe applications are also worth mentioning. Photoshop is tied to a planned subscription system, Creative Cloud. It includes cloud storage that allows you not to clutter up your computer with an inexhaustible number of files and store them separately on the cloud. Also, with the help of that same Creative Cloud, you can move to any other Adobe software with one click of the mouse. The company called this process “tight integration”.
This picture editor has only one drawback. It often discourages beginners-enthusiasts. Photoshop has so much functionality and capabilities which makes it a bit confusing and difficult to learn for a beginner. However, it is worthwhile to clarify that this photo editor Mac has existed on the market for more than 20 years. As a result, there is a lot of information on the Internet including different video-tutorials and various forums.
This software was developed by Adobe for color enhancement of the photographs. The picture editor has an easy-to-use interface, combined with powerful functions for color correction, working with brushes and much more. Equally superior to alternative software, Lightroom provides impressively crafted tools for working with presets. By the way, they can be easily customized, saved and used for other photos’ editing. In addition to the available presets, you can also download and use ready-made ones, for example, Pretty Presets or MastinLabs.
Besides, Adobe Lightroom photo editing Mac is suitable for working with RAW files. Like Photoshop, Lightroom has existed on the market for a long time. The latest available version supports almost all existing RAW formats. LR is convenient for working with multiple photos at once. You can download and apply basic settings to the whole set of photos. For example, it can be exposure and white balance. This feature can simplify further image post-processing.
As for flaws, this program has an inconvenient system for working with directories.
If you are a Lightroom and Photoshop fan, this Mac image editor can be an awesome option for you. Capture One Pro gathered and combined all the strong sides of these picture editors. It is a powerful and unique tool that allows you to work with images on a professional level: perform color correction, retouch photos, apply masks and layers, brushes and much more. Also, it is worth mentioning that the picture editor is embedded in Phase ONE cameras. Thus, if you are a happy owner of such a camera, you can use the image editor completely free of charge. In addition, its peculiar feature is ways to buy Capture One Pro. You can use this picture editor as a monthly subscription, or buy a licensed version and get regular updates. As for the flaws, this photo editor requires a lot of resources and needs a good PC configuration, similar to Photoshop. This photo software for Mac has a rather complicated user interface for beginners but here I’ll clarify that it is fully customizable.
If you don’t like using Photoshop because of its complicated interface and tools, Affinity Photo, a raster graphics editor, can be a simple and equally useful alternative. This photo editing software for Mac has many options for image retouching and color correction. Moreover, it is equipped with a real-time display function that allows you to preview the result before using the tool. In addition to a variety of modules for picture editing, you can use Affinity Photo as a drawing tool. The program offers a large number of well-developed brushes. By the way, you can customize them. Also, you can find ready-made brushes in our store, upload them to the photo editor and use. Unfortunately, Affinity software doesn’t have an image organizer.
CyberLink PhotoDirector is one of the easy photo editing programs, making it ideal for beginners and Instagram bloggers. You can organize your photos using a star rating system, color labels, keywords, and even marking the faces of certain people. There is a wide range of picture editing tools for removing lens flares, adjusting various sliders, curves, masks and layers, adding brush effects and filters. It is also worth mentioning that CyberLink PhotoDirector supports RAW file format and batch image editing. This software also allows you to easily publish your favorite images directly to Facebook or send them to friends who use this software. There are many tutorials and a FAQ page on the website. Emailing a company is free, but you must pay for a phone support plan if you want to receive technical assistance.
Pixelmator is a full-featured Apple photo editing software that includes a wide selection of basic and advanced image editing tools, the possibility of sharing photos and changing their formats. Pixelmator has a black workspace, which you can customize by moving through floating windows. It will be an excellent choice for beginners because it’s user-friendly and has all the basic tools you need to edit photos. You can crop, scale, resize, select, and make digital drawing. You can also customize the colors in your photos. "Hidden Interface" can be activated if you just want to see your image without being distracted by working window.
If you are familiar with software like Lightroom and Capture One Pro and are looking for a good alternative with similar tools, the DxO Optics Pro photo editor may be useful for you. This best free photo editor for Mac offers a number of functions similar to Capture One and provides much more support for quick setup. The interface is simple and customizable. The tools are similar to Lightroom and are mainly aimed at working with colors: shadows, exposure, masks, layers, brushes, various presets, effects and filters. Due to its user-friendliness, the program is suitable for both professionals and enthusiasts. Among its drawbacks, I would like to note that this picture editor has a poorly developed directory system and rather poorly customizable brushes.
Acron offers simple picture editing tools to adjust the hue, brightness and contrast of your images. With the help of this free photo editing software you can create both HDR and panoramic images. Their HDR tutorial will guide you through the process, making it easy to combine two or more images into one to produce a bright and lively finished photograph. Since it works with HDR images, it is not surprising that the software is compatible with RAW images, in addition to the most common file types. There is no organizer for photos, so you have to use or purchase other software if you want to manage your images.
Website: Corel PaintShop Pro
Alternatives: Photoshop, Lightroom, Capture One Pro
Price: FREE trial or $120
Corel AfterShot Pro has an easy-to-use photo organizer built into the free photo editing software. Before editing photos, you can view, mark, rate and categorize them in folders. Corel AfterShot Pro includes several standard and advanced picture editing tools. You can quickly use the basic tools, such as: cropping, resizing and removing red eye, adjusting various sliders, brushes, but the program does not have drawing tools, as well as the ability to add text to photos.
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.