Best Free Photoshop Alternatives to Save Money in September 2023

By Eva Williams 3 days ago, Photoshop Tips

Photoshop is undeniably the industry standard, but it can be expensive ($20.99/mo) and overkill for everyday use. Plus, it takes up a lot of storage and can slow down your computer.

But guess what? There are several free Photoshop alternatives that offer similar functionality, and some are designed specifically for different types of users.


Warning: Whatever the case, Photoshop is one of the best programs when it comes to photo retouching, graphic design, and digital drawing. It is user-friendly, has many useful plugins, actions, overlays, and there are numerous video tutorials in all languages, etc.

17 Free Programs Like Photoshop for Image Editing

free photoshop alternative logo gimp
Totally free
  • Fully free

free photoshop alternative logo photopea
  • Fully free

free photoshop alternative logo rawtherapee
  • Fully free

free photoshop alternative logo paintnet
  • Fully free

free photoshop alternative logo krita
For drawing
  • Fully free

free photoshop alternative logo colorcicnh
Zoner Photo Studio X
RAW support
  • Free trial
  • $5.99 per month

free photoshop alternative logo colorcicnh
Basic tools
  • Free version
  • $8.99 per month

free photoshop alternative logo photo pos lite
Photo Pos Lite
For beginners
  • Fully free

free photoshop alternative logo photoscape x
PhotoScape X
Many effects
  • Fully free

free photoshop alternative logo capture one pro
Capture One Pro
For pros
  • Free trial
  • $14.92 per month

free photoshop alternative logo polarr
Numerous templates
  • Free version
  • $3.99 per month

free photoshop alternative logo affinity photo 2
Affinity Photo 2
Professional brushes
  • Free trial
  • $69.99/lifetime

free photoshop alternative logo acdsee photo studio ultimate
ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate
Powerful search
  • Free trial
  • $69.95/lifetime

free photoshop alternative logo luminar neo
Lumimar Neo
AI tools
  • Free trial
  • $4.96 per month

free photoshop alternative logo adobe photoshop elements
Adobe Photoshop Elements
Guided edits
  • Free trial
  • $69.99/lifetime

free photoshop alternative logo fotor
Easy navigation
  • Free version
  • $4.99 per month

free photoshop alternative logo darktable
Open Source
  • Fully free


(Fully Free)

One of the major advantages of GIMP is its extensive features. As well as Photoshop, it supports layer-based editing, has excellent filters, brushes, and blending modes. It also includes text editing tools and can even create animated GIFs. These features make it a free go-to choice for many photographers and graphic designers.

Many professional users like that this open source editor allows them to correct various tools, fix bugs, and create new functions manually, without waiting for the next update.

Being one of the best free Photoshop alternatives, GIMP continues to improve and evolve, with new features and bug fixes being released regularly. The development community behind GIMP is dedicated to keeping this free drawing software up to date and providing users with the best experience possible.

  • Advanced features such as layer masks and filters
  • Plenty of downloadable add-ons
  • Supports a wide range of file formats
  • Low system requirements
  • Steep learning curve
  • Requires customization to suit individual needs
free photoshop alternative interface gimp

2. Photopea

(Fully Free)

Photopea is a browser-based, so it runs faster than a program that needs to be installed on your computer. Plus, if you're already familiar with Adobe software, you'll feel right at home with Photopea's similar UI.

One of the great features of Photopea is its ability to work with both raster and vector graphics. You can create designs from scratch or use templates, and there's a wide selection of adjustments, filters, and text tools to enhance your images. You can also export your images in different sizes, including options for social media, print, and more.

Another advantage of Photopea is its compatibility. It recognizes popular file formats like PSD and PNG, and it works on any device, whether it's your computer or mobile phone. Photopea is completely free to use, which is a big plus.

  • Runs faster and doesn't require installation
  • UI resembles Adobe Photoshop
  • Supports PSD files and raster images
  • Wide selection of adjustments, filters, etc
  • Some advanced features, like content-aware fill, are lacking
  • Limited support for languages other than English
free photoshop alternative interface photopea

3. RawTherapee

(Fully Free)

In terms of functionality, RawTherapee covers all the basics you'd expect from photo editing software for PC. From cropping to adjusting perspective with the Lens tool, it has you covered. It also offers various color correction settings, including white balance adjustment and fine-tuned control over the tone of your images.

As one of the best free Photoshop alternatives, one area where RawTherapee shines is in reclaiming details from overexposed photos. It handles this task impressively well, even better than some competing programs. It also provides additional features like vignette filters for a moody effect and a graduated filter that works great on landscapes.

In terms of pricing, RawTherapee is completely free batch photo editor, making it an attractive choice for those who want to save money on Adobe subscriptions. It supports various image formats, including RAW, and is available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

  • Clear interface
  • Non-destructive editing
  • Offers a wide range of standard tools
  • Supports various image formats, including RAW
  • Lacks a comprehensive user guide
  • Slower response time when working on large batches of photos
free photoshop alternative interface rawtherapee

4. PaintNet

(Fully Free)

One of the biggest advantages of PaintNet is that it offers a variety of features aimed at digital painters for free. If you're into creating professional graphics designs but can't afford Adobe's software, this is a great option for you.

This free program like Photoshop has a distraction-free workspace and brushes that emulate charcoal, pencils, and ink. It also works seamlessly with Wacom tablets.

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  • Offers a distraction-free workspace
  • Variety of drawing tools
  • Works with Wacom drawing tablets
  • Deep color improvement
  • Not supported on Linux and Mac OS
  • No Burn and Dodge feature
free photoshop alternative interface paintnet

5. Krita

(Fully Free)

Krita is a fantastic choice for concept artists, texture and matte painters, and illustrators. It offers similar features to GIMP and Photoshop, but with a more tailored interface for digital artists. It's compatible with all major operating systems, which is a big plus. Krita is completely free and open source, which is impressive considering its capabilities.

When it comes to digital painting and drawing, Krita has got you covered. Comparing Krita vs Photoshop, you can see that Krita offers a wide range of brushes, a built-in assistant, and even supports vectors. You can also add additional functionality through python scripts. The interface is minimalist and user-friendly, making it great for beginners.

One of the standout features of Krita is its ability to handle large files. It has a robust layer system that allows you to change transparency, color, and opacity. You can resize and rotate layers, and even use masks to control specific pixels. The software also offers various effects like blurring and sharpening.

  • Free and open source software
  • Excellent brushes
  • Pro tools for digital drawing
  • Fine technical support
  • Poorly developed photo retouching tools
  • May be confusing for first-time users
free photoshop alternative interface krita

6. Zoner Photo Studio X

(7-Day Free Trial)

Zoner Photo Studio X is a comprehensive software with Photoshop and Lightroom tools including layers, skin retouching instruments, support for all famous RAWs, presets, and cataloging features.

The editor has a user-friendly interface with tabs, tools for culling, adding annotations, and decent output options. Thus, this free Photoshop alternative is even faster than Photoshop in some situations. As for unique features, here you can improve the texture of an object, enhance the clarity of the entire picture, and simultaneously adjust the shadows.

It costs $5.99 per month or $59 per year, which gives you access to the full program, cloud storage, and an online gallery. You can use it on multiple computers for photo editing, and the subscription is automatically renewed unless you cancel it.

  • Layer support
  • Advanced skin retouching tools
  • You can upload and use presets
  • RAW support
  • The interface can be cluttered
  • Poor cataloging features
free photoshop alternative interface zoner photo studio x

7. Colorcinch

(Free Version)

When comparing Colorcinch to Photoshop, it's important to highlight that Photoshop is widely regarded as the top choice for professional editing. Colorcinch includes both basic tools and features (exposure, color, and brightness corrections), as well as more sophisticated AI tools for editing a blurred background or working in multiple layers to perform more complex manipulations with skin.

Moreover, there are stock libraries with over 50,000 stock images and icons, and 2+ mln high-res photos. You can also take advantage of custom presets, dynamic color palettes, and graphic design templates.

While the free edition of this automatic photo editor has many useful capabilities, some of the most complex effects and elements are only available with a paid membership ($8.99/mo). So, keep that in mind if you want the whole experience.

  • AI tools
  • Layer support
  • Over 2 million stock images
  • Great templates
  • Limited free version
  • Slightly limited import
free photoshop alternative interface colorcinch

8. Photo Pos Lite

(Fully Free)

Photo Pos Lite features easy to use interface, powerful tools, and automatic adjustment options for size, position, and color. The software features an advanced undo function for easy corrections of photo mistakes.

With Photo Pos Lite Photoshop alternative free, you can also do background cleanup and image retouching even in a tough situation where the original image might have been damaged.

The software allows you to easily manage your digital photo library so that you can find photos quickly. You can also organize your photo collection with this free software. One great feature of the software is the fact that you can back up any photo or image and use it whenever required.

  • AI tools
  • Layer support
  • Over 2 million stock images
  • Great templates
  • Limited free version
  • Slightly limited import
free photoshop alternative interface photo pos lite

9. PhotoScape X

(Fully Free)

PhotoScape X offers a wide range of features completely free of charge. It's a great option for those who don't want to splurge on expensive editing software. One of the standout features is its user-friendly interface, making it a breeze to navigate and use. Plus, it supports graphics tablets, which is a huge plus for digital artists.

Another great thing about PhotoScape X is the abundance of templates and stock images it offers. Whether you're working on a project or just want some inspiration, having these at your disposal is truly convenient.

When compared to Photoshop, PhotoScape X certainly has its advantages, especially for those who don't require the advanced features of Photoshop. However, it's worth noting that Photoshop still reigns supreme when it comes to professional-grade editing and design capabilities.

  • Offers many features
  • Wide range of templates and stock images
  • Interface is easy to use
  • Face recognition for tagging faces
  • Lacks some advanced tools
  • No big community
free photoshop alternative interface photoscape x

10. Capture One Pro

(30-Day Free Trial)

First and foremost, Capture One Pro free program like Photoshop is a complete solution for photographers. It supports over 500 cameras and lenses, which is great for professionals who work with different equipment. It also offers tethered capture capabilities, allowing you to directly capture images from your camera to the software.

Another standout feature is its advanced masking functionality. This allows you to make precise adjustments and edits to specific areas of your photos. Additionally, unlike Photoshop, Capture One Pro has excellent image organization and simplified photo management tools, making it easy to stay organized and efficient.

Pricing-wise, Capture One Pro is more expensive than Photoshop. However, it does offer a more flexible pricing model. In addition to a monthly subscription ($14.92/mo), you can make a payment and own the program forever ($299/lifetime).

  • Fully customizable interface
  • Fast import and export
  • Well-developed masks and layers
  • Suitable for professional retouching
  • Requires good PC configuration
  • Difficult for beginners
free photoshop alternative interface capture one pro

11. Polarr

(Free Version)

Comparing Polarr to Photoshop, it's important to note that Polarr is not trying to imitate the power of industry heavyweights like Photoshop. It's a more lightweight and user-friendly alternative, perfect for those who don't need all the advanced features of Photoshop.

It works on PCs, Macs, iOS, and Android devices, so you can use it on pretty much any platform. It has all the basic photo editing tools you need, plus a few extra features like Lightroom-style color and tonal controls. I also really like the liquify tool that lets you pinch, bulge, or wrap pixels, which is pretty cool.

Polarr is available in a free version with restricted features. You may choose between a monthly ($3.99) or annual ($29.99) membership to have access to all of its features.

  • Simple interface
  • Wide range of effects, adjustments, etc
  • Tools for creating custom gradients
  • Options for removing blemishes
  • No layer-based workflow
  • The free version may have limited features
free photoshop alternative interface polarr

12. Affinity Photo 2

(30-Day Free Trial)

Fully compatible with Photoshop and other file formats, Affinity Photo is specifically designed for professional photographers and designers.

The real-time display is one of the most interesting features of this RAW photo editor. It allows you to preview the result before using the tool.

Although Affinity Photo 2 ($69.99/lifetime) is much cheaper than Photoshop, its creators claim that this software is actually better, promising higher speed, fewer lags, and an unlimited number of undos. Actually, there are many Affinity Photo vs Photoshop overviews that cover their similarities and differences.

  • Simple interface
  • Professional brushes
  • Supports RAW files
  • Fast photo import and export
  • Lacks an image organizer
  • Isn’t optimized for weak PC configuration
free photoshop alternative interface affinity photo 2

13. ACDsee Photo Studio Ultimate

(30-Day Free Trial)

While Photoshop is the industry standard and offers a wider range of advanced features, ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is a solid alternative, especially for those on a budget. It offers many of the essential editing tools and a great organizational system, making it a suitable choice for most photographers.

ACDSee Photoshop alternative free has tools like people mode, groups, and image basket that help you stay organized and easily manage your photos. But the real game-changer here is the facial recognition feature. It actually scans through your entire photo library and identifies known faces, making it super easy to find specific people in your collection.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate ($69.95/lifetime) offers good value for its affordable price and perpetual licensing. It's a great choice for casual and enthusiast photographers who want a robust all-in-one solution for editing and organizing their photos

  • Great photo organizing and editing tool
  • Facial recognition feature
  • Powerful search functionality
  • Fast and easy-to-use
  • Lacks sophisticated high-ISO noise reduction
  • No all the advanced features and capabilities of Photoshop
free photoshop alternative interface acdsee photo studio ultimate

14. Luminar Neo

(30-Day Free Trial)

Unlike Photoshop, one of the major advantages of Luminar Neo is its AI tools. These tools make complex photo editing a breeze with just a single click. For example, you can easily replace a boring midday sky with a beautiful sunset in just a few seconds.

Moreover, this AI photo editor can automatically crop your photos for optimal composition, which is particularly useful for landscapes and portraits. The software also includes an advanced HDR tool for capturing and editing high-dynamic range photos effortlessly.

Luminar Neo is available as both a standalone application ($4.96/mo) and as a plugin for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, and Capture One.

  • Powerful AI tools
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Wide range of creative assets
  • Supports non-destructive editing
  • Sometimes misrecognizes buildings
  • May have fewer options compared to Photoshop
free photoshop alternative interface luminar neo

15. Adobe Photoshop Elements

(30-Day Free Trial)

As well as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Elements is a powerful editing software that allows you to edit, organize, and share your photos with ease. It comes packed with automatic adjustments and guided edits, making it a fantastic tool for beginners and project-oriented users like scrapbookers.

The newest version boasts performance upgrades, making this free program like Photoshop faster to install, start-up, and save on hard drive space. It even adds a cool Cinemagraph-like motion feature that lets you create MP4 or GIF files from still photos.

When it comes to pricing, Adobe Photoshop Elements offers a more budget-friendly option ($69.99/lifetime) compared to the full Photoshop. So, if you're an amateur photographer or just starting out with image editing, it could be a great choice for you.

  • Simple interface
  • Powerful editing software
  • Automatic adjustments and guided edits
  • Performance upgrades
  • Not suitable for older computers or those with limited RAM
  • Poorly developed photo retouching tools
free photoshop alternative interface adobe photoshop elements

16. Fotor

(Free Version)

One of the best things about Fotor is its user-friendly interface. It's really simple to navigate, making it perfect for beginners who are just starting out with photo editing. Another great feature is its photo retouching and HDR capabilities, which can really enhance the quality of your images. And if you're into graphic design, Fotor also offers a collage maker and various design features.

As well as Photoshop, this photo editing app offers a wide range of effects like filters, frames, textures, and overlays to enhance your images. The app also has composition guides to help you compose your photos, and a selection tool with several blur effects.

Fotor offers many features for free, but if you want to unlock the full potential of the software, you can purchase a pro subscription (from $4.99/mo).

  • Comprehensive suite of tools
  • Easy navigation
  • Numerous effects, filters, frames, textures, and overlays
  • Affordable pricing options
  • Bugs and performance issues
  • Not for more professional needs
free photoshop alternative interface fotor

17. Darktable

(Fully Free)

Darktable is a free, open-source program designed for managing and editing RAW images. It's compatible with different operating systems and has been developed by photographers themselves, which gives it an edge in understanding real-world challenges and workflows.

Similar to Photoshop, its features include non-destructive editing, advanced retouching tools, and image organization capabilities. Plus, it supports tethering from many cameras and has a user-friendly, Lightroom-like interface.

For digital painters, comic book illustrators, and animators, this free Photoshop alternative provides an extensive selection of brushes and drawing tools. This versatility is a definite plus for creative professionals.

  • Supports RAW image editing
  • Professional color management
  • Supports ICC profiles
  • Flexible search function
  • Lacks some basic automation functions
  • User interface can be cluttered and confusing
free photoshop alternative interface darktable

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