The best free Photoshop alternative for photo editing!

Edit your pictures like a pro using a free Photoshop alternative. Let your creative genius loose with GIMP, Luminar or Pixlr. Try now!

free photoshop alternatives

While the features are everything you would need to edit great pictures, the high price tag sure makes you search for a free Photoshop alternative. Well, you are in luck! Most of the softwares in our list have similar functionalities, such as layers, retouch, resize, and others.

Whether you use Windows or Mac, these programs like Photoshop are sure to get the job done. Plus, they are easy to use, and some even offer a free trial while you decide to purchase them, at a much lower price.

Check out our top 9 free alternatives to Photoshop, web or app based.

  1. Luminar NEO
  2. GIMP
  3. Canva
  4. Apple photos
  5. Paint.NET
  6. Pixlr
  7. Photos Pos Pro
  8. Microsoft Windows 10 Photos
  9. Raw Therapee

Let’s see what each software brings to the table and decide which one is the best free Photoshop alternative for you.

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Luminar NEO - the best free photoshop alternatives

Developed by Skylum, Luminar NEO is a subscription based photo editor like Photoshop, but cheaper. Being AI powered, it offers high accuracy when you edit RAW photos, as well as portrait retouching tools. Take advantage of the 7-day free trial and see for yourself its photo editing tools.

As you grow more familiar with Luminar's intuitive interface, enjoy the extensions of the premium version. They include features such as noise reduction, background remover, HDR merge, and manipulation of light.

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GIMP (GNU image manipulation program)

Is a very popular alternative to Photoshop that allows you to work on multiple file formats. Fully edit pictures and let your imagination run wild. Create illustrations and designs like a pro, using more advanced tools like layer masks.

Why is GIMP such a cool photo editing software? Because it offers extensions to make your images top notch. While it is not quite as intuitive as Adobe Photoshop, its features are similar, free, and easy to learn.

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Canva is a great web based free Photoshop alternative, with basic tools. It lets you create all types of designs and edit pictures. The free version offers plenty of presets, graphic elements, and features.

Although, when you pay for a subscription, you get extra photo editing tools. They include retouch, resize, and background remover, as well as Pro elements. It is very intuitive and has a user friendly interface.

Some other features you are able to use are different formats (PDF, PNG, JPG etc), multiple sized designs, and even presentations. If imagination fails you, use Canva’s templates and manipulate them to create epic stuff.

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Free Photoshop alternatives - Apple photos

This one is a free editing software for Mac like Photoshop. Quickly adjust your pictures, straight from the gallery with Apple Photos. Its free options - retouch, crop, and more, aloow you to play around with colors to take your pictures to a whole new level.

It comes installed on any Apple product and it is pretty intuitive. It might take a little while to get used to its features and it doesn’t have advanced features. However, it is great for basic photo editing. It even makes your job a bit easier with an auto feature that edits your picture instantly.

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Is a free, simple Photoshop alternative Windows only, that has evolved from a dupe for Microsoft Paint. Its features include layers, curves, and if you want more, it offers free extensions for download. Keep in mind that it doesn't have advanced editing tools, but it gets the job of editing photos done.

What makes Paint.NET so appealing to the user is its tabbed document interface. The software allows you to work with multiple panels within one single window and switch between them at any time. While having its limitations, it is easy to master, especially for graphic design novices.

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Best free Photoshop alternatives - Pixlr X and Pixlr E

PixIr X photo editor offers a big portfolio of features, from light altering to retouching. They share a user friendly interface and are perfect for novices or professional photographers. Do you want to edit something out of your picture with just a few clicks? Heal the area, use clone brushes, and blend the edges to make it more natural.

Although Pixlr E is more advanced, they are both easy to use, web based Photoshop alternatives. The interface is customizable and very similar to Photoshop’s. So, if you’re looking to transition in the future, it won’t be difficult. Access Pixlr editor from any browser and give your pictures the look they deserve.

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Photo Pos Pro - free Photoshop alternative

As a free software like Photoshop, it has some cool features that make your life easier. Photo Pos Pro lets you start from scratch or edit existing images, recognizes RAW files, and allows you to make photo collages. Use the options for scripts to save time on edits, and even keep your filters for the future.

The software has two plans - Novice and Expert, depending on where you are in your image editing journey. While the Novice layout is free, a one time payment of $34,90 gives you full access to premium features.

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Microsoft Windows 10 Photos

If you have Windows 10 installed on your device, give this photo editing software a chance. It is has similar features to Apple Photos, allowing you to make simple adjustments to your pictures. Microsoft Windows 10 Photos also lets you organise, store, and import your images.

The software has everything a novice photographer would need, with no extensions needed. However, as you get more advanced in the image editing world, think about transitioning to a bigger platform.

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Raw Therapee - free alternative to Photoshop

With a complex interface comes a complex image editor. Raw Therapee is a cross-platform (Windows, macOS, Linux) processing system for raw files. Being an open source software, you are able to use it completely free as long as you follow their copyright licence.

Raw Therapee is one of the best alternatives to Adobe Photoshop because it doesn’t lag. Even if you have a slower computer, it works fast. It also offers extensions and vector tools to better edit photos, with no learning curve.

What to look for in the best free Photoshop alternatives?

Each Photoshop alternative is unique in its own way. Whether they require an internet connection, have a batch editor, or multiple file formats, they offer different editing tools and work differently. Here are some things you should pay attention to when searching for the best free Photoshop alternatives.

Similar features in the photo editor

Look for a free software that has similar features to Photoshop. They include layers, filters, blending modes, and color correction tools. Graphic designers are also interested in good accuracy features, so AI powered tools are worth a look into.

Ease of use of the photo editing software

If you are new to image manipulation, consider an editor with a user friendly interface. Don't throw yourself at a steep learning curve or too advanced features. They are usually harder to master, especially with very little prior knowledge. Of course, if you want a better quality out of a free software, Pixlr editor is a great option.

Compatibility with the free Photoshop alternative file formats

Check if the software can open and save files in the same formats as Photoshop. Also, make sure it works with any pen tool, plugins, or add-ons you may need. Professional photographers save images in multiple formats (jpg, png, psd files and more) in the creative cloud. This way, they ensure they don't lose them.

In graphic design you may work with RAW files, so use a photo editor that recognizes RAW images. Even if the software is completely free or offers a premium version, like Photo Pos Pro, this is a compatibility issue you should have in mind.

Performance and customization of the photo editing tools

Consider the speed and stability of the software as important features. Especially if you are working with large files, batch editing, complex projects, or basic photo editing. Also look for a free Photoshop alternative software that allows customization. Make the interface, shortcuts, and other settings fit your workflow.

Scalability and OS compatibility

As your skills and requirements develop, the free editors you use should be able to keep up. The Pixlr editor offers a better version that fits the needs of professional photographers or graphic design experts.

Cross-platform compatibility is an industry standard nowadays. Meaning, your software must be able to work across all and any operating systems (Mac, Windows, Linux).

Because we are talking about completely free Photoshop alternatives, price is not a matter here. Although, take into account everything you've read so far and decide if a free alternative fits your needs. If not, think about trying out photo editors with a free trial.


Depending on what you are looking for in a free Photoshop alternative, we got you covered. You enjoy cool features, good storage in the creative cloud, and pro filters at a much lower price, or even free of charge. Download a web app or edit your pictures online with only a few clicks and no learning curve.

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