Free Alternatives to Photoshop

budget friendly photoshop alternatives

In the vast landscape of digital editing, Photoshop stands as a towering giant.

However, for those seeking liberation from its high costs, there exists a realm of free alternatives that offer comparable features and capabilities.

From the comprehensive offerings of Luminar and GIMP to the convenience of online editors like Photopea and InkScape, this article delves into the diverse options available.

Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned editor, explore these free alternatives and unlock the power of photo editing without breaking the bank.

Key Takeaways

  • Luminar and GIMP are full-featured Photoshop alternatives that offer photo management, RAW processing, and advanced editing tools.
  • Apple Photos and Microsoft Windows 10 Photos are pre-installed editing tools that provide basic editing features and photo organization capabilities.
  • Darktable, LightZone, PhotoScape X, InPixio, and Polarr are basic photo editing tools that offer various features for picture enhancement, group editing, and filters.
  • Photopea and InkScape are online photo editors that support different image types and offer similar interfaces to Photoshop for quick improvements and simple editing tasks.


Luminar offers a comprehensive range of advanced features and tools that allow photographers to enhance their images with precision and creativity. One notable feature of Luminar is its AI-enhanced filters, which provide photographers with a powerful tool for transforming their images. These filters utilize artificial intelligence technology to automatically analyze and enhance photos, resulting in stunning and natural-looking edits.

When compared to Photoshop's filters, Luminar's AI-enhanced filters offer a more intuitive and user-friendly experience, making it easier for photographers of all skill levels to achieve professional-quality results.

In addition to its editing capabilities, Luminar also offers photo management capabilities that make it a suitable alternative to Adobe Bridge. With Luminar's photo management tools, photographers can easily organize, catalog, and search their image library, making it easier to find and access specific photos. Luminar's photo management features also include the ability to add keywords, ratings, and labels to images, enabling efficient organization and retrieval.


GIMP, a widely recognized and extensively used picture editing program, offers photographers sophisticated tools such as layer masks and filters. When compared to other photo editing software, GIMP stands out with its advanced features and tools. Here are four reasons why photographers choose GIMP:

  1. Extensive toolset: GIMP provides a wide range of editing tools, including brushes, selection tools, and transformation options, allowing users to make precise adjustments to their images.
  2. Layer masks: GIMP's layer mask feature enables photographers to selectively apply edits to specific areas of an image, giving them more control over the final result.
  3. Filters: GIMP offers a variety of filters, such as blur, sharpen, and artistic effects, allowing photographers to enhance their images creatively.
  4. Plugin support: GIMP supports downloadable plugins, expanding its capabilities and giving users access to additional features and effects.

With its advanced capabilities and powerful tools, GIMP is a valuable alternative to Photoshop for photographers seeking liberation from expensive software.

Apple Photos

Apple Photos is a pre-installed photo editing software on Mac devices that offers easy-to-use editing tools and an organization system. While it may not have the advanced features of Photoshop, it provides a convenient option for Mac users who want to edit and manage their photos without the need for additional software.

One of the key advantages of Apple Photos is its integration with other Apple devices and services. Users can seamlessly sync their photos across their iPhone, iPad, and Mac, allowing for easy access and editing on multiple devices. Additionally, Apple Photos integrates with iCloud, allowing users to store and backup their photos in the cloud for added security and convenience.

When compared to other pre-installed editing tools like Microsoft Windows 10 Photos, Apple Photos offers a more user-friendly interface and a smoother editing experience. While it may lack some of the advanced features found in other editing software, Apple Photos excels in its simplicity and integration with the Apple ecosystem.

Microsoft Windows 10 Photos

Microsoft Windows 10 Photos provides Windows users with a pre-installed photo management solution. While it may not be as powerful as other editing software, it does offer some advanced editing features for users to enhance their photos. Here are a few notable features:

  1. Basic editing tools: Windows 10 Photos allows users to crop, rotate, and adjust the exposure, contrast, and saturation of their photos.
  2. Filters and effects: Users can apply various filters and effects to their images, such as black and white, sepia, and vintage.
  3. Retouching tools: The software offers retouching tools to remove blemishes, red-eye, and unwanted objects from photos.
  4. Collage and slideshow creation: Windows 10 Photos allows users to create collages and slideshows with their photos, adding music and transitions for a polished presentation.

For Windows users looking for alternatives to Microsoft Windows 10 Photos, there are several options available. GIMP, Luminar, and Darktable are some examples that provide more advanced editing features and compatibility with Windows operating systems.


Darktable is a powerful open-source photo editing software that offers a wide range of features for enhancing and managing digital images. What sets Darktable apart from other basic photo editing tools is its advanced capabilities. It provides sophisticated tools like non-destructive editing, lens correction, noise reduction, and color grading. With Darktable, users have more control over their photos and can achieve professional-level results.

One of the key advantages of Darktable is its compatibility and integration with Linux operating systems. Linux users often struggle to find photo editing software that meets their needs, but Darktable fills this gap. It seamlessly integrates with Linux, allowing users to take full advantage of its features and capabilities.

This compatibility ensures that Linux users have access to a powerful and versatile photo editing tool without having to compromise on functionality. Darktable truly empowers Linux users to unleash their creative potential in the world of digital photography.


LightZone offers a user-friendly interface and a range of powerful features for seamless photo editing and enhancement. Here are some key points to consider about LightZone:

  1. LightZone vs. Darktable:

LightZone and Darktable are both popular alternatives to Adobe Photoshop. While Darktable is considered a Lightroom substitute with fundamental photo enhancement capabilities, LightZone focuses on color correction and exposure enhancement. Both programs accept RAW files and are compatible with Linux, Mac, and Windows.

  1. LightZone for Linux users:

One of the advantages of using LightZone as a Photoshop alternative on Linux is its compatibility. Linux users can enjoy the benefits of LightZone's intuitive interface and robust editing tools without the need for additional software or virtual machines.

PhotoScape X

Firstly, PhotoScape X offers a comprehensive range of photo editing features, making it a versatile alternative to Adobe Photoshop. It provides advanced editing features such as photo stitching, group editing, animated GIF creation, and screenshots.

Compared to other beginner-friendly photo editing tools like Darktable and LightZone, PhotoScape X stands out with its user-friendly interface and similarity to Adobe Photoshop in terms of brushes and tools. While Darktable and LightZone focus more on fundamental picture enhancement, PhotoScape X goes beyond basic editing capabilities, allowing users to create stunning visual effects and manipulate images with ease.

With its diverse range of editing features, PhotoScape X is an ideal choice for beginners who are looking for a free alternative to Photoshop that doesn't compromise on functionality.


Here are four key features that make InPixio a popular choice for those seeking a user-friendly interface and Windows compatibility:

  1. Intuitive Interface: InPixio provides a user-friendly interface that makes it easy for beginners to navigate and edit their photos. With simple tools and intuitive controls, users can quickly enhance their images without the steep learning curve associated with Photoshop.
  2. Windows Compatibility: InPixio is fully compatible with Windows operating systems, allowing Windows users to take advantage of its features without the need for additional software or compatibility issues.
  3. Filters, Frames, and Textures: InPixio offers a collection of filters, frames, and textures that users can apply to their photos to achieve various artistic effects. These options allow for creative expression and enhance the visual appeal of images.
  4. Free Edition: InPixio offers a free edition that provides access to a range of basic photo editing features. While the free edition may have limited capabilities compared to Photoshop, it still offers enough tools for users to edit and enhance their photos without incurring any cost.

With its user-friendly interface and Windows compatibility, InPixio serves as a viable alternative to Photoshop for those seeking a free and accessible photo editing solution.


Offering easy-to-use photo editing tools and a wide range of filters, Polarr is a convenient and versatile alternative to Photoshop. With its user-friendly interface, Polarr allows users to edit their photos quickly and efficiently. Let's compare Polarr with other online photo editors in the table below:

Features Polarr Photopea InkScape
Image Support Various Various, including PSD Vector images
Interface User-friendly Similar to Photoshop Similar to Illustrator
Layer Editing Yes Yes Yes
Advanced Tools Yes Yes Yes
RAW File Support Yes Yes No

Pros of using Polarr for photo editing include its easy-to-use interface, wide range of filters, and the ability to design and store custom filters. However, some cons include limited vector image editing capabilities and the absence of RAW file support in InkScape. Overall, Polarr is a powerful online photo editor that offers a great alternative to Photoshop for users seeking liberation in their photo editing process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does the Luminar Software Cost After the 7-Day Free Trial?

The cost of Luminar software after the 7-day free trial varies depending on the membership option chosen. Luminar offers three membership options, providing users with different features and pricing plans to suit their needs.

Can GIMP Be Used on Both Mac and Windows Devices?

Yes, GIMP can be used on both Mac and Windows devices. It is a widely used picture editing program that offers sophisticated tools like layer masks and filters, making it a versatile alternative to Photoshop.

Does Apple Photos Have the Ability to Edit RAW Files?

Apple Photos does not have a specific limit to the number of photos that can be edited. However, its ability to handle large file sizes may vary depending on the device's storage capacity and processing power.

Are There Any Advanced Features in Microsoft Windows 10 Photos Compared to Photoshop?

Microsoft Windows 10 Photos offers basic photo management capabilities but lacks the advanced features found in Photoshop. While suitable for users who prefer not to install additional software, it falls short in comparison to Photoshop's extensive editing capabilities.

Can Darktable Be Used on Operating Systems Other Than Linux?

Darktable, a Lightroom substitute, is compatible with operating systems other than Linux. It can run on MacOS, providing users with fundamental picture enhancement tools and the ability to create and store presets. It does not work on Windows.


In conclusion, the article has explored a range of free alternatives to Photoshop, offering a variety of features and capabilities for photo editing.

From full-featured options like Luminar and GIMP to pre-installed tools like Apple Photos and Microsoft Windows 10 Photos, there are choices available for different user needs.

Additionally, online editors like Photopea and InkScape offer convenience, while exclusive options like Pixelmator and Krita cater to Mac users.

With these diverse options, individuals and small businesses can find suitable alternatives to Photoshop without incurring high costs.

Like a kaleidoscope of possibilities, these free alternatives open up a world of creative potential.

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