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Photoshop too expensive? Use these free alternatives instead

With easy to use, high-quality lenses adorning most smartphones these days, pretty much anybody, even children, can take a good photograph without needing to learn the minutiae of a digital camera.

Regardless of whether you shoot a photo with a smartphone or digital camera, the image will benefit from some touchup using an editing program, such as the powerhouse, Photoshop.

And, as much as we appreciate Adobe products, we love sharing alternatives that work equally well and save you money. So if you have photos in need of editing and don’t want to shell out the bucks for Photoshop, here are a few free alternatives you may want to try.


GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a downloadable, professional-grade photo editor with an extensive Photoshop-like collection of essential editing tools. In addition, GIMP boasts advanced filters and layer masks. Whether you want to add text, erase background or add texture to a photo, this no-cost editing software will meet your needs.

What we like
The interface is customizable with plugins
Available for Windows, Mac and Linux
Tutorials are readily available

What we don’t like
Not available for mobile devices
Designed for advanced users




SumoPaint 2.0 (Beta)

The free basic version of SumoPaint 2.0 is replacing SumoPaint as it required Flash player which will no longer be supported. It allows you to edit photos online and has similar Photoshop tools and features, including a variety of brushes, brush effects and styles, and line tools. SumoPaint’s collection of stickers, filters and frames is perfect for crafting creative images.

What we like
Easy to use
Web-based (no download necessary)
Handcrafted filters

What we don’t like
Paid Pro version required for ad-free or offline use
It is a beta version, so things could change

Pixlr X

The Pixlr X editor is a powerful free photo-editing program that replaced the original desktop version of the Pixlr editor. Beyond the basic editing tools, Pixlr X has a wide range of special effects such as filters, overlays, borders and stickers to enhance any image.

No need to limit yourself to the editor as Pixlr, from Autodesk, is a family of web-based and native mobile image editing apps, including the original Pixlr editor for both Android and iOS.

What we like
Can be used with Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Explorer
Quick fix tools
Mobile app requires little space and memory
Instantly share on social media

What we don’t like
Interface is generic
Operations can be slow

Adobe Photoshop Express

As a free mobile app, Adobe Photoshop Express will impress. Like the desktop version of Photoshop, this app allows you to manipulate your images in a variety of ways using a variety of tools, including temperature and color correctors. With Photoshop Express, you can overlay images, add text, apply quick fixes, create collages and more.

What we like
One tap sharing to social media
Add a custom watermark to images

What we don’t like
Requires other apps; Photoshop Fix, Mix and Sketch for additional core editing features such as brushes
Does not use layers
More complex than other editors





Canva is not your typical photo editor. It is design software that can be used to design graphics for numerous applications including presentations, branding, social media, blogs, book covers and more. Canva has a vast library of free and paid customizable elements, templates and layouts. Editing tools include image cropping and speech and thought bubble creators.

What we like
Drag-and-drop functionality
Send finished project directly to social media

What we don’t like
Scant editing tools
Pro version required for basic features (exporting designs with a transparent background)
Can be costly (even though a free version, you may need to purchase elements) App background

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