10 Best Photoshop Alternatives to Meet All Needs

For many people, Adobe Photoshop is the first program that comes to mind when photo editing software is mentioned.

But there are many Photoshop alternatives that can be used to edit images or to create graphics. Each program has its own merits.

Learn about each Photoshop alternative and find out which one meets your needs.

Free, Open-Source Alternatives to Photoshop

While there aren’t many free open-source alternatives to Photoshop, there are some options. These two programs can be downloaded for free, thanks to their open-source code.


GIMP is completely free. It can be downloaded on Windows or Mac computers. Its name stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, and it does just that- it manipulates images. The program allows you to retouch your photos, edit the image composition and author images. While GIMP doesn’t possess all of the features that Photoshop has, it has many useful editing features. The user interface is very similar to that of Photoshop’s. It’s user-friendly and simple to learn, especially if you have Photoshop experience.

While GIMP doesn’t have adjustment layers or accept Photoshop plugins, it does offer enough features to make editing simple and efficient. This open-source program can transform photos without an up-front fee.

2. Paint.net

Paint.net is also free. But unlike GIMP, it is only available for Windows. It has strict requirements of Windows 7 SP1 or newer, a 1GHz dual-core processor, and 1GB of RAM. Paint.net is popular because of its ease of use. The interface is friendly and learnable, and you won’t need to spend hours learning how to use it.

As a Photoshop alternative. Paint.net has some useful features. You can edit in layers, much like you can in Photoshop. There are a variety of special effects and much-needed tools (like the clone stamper) that can edit your image to your liking. It does, however, lack some of Photoshop’s features.

Free Web-based Photoshop Alternatives

All of these alternatives to Photoshops are free. And if you don’t want the hassle of downloading software, these are worth looking into. They all have web interfaces that allow you to edit photos without installing anything. As a drawback, none of these alternatives offer al the in-depth features that Photoshop has to offer. Nevertheless, they have some very practical applications.

1. Pixlr

Pixlr is free and works on any computer with Flash installed. It has a variety of features, including blur tools, red eye reduction, and various filters. You can choose to edit your photos in an advanced editor, or in a simple editor that makes editing a simple process.

2. Picmonkey

Although Picmonkey’s lite version is free, the premium version comes at a cost. Either one is available on a Mac or PC. The free version gives you the opportunity to edit photos, create collages, and design with a blank canvas. You can crop your image, apply filters, add text, and more. There’s an option for adding texture to photos and for framing them. Although Picmonkey does have a lot of options, you won’t find much in the way of complex photo editing tools.


Canva is free, unless you opt for the business version. Either version works on any computer operating system. The web-based Photoshop alternative allows you to make basic edits to any photo that you upload. You’re limited to filter, crop, and flip options. You can also add elements (like shapes, frames, and icons), text, and backgrounds.

This program is ideal for social media graphic design; the program has templates for Instagram posts, Facebook posts, and more. If you’re looking for a quick way to convert your images into social media graphics, Canva is an excellent choice.

Cheap but great Photo editor for Hobbyists

These options might not be free, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a great value. If you’re looking for an affordable photo editor and you’re a hobbyist, check out one of these three editors.

1. Affinity Photo

This program costs $5 up-front, with no subscription necessary. Once you buy it, it’s yours. The program works on both Mac and Windows computers. Some of the features include 360 degree photo editing, stacking, and batch processing. The editing power of this program rivals Photoshop. You can do advanced editing, although you don’t have the access to the plugins that Photoshop offers. That said, this is one Photoshop alternative that gives Photoshop a run for its money.

2. Cyberlink PhotoDirector 8 Ultra

PhotoDirector 8 costs $99. It’s available for Windows or Mac operating systems. This editor does a few things very well. It simplifies layer editing and easily edits portraits to be free of blemishes. You can add blurs, effects, and filters to images. And removing or adding objects to photos is easy. Overall, PhotoDirector is a solid option for hobbyists looking to edit their photos.

3. Pixelmator

At only $29.99, Pixelmator is an affordable Photoshop alternative. However, it is only available to Mac users. It does just about everything an image editor should do. You can adjust brightness, scale, and add effects.

For professional Photographers and Designers

What works for a hobbyist doesn’t always work for a professional. Professional photographers and designers have fewer options when it comes to great Photoshop alternatives.

1. Sketch

Sketch costs $99 and is only available for Mac computers. The program has some interest effects, like the warp effect and the explode effects. They allow you to change the borders of your shapes, giving them a different look. A paintbrush and eraser tool also can alter the borders of your image. One of the interesting features of Sketch is its strength with text. You can convert your text to shapes, and you can even put text on a path.

Sketch differs from many other photo editing options in that it does not offer any filters. It also has no distort tools, clip art, or brushes. But for graphic design purposes, Sketch could be a good option.

2. Corel Paintshop Pro

This photo editor costs about $80 and is only available for Windows. The program is loaded with photo editing options. You can use text presets, automate the editing process with scripts, apply lens correction, and more. There are several instant effects that can transform your photos immediately. It even comes with 4K monitor support, so you can edit your images on a high-quality monitor. For those who are serious about photo editing, Corel Paintshop Pro has a lot to offer.

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