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22 Best Free Photo Editing Software and Apps

Want to edit your photos but don’t know where to start? Check out this guide and review the best free photo editing software and mobile apps.

Want to edit your photos but don't know where to start? Check out this guide and review the best free photo editing software and mobile apps.

These days, everyone is their own photographer. That means that the ability to edit photos is more important than it's ever been before. Especially if you run your own business, it is crucial to know how to edit photos. While you could hire someone to do it for you, it can be more rewarding to learn how to become a pro at it yourself.

An important part of the process is choosing the best free photo editing software for your needs. There are many out there to choose from, but some are better than others. But when it comes to email marketing and social media content, the free photo editor software you use makes all the difference.

It pays to use a high quality desktop friendly photo editing program. Yet, you'll also want to explore the many free photo editors. This way whether you're in your office or out-and-about, you have an effective way to prepare your photos for publication.

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What is a photo editing software?

In its simplest form, photo editing software are computer programs that allow you to make changes to images in just a few clicks. These changes involve enhancing an image, manipulating it, or both. It is not uncommon for free photo editor software to perform tasks that previously had to be completed manually.

Originally, professional photo editing software was designed to help you alter pictures taken on a digital camera only. But since then, software has been updated. Thanks to these updates you can even edit photos that were taken on a smartphone or tablet. This is also the reason for the creation of free photo editing apps.

Additionally, many modern photo editing tools use generative AI, which allows you to generate images from text to help you get started.

There will always be debates about what the best free photo editor is. But here are 10 photo editing software programs for desktops that you can download for free.

1. Krita

You'll have advanced photo editing capabilities when you use Krita, made for Windows, Linux, and Apple desktops. During the editing process you can have the tools off to the side of your image. But you also have the option of clicking the Tab button, prompting your image to fill the screen. For many beginners this is an easier way to start editing photos. Some of the editing tools you'll have at your fingertips include filters, blending modes, drawing aids, and symmetry and masking tools.

2. inPixio Photo Editor

For a simple way to create image content blocks, inPixio Photo Editor is a popular choice. Its presets and frames make it ideal for beginners. Editing features it offers include changing a photo's brightness and cropping it. The types of photo files it supports include TIFF, JPG, and PNG. An added bonus of inPixio is that images edited can immediately be uploaded to Twitter.

3. Artweaver Free

One of the easiest photo editing programs to use is Artweaver Free. It has a lot more features than other programs of its type. This is the software to use if you are uploading photos from a digital camera or scanning them in to use on your computer. PSD and JPEG are among the photo formats it supports.

In addition to all the standard tools every best free photo editor has, Artweaver has some features you won't find just anywhere. Using this software, you can customize your color palette layouts, create layered photos, and even save edits you use often. And like Krita, Artweaver Free also lets you edit photos in full screen mode.

4. PhotoScape

If easy navigation is your priority, PhotoScape is the software for you. Some of the editing options that you can easily access include Create GIF, Viewer, Combine, and Editor. And when it comes to text and objects, you can add your own or use the ones that come in the editing program.

Your editing abilities when using this software include a brush that creates special effects. They also include spot and red-eye remover, along with a clone stamp tool. In addition, you can manipulate picture frames by adjusting their lines and margins. and even rounding them.

5. Paint.Net

Paint.Net gives you a lot of flexibility in using a photo editor. The first thing to note is that you can manipulate the program's interface. It offers a number of tools that include paint brush and pencil tools, text makers and clone stamps. You can also play with effects and layers to make your pictures more attractive to the eye.

The basic version of the software is compatible with DDS, BMP, TGA, and JPEGs. But you can also download free plug-ins. These additional plug-ins increase the number of tools you have access to. They also make the software compatible with other types of photo files.


Among the most well known best free photo editing software programs is GIMP. Like Paint.Net, GIMP also has extensions you can download to access additional editing options and new file formats.Many of these extensions are created by GIMP users that know exactly which features their fellow users want. Without any plugins the software supports GIF, TIFF, PNG, PSD, and JPEGs.

Editing photos with GIMP is easy because you can work on the main canvas without brush panes and the toolbox getting in the way. This way you can still access all the editing tools with all the features you need easy to get to. Many users compare GIMP to Photoshop, as it has almost the same capabilities. Also, any add-ons made for Photoshop are also compatible with GIMP.

7. Adobe Photoshop Express

For the best of Photoshop without the expense, Adobe has a free version called Photoshop Express. Unlike a lot of other software programs this one lets you edit webcam photos. And with one click you can use features that include red eye remover, cropping, and the ability to correct images. You can also touch up photos with one click of the mouse.This lets you create fade and grain effects. It's also possible to click back and forth between the original photo and your edited work.

A bonus tool that Photoshop Express has but other software lacks is a tool that lets you change the intensity of any image. This makes it easy to enhance the vibrance and saturation of the colors in your photos.

8. PhotoDirector Essential

A more advanced way to edit professionally is to use PhotoDirector Essential. It's ideal for social media marketing because it sorts out metadata for you. The software even has facial recognition capabilities thanks to artificial intelligence. You can easily organize your photos into slideshows, complete with accompanying background music.

PhotoDirector Essential offers the most basic to the most advanced editing options. From layer filtering to photo animation, to converting 350 degree shots into panoramic shots, the AI photo editor tools offer almost every editing option you could think of.

9. Pixlr X

Though less well known than the others, Pixlr X is also a free photo editor software many users have had success with. It's user friendly especially if you are new to editing photos. Most often used for quick editing jobs, the software is excellent for changing lighting and colors. Some of the basic tools it offers are stamps and brushes that make small touch ups easier.

10. Movavi Picverse

The main attraction of Movavi Picverse is that you can use it to clean up your photos of any elements you don't want. It helps you manipulate multiple photos so that you can take elements from one and put them in another. The software also has one-click edit capabilities that allow you to add captions, titles, and other forms of text. You can also change your photos' colors, make them more saturated, and increase or decrease the contrast. Movavi Picverse also makes it easy for you to organize photos automatically.

11. Fotor

Fotor is photo editing software for enhancing and manipulating digital images. It comes with a wide range of editing tools and features, including basic editing functions like cropping, resizing, and adjusting brightness/contrast, and more advanced options like filters, effects, and retouching tools.

Fotor also provides templates for creating photo collages, cards, and even social media graphics, making it a great tool for both casual and professional editors. Use their AI image generation tool to create or enhance images based on your preferences.

12. Photopea

Photopea is another powerful free online photo editor that provides a wide range of features comparable to professional desktop software like Adobe Photoshop. This tool allows you to edit raster graphics like photographs and digital artwork using an interface similar to Photoshop.

The photo editor software supports various file formats, allowing seamless compatibility with projects created in other software. Photopea's extensive tool set includes layers, masks, filters, blending modes, and a host of editing options for retouching, color correction, and design tasks.

13. Canva

Canva is a popular online graphic design platform that has lots of tools and templates for creating visual content like social media graphics, presentations, posters, flyers, and more. Use their photo collage templates or backgrounds to make your images stand out even more. The platform comes with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface that simplifies design, allowing you to customize templates and add text, graphics, backgrounds, and other elements to create professional-looking designs.

Canva has both free and premium plans, with the premium plan unlocking more photo editing tools, features, and resources.

Being able to edit images away from your office is a convenience you won't want to overlook. So here are the top 12 free apps for editing photos.

1. Photolemur 3

An often overlooked yet valuable free photo editing app is Photolemur 3. It uses artificial intelligence to manipulate any photo the way you want it. The advanced features of this software include the ability to edit faces in photos. You can also set the app to analyze each photo you upload to it. Not only can it correct overexposure, it can also bring back any photo elements that may be missing from the original shot.

2. Adobe Lightroom CC

For mobile users, Adobe Lightroom CC is everything a photo editing app should be. It's ideal if you run an online business selling products. The app's built-in camera makes it easy to control shutter speed and focus points. Compatible with RAW files, it lets you edit like a pro. Its capabilities include the ability to add watermarks to your photos and gives you complete control of your exposure settings.

3. Instasize

If you use social media, Instasize is one of the recommended photo editing apps. In fact, when you use it to upload photos to Instagram, they get resized automatically. You can use Instasize to change the background color of your photos. It also lets you create layered photos and make collages. The app even allows you to snap a picture for immediate editing.

4. Lens Distortions

Many professional photographers use the Lens Distortions app. It is loaded with features that let you add effects to your photos. This includes flash, light leak, and color filters. The app also has the capability to change a photo's blurriness or its shine.

If you engage in a lot of outdoor photography, Lens Distortions is one of the most helpful apps out there. Its overlays make it ideal for editing photos taken of snow, rain, fog, and bright sun.

5. Bonfire

For Android users, a popular photo editing app is Bonfire. With 110 filters to choose from, Bonfire makes it easy to customize any photo. One of the more advanced filters even takes a regular photo and makes it look like a painting done in watercolor. The app makes it easy to view the original photo and the edited photo right next to each other, so you can always double check your work before saving it.

6. Apple Photos

For iOS users, the Apple Photos app is excellent for editing. It's Live Photos feature lets you snap pictures and immediately fix the exposure levels . With an iPhone Pro, you can even change the white balance of a picture and remove shadows from it. You also have a wide range of choices for making color adjustments to your photos.

7. Snapseed

Though Snapseed is a photo editing app owned by Google, it can be used on both Androids and iPhones. This app makes it easy to edit photos with nothing more than a swipe of your finger. You can choose and apply any possible edit quickly and easily.

The edit menu in the app lets you use preset styles, including silhouette, a smooth finish, and even morning lighting. Standard tools the app offers include settings for making photos black and white. You can even add a grainy look to any photo, using this app. And like with any good photo editing app, you have the ability to add frames and numerous different styles of text.

It's also got some unique editing tools not every app has, including perspective, healing brush, HDR, and structure/sharpness. The one drawback of Snapseed is that it only supports JPGS and DNGs.

8. Inshot

Inshot is a photo editing app that is similar to Photoshop. And while the free app is somewhat limited on features, it gives you a lot of options for editing. One selling point of this app is that it uses artificial intelligence to give you editing capabilities you wouldn't have otherwise.

9. PicsArt

PicsArt is loaded with editing features that are easy to use. The app makes it easy to edit and view multiple copies of photos at once. The tools it comes with include crop, stretch, motion, clone, and dispersion. But PicsArt is also useful for editing portrait photos. The portrait friendly tools included in the app include auto fix, face fix, and smooth brush. It also has tools for fixing blemishes, skin tone, hair, red eye, teeth whitening, and eye color.

10. VSCO

VSCO has all the editing features you could possibly need. Its many features include tone, contrast, and exposure. You can even make adjustments to photos to make them look grainy, faded, or clearer. Though its skin tone fixer is limited, it still gets the job done. Users like this app because it makes it easy to apply the same edits repeatedly. You can save your edits and automatically apply them.

11. BeFunky

BeFunky comes with a lot of photo editing features as well. While it's great for standard editing jobs, it also excels at helping you touch-up photos. This is thanks to editing features like changing eye color, eliminating wrinkles, fixing blemishes, whitening teeth, and removing red-eye from your pictures. There is also a setting you can use to add makeup, including lipstick. One popular feature of this app is that it makes it easy to correct editing mistakes. With one tap you can restore a redo photo to its original form, or undo any other recent edits you've made.

12. PicLab

Many users find it fun to edit photos with PicLab. The app includes features like filters, cropping, and overlays. The overlays feature lets you add texture to photos, change the lighting, and add shapes and even various stickers and fonts.

13. Promeo

Promeo is an all-in-one photo editing app designed to help you create stunning designs for social media posts, videos, and other promotional content. With over 10,000 ready-to-use templates covering a wide range of categories, such as education, beauty, real estate, and more, you can easily customize your designs with vivid colors, fonts, effects, and a complete library of premium stock media.

Promeo's intuitive platform allows you to create designs in three simple steps: choose a template, edit content and visuals, and publish and share anywhere. With the ability to format creations for various social media platforms and in different formats such as Instagram Stories, Facebook Posts, and YouTube Shorts, Promeo caters to the diverse needs of its users.

14. Afterlight

Afterlight offers a comprehensive suite of features designed for more serious photographers compared to other photo editors. With its extensive selection of film presets inspired by real analog photography, you can effortlessly add authentic effects like light leaks and dust textures to your images.

The app also comes with 300 unique filters crafted by professional photographers, ensuring you find the perfect match for your photos.

Additionally, Afterlight provides advanced editing tools like curve adjustments, selective hue/saturation/lightness controls, overlays/gradients, and grain effects.

Deciding when to invest in photo editing tools depends on several factors, including your level of commitment to photography or graphic design. For many businesses, the decision to invest in photo editors often hinges on the need to maintain a professional and visually appealing online presence.

High-quality images are crucial for branding, marketing materials, product listings, and social media content. Investing in a photo editing tool allows you to enhance images, create eye-catching graphics, and ensure consistency in your visual identity across platforms.

So, consider investing in photo editing tools if you want your brand to remain consistent in its graphics or if you're looking to expand your skill set and use features that may not be provided with free apps.

What is the easiest photo editing software for beginners?

All the photo editing apps we've discussed are easy enough for beginners to use immediately. When considering your options, think about the features you want to use and whether the platform comes with guided tutorials to help you get started quickly.

Look for software that offers basic editing functionalities like cropping, resizing, and adjusting brightness/contrast, as well as easy-to-use tools for adding filters, text, and other effects.

Additionally, software with a large library of templates and presets can simplify the editing process for beginners by providing ready-made designs you can customize to your liking.

Overall, the best photo editing software for beginners is simple and functional, gradually allowing you to learn and improve your editing skills.

Is Photoshop worth the money?

Only you can decide if using the best free photo editing software over Photoshop is worth it. There are arguments for and against using Photoshop. A lot of the decisions depend on exactly why and how much photo editing you do. It also depends on how much experience you have editing photos.

There is no need to use Photoshop just to create quality photos you can be proud of. These desktop softwares and mobile apps are just as good and often less intimidating to use. Unless your photo editing needs are numerous and you're doing it on a large scale, Photoshop may become too overwhelming to work with.

Basic editing can be done with almost any free program or app you can find. Casual users rarely need or want to rely on Photoshop to tweak their pictures. But they will flock to products like MailChimp's photo editor and content studio. These are both easy to use and you don't have to be a professional photographer to understand them.

For everyday needs when it comes to photo editing, having a program you are comfortable working with is important. Most free editing programs are easy to learn and use. Many of them are even designed with social media users in mind, something that was never a factor when Photoshop was launched. These programs make it fun and easy to transform your photos into something special.

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