If you are looking for a platform to work on your photographic creations, basically your alternatives are to pay for expensive specialized software (and cross your fingers that it is not so complicated that you need classes), or choose one of best free photo editing software and take advantage of the various creative options that they put in your hands.
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The best free programs to edit photos
GIMP is by consensus one of the best alternatives to Photoshop. It was created and is updated by a community of specialists who voluntarily developed the product and continue to improve it. It is available for MacOS, Windows, and Linux. This option is very professional and is the most similar to Photoshop on this list. It’s perfect for designers who can’t or won’t give Adobe hundreds of dollars for their product.
Once you open the program, you will find an exclusive window to see the image you want to edit and another to organize the tools and different layers. It looks like Photoshop, but GIMP has its stamp. If you have a large monitor or two, you will have adequate space to play with the images. The icons in the toolbox represent the different options you have for modifying your photos, such as Scale, Pencil, Paintbrush, Bucket Fill, Airbrush, and Smudge.
This is the classic case where the student surpasses the teacher. Paint.NET was originally sponsored by Microsoft as part of a college senior design project. Today it is still part of the educational program. The goal was to develop the replacement for Paint. Today, Paint.NET is much more useful than Microsoft’s Paint and has some advanced features.
It has an easy-to-use interface that allows you to use layers, special effects, among others. Paint.Net is capable of advanced editing that other paid programs like Photoshop would envy. Paint.NET is available as a free traditional desktop program for Windows and as a $7 app in the Microsoft Store.
If the above options seem like too much or you want to get more of the Adobe experience without the associated price tag, photoshop express is another option worth considering. Although stripped down compared to standard Photoshop, the Express variant has a number of great options for editing your photos, all with a much more gradual learning curve.
Photoshop Express offers quick and easy access to slider adjustments and “one-touch” corrections for photos of all kinds. The bundled “effects” make quick changes to images, either to improve coloration or contrast. Crop and transform tools let you adjust a photo’s orientation and focus, and “details” give you control over sharpness.
Its support is limited to raw camera files and TIFF, JPG, and PNG files. Photoshop Express is a free app that you can use seamlessly on your Windows PC, iOS, or Android device.
Pixlr offers two tools that you can access for free: Pixlr X (Express) and Pixlr E (Advanced). Both provide essential editing tools, limited levels, and a few stickers. These tools are ad-supported, though you can upgrade to the Premium tier ($5/month when you pay up front) or the Creative Pack ($15/month when you pay annually) to remove ads and unlock additional features.
In a comparison Pixlr E vs. Pixlr X, the latter offers faster and easier editing and a user-friendly design. This software is accompanied by 12 essential tools, from applying filters to adjusting photos.
Pixlr E gives you access to 24 useful tools. Users can easily draw silhouettes, blur, refine, or clone a photo and much more. There are desktop versions available for MacOS and Windows, but you have to pay a subscription to use them.
Adobe Lightroom (mobile app)
Adobe may be best known for Photoshop, its expensive editing software, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to take advantage of Adobe-quality photo editing, especially if you know you’ll get the most out of your edits on a mobile device. With Adobe Lightroom on mobile, you can do many of the adjustments you’d normally do with other editing apps: crop, adjust lighting, customize color, add effects, or add filters. The app itself is easy to navigate as it has a simple interface with very identifiable and simple icons.
But Lightroom doesn’t just help you with the quality of your edits; It also has its own camera controls to help you improve the quality of the photos you take with your mobile device. Depending on your devices, you can choose from different camera modes like Auto, Professional and HDR. You don’t need a subscription to use most features.
Photo Pos Pro
Photo Pos Pro is a decent photo editing option for Windows users. The first thing you need to know is that real software tries to emphasize ease of use and personalization of the user experience. It comes with two interfaces, one for experts (PRO) and one for novices (Novice). The interface you choose will determine how you will edit the software. The program allows you to switch from one to another easily.
The PRO looks a bit like Photoshop and as you might expect it comes with a lot of advanced editing features. You can expect to see curves, cropping, brushes, effects, rulers, and color and light adjustment options. This interface is packed with tools for more intense editing and as such can be a bit overwhelming with its many small icons and various types of menus.
The Novice interface is best for beginners or those who just need to make a few quick edits to their photos. One drawback to using this version of the software is that it has a limit on the size of photos you can save: they can’t be larger than 1,024 x 1,024 pixels.
Cyberlink PhotoDirector Essential
when you install Cyberlink PhotoDirector Essential, you automatically get temporary access to a few of the premium features along with the free version of the software. These features include: unlimited monthly effects, no watermarks, and premium images from Shutterstock. The free trial of premium features is only for 30 days. When you first open the software, you’ll have a choice of two interfaces: Full Mode (full-featured) and Express Mode (for when you just want to edit something quick and easy).
Full Mode isn’t particularly intuitive and you’ll have to do a few clicks to figure out where the tools you’re looking for are, but there are plenty of tools laid out in a detailed way that’s perfect for photography fans. Express Mode has fewer features, but if all you want is to add fun filters and formats to your photos, this is the mode for you.
What is the easiest photo editing software to use?
The easiest is Paint.NET, especially if you also need Photoshop-level editing capabilities. This program perfectly combines a minimalistic interface, a familiar simple layout, and many of the complex tools and features you’d expect from high-quality photo editing software. The only software on our list that comes close when it comes to ease of use is the Adobe Lightroom mobile app, which doesn’t offer many advanced editing tools.