Free image editing software
We might all have access to filter-heavy image editing features on Instagram, but if you’re looking for software that is a little bit more sophisticated, you’re probably not going to want to fork out Photoshop.
With the below options, you’ll need to be wary of the different file formats you save your work under as they might not be compatible when transferred to other computers.
Canva is one of the best free online image editing and design tools.
While you’ll need to pay for the full range of features and templates, there’s plenty available on the free version to help you make pro-looking images.
In fact, if you’re studying for a creative degree or starting your own business, we’d really recommend trying Canva to design things like Instagram posts and stories, posters, logos, presentations, and business cards.
WARNING: Please be wary when searching online for this free service. You might be, erm… surprised by what the search pulls up. We learned the hard way.
GIMP rivals Adobe Photoshop with free, good-quality software. It includes loads of features similar to Photoshop and has been highly recommended by both amateur and savvy Photoshoppers alike. They offer a huge range of editing tools, which allow both simple and complex photo manipulation.
Like Photoshop, there are many plug-ins available for GIMP to make your editing easier and more advanced – a quick online search will show you what’s available.
GIMP supports tons of file types including JPEG, GIF, PNG, and TIFF, among others.
Similar to GIMP, Pixlr is a great free alternative to Photoshop, and it’s all online.
It has pretty advanced tools, with plenty of brushes, filters, and masks for more experienced editors, but it also has lots of automatic features that do all the work for you.
It allows you to open photos from your computer or the internet (or import them straight from Facebook), and you can customize the toolbars to suit your needs.
However, you will need to download Flash Player in order to use it.
Aww, Paint. That trusty software you’d only expect to use when defacing photos with mustaches and devil horns, right?
Well, despite the name, Paint.NET is surprisingly sophisticated in what it offers (mustaches and all).
It includes many features which are usually only available with expensive software. For example, it lets you use multiple layering for rich photo composition.
There’s also a wide range of color editing options and a 3D rotate and zoom effect, and it supports pretty much any image type out there. And, despite what the website’s design might suggest, the product is regularly updated.
Fotor has pretty basic features but it’s really easy to use. It’s all geared up to make photo editing as quick and simple as possible.
It has a number of one-tap editing features, meaning even beginners to photo editing can transform their pictures in just a few seconds.
It’s certainly no rival to Photoshop but if you just need access to basic tools, then it’s a useful tool to have bookmarked.
6. Photoshop Express
We’ve added this one to the list mainly just to point out that it exists – but you can definitely get better programs elsewhere.
If you’re a Photoshop superfan, you can get a (very) basic, lite version of the software for free in the form of Photoshop Express.
However, it only works with files that are under 16 megapixels and less than 8,191 pixels wide, which isn’t ideal if you’re looking to edit any high-res pictures. Also keep in mind that it’s available on Windows, iOS, and Android.
It’s much easier to use than Photoshop but offers a limited range of features.