7 Best Free Photo Editing Apps

Power of choice is a great thing, isn't it? But sometimes, having too much choice can be just as frustrating as not enough choice. Take free photo editing software, for example.

There's a huge selection of free image editing software out there, but which one is best for you, to enhance your summer photos, your best family photo or your favorite portraits.

In the following post we are going to choose the best photo editing software by showing you:

Best Free Photo Editing Software Packages

In this section, we will take an in-depth look at the most popular free photo editing software packages, as well as the pros and cons of each.

Here are some of the best free photo editing software packages.


GIMP stands for "GNU Image Manipulation Program" and has been around for decades. This free and open source photo editor has a strong community of users dedicated to improving the software with add-ons and further enhancements.

That means it is always up to date and photographers have essentially developed it to suit their needs.

It stands as one of the best free photo editors out there and for good reason. GIMP's photo editing and retouching tools are the same ones you'd find in paid professional image editing software.

GIMP users have access to masks, layers, curves, levels, cloning and healing tools, smart selection tools and custom brushes, along with more than 40 export formats for their images.

The program also includes an animation package, which even some paid editors omit!

While GIMP is ad-free, it doesn't necessarily have a beginner-friendly interface. If you're used to Photoshop-style workspaces, you'll have no trouble getting started with GIMP.

However, if you are a beginner, you may struggle with the sheer number of tools and editing options available in GIMP. But, it will be worth a try.

The GIMP online community has developed a series of tutorials that will help you understand and get to know the territory in depth. GIMP runs on Windows, macOS and Linux, so you can use it on virtually any home device.

2. Photopea

Photopea is described as an online photo editor, which can work with PSD, XCF and Sketch files (Photoshop, Gimp and Sketch App).

It converts between PSD, XCF, JPG, PNG and many other formats. It is a well-known website in the photo and graphics category.

Photopea is an advanced image editor, which can work with raster and vector graphics.

You can use it for simple tasks, such as resizing images or other complex tasks, such as designing web pages, creating illustrations, processing photos and much more.

At the moment, Photopea works with the sRGB color space (the basic color space for the web), with 8-bit color depth. All exported files also use sRGB.

3. Pixlr X

Pixlr X runs in any modern browser, because it is based on HTML5 instead of Flash. It is easy to use, with a customizable user interface with a light or dark color scheme.

Some of Pixlr X's editing tools (such as the healing brush) are still in beta testing, but are regularly updated and can only get better.

While many free online photo editors let you crop and resize images, Pixlr X also gives you a range of cutting tools such as shape, drag, lasso or the magic wand that let you create compositions from multiple images.

Pixlr X also includes sliders for adjusting contrast, brightness and saturation, as well as intensity, highlights and shadows. With a wide range of filters, it lets you adjust and control the strength of the effects in each edit.

Unlike other freeware, Pixlr X features a layer panel like Photoshop, which means you can create image, text or drawing layers for more complex editing jobs.

You can then rearrange and edit the layers to make the final image look perfect.

When you are done, you can export your images in JPG or PNG format, although the maximum image size is 3840 pixels. The software works on Windows, macOS, Linux or the browser.

4. Fotor

Fotor is another web-based photo editing app, like Canva, but it offers a unique feature often missing from free photo editors: Batch processing.

If you just need a quick and simple online photo editing tool, Fotor has a lot of high-quality filters that will make your easy edits even easier.

It is also very easy to use and gives you the option to add different special effects, frames and borders to photos, plus it allows you to convert RAW files, which is important in any editing program.

The latest version of Fotor allows you to create collages with a custom aspect ratio and contains an improved tilt-shift filter.

With Fotor, you can be sure you'll see significant improvements and new options with every update.

Fotor probably isn't for you if you need to make complex edits, as it lacks some more advanced tools. But it's perfect for making your photos look authentic in no time.

While it's not ad-free, the ads aren't too intrusive or obscure the workspace; and you can upgrade to Fotor Pro at any time to remove the ads and gain access to many more editing options.

Like other programs on this list, Fotor exports images as JPG, PNG or PDF files and works with Windows, macOS and Linux operating systems.

5. Canva

Canva offers photo editing and graphic design tools right from your web browser. This web-based editor works great for turning photos into social media posts, invitations, cards or posters.

Canva software is available in 3 levels: Free, Pro and Enterprise. The Pro and Enterprise versions are intended for professional and business users, while the free level is ideal for home users.

It is very easy to use, so even beginners in photo editing can find their way around the user interface.

To start using Canva, all you have to do is sign up with your email address. Once you sign up, as an added bonus you get 1 GB of free cloud storage, as well as access to over 8,000 free templates and over 100 types of designs.

These types of designs range from letters and social media posts to presentations and more - with Canva, you'll have the option to turn your photo into just about anything!

You'll also have access to thousands of free stock photos and graphics to use in creating your work.

Canva doesn't have advanced photo editing tools, such as layers or healing brushes, but it does have options to edit using sliders.

With these sliders, you can add adjustments and tints to images before adding text and other design elements.

When you're done editing in Canva, you can export your images in JPG, PNG or PDF file formats and since Canva works on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS and iPadOS platforms, you'll never have to be without it!

The best budget alternatives to Photoshop and Lightroom.

If none of the free image editing programs seem to have exactly the capabilities you're looking for, you have other options.

It's fairly easy to find less expensive alternatives to industry-standard photo editing software.

In fact, both ON1 Photo RAW 2019 and Luminar can be purchased for a one-time fee that's low enough to fit most budgets. Both ON1 Photo RAW and Skylum Luminar are both great software.

6. Darktable

Darktable is an open source, cross-platform photography workflow application that has been around for quite some time and is available for macOS, Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, Solaris, FreeBSD and Windows as well.

First of all, keep in mind that the Windows version of the application can still be a bit clunky and if you encounter any bugs or other issues, consider reporting them via the bug tracker.

That said, what can you expect from Darktable?

First of all, in addition to the plethora of image (and RAW image) processing tools you'll also notice that the app is quite useful when it comes to managing photos.

One of the highlights of the application is due to the fact that it allows you to import a wide range of image formats such as JPG, CR2, HDR, PFM, just to name a few.

Equally important is the application's export system to HTML-based web galleries or the export of images to formats such as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, PPM, PFM, EXR.

Darktable is best known for its image processing operation modules, with which you will be able to handle most of the basic tasks in image processing.

The software helps you to invert, crop or rotate images, adjust exposure, reconstruct color information, set white balance, correct various saturation or color-related levels, remove noise, apply lens correction, remove blemishes, correct chromatic aberrations and sharpen any image, as some examples.

Darktable also does not disappoint when it comes to creating image processing effects, along with the possibility of adding watermarks, frames, vignettes or grain to your images. It also allows you to add other interesting effects.

You should also know that darktable lets you preview your image collections in a slideshow mode.

Last but not least, the application allows you to view a wide range of details about your photos and even edit your metadata and geo-metadata.

7. RawTherapee

RawTherapee is a Windows application that allows users to work with RAW images from digital cameras and perform various image adjustments.

It has support for JPEG, BMP, TIFF and PNG, among other popular file types.

Quick setup and easy-to-use GUI. The installation of the tool requires little time and minimal effort. As for the interface, RawTherapee adopts an attractive and intuitive structure.

Thanks to its powerful search engine, you can easily locate and select photos for batch processing.

Users can modify images in terms of sharpness level (adjustment method, radius, etc.), edges, microcontrast, impulse noise reduction, noise reduction, defragmentation and contrast by detail levels.

In addition, it is possible to adjust white balance, vibrance, channel mixer, HSV equalizer, RGB curves, color management, demosaicing, preprocessing, raw black and white points, a dark frame, flat field and chromatic aberration.

RawTherapee also leaves room for basic editing tools such as cropping, resizing and rotating, toggling full-screen mode, enabling metadata filters, configuring quick export options (skipping edge sharpening, noise reduction, etc).

As for program settings, users can change the interface theme and language, switch to a different date format, set the path to an external application (GIMP, Photoshop or other graphic editor) and configure sounds, among others.

The image processing tool uses a moderate amount of CPU and system memory and has a good response time.

Finally, there is a portable edition called RawTherapee Portable, which you can use in case you want to skip the installer and run the application directly from an external storage device.