The best free photo-editing software for 2021


Professional photo-editing applications aren’t cheap, nor are they easy to master without formal training. That’s why we are taking a look at the best free photo-editing software available in the market.

Our top pick is GIMP, an open-source photo editing software available for the big three operating systems. It offers a vast workspace and a wide variety of professional editing tools.

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We provide over 7,000 how-to articles, news articles, and best-of lists to help you build your photography skills, choose the best gear for your photography needs, and get the most out of your photo equipment. And if our top pick isn’t for you, be sure to check out the other options on this list. Traditional desktop software are great alternatives to both mobile apps and web-based solutions that don’t require software to be installed.

The best free photo-editing software at a glance

    • wire lace
    • paint.net
    • photoshop express
    • Pixlr.com
    • Adobe Lightroom Mobile App
    • photo status pro
    • CyberLink PhotoDirector Required

wire lace

Mark Koppock/Nerdshala

Often declared as the best free alternative to Photoshop, wire lace (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an open-source application that relies on a community of volunteer developers who maintain and improve the product. it is available for MacOS, Windows, and Linux. It offers a number of professional-level editing and correction tools – perfect for designers who can’t or won’t shell out hundreds of dollars for Adobe Photoshop.

Once you launch the program, you will get a dedicated window that displays the image. You’ll also see two floating docks: one with a toolbox and another for managing layers, paths, brushes, and more.

When using a large display or two monitors, you’ll have a wide workspace to edit your images. The icons in the Toolbox represent specific tools, such as Scale, Pencil, Paintbrush, Bucket Fill, Airbrush, Smudge, and more. You can also apply various filters, such as dropping shadows, adding neon effects, adding glass tiles, removing evil red eyes, and more.

Overall, GIMP may look like a free version of Photoshop, but it sports a unique look and feel. Jumping from one to the next will take a while, but you’ll save yourself a monthly subscription fee if you do.

paint.net

Paint.NET is a case where the trainee becomes the master. Created as a design project for a college undergraduate senior advised by Microsoft, paint.net The program continues to be maintained by alumni. The software was initially developed as a free replacement for Microsoft Paint, which comes standard with Windows. Paint.NET has surpassed Microsoft Paint in functionality and also offers more advanced features.

Paint.NET has an intuitive user interface that supports layers, an “unlimited undo” tool to revert any mistake, no matter how destructive, various special effects and other utilities. While Microsoft Paint can do little more than resize images, Paint.NET can handle the advanced photo editing you’d expect that only Photoshop and other paid programs can perform.

Paint.NET is available as a free, traditional desktop program for Windows A $7 App in the Microsoft Store.

photoshop express

Mark Koppock/Nerdshala

If the above options seem too derivative or you want a more Adobe experience without the associated price, photoshop express There is another option worth considering. Although less expensive than the Premium Photoshop model, the Express edition has several excellent options for editing photos with a steep learning curve.

With an interface that betrays its mobile roots, Photoshop Express offers quick and easy access to slide bar adjustments and one-touch fixes for all types of photos. Pre-packaged effects to improve color and contrast make rapid and dramatic changes to images; The Crop and Transform tool lets you change the orientation and focus of a photo. And the details give you control over sharpening and noise.

Its file type support is limited to raw camera files, TIFF, JPG and PNG files, but Photoshop Express is a freely available app that you can use on your Windows, iOS or Android device without any hassle.

Pixlr

Mark Koppock/Nerdshala

Pixlr offers two tools You can access for free: Pixlr X (Express) and Pixlr E (Advanced). Both offer essential editing tools, limited layers, and relatively few stickers. However, these tools are ad supported you can upgrade Premium ($15/month when paid annually) or Creative Pack ($15/month when paid annually) to remove ads and unlock additional features.

In Pixlr E vs Pixlr X Showdown, Pixlr X offers quick editing and a simple, user-friendly design. There are 12 essential tools with this software, from drawing on layers to applying filters and cropping images.

Then there’s Pixlr E, a bare-bones photo editing software that gives you access to 24 useful tools. Users can easily create shapes, blur, sharpen or clone photos, and much more.

Overall, Pixlr is a mix of desktop and web-based editing software. Desktop versions are available for macOS and Windows, but you must have a paid subscription to use them. That being said, you can still find and download the Pixlr app on your smartphone or tablet.

Adobe Lightroom Mobile App

Adobe Android Lightroom App Screenshot
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Adobe may be better known for its more expensive Photoshop editing software, but you don’t have to break the bank to take advantage of Adobe-quality photo editing—especially if you know you’ll be doing most of your editing on a mobile device. . With Adobe Lightroom on mobile, you can expect to make many of the adjustments you normally do with other editing apps: cropping, adjusting lighting, customizing colors, adding effects, sharpening, or filters. to link. The app is easy to navigate as it has a minimalist interface with clearly labeled icons and easy to use sliders and toggles to help you quickly adjust certain aspects of your photos.

But Lightroom not only helps with the quality of your edits, but it also has its own camera controls to help enhance the quality of photos taken from your mobile device. Depending on your equipment, you can choose from camera modes such as Auto, Professional, and HDR.

Some features are locked behind a paid subscription paywall, but you can usually see those features easily because they are labeled with a blue and white star icon. You don’t need a subscription to use most of the editing features.

photo status pro

Photo Status Pro Screenshot
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photo status pro There is a good free photo editing option for Windows users. And the first thing you need to know is that the software really tries to emphasize on ease of use and optimizing the user experience. In fact, when you first open the software, you will be greeted with a series of questions about how you intend to use the software. The most important question it will ask prompts you to choose between two main interfaces (depending on your level of photo editing experience): an interface for experts (Pro) or one for beginners (Novice). And the interface you choose will determine how you’ll edit with the software going forward. (Don’t worry: Photo Pos Pro allows you to easily toggle between the two interfaces as needed.)

The Pro interface somewhat resembles Photoshop and, as expected, comes with an abundance of advanced editing features. You can expect to see layers, curves, cropping, paint brushes, effects, rulers and grids, and color and lighting adjustment options. This interface is packed with tools for more in-depth editing and as such, the interface can be a bit overwhelming with its many, small icons and variety of menus.

The slick interface is best for beginners or just those who need to do some quick editing to their photos. The interface is the same as you would with a simple desktop or mobile Photos app: just a bare-bones selection of features. In Photo Pos Pro, these features include: cropping, flipping and rotating, resizing, some brushes, auto-fix, color and lighting adjustments, distortion effects, and adding frames.

One drawback of using the free version of this software is that there is a limit to the size of the photos you can save: it cannot be larger than 1024 x 1024 pixels. If your photo is larger than this, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium version of the software to save or resize photos.

photo status pro

CyberLink PhotoDirector Required

CyberLink PhotoDirector Essential Screenshots
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when you first install CyberLink PhotoDirector Required, you automatically get temporary access to the free version of the software as well as some premium features. These features include: Unlimited monthly effects, no watermarks, and premium images from Shutterstock. The free trial of premium features only lasts 30 days.

When you first open the software, like Photo Pos Pro, you’ll be given a choice between two interfaces: Full Mode (with all the bells and whistles) or Express Mode (when you want to edit something quickly and easily). Full mode isn’t particularly intuitive: you’ll have to do a few clicks to find where all of your desired equipment is, but there are plenty of tools and they’re displayed in a detailed manner that’s perfect for photography enthusiasts. Express Mode has fewer features, but if you just want to add fun filters and templates to your photo, this is the mode for you. You can add a variety of presets to change the color or lighting of a photo. Or you can add a template which is a combination of a filter and the ability to add text to your photo. You can also add something called AI Style Transfer, which allows you to add illustrative effects to your photos so that they look like paintings instead of photos.

photodirector essentials

general question:

What is the easiest free photo-editing software to use?

The easiest free photo-editing software to use is Paint.NET,…

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