Photoshop alternatives: Assessing the best alternative to Photoshop
If you’re a visual artist looking for a powerful editing tool, you’ll almost certainly have heard of Photoshop. You can edit photos, create graphics, and even bring your video projects to life. But it’s not everyone’s favorite tool, so what are the best Photoshop alternatives?
When looking for Photoshop alternatives, you will find numerous solutions on the market. You can use a wide selection of free Photoshop replacements, and several paid options exist. Their user experiences differ, as do the tools you’ll have at your disposal.
Whether Photoshop alternatives are better than real Photoshop is up for debate. Nonetheless, we’ll show you your other options in this article – to ensure that you make the best possible choice.
This article will cover both free and paid alternatives to Photoshop – and with that in mind, let’s get started by looking at the best options.
Adobe Photoshop has a strong reputation in the photography industry. And if you’re a graphic designer or work for a publishing company, you’ll probably have at least heard of the platform. The tool is the go-to software for many creative professionals, and that reputation is well-deserved.
When you’re in a creative field, it’s sometimes easy to forget that a world exists outside Adobe Creative Cloud. However, you will find many tools to help you deliver superb results.
For example, if you’re a photographer, you might find that Capture One is a viable alternative to Photoshop and Lightroom. And if you’re looking for a Photoshop substitute, you’ve got options.
As a team in the creative sector for decades, we’ve sought to put ourselves in your shoes. We understand that you probably use Photoshop for numerous reasons, so we have sought to ensure that our alternatives tick as many boxes as possible.
In this article, we have also tried to include various tools with different pricing models. Some require a monthly subscription, which is similar to Photoshop. On the other hand, you can get other alternatives for a one-time fee.
On top of that, we’ve differentiated between tools that are available online and those with apps you’ll need to download.
So far, we’ve covered the basics of Adobe Photoshop alternatives. You know that such programs exist, and you’re also aware that you can get free and paid alternatives. With that in mind, what’s the best option?
Arguably the best Adobe Photoshop alternative is Canva. Hundreds of millions of people use the tool globally, with plenty of uses. You can use it to create logos and graphics for your social media profiles, but it’s also handy if you want to edit photos.
When editing photos with Canva, you can add multiple filters. These work in a similar way to the ones you’ll find if you upload pictures to Instagram, and they also bear a resemblance to presets that you’ll find in various photo editing programs.
On top of that, you can perform basic actions – such as cropping your images.
Before trying Canva, it’s worth checking whether it costs money. You can get Canva Pro as a paid subscription, and this costs $12.99 per month. However, that isn’t always necessary; you can use many of its photo editing solutions with a free account instead.
In addition to using Canva on your web browser, you can also download apps for iOS and Android smartphones. Moreover, it’s available on your tablet if you’d instead edit your pictures there.
- Lots of features are included in the free version
- You can easily save your photos in multiple crop sizes
- User-friendly; no photo editing experience is required
- Basic photo editing tools compared to Photoshop
While some people will find Canva the best Photoshop substitute, that’s not a foregone conclusion. You can choose from several other alternatives, and we’ll outline our favorite options in the sections below. Note that these aren’t in any particular order.
Affinity Photo is one of the best paid-for alternatives to Photoshop. The tool is relatively new, having initially launched in the summer of 2015. Since then, however, it has become one of the most popular options for those that want to look beyond the Adobe Creative Cloud ecosystem.
Affinity Photo allows you to edit images in RAW, which is ideal if you want to get the most out of your edits. And if you look at the Affinity Photo interface, you’ll notice that the program has many tools that you’ll also find in Photoshop.
For example, you can use the Dodge tool to increase the brightness in parts of your photo that you feel need this.
If you want to use Affinity Photo as a Photoshop substitute, you’ll benefit from a user interface that’s pretty easy to navigate. It features many sliders that are commonplace in photo-editing apps, and you can choose whether you want to increase or decrease the areas in your image that these cover.
One benefit of picking Affinity Photo is getting the tool for a one-time purchase.
- One-time purchase available
- Multi-platform compatibility
- Edit RAW images
- Not available on Android smartphones or tablets
Another of the best Adobe alternatives for Photoshop is Photopea. Whereas Affinity Photo is more of a premium tool, Photopea is an easy-to-use photo editor that you can use directly from your web app. One of the most excellent features is that you can use it with several file types, including PSD and XD.
Photopea is also easy to use with Dropbox, meaning you shouldn’t have too many issues when moving your files and folders around online. On top of that, you can use other file-sharing tools – such as Google Drive and OneDrive.
In terms of actual photo editing tools, Photopea has many of the same features that you’ll find in Photoshop. For example, you can create layers to make your adjustments more organized. On top of that, you’ll find Auto Tone, Auto Color, and Auto Contrast tools.
Photopea also provides access to other valuable tools that’ll help you maximize your editing, such as histograms.
- Easy to use with different file-sharing devices
- Automatic editing tools available within the app
- Edit PSD, as well as other image files
- The interface feels a little outdated
If you’ve ever needed to retouch an image online quickly, you’ll probably have heard of GIMP. This open-source tool has been around since the 1990s, making it one of the oldest programs on our list.
You can use the tool to change your images as you feel necessary quickly, and you don’t need to pay for the service.
GIMP is an excellent tool for editing blog cover images or adjusting your designs. Moreover, you can create illustrations within the platform and share them with the world later.
Using GIMP is completely free, and you will find several handy features that also exist in Photoshop. One example is the tone curve tool, which you can use to change the brightness in different parts of your photo.
On top of that, it’s easy to add text and other things to your picture.
Besides its web app, you can also download GIMP for multiple devices.
- Edit photos and make illustrations
- Free to use
- It can feel a little older than some of the other options on this list
Another Photoshop alternative that you can use to edit your pictures quickly is Pixlr.
The service is much younger than GIMP, having initially launched in 2008. Pixlr is available in 29 languages, giving you plenty of options for customization if your mother tongue isn’t English. And like GIMP, it’s also free to use.
Pixlr has two photo editing solutions. The first is Pixlr X, which you can use for simple adjustments – such as cropping your pictures. Pixlr E, on the other hand, is a better option if you want to use a more advanced image editing solution.
You can access multiple editing tools when using Pixlr as a replacement for Photoshop. One example is creating layers, which you can use in Adobe software. In addition, you can add bokeh to your picture if you cannot do so while taking the photo.
Pixlr also lets you add text and draw on your image. Moreover, you can cut certain parts of your picture out and use a lasso tool to move specific objects to other areas within your image.
- Two image editing tools are available – one for simple edits and another for more complex ones
- Free to use
- User-friendly for beginners and advanced photo editors alike
- Apps for iOS and Android are also available
- No Mac app if you’re using the app on your computer
Another of the best Photoshop alternatives is Luminar, and you’ll find several different tools if you choose this service. Skylum created the software, which features several solutions that allow you to adjust your photo using artificial intelligence (AI) quickly.
Its main product is Luminar Neo, which many photographers use worldwide.
You can use Luminar Neo for several types of photography, including landscape photography, events, and portraits. The app has numerous options that you’ll find in Photoshop, such as sharpening your picture and removing certain parts of your image.
When using Luminar, you can also use AI for masking. The app has several extensions to allow you to get the most out of your photo editing – and you can choose whether you want a rolling subscription or to purchase a license outright.
- Choose between subscriptions and license purchasing
- Enhance your images with AI
- Get different add-ons as part of your subscription
- The license plan only allows you to use one device at a time
- You’ll need to pay for extras on the marketplace, such as presets
While Figma is perhaps the best Photoshop alternative if you’re a designer, it’s not the only tool you can use. Sketch is another popular tool for UX and UI designers, and you should have few issues with putting your creations together.
You can easily collaborate with other team members, too, allowing projects to go more smoothly than might otherwise have been the case.
Sketch has apps for iOS and Mac, and you can also use them in your web browser. You can create all kinds of designs, including those that will look good on iPhones; once you’ve made these, you can decide whether you need to make any significant adjustments.
Sketch’s pricing options are affordable, and you can choose how many editors you’d like. If you’re freelancing, one will be enough; if you have a more significant business, you might want something more complex.
- Apps for iOS and macOS
- Easy to make designs
- Lots of features are available
- No Android or Windows downloadable apps are available
Another of our Photoshop alternatives worth checking out is Pixelmator Pro, which may win the prize for having the best branding options on our list. One of the most remarkable things about using this tool is that, in addition to editing photos, you can also use it for video editing.
So, if you’re thinking about running a photography YouTube channel or something similar, you might find this especially useful.
Pixelmator has several photo editing tools to help you get the most out of your pictures.
For example, you can easily adjust the white balance in your picture if you fail to get this right in your camera. Moreover, you can change the hue, saturation, and vibrance however necessary – and there are sliders for each.
If you’ve used Camera Raw (which is in Photoshop) or Adobe Lightroom before, you might be familiar with color grading. But if you’re looking for an alternative, we’ve got some good news: You can find similar tools in Pixelmator Pro.
The Color Balance feature lets you adjust your images in more of a customary way than would otherwise be possible.
- Use Pixelmator Pro for both photo and video editing
- Several preset color adjustments are available
- Edit RAW photos, as well as JPEGs and MP4
- Buy with a one-time purchase
- Only available for macOS users
If you’re looking for a free Photoshop alternative, Fotor is one of the better options on the market. You don’t need to download an app to use the service, though you will find one if you do this instead.
The service has several useful image-editing tools, such as removing red eyes and reshaping objects in your images.
You can also use Fotor to remove backgrounds in your photos. On top of that, the app lets you create collages – which you might find especially useful if you share your pictures on social media.
With Fotor, you also have more creative control over your image’s style – with options to choose things like vintage effects and more.
In addition to using Fotor on your computer, you can download its app for your smartphone.
- Free to use
- Create other works of art, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs)
- One-click image enhancing is available
- Some might find that Fotor lacks some of the features that they’d like to use in Photoshop
You’ll find plenty of options on the market if you want a Photoshop alternative as a graphic designer. Procreate is one of the best, and it’s the perfect choice if you already use Apple devices. The tool is pretty affordable, and it’s yours to use as much as you want for $12.99.
You should, however, note that you can only use Procreate on your iPad and iOS; it’s not even available on Mac.
When using Procreate, you’ll find plenty of tools to help you bring your creative ideas to life. For example, you pick from multiple brushes to ensure you get the right brush strokes in your visuals. On top of that, you will find numerous tools for editing colors.
Procreate has several other features that can help you bring your designs together, such as the ability to enhance the luminance in your pictures. Moreover, you can add different textures and more.
- Lots of tools available for graphic designers
- The one-time purchase is very affordable
- Separate app available for iPhone users
- Only available on iPad and iPhone; non-Apple users cannot use the service
If you’re looking for a Photoshop alternative that makes it easy to edit photos and designs, PicMonkey is an app you should have on your radar. The app was developed by Shutterstock, one of the most popular stock image platforms on the planet.
With PicMonkey, you can choose from multiple effects for your images. Moreover, you can easily add text or graphics where doing so is necessary. Basic tools, such as cropping, are available if you only need to make simple adjustments.
If you want to change colors in your photos, you can use the Color Changer tool. And if you’d like to remove backgrounds, you shouldn’t have too many issues doing so.
- A good selection of image editing tools
- Usable for photography and graphic design
- No one-time purchase is available
- You can’t edit RAW files
Another tool you can use to edit your photos is BeFunky, a good option if you’re a graphic designer.
The solution has been around since 2007, making it one of the early movers in the online photo editing market. You can use several tools to improve the look of your visual art, including an AI image enhancer.
BeFunky includes many of the tools you need to make simple adjustments. Cropping isn’t a problem; you can also resize and rotate your pictures. Beyond that, you’ll find options for improving colors in your photo and making your creations look sharper.
Other options for editing your pictures include adding a vignette and enhancing the vibrance.
- Free to use
- AI image enhancing available
- Available to use on your desktop browser
- Smartphone apps are available
- No one-time purchase option if you want a premium plan
If you’re looking for the best free alternatives to Photoshop, DesignWizard might come under your radar. This simple tool can be used for several graphic design purposes, such as adding colors and fonts to your photo.
When using DesignWizard, you’ll find plenty of templates that you can use for your creations. And once you’re done, you can use your designs in numerous places – such as on your website and social media.
- Easy to use
- Ready-made templates are available
- Pretty basic
- Not entirely suitable for photographers
The second-to-last entry on our list of Photoshop alternatives is Darktable. If you look at the interface, you’ll notice that it bears a lot of resemblance to Adobe Lightroom Classic. You can use several photo editing tools in Darktable, such as masking and blending – along with options to group your pictures.
Darktable lets you edit RAW files, along with various other options. You can also use the tone curves tool to adjust brightness and colors in different parts of your picture. Moreover, you can denoise your photos using several grouping options.
- Lots of features for organizing your images are available
- Edit RAW files
- Several editing tools are available
- The interface can feel a little outdated
Last but not least on our list of the best Photoshop alternatives is PhotoWorks.
The tool is available on Windows computers, and you can use it all the way down to Windows 7. Once you’ve downloaded the software, you’ll find a suite of features that will make it easier to edit your pictures – such as a one-click editor.
PhotoWorks is also ideal for retouching portraits, and you can use it to change backgrounds with minimal effort. If you’ve got older photos that need a bit of editing, you can also use a tool to retouch these.
When using PhotoWorks, you’ll find it easy to remove unwanted objects from your picture. Moreover, you can use different layers to get your desired results.
- Lots of user-friendly editing tools are available
- Edit old photos with minimal effort
- The app is easy to download
- Only available on Windows computers
While we’ve listed several Photoshop alternatives, Photoshop is still one of the best photo editing solutions available – if not the best. Lightroom and Capture One are great for editing photos, while InDesign is an excellent alternative for graphic design.
You will find several cheap alternatives to Photoshop. For example, buying Procreate only costs $12.99. As for photo editing software, you’ll find plenty that is technically expensive with a one-time purchase – compared to if you continued your rolling monthly Photoshop subscription.
The best free alternative to Photoshop is up for debate, but the free tier of Canva is worth checking out. Similarly, Pixlr and Fotor are pretty good.
The Google equivalent to Photoshop is known as Picasa.
Yes – when you buy a Mac, you’ll gain access to the Photos app. Here, you can adjust colors, crop your images, and do much more.
If you’re looking for Photoshop alternatives, you have a sufficient number of options. You will find plenty you can pay for, along with free substitutes.
You’ll need to look and decide which features are the most important for you, and – if you’re a photographer – knowing that you can edit RAW files is a good idea.
Now that you’ve read this article, you should know better which tools you can use for your photo editing and graphic design needs. And while we’ve mentioned a lot of competitors, we still think Photoshop is one of the best photo editing tools on the market.
If you’re also looking for a new computer, consider checking out our list of the best MacBook Pro alternatives.
Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.