The Top Free Photo-Editing Software of 2023

Professional photo-editing applications can be expensive and difficult to master without formal training. Luckily, there are some excellent free options available. In this article, we will explore the best free photo-editing software currently on the market. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, these tools will help you unleash your creativity and enhance your photographs without breaking the bank.

GIMP: A Powerful Open-Source Option

The GIMP photo editor interface in the middle of editing a photo of a laptop.
Image source: Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

One of the top choices for free photo editing software is GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program). It is often hailed as the best alternative to Photoshop and offers a wide range of professional editing tools. Available for MacOS, Windows, and Linux, GIMP provides a large workspace and features similar to its paid counterpart. Although there may be a slight learning curve, making the switch to GIMP will save you from paying a monthly subscription fee.

Paint.NET: From Amateur to Master

The Paint.NET photo editor interface.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Originally developed as a student project mentored by Microsoft, Paint.NET has evolved into a powerful photo-editing software that surpasses Microsoft Paint in functionality. It offers an easy-to-understand user interface, layer support, and advanced features. Unlike its limited predecessor, Paint.NET allows you to perform complex photo editing tasks that were previously only possible with paid programs. It is available as a free desktop program for Windows or a $10 app in the Microsoft Store.

Photoshop Express: The Adobe Experience at Your Fingertips

The Adobe Photoshop Express photo editor interface.
Image source: Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

If you’re looking for a familiar Adobe experience without the high price tag, Photoshop Express is a great option. Although it is a pared-down version of the premium Photoshop, Photoshop Express offers a range of editing tools with a more gradual learning curve. With its mobile-friendly interface, you can quickly and easily adjust your photos using slide bar adjustments, one-touch fixes, and various effects. Photoshop Express is available for Windows, iOS, and Android devices.

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Pixlr: Two Tools for Free

The Pixlr E web app interface.
Image source: screenshot/Anita George / Digital Trends

Pixlr provides two free tools: Pixlr X (express) and Pixlr E (advanced). Pixlr X offers a user-friendly design with quick editing capabilities and 12 essential tools, making it perfect for beginners or those who need to make simple edits. On the other hand, Pixlr E provides access to 24 useful tools and is ideal for users who require more intensive editing. While these tools are ad-supported, you can upgrade to a paid subscription to remove ads and unlock additional features. Pixlr is available as web apps, desktop (for Windows), and Android apps.

Adobe Lightroom Mobile App: Professional Editing on the Go

Two Adobe Android Lightroom app screenshots showing the app's crop, rotate, and other editing features.
Image source: screenshots

For mobile editing with Adobe quality, the Adobe Lightroom mobile app is a fantastic choice. It offers a range of editing options such as cropping, lighting adjustments, color customization, and filters. In addition to enhancing your photos, Lightroom has its own camera controls to help you capture high-quality images with your mobile device. While some features require a paid subscription, many editing tools are available for free. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional, Adobe Lightroom is a powerful tool for mobile photo editing.

Photo Pos Pro: Customizable and User-Friendly

The Photo Pos Pro photo editor interface while editing a photo of a panda.
Image source: screenshot

For Windows users, Photo Pos Pro is a decent free photo editing option. This software emphasizes ease of use and allows you to customize your editing experience. When you launch the program, you can choose between two interfaces: one for experts and one for beginners. The expert interface resembles Photoshop and offers advanced editing features like layers, curves, and various adjustments. The novice interface is perfect for quick edits and resembles a simple desktop or mobile photo app. Photo Pos Pro is an excellent choice for users of all skill levels.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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

The easiest free photo-editing software to use is Paint.NET. It combines a minimalist interface with powerful editing capabilities, making it suitable for both beginners and advanced users. Another user-friendly option is the Adobe Lightroom mobile app, although it offers fewer advanced editing tools.

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OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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