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Free alternatives to Photoshop for picture editing and photo retouching

Free image retouching alternatives to Photoshop

Photoshop is the de facto standard for photo retouching and possibly the best choice in case you are going to set yourself on a stable starting base.
There is a point to consider, though: such quality software is not free, and it is not cheap either.

Yet, there are many amazingly well-working tools that you can use for free.
Image editing softwares which come at no cost: most of them perform very very well at manipulating digital photos.

Picture editing: download vs. online

Free photo retouching platforms come in two flavours:

  1. software packages you are supposed to download and install on your machine
  2. online tools which run inside your browser and you can freely use

You will find about them right below. Keep on reading.

Give them all a test and let us know your feedback in the comments.
Which of them do you prefer? How do you use them?
Feel free to post you works!

Downloadable editors

Free digital photo retouching packages

Installing software requires a little more effort on your side, but it has advantages:

  • Power — Locally running the software ensures the best performance
  • Independence — No need to be plugged to the net, you can work anywhere anytime
  • Privacy — Your images are kept within your reach and control

Our picks include CinePaint, Krita, Picasa, Gimp, iPhoto,, IrfanView, Fotoxx, F-Spot, Pixelmator, VIPS, FastStone Image Viewer, Photoscape, PhotoFiltre, ImageMagick, GraphicsMagick, Active Pixels, Photo Pos Pro, Seashore and Photobie.
Discover them all: go to our rich list of free photo retouching software!

Online picture editors

Online picture editors

Web-based services might be a problem for the privacy of your images, and they require you to be constantly connected to the internet.
But there are also advantages with online image editing websites:

  • Ease — Non need to install anything,
  • Ubiquity - Just start working on any computer at hand
  • OS free — No operative system constraints, you work right from your preferred browser, either on Mac, Linux or the old Windows

Our picks include FotoFlexer, Pixlr, DrPic, Picnik, Splashup, PicMonkey, BeFunky, Lunapic, Sumo Paint, Aviary Phoenix, Adobe Photoshop Express, PsykoPaint and G’MIC.
Discover them all: go to our productive list of free online digital pictures editors!

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  1. By Duke, on March 14, 2011, at 10:19 PM
    I really, really (REALLY) enjoyed using PhotoDeluxe, an Adobe product, for my photo manipulation.
    But now I have a new Mac that will not load the software off the old disc. I loved the ease with which I could “erase” or “clone” over undesirable objects in my pix. I also enjoyed changing backgrounds, making vignettes, and other features PD offered and was so easy to use.
    Everyone says Photoshop is the best thing to use, but I cannot get it to do these things that were so simple to do with PD. Anyway, I’ve looked at your list of free downloads and cannot decide which one to try.
    What software do you recommend using for retouching my pix? Is there anything available for free, of very little cost that will accomplish these things I want to do?
  2. By kirpi, on March 14, 2011, at 10:52 PM
    First and foremost, Duke: in case you are moving from an old computer to a new one, consider it a *priority* to save and back-up all your old image files in a standard format (like jpeg, as opposed to any Adobe proprietary format - save them at 100% quality); you are at risk of loosing all of your pictures forever, otherwise.

    Now, agreed that PhotoDeluxe was indeed easy to use and powerful enough for the most basic photo editing requirements, it is a sad fact that support has been discontinued since many years.
    So, a new tool is needed, definitely: while I use Gimp a lot, I warmly suggest you try several software options before making your final decision. And the good news is that *all* the software you find on this page of mines (both for download and for online editing) is free, so you can easily test whatever solution you feel like. Also, feel free to post some of your pictures here (just post their url and they will be included into your post automagically) so that we can better understand which kind of software suits you best.
    Why don’t you first give Picasa a try? A lot of people like it, and use it along with Picnik :-)

  3. By Jane B., on May 08, 2013, at 11:06 PM
    One more is iPiccy. I like it!


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