15 Great Photo Editors for Free
There are oceans of free photo editing software on market. Some of them are not so much free as freemium. There is a full-featured free trial with time limit. If it can meet your needs, you can purchase a proper plan after the free trial.
The other free picture editing software is open-source. They are genuinely free with no strings attached, and are usually developed and maintained by programmer communities, who do this for practice, to gain experience, to build a career or just expect to develop great software that is free of charge. We are going to share top 15 best free photo editing software in this article.
Part 1: Top free photo editing software for Windows
If you cannot afford to purchase Photoshop, you can still find good software to create and modify your photos.
Top 1: AnyMP4 Video Editor
- 1. Integrate basic photo editing tools, such as crop, rotate, flip and adjustment.
- 2. Enjoy advanced tools, like filters, effects, texts, templates, stickers and more.
- 3. Support all photo, video, and audio formats, including RAW files.
- 4. Enhance photo quality automatically during editing.
- 5. Create video slideshows with your photos, video clips and favorite songs.
- 1. The interface is intuitive and well-designed.
- 2. This photo editor for PC could meet all your needs that edit, enhance, and adjust photos.
How to edit photos for free
Step 1: Import photos into the photo editor
Download and install the best photo editing software and launch it from your desktop. It is available to Windows 10/8.1/8/7. Click the Add photo(s) and video(s) here button and open the photos to edit, or drag and drop the photos into the home interface. They will be put to the storyboard automatically.
Step 2: Edit your photos for free
Crop the photo: Select the photo, click the Edit menu to open the editor window, hit the Crop tab and then drag and move the control border to remove unwanted parts.
Rotate the photo: Click the Clockwise or Counter-clockwise button next to the Rotate label until you get the right orientation.
Adjust the photo: Move the sliders of Contrast, Saturation, Brightness and Hue to get the desired effect.
Add text on the photo: Go to the Text tab on the right side of home interface, select a text and drag and put it to the right position. Then adjust the content, color, font, and more options.
Apply filter: Go to the Filters tab on the right sidebar, select a filter to apply it on your photo.
Overlay sticker: Go to the Elements tab, select your favorite sticker and overlay it on the proper area.
Step 3: Export the photos without quality loss
Finally, click the Export button to open the export window. Select a photo format from the left side and choose the proper output quality. Drop the file name and location to save the result. Click the Convert button to start rendering the photo.
Top 2: GIMP
- 1. Enhance photos with various powerful tools.
- 2. Retouch your selfies and portrait for free.
- 3. Provide a number of graphic design elements.
- 4. Similar to Microsoft Photo Editor, it supports almost all photo and image formats.
- 5. Customize the interface based on your needs.
- 6. Expandable with tons of plugins and extensions.
- 1. This free image editor is available to Windows, Mac OS 12/11/X and Linux.
- 2. The application is 100% free.
- 3. There are lots of video tutorials online to help beginners master the program quickly.
- 1. It lacks the depth of the commercial photo editing programs, for example, the text features are not as robust as Photoshop.
Top 3: Paint.NET
- 1. Edit and enhance photos on layers without paying a penny.
- 2. Adjust image brightness, hue, contrast, curves, saturation and levels.
- 3. Include an array of special effects to blue, sharpen, distort, emboss and remove red-eye.
- 4. Clean up grainy photos with the built-in Clone Stamp tool.
- 5. Undo and redo as many changes as you want at any time.
- 1. There are dozens of plugins to expand tools and functions for the Windows photo editor.
- 2. The interface is straightforward.
- 1. It is only available to Windows 2000/XP/Vista/Server 2003.
- 2. It lacks some features like burn and dodge.
Top 4: Fotor
- 1. Integrate a video editor, collage maker and a design tool.
- 2. Contain basic photo effects and edit adjustments for free.
- 3. Retouch portraits and selfies with advanced beauty and makeup tools.
- 4. Include a wide range of templates, frames, stickers to decorate images.
- 1. The free online image editor is easy to navigate.
- 2. It is able to import photos from hard disk, websites and cloud services.
- 1. If you want to get the full features, you have to subscribe the paid plans.
Top 5: LazPaint for Windows
- 1. Support editing photos on layers.
- 2. Integrate plentiful editing tools, like powerful selection tools, configurable brushes, and more.
- 3. Change color, brightness, contrast and other options to get the desired effects.
- 4. Able to import PSD or 3D objects for editing further.
- 5. Available to Windows 10/8.1/8/7/XP/Vista and Linux.
- 1. The Windows 10 photo editor is an open-source project.
- 2. The interface is pretty concise and easier than GIMP.
- 1. Though it can import PSD, it cannot output photos in PSD.
- 2. The interface is outdated and the developer community has stopped updating since 2016.
Top 6: Photo Pos Pro
- 1. Offer a choice of interfaces, one for beginners and the other for experts.
- 2. Contain a large collection of photo filters and effects.
- 3. Provide extensions to expand the program simply.
- 4. Integrate layers, masks, vector objects, and drawing tools.
- 5. Remove any unwanted parts or objects with the advanced selection tools.
- 1. Most editing tools are easy to access in the top menu bar.
- 2. The photo editor for PC allows you to enhance photos with one click.
- 1. Advanced features are only available in the premium version.
- 2. The interface is dated in appearance.
Top 7: Pixia
- 1. Support over a dozen layer modes, such as Hybrid, Lighten, and more.
- 2. Use masks with advanced Alpha channels.
- 3. Integrate extendable brush tools with adjustable size scale and orientation.
- 4. Include various painting tools and a color palette panel.
- 5. Built-in several filters, such as Blur, Mosaic, Edge, Shadow, Sharpness and Toning.
- 1. The free picture editing software contains a wide range of photo editing tools.
- 2. It supports all standard image formats, including PSD.
- 1. It does not provide tutorials or support resources. That makes it more difficult to learn for beginners.
Top 8: PhotoFiltre
- 1. Pack complete image editing tools, such as selection, clone brush, paint brush, etc.
- 2. Offer a number of additional add-ons that can be downloaded online.
- 3. Contain photo masks, image adjustments, thumbnail browser and more.
- 4. Apply filters and transformations to a large number of images at one time.
- 1. The picture editing software supports masks and layers.
- 2. The interface is simple to navigate.
- 3. It is free for private, non-commercial or educational use.
- 1. Some advanced features are only unlocked in the paid version.
Part 2: Top free photo editing software for Mac
Mac users complained that there are limited free Mac photo editors. Fortunately, you can find multiple free tools to edit pictures on Mac machines.
Top 1: Darktable
- 1. Edit photos without changing the original files.
- 2. Take advantage of RAW files by operating on 4×32-bit floating point pixel buffers.
- 3. Utilize GPU accelerated image processing.
- 4. Manage color and support ICC profile for sRGB, Adobe RGB, and linear RGB.
- 5. Search image collections by tags, color label, and metadata.
- 1. The Mac photo editor supports a variety of standards, RAW and high range image formats.
- 2. It runs on Mac OS 12/11/X and Linux 11.
- 1. The interface is a bit complex, especially for beginners.
Top 2: Inkscape
- 1. Support for lots of photo formats, including RAW files.
- 2. Integrate many tools that come standard on other programs, like Lightroom.
- 3. Offer a variety of adjustment sliders related to exposure, tonality, color, and sharpening.
- 4. Work with masking tools to retouch photos simply.
- 1. The Mac image editor offers the basic photo editing tools for free.
- 2. It is available to Mac, Windows and Linux.
- 1. The interface is a bit mess and difficult to learn for beginners.
Top 3: Pixen
- 1. Create and arrange image frames in the filmstrip view.
- 2. Draw and paint on the flat, striped or checkered background.
- 3. Leverage Pencil, Eraser, Text, Eyedropper, Zoom, Rectangular Selection, and more tools.
- 4. Use filters to adjust colors, create effects and do post-process.
- 1. As a free Mac photo editor, Pixen has a lot of cool features to edit photos with layers.
- 1. It is only available on Mac OS X/11/12.
Top 4: Google Photos
Google Photos Editor is another one free photo editing software online.
- 1. Back up and manage photos crossing computer and mobile phone.
- 2. Crop, rotate and flip photos within the client or web app.
- 3. Apply filters on your photos to create the desired effects.
- 4. Adjust color, saturation, lighting and other options.
- 5. Decide to replace the original photo or create a new one after editing.
- 1. The best photo editing software for Mac is pretty easy to use.
- 2. It provides unlimited cloud storage for free.
- 1. The free storage will compress your photos and videos.
Top 5: Pixlr
- 1. Edit photos and images online for free.
- 2. Include crop, selection, rotate, and other basic photo editing tools.
- 3. Modify color, resolution, saturation, contrast and other options.
- 4. Import and export from and to computer, Google Drive, or websites.
- 1. The interface is well designed.
- 2. All features are free to use on Mac without registration.
- 1. It will pop up annoying ads when you edit photos.
Top 6: PhotoScape
- 1. Cut, resize, enhance and print photos on your computer.
- 2. Manage photos and pictures on your machine simply.
- 3. Batch process multiple pictures at one time.
- 4. Contain a number of filters and effects for free.
- 5. Capture anything happens on your screen with the built-in screen capture tool.
- 1. The picture editing software is compatible with Windows and Mac OS X/11/12.
- 2. All tools are free of charge, including the RAW converter.
- 1. The interface is not very intuitive and appears a bit jumbled.
- 2. Though it includes a wide range of editing tools, they are only in basic quality.
Top 7: Pinta
- 1. Import multiple photos on different tabs at one time.
- 2. Select a part on the photo and remove unwanted areas.
- 3. Add text, shape or objects on the photo.
- 4. Change color, lighting, saturation and more parameters.
- 1. The interface is easy to grasp.
- 2. The Mac image editor supports most commonly-used photo formats.
- 1. It lacks advanced editing tools, such as retouch selfies.
While getting the right shot is important, it is what you do with it afterwards that really takes it home. No matter how well you take your photos, there are always approaches to improve with photo editing afterwards. Based on our reviews above, you should learn top 15 free photo editing software for Mac and Windows.