If you’ve ever asked someone what the best photo editing software is for their computer, you’ve probably heard them name Photoshop. That’s no surprise, as Photoshop is by far one of the most famous photo editing software used around the world by not only photographers but also graphic designers and digital artists. The software has built this reputation over a number of years, thanks to its mostly unmatched amount of controls and a robust online community that makes it possible for new users to get started with the program.
However, There are Alternatives
Despite all the greatness of Photoshop, there are many other editing software programs that can be capable Photoshop alternatives. And while Photoshop is generally considered to be at the top of the photo editing food chain, one must remember that there are many other programs that offer their own unique features, and what you choose to use for your work depends on the kind of work you do. Just because Photoshop has a plethora of tools doesn’t mean it’ll work well for everyone.
Some programs may come at a much lower price and therefore be better than Photoshop’s own monthly fee model, other may have a much easier interface with basic tools to suit your needs and therefore require less time to learn and give you more time to edit, while others may strike the perfect balance between boasting Photoshop-like features for a very low price. So, before you decide which the best photo editing software is for you, take a look at some of the best Photoshop alternatives.
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With it, you can set the exposure, contrast, white balance, and all the basic stuff you would expect to fix with such editing software. Apart from this, you can also work in layers, make selective adjustments, and use unique tools like the Accent AI Filter to make quick adjustments automatically. All of this is wrapped in an easy to use program that everyone who has ever wondered ‘How to Use Photoshop’ will appreciate.
If your ideal alternative to Photoshop should have HDR capabilities, then Aurora HDR should be on your list for sure. This is a dedicated HDR editor that puts many others to shame with its collection of presets, advanced controls, natural-looking results, and an affordable price tag. With its focus on creating natural results, Aurora HDR really has made itself known as the best photo editing software in its class. After merging photos into an HDR image, you’re able to edit them like you would any RAW file, making non-destructive adjustments to exposure, shadows, highlights, colors, and more. So, if you’re into HDR photography, consider Aurora HDR as an Adobe Photoshop alternative.
If you’ve ever searched for Adobe Photoshop’s free rival, you might have crossed paths with GIMP. This is a free photo editing software that has everything you could want from an alternative to Photoshop. This includes the ability to work in layers, making selective adjustments, removing unwanted objects, using brushes to make your photos look like digital art, creating whole graphic designs from scratch, using filters to give your photos a unique look, and much more. It’s no surprise then to know that GIMP is a photo editor that is hailed by many people as not only the top free photo editing software but also one of the best Photoshop alternatives ever made. That’s why you’ll see many GIMP vs. Photoshop comparisons online as well.
But before you get too excited, you should also be aware of the one thing that keeps new photographers from using GIMP: the complicated user interface that requires a very long time to get familiar with.
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Pixlr is famous as a photo editor app as it offers an extensive amount of control over image editing. But did you know that the software has an online Photoshop alternative too? This web version of Pixlr is a free alternative to Photoshop thanks to its advanced editing tools combined with
Capture One is one of the best photo editing software as far as RAW editing is concerned. It handles RAW files from many brands very well, has
Topaz can be an Adobe Photoshop alternative if you don’t need to delve into very advanced photo editing and don’t need your editing software to have features that turn it into a graphic design suite. Topaz has pretty easy to use controls and an interface that is not hard to get used to. It also has a number of filters that can be handy for quick editing, even though they’re not very professional-looking.
If you find GIMP too complicated to use, then DarkTable might be the best free Photoshop alternative for you. It’s a very good photo editor for Mac and Windows and can perform quality edits on various kinds of photos. The fact that it’s free is made even more impressive when you actually take a look at the sheer number of controls it has. This, however, becomes pretty much its only downside as well because it makes the program very intimidating, especially for new users.
Another free Photoshop alternative, Krita is aimed at the digital artists among you rather than the photographers. As an image editor, Krita can handle only the very basic RAW editing so it cannot really be the best Photoshop alternative for photographers. For digital artists, however, Krita offers drawing and painting tools that can easily get the job done for even demanding users. It is a responsive piece of software that is completely free and it makes you wonder why you’d want to pay for Photoshop if
Affinity Photo is easily an Adobe Photoshop alternative that one can recommend. Its packed full of features that not only allow for photo editing but also help in making digital art, much like Photoshop. It has features that allow you to work in layers, do some focus stacking magic, create HDR photos and panoramas, handle RAW files, create digital paintings and much more. Affinity Photo, therefore, is a photo editing software that many people swear by. But be ready to spend some time trying to learn its complicated interface.
Yet another Windows photo editor that doesn’t cost a dime to use is Paint.Net. This program has been compared to the likes of Photoshop and GIMP on multiple occasions because it offers very similar functionality to both those giants. It has an intuitive interface and a vast collection of tools to help photographers and digital artists create great work without having to pay anything. If you’ve ever wondered how to get Photoshop for free, don’t. Get Paint.Net instead.
Corel PaintShop Pro 2018 is one of the more well-regarded Photoshop alternatives. The new version comes with
If you do not have the time and energy to learn how to use Photoshop, then Acorn is made just for you. The photo editor for mac focuses on keeping things simple and unobtrusive. It comes with basic editing features, noise reduction tools, brushes for healing, and selection tools like the lasso and the magic wand. Another great thing about this Mac photo editor is that the price is very low. However, despite all this, the software isn’t a complete Photoshop alternative for Mac as it lacks many advanced tools that people would want from such a program.
Here is another photo editor for Mac that aims to be on the list of Photoshop alternatives. Pixelmator is a photo editor app that gets a lot of the things right. It has a good interface, a range of customization within the program, easy to use and effective painting tools, and many effects that you can apply to your photos. Where this mac photo editor falls short of being the ultimate Photoshop alternative for Mac is in its lack of RAW support. This means that you cannot edit your photos non-destructively with Pixelmator, something that enthusiast and pro photographers really want.
DxO is a company that has long been at the forefront of developing lens and camera correction profiles, and their PhotoLab photo editor for PC really builds on that legacy. It’s an editing software that excels in advanced editing features, especially in automatically fixing common camera and lens issues like chromatic aberrations, vignetting, and more. It’s also quite fast, with improved noise reduction tools as well. Everything from importing and organizing images to editing and exporting them in done quickly and easily. Couple that with very solid image quality and excellent noise reduction, and this is one of the top Windows photo editors without a doubt.
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ON1 has been termed as the best Photoshop alternative by many. The reason for this is its many features that all work great. The new version that puts this in every list of Photoshop alternatives include better masking tools, the ability to brush the noise away from parts of your photo rather than the whole image, a robust HDR system that helps you make some very natural-looking high dynamic range images from within the software, and an improved user experience.
However, the program can be very sluggish at times, especially when you are stitching a panorama or switching between different modules. For these reasons, it may not be a replacement for Photoshop but can definitely be used in parallel with another software and become a force to be reckoned with.
So, we hope that with this list you have a much better understanding of all the Photoshop alternatives you can use depending on your individual needs. Photoshop is generally known as the undisputed king of photo editing but that’s not true for everyone. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles and just want a simple and easy to use program for photo editing, using something like Luminar might be a better choice not only because it does most of what Photoshop does but also because of the low price. Similarly, if an online Photoshop alternative is what you’re after, something very basic like Pixlr might even work for you.
The bottom line here is that you do not need to spend a heavy amount of recurring payment every month just to use the ‘best photo editor in the world’. Instead, always do some research, always try out the free trials of different programs, and then figure out which one fits your editing needs the best. Don’t go after the hype and do some research before making a purchase decision.