The Top Photoshop Alternatives For Photo Editing On A Budget

photoshop alternatives

Photoshop is the top photo editing software for professionals and hobbyists alike, but not all of us want to spend the time and money required to learn its ins and outs. Luckily, you don’t need to purchase Photoshop in order to edit photos in a professional way.

Read on for our top Photoshop alternatives to get you editing with ease today!


Short for “GNU Image Manipulation Platform,” GIMP is a completely free, open-source graphics editor that’s been around since 1996. Similar to Photoshop, you can use it either as a basic editing program or spend some time to learn its features for advanced editing techniques. It recognizes many of the major file formats, such as GIF, JPG, PNG, TIFF, and limited functionality for PSD.

Some of its notable features include:

  • Brush, pencil, airbrush, clone tools
  • Layers, masks, curves, levels
  • Transformation tools
  • Custom brushes and patterns
  • Text layers

It also has a highly customizable interface that allows you to change icon sizes, colors, widget themes, and more. GIMP is available for Windows, Mac, and LINUX.

2. was originally a free replacement for Microsoft Window’s Paint software. Its most notable feature as that developers have prioritized its fast speeds, decreasing editing time for users and drastically cutting down on potential frustration.

If you need to edit multiple photos, it’s intuitive, easy to use interface and tabbed file browsing makes this simple. It’s also updated regularly and automatically, and there are many forums, tutorials, and plugins that offer support.

Features include:

  • Unlimited history tool
  • Clone stamping
  • Multiple layers with blending modes
  • Special effects is only available for Windows.

3. Affinity Photo

With a slick, modern user interface, focus on speeds, and all the functionality of Photoshop, Affinity Photo is a great offering if you’re looking for a Photoshop alternative that’s a little more user-friendly.

Some features available include:

  • RAW editing
  • HDR merge
  • Batch processing
  • Layer-based editing
  • Task-focused workspaces
  • Lightroom integration

Unlike Photoshop, its icons are colorful and easy to distinguish between each other. You can also customize different keyboard shortcuts in order to speed up your workflow even more. If you ever get stuck, it has a robust amount of free videos and forum support to help you along.

Affinity Photo is available for Mac, Windows, and iPad. Mac and Windows only require a one-time payment of $49, while the iPad is only $19.

4. Pixlr

Pixlr is unique in that it doesn’t even require a download or installation – just navigate to the website, and you’re set. This online editor is great for beginners that want to get results fast. It can edit photos within Dropbox and automatically save them as you work, which is an easy way to back up your photos.

Its availability as a web and mobile app also enables it to work with a variety of devices, making it convenient for frequent travelers or commuters. Although it has a user-friendly interface, it still offers advanced features such as:

  • Layer masks, adjustment layers, blend modes
  • Transform tools
  • Curves
  • Ability to add text
  • Photo filters

It’s $5 per month with no contract required.

5. Acorn

If you’re a heavy Mac user and want a simple photo editing software that fits seamlessly within the platform, Acorn may be right for you. Its features are meant to heighten its usability and functionality, such as including support for Mojave’s Dark Mode.

Some features include:

  • Clone tool
  • Layer masks
  • Scale and transform options
  • Custom brushes
  • Photoshop brush import
  • Curves and levels

It’s available for a one-time fee of $29.99.

6. Pixelmator Pro

Although Pixelmator has been around for years, Pixelmator Pro is a new offering that provides advanced editing features for macOS users. What’s more, any edits made can be saved directly in Apple Photos. With iCloud, your edits will be synced across all of your devices.

You can extend your workspace through Sidecar, which will allow you to use your iPad as a second screen. Pixelmator Pro offers upgraded features such as:

  • Move tool, transform, alignment guides
  • Color, quick, and magnetic selection
  • Clone stamp tool
  • Liquify, repair, blur and sharpen tools
  • Hue and saturation
  • Brightness and contrast
  • Levels

Despite all these advanced features, Pixelmator Pro still is one of the Photoshop alternatives that offers fast speeds due to its ability to use your Mac’s graphics card with macOS Core Image Technology.

It’s available for $29.99 for macOS.

7. SumoPaint

If you want another browser-based image processor, SumoPaint may be the best choice for you. Although it requires Adobe Flash, it’s lightweight and fast both on the web or as an iPad app.

It includes features such as:

  • Image filters and adjustments
  • Clone tool
  • Smudge and blur tools
  • Gradient fill
  • Various brush styles and effects

Many of these features are very simple to implement, where all they require is one click to see major adjustments.

Although it comes with a free and paid version, many features are available in the free version. The paid version is only $4 a month and comes with the offline version, dedicated technical support, and high-quality image files. You can also use their platform to sell your artwork with an increased commission.

Photoshop Alternatives: Beautiful Photos on a Budget

These Photoshop alternatives all provide robust features that are similar to Photoshop’s capabilities. If you’re a hobbyist or amateur photographer and want to start editing your photos in an easier, budget-friendly way, you can’t go wrong with any of them.

The most important thing when you’re just starting out is to keep practicing and have fun while you’re doing it. Want to learn more ways to improve your photo taking or editing skills? Keep reading our articles!