Photoshop Alternatives: The Ultimate Guide in 2021

Which is the best Photoshop alternative? Is there any program like or close to Photoshop?

Honestly, no free and paid software is equivalent to Photoshop.

Over the years, Adobe Photoshop is developing its features and upgrading & bringing new features continually.

Indeed, they do everything what their customer wants and make it better for letting the designer to create artistic photos and designs.

So, why are you looking for an alternative program like Photoshop?

Well, I know the reason behind it.

First, you can’t afford to pay the cost Adobe takes for using Photoshop.

Second, you are an amateur or a hobbyist. And as a beginner or hobbyist, you don’t want to pay Adobe per month for using it.

Third, you are a beginner and find the interface of Photoshop difficult. So, you are looking for an alternative that is intuitive and easy to edit.

If you are looking for a program like Photoshop for budget, then I have included a list of photo editing software both for free and paid.

You can use them to enhance your photos that offer minimum features like PS does.

On the other hand, if you are a starter or a hobbyist, then I have also enlisted some affordable photo editing software.

Finally, if you find Photoshop difficult to use, then I have also included a list of easiest photo editing software both for free and paid.

The best part of this guide is you can find an alternative to Photoshop whether you are a photo editor, painter or photographer.

So, let’s dive in.

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16 Best Free Photoshop Alternative for Mac, Windows, and Linux

  • GIMP
  • DarkTable
  • Pixelmator
  • PhotoScape X
  • Affinity Photo
  • Luminar
  • Paintshop Pro
  • Photoshop Elements
  • Rawtherapee
  • PicMonkey
  • Fotor
  • BeFunkey
  • InPixio
  • Polarr
  • Inkscape
  • Corel Painter

01. GIMP

Gimp-Best Free Photoshop Alternative

GIMP is the best free Photoshop alternative app out there. The acronym GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program.

The interface of this free photo editor is the same as Photoshop. Like Ps, Gimp has come with a lot of image editing tools.

Using those tools, you can do all types of retouching from basic to advanced.

For beginners, it has a lot of tools including crop & resizing tools, noise reduction tools, photo enhancement tools, color adjustment tools, and much more.

With these tools, you can resize, crop, and erase the background from a photo precisely.

To perform advanced retouching workflows, it has come with layers, filters, bezier curves, plugins, and brushes.

Indeed, Gimp has come with a lot of tools that let you create stunning artwork from scratch.

The lack of GIMP comparing its commercial counterparts Photoshop is it doesn’t offer non-destructive editing.

Besides, bugs occurred often.

However, GIMP has an active community to develop and fix bugs in its new releases.

Plus, Gimp has loaded with a lot of tutorials and forums. So, when you stuck, you will get immediate supports from the helpful community.


  • Image enhancement tools
  • Advanced retouching tools
  • Customizable interface
  • Upgraded brush tools
  • A lot of plugins
  • Support multiple file formats


  • Completely free to use
  • Helpful community
  • Receive updates and fix bugs regularly


  • Steep learning
  • Complex interface
  • Doesn’t offer non-destructive editing

Price: Free

Operating System: Mac, Windows, and Linux

Best For: Professional photographers, editors, and graphic designers

Read also: Is Gimp safe to download and use?

02. Darktable

Darktable best alternative to Photoshop

Darktable is a free photo editing app for amateur photographers and editors. Like GIMP, it is also an open-source photo editing app.

This free photo editor mimics almost every feature of Lightroom. That’s why it is considered as the best Lightroom alternative.

Now, you may ask- why do include Lightroom alternative when I am looking for a PS alternative?

Well, Lightroom is easy to use and lets you enhance photos like PS but in a simple way.

But, Lightroom is a paid software. As a hobbyist, you don’t like to pay Adobe for editing photos every month.

So, I add Darktable on this list that fills the gap and let you edit photos like Photoshop does but for free.

The interface of Darktable is simple than Ps. It has sorted all types of editing tools in a single module name Darkroom.

From this module, you can do all types of basic editing including cropping & resizing, color correction, and other adjustments.

Like Photoshop, Darktable also offers non-destructive editing workflows. It means you can change the photo effects keeping the original file intact.

Something that Photoshop lacks but Darktable has is the photo organization system.

You can’t organize photos using Photoshop as there is no option. But in Darktable, you can store your images.

The masking system in Darktable is another feature I like most. Though Photoshop is superior to it, but you can do the job done pretty well using Darktable.

Using it, you can control every specific area of your photo.

For example, you want to enhance the clothing part of a portrait keeping its body untouched. Darktable lets you do the job precisely like PS.

Nonetheless, you can also process the raw file using it as well as color correction.


  • Advanced raw processor
  • Advanced photo organizing system
  • Built-in advanced color correction in mind
  • A plethora of presets available
  • Loaded with basic editing tools


  • Perfect for color correction
  • A lot of tutorials available
  • Easy to learn
  • Let you organize photos


  • A lot of learning curves
  • The presets don’t perform like Lightroom does
  • A little bit difficult for beginners

03. Pixelmator Pro

Pixelmator Best Photoshop alternatives on Mac

Pixelmator Pro is one of the best Photoshop alternative for Mac. It is a simple, powerful, and beautiful photo retouching software. 

The interface of this app is so elegant with editing tools and puts the focus only on the image you edit.

By default, it is specially designed for mac users in mind.

I choose this software for its versatile usage. It has come with a lot of editing tools that let you do editing, create the design, painting, and vector art designing.

In short, it is an all-in-one software both for professionals and amateurs.

The best part I like most about Pixelmator is its Machine Learning function.

This system does not only let you edit photos quickly but also accurately.

For example, Pixelmator Pro comes with ML enhance tool that lets you enhance photos like a pro photographer.

Using this tool, you can enhance brightness, whiteness, exposure, and highlight details of a photo.

Beside Machine Learning tools, Pixelmator has also come with non-destructive color adjustment tools.

Each of the tool lets you enhance the photo quality and bring life to it.

For creating a stunning photo, Pixelmator comes with a versatile collection of effects.

Using those effects, you can easily create artistic and breathtaking photos.

And the best part is all of the effects are non-destructive. It means you can edit, rearrange, remove, and apply each of them freely.

Even you can apply multiple effects in a single layer.

Unfortunately, you can enjoy all these features of Pixelmator Pro by purchasing it.

In simple words, it is a paid photo editing software for mac. You can use it as Photoshop Alternative but not for free.

The other downside of Pixelmator Pro is it is only available on Mac.


  • Advanced color adjustments
  • A bunce of photo editing tools
  • Machine Learning tools
  • Upgraded Repair Tool
  • Advanced and smart Quick Selection Tool
  • Non-destructive effects


  • User-friendly interface
  • Offer non-destructive workflow
  • Perfect for color correction and retouching
  • Let you process raw files


  • Not a free Photoshop alternative

04. Photoscape X

Photoscape X free Ps alternative

Photoscape X is another free photo retouching software on this list. It has come with a lot of tools to edit photos, create collages, and apply batch editing.

Besides, it has come with a lot of effects, overlays, and filters to make a quick adjustment and create stunning photos.

Using those film effects and filters, you can easily make a boring photo to a stunning one.

The Cut-Out tools, for example, Lasso tool, Magic eraser, and Brush tool let you remove the background from a photo precisely.

Using Photoscape X, you can also perform basic retouching workflows.

The Spot Healing Brush, Clone Stamp, and Remove Stain help you to erase blemishes from your portrait and give a beautiful look to it.

Nonetheless, Photoscape has included a lot of tutorials that let you learn how to use it.

You don’t need any previous skills for editing a photo. After using it for a while, you can be a master in Photoscape X.

Though Photoscape X has limited editing options comparing Photoshop, it lets you do basic editing precisely.

The downsides of Photoscape is there happened lags frequently. This free version app doesn’t have enough capabilities like Ps has.

Moreover, it is challenging to edit multiple photos at once in Photoscape X.

However, as a beginner, Photoscape is an ideal free photo editor for you. Using it, you can do almost every basic editing workflow.


  • A lot of basic photo editing tools
  • A plethora of effects and filters available
  • Enable batch photo editing
  • Collage templates available to create collages


  • Easy to use
  • Completely free
  • Offer batch photo processing


  • Happening lags frequently
  • Not perfect for advanced retouching

05. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo Photoshop

Affinity Photo is one of the best Photoshop alternative out there. It offers pro-level image editing tools at an affordable price with a lifetime license.

For doing advanced editing workflows, it has come with layers, layer masks, filters, and adjustment layers.

That means you will get better control over every specific area on your image.

To do advanced retouching, it has come with dodge & burn tool, blemish remover tools, and frequency separation tools.

To create a complex photo composition, you can use the advanced layering system of Affinity Photo.

Most importantly, you can blend each of the layers to create stunning photo effects.

The advanced raw processing system of Affinity lets you bring your photo to the next level.

Using Affinity Photo, you can correct lens distortions, noise reduction, even every detail of the photo.

Indeed, Affinity Photo gives you full control over every raw photos and lets you create beautiful to enticing portrait.

Therefore, you can edit HDR photos, process raw files, 360 image editing, Panorama Stitching, and Multilayer composition with Affinity Photo.

To sum up, there is no free and paid software except Affinity Photo to beat Photoshop in every specific area.

Read also: Affinity Photo Review: The complete guide in 2020


  • Batch processing
  • 360 image editing
  • PSD editing
  • Advanced layering system
  • Let you paint digital photos
  • Advanced retouching tools


  • Performance pretty well
  • Offer a lot of tools to get the best result
  • Easy to use
  • Simple interface
  • Affordable price with lifetime license


  • Raw processing system of Affinity Photo is less qualitative
  • Take time to open large files
  • Slow HDR editing workflow

06. Luminar 4

Luminar 4

Luminar 4 is powered by AI tools that simplify photo editing workflows.

You don’t need to do anything manually to enhance the photo. However, if you want, you can edit photos by hand with excellent precision.

With Luminar, you can do everything from retouching to photo manipulation using the AI enhancement tools.

The AI Sky Replacement tool of Luminar lets you change the mode of your photo by changing the sky.

It has come with a lot of pre-default sky photos. You can use those skies to bring life to our images.

Besides, you can also add your custom sky to increase the artistic look of your photo.

Using the AI Sky Replacement tool, you can’t only change the sky but also relight it changing the color of it.

If you are a portrait photographer and want to give an enticing look to it, then Luminar 4 can be your best selection.

The AI Skin Enhancer & Portrait Enhancer lets you make your portrait stunning erasing every defect precisely.

The AI Skin Enhance helps you to remove blemishes and gives a striking look to your portrait.

Nonetheless, you can adjust brightness, exposure, and enhance the eyes of the portrait.

The best part is you can easily do these workflows using the slider-based editing tools.

With Luminar, you can also enhance your landscape photos.

To improve the quality of landscape photos, it has come with Landscape Enhancer.

The Landscape Enhance has three sliders including Dehaze, Golden Hour, and Foliage Enhancer.

The Dehaze lets you bring back color and depth.

The Golden Hour lets you add warm sunlight that is perfect both for indoor and outdoor photos.

On the other hand, if you want to improve the color of plants, trees, and flowers, you can use the Foliage Enhancer.

Indeed, Luminar 4 is the ultimate portrait photo editing software both for Mac and Pc.


  • AI sky enhancement tool
  • AI Skin Enhancer & Portrait Enhancer
  • Batch editing
  • Blemish removal tools
  • Landscape enhancer tool
  • Pro portrait retouching tools


  • Offer batch photo processing
  • Non-destructive editing workflows
  • Can use as a standalone software as well as Photoshop plugins


  • Not a free photo editor

07. Paintshop Pro

Paintshop Pro-paid alternative to photoshop

Paintshop Pro is another photo retouching software for prolific photo editors and designers.

It gives you a complete workspace with the full power of Paintshop Pro.

With Paintshop Pro, you can do pro-level editing, organize photos, and create designs.

You can crop, resize, edit, enhance color, and sharpen photos using Paintshop Pro.

Besides, it has come with advanced retouching tools to give an enticing look to your photo.

For detailed retouching, this software featured with cloning tools, advanced selection tools, makeover tools, and photo organization tools.

Using this app, you can also correct chromatic aberrations and fix lens distortion precisely.

Now, creating a complex but artistic photo composition is not just a dream- it is a reality. Paintshop Pro comes with advanced layers and masks.

Using those layers and masks, you can compose creative photos with patterns.

If you want, you can also hide or show any specific area of your creation using the layer and mask.

The best part is they are non-destructive.

Furthermore, you can also do painting and drawing projects with it effortlessly.

To do that, it has come with gradients, patterns, new color palettes, vector illustration tools.

Plus, the new built-in brushes can also help you to create awesome designs and paintings.

Nonetheless, you can also organize and share your photos using Paintshop Pro.

In short, it is an all-in-one photo editing software both for Mac and Windows users.


  • Advanced retouching and adjustment tools
  • 360-degree photo editing
  • Raw processing
  • Batch photo editing
  • Advanced layers and masks
  • Numerous draw & painting tools


  • User-friendly interface
  • Offer a lot of tools for pro-level editing
  • Include a lot of tutorials for beginners to learn
  • Affordable price with permanent license


  • No Mac version
  • Need more memory spaces to run the updated version
  • A little bit slower than PS

08. Photoshop Elements

Photoshop Element

Photoshop Elements is another software that comes from Adobe you can use as the substitute for Photoshop.

This photo editing software comes with a lot of AI tools that make editing simplified.

Using those smart and intelligent tools, you can create, organize, and share photos.

The best part about Photoshop Elements I like most is the Adobe Sensi AI technology.

As a result, you can edit photos using the automated tools that quicken your workflow.

With the AI tool, you can easily make a selection around the photo with a single click.

Plus, it helps you to remove the distracting elements from a photo efficiently.

Therefore, it has come with a lot of photo effects & filters to create your photo to an artistic one.

Something unavailable in Photoshop is the photo management system. But its sister Photoshop Elements fills up the gap.

In Photoshop Elements, you can organize photos using smart tags, faces, quality, and subjects.

Apart from these excellent features, Photoshop Elements has some lacks.

Like Photoshop, it doesn’t come with a plethora of tools to do photo manipulation workflows. 

Besides, the price of it is a little bit high. Most of the beginners can’t buy it in this price range.

Moreover, this image editing app doesn’t compatible with PS cloud documents.

If you are going to do basic editing or for fun use and learning, then I recommend you to use this.

Otherwise, for advanced retouching, it is preferable to use Photoshop or Affinity Photo.


  • AI photo editing tools
  • Smart selection tool
  • Photo organizing system
  • A lot of effects and filters
  • Photo sharing option


  • Easy to edit
  • User-friendly interface
  • Offer a lot of tutorials for learning it
  • Perfect for newbie


  • Not perfect for pro-level editing
  • A little bit pricy
  • No chromatic aberration correction tool

09. Raw Therapee

Raw Therapee

Raw Therapee is a free open source image editing software for developing raw photos.

If you want to enhance your raw files, then Raw Therapee is your go-to software instead of Photoshop.

This free cross-platform software has come with advanced editing tools to edit raw photos.

The plus point of this app is it is compatible with a wide range of camera and let you develop them.

Non-destructive editing workflow, powerful engine, upgraded color correction tool, and detail editing option help you to get the highest quality from the raw photos.

The downside of this free open-source image editor is you can’t do either basic or advanced retouching workflows.

No tool in it helps you to remove blemishes from the portrait skin and make it smooth.

However, if you are looking for a free alternative to PS for developing raw files, then Raw Therapee is the best.


  • 32-bit processing engine
  • Advanced color correction tool
  • Support a wide range of digital cameras
  • Hot pixel correction tool


  • Perfect for raw processing
  • Free to use
  • Offer non-destructive editing workflows


  • Don’t let you do photo manipulation and retouching workflows
  • A lot of bugs and crashes frequently
  • Not perfect for newbie photographers

10. PicMonkey

Picmonkey-free online Photoshop alternative

PicMonkey is a free Photoshop alternative online app. Using it, you can create amazing collages, designs, and do both basic editing and retouching workflows.

The best part of PicMonkey is it is simple and easy to use. You don’t need any previous skills to edit photos.

The module of this software has divided into three- Edit, Collage, and Design.

The Edit module is the backbone of this app. It has featured with a lot of tools to edit, resize, and cropping photos.

You can also change the background color with easy using the Background Color tool.

The Auto-Adjust panel of this tool lets you adjust exposure, color, and sharpness of a photo quickly.

For doing advanced retouching workflows, it has come with dodge, clone, curves, levels, and burn tools.

To make your portrait stunning, it has featured with a lot of retouching tools including blemish remover, wrinkle remover, and eye enhancement tools.

Plus, it has included a lot of photo effects to give a stunning look to your photo with a single click.

In short, PicMonkey has featured with a lot of tools for doing basic and advanced retouching workflows.

Therefore, you can create photo collages and designs using this free online photo editor.

The downside of PicMonkey is it performs slower when you upload multiple photos.

Overall, it is an excellent photo editing software you can use as a PS alternative.


  • Loaded with basic editing and retouching tools
  • Included a lot of photo effects
  • Free templates for creating photo collages
  • Featured with a plethora of graphic elements


  • Easy to use
  • Simple editing interface
  • Completely free


  • A little bit slower when uploading multiple files at once

11. Fotor

Fotor- free online photo editing app

Fotor is a free online Photoshop alternative app. It’s a multi-purpose photo editing app that lets you edit photos, create collages, and draw graphic arts.

The best part of Fotor is there is no learning curve. This online free photo editor doesn’t intimidate with a lot of tools like Photoshop.

As a result, anyone can edit photos with it without having any editing skills.

For performing basic editing workflows, it has come with a plethora of tools.

The basic editing tools Fotor included are a 1-tap enhancement, crop, rotate, fine-tune, color, resize, and so one.

The 1-tap enhancement tool lets you enhance photos with a single click.

If you want to adjust the exposure, highlights, and shadows of your photo, then use the Fine-tune tool.

On the other hand, to add a vignette effect to your landscape or portrait photo, use the Vignette tool.

To give an enticing look to your portrait photo, Fotor has come with a wide range of beauty retouching tools.

Using these tools, you can remove blemishes, acne, and other skin flaws.

Besides, for enhancing your portrait eyes, Fotor has brought eye enhancement tools.

In short, to make your portrait photo general to beautiful, Fotor has every tool you need.

Collage creation is another feature of Fotor. You can frame up several photos you shoot in your vacation or experience during traveling.

Fotor offers a lot of free and unique layouts that you can use to create aesthetic collages.

Moreover, you can also create business cards, Facebook and twitter cover, logo, banners, and a lot from the Design module.

The downside of Fotor is the free version shows ads that are a bit intimidating when editing.

Plus, this software is not for those who want to create photos from scratch.

However, for amateur photographers, Fotor can be their best go-to software.


  • Featured with a lot of effects and filters
  • Loaded with basic editing and retouching tools
  • Offer free templates for creating collages
  • Tools for creating design, business cards, and logos


  • Easy to use
  • Free
  • User-friendly interface


  • Display ads
  • Offer limited features in the free version

12. Befunky

befunky- onile photo editor app

Befunky is another best online photo editor on this list.

With Befunky, you can create beautiful photos, collages, and draw graphic elements.

Like Fotor, it has also three different modules including Photo Editor, Collage Maker, and Graphic Designers.

Photo Editor module of Befunky is the backbone of it. Using this module, you can do almost every photo editing workflow.

You can crop, cut, resize, and change the background from an image using Befunky.

Besides, to enhance portrait photos, you can remove blemishes, acne, fix red eyes, and whitening teeth using this free online photo editor app.

Befunky has featured a lot of effects to add a dramatic look to your photos.

The artsy effect of Befunky lets you change your photo to cartoons, sketches, and so on.

Collage Maker module of Befunky lets you create stunning photo collages with a few clicks.

And the Graphic Designer lets you create graphic projects offering easy to use design tools.

From the graphic designer module, you can create logos, banners, and so on.

The only cons of Befunky is it shows a lot of ads that are a bit annoying.

Overall, Befunky is one of the best online photo editor apps out there.

Read Also: Befunky Reviews


  • Featured with a lot of editing tools
  • Offer a lot of filters and effects
  • Free photo collage templates
  • Comes with a lot of graphic design tools


  • User-friendly interface
  • No learning curve
  • Need no skills to edit photos with it
  • Free to use


  • Shows a lot of ads while editing
  • Offer limited features in the free version

13. InPixio Free Photo Editor

Inpixio- free photo editor

Free Photo Editor by InPixio lets you edit photos for free.

It has come with a lot of effects, filters, adjustment tools, and photo frames to make your photos enticing.

With the InPixio Free Photo Editor, you can turn a dull photo into a pop one changing the color, brightness, and exposure.

The best part of the Free Photo Editor I love most is its plethora of effects including vintage look, cinematic effect, and Black & white effects.

To add an elegant touch to your photo, this software offers you 100+ photo frames.

After getting the polished look, you can apply these filters to make your photo pop up.


  • Advanced cropping tool
  • Comes with a plethora of photo effects
  • Before and After comparison tool
  • Upgraded vignetting tool


  • Completely free to use
  • Perfect for portrait editing


  • Not perfect for pro-level editing
  • Limited features

14. Polarr

Polarr- free photo editing app

Polarr is another free online Photoshop alternative app. You can use it for color correction, basic editing, and retouching workflows.

The best thing about Polarr is it doesn’t mimic the Photoshop interface.

As a result, it looks unique and makes photo editing simple. You can find the filters option on the left side and color correction tools on its right.

Though the interface of it looks like the interface of Lightroom, but it is unique.

With Polarr, you can easily retouch your photos as it offers auto-enhance tools.

So, if you don’t have any editing skills, you can use those effects and auto retouching tools to give an enticing look to your photo.

To do color correction, it has come with a lot of color and adjustment tools.

The best part is the color tonal tools are slider-based. That’s mean you can easily change the color by moving the slider from left to right.


  • Advanced histogram
  • Comes with a lot of basic editing tools
  • Offer noise reduction tool
  • A lot of overlays and effects available
  • Upgraded sharpening tool


  • Free to use
  • User-friendly interface
  • Easy to use


  • Can’t process raw files

15. Inkscape

Inkscape- free Photoshop alternative for painting

Inkscape is a free open-source vector graphic software.

If you are finding an alternative to Photoshop for vector design, then Inkscape is your go-to software.

The ability of Inkspace to create vector art is superior to Photoshop.

Using this advanced vector graphic software, you can create flyers, brochures, banners, web graphics, and logos.

For object creation, it has come with advanced drawing tools, shape tools, text tools, and clone tools.

Indeed, Inkscape has come with every tool to flourish your drawing skills to the next level.


  • Advanced object creation tools
  • Object manipulation tools
  • Fill & stroke tools
  • Let you perform node editing
  • Upgraded text tool


  • Completely free and let you create logo, illustration, and banners at no cost
  • Let you edit SVGs files
  • Can read almost every file format


  • Steep learning curve
  • Crashes sometime

16. Corel Painter

Corel Painter- Photoshop substitute

If you are looking for an alternative to Photoshop for painting, then Corel Painter is what you get.

Painter has come with 900+ brushes, textures, layouts, and painting tools to create stunning digital arts.

To create aesthetic and unique composition, Painter has come with perspective guides, layout grids, divine proportions, and mirror painting tools.

To make the painting workflow easy and quick, Painter uses artificial intelligence.

Using the Ai tools, you can correct the color automatically.

However, Painter has a lot lacks when compared to Photoshop. This software doesn’t include a lot of tools for extensive, even basic editing.

But for pure painting, Painter is the first choice.

The downside of Painter is it is expensive.

Painter takes around $429 to use with a lifetime license. However, you can use it by paying monthly.


  • Canvas control tools
  • Color correction tools
  • Ai tools included
  • Color tinting tool
  • Comes with upgraded brushes, textures, and layouts


  • Clean user interface
  • Offer a plethora of brushes
  • Perfect for painting


  • Expensive


So, which is the best Photoshop alternative app on this list?

Affinity Photo is the best alternative to Ps on this list.

There is nothing from basic to advanced editing you can’t handle with Affinity Photo.

The performance of Affinity Photo is also excellent compared to Photoshop.

On the other hand, if you are looking for a free Photoshop alternative app, then GIMP is the best.

When it comes to vector design, I recommend you to use Inkscape.

If you are a painter and looking for an alternative to Photoshop, then Corel Painter is the best.

Finally, if you are looking for a free online Photoshop alternative app, then you can try Fotor.

I hope you can find your go-to software on this list.

Have I missed any software that I should add on this list? Do you ever use any software I listed above?

Don’t forget to leave a comment below to share your experience.

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