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22.08.2022 00:24

The best photo editing software – free programs for simple photo manipulation

Software & applications

Have you ever had a situation where the photo you took turned out to be not as good as you thought? Time for a photo editing software! Check out our list of free online and downloadable software for amateurs and more.

Free online or downloadable photo editors – what to choose to edit photos on your computer?

Looking for a free computer photo editing software? There are tons of apps to choose from, both online and downloadable. They will allow you to get the best out of your photo. Despite the fact that such procedures are usually associated with Photoshop, which in turn is a huge expense and hours of tedious learning of this tool, it is not difficult to come across free photo retouching programs on the Internet. Their functionalities are diverse, so it is worth checking what exactly they have to offer.

The basic options in free photo editing programs are:

  • contrast, saturation, brightness;
  • photo temperature;
  • vignette;
  • filters;
  • improve sharpness / create blur;
  • framing;
  • creating a collage;
  • adding frames;
  • text placement.

Free photo editing software – list of TOP 7 photo editors

Below is a compilation of the best free photo editing software. We will discuss the most important functions of each of them, see where to use their potential best, for whom they were created, and check whether the versions from the web browser match the downloadable applications.

Pixlr X – a simple free online photo editor for beginners

photo editing software - Pixlr
The Pixlr app, like Canva, comes with tons of pre-made templates | Source: pixlr.com

The Pixlr app is the perfect solution if you are just starting your adventure with photo editing or you do it sporadically. The program is available in two versions: Pixlr X and Pixlr E. The E version has been equipped with slightly more advanced functions and is aimed at people who need a wider range of possibilities, while Pixlr X includes all those options that will be enough at the very beginning of your adventure with photo processing. Despite the fact that the program also has a paid version, the free version has been very richly equipped. You can use ready-made effects, retouch, cut, draw, adjust, add ready-made objects, other photos, create collages. You are really only limited by your creativity. To start editing, just go to the Pixlr website, choose which version you want to use and upload the photo (from your computer’s hard drive or URL). Pixlr X does not require registration, so it is a convenient tool that you can use at any time, completely free. This makes it one of the best free online photo editors. If you already feel comfortable using Pixrl X, be sure to check out Pixrl E!

GIMP – the most famous program for comprehensive photo manipulation

On the GIMP website you will find extensive tutorials that will help you work with the program | Source: gimp.org

It will not be an over exaggeration to call GIMP a classic among free photo manipulation programs. This most comprehensive tool is not only great for simple photo editing – as you get into practice, you’ll discover newer and newer possibilities. The application is perfect for both beginners and advanced users. GIMP is a program that must be downloaded to your computer, but it is completely free. This means that it does not have any additional options available after purchasing a package. What’s more, the already very wide range offered by GIMP can be further expanded thanks to many plugins that you can easily find on the Internet. When a novice user comes into contact with GIMP for the first time, the multitude of options and tools may be overwhelming, but due to the popularity of this program, countless guides and instructions have been created that will quickly explain how to use its most important functions. GIMP is a program that is definitely worth your time because as you progress, starting with simple photo manipulation, you will learn advanced retouching that will make every photo an eye-catcher!

Polarr Photo Editor – Extremely powerful browser tool

photo editing software - Polarr Photo Editor
Polarr Photo Editor works incredibly smoothly and is very intuitive | Source: photoeditor.polarr.co

Polarr Photo Editor is a tool with a surprisingly wide range of possibilities. The program was created as a slightly easier alternative to the most popular (paid) photo editing programs. And although you have to pay for the downloadable application for the computer (Windows and MacOS), the browser version is available to users for free. The Polarr Photo Editor, due to its degree of expansion and the possibility of using the browser, will be perfect as a tool for quick editing on the go, on someone’s computer, and if you do not want to install a photo editing program, but need to do it from time to time. In Polarr Photo Editor you can not only use the filters prepared by the manufacturer, but also create your own, thanks to which the entire series of photos (for example from the same trip) will gain a coherent, eye-catching atmosphere. It is worth noting that in Polarr Photo Editor you will also find more advanced features such as masks, RAW support or even curves. The Polarr Photo Editor deserves to be given a shot though, because after one treatment you’ll definitely keep coming back to it!

Darktable – a very interesting, free counterpart of Lightroom

Source: darktable.org

Darktable is a program created with a slightly more advanced user in mind. This does not mean, however, that if you have recently started your adventure with photo editing, you have nothing to look for in it. On the contrary, if you have already mastered some basics, Darktable will be a great program to switch to a slightly more professional tool where you will be able to work not only with JPEG files, but also RAW files. The application should be downloaded to your computer from the manufacturer’s official website, but it is completely free and available for all the most popular operating systems (Windows, MacOS, Linux). Its interface may seem a bit unintuitive at first, but after spending a few moments with it, everything becomes logical and understandable. It is worth mentioning the convenient division of tools into modules, thanks to which, during each stage of photo processing, you will have at your disposal a whole set of functions that will be useful at this moment. Darktable is an excellent tool, which is a solid competition for its paid counterparts.


Photoscape X – a program that offers many possibilities, even for beginners

On the Photoscape X website, you will find dozens of detailed tutorials

Photoscape X, a free photo editing software, contains everything that every novice user will need. Since this program was created with inexperienced users in mind, its functionality focuses on express photo enhancement with the use of many ready-made solutions. Thanks to the refined user interface, you will find yourself in Photoscape X from the first moments of use. The simple division of the menu into the following categories may be misleading: Edit, Color, Film, Light, Frame, Insert and Tools – under each of these tabs you will find many very useful functions that will give your photo a distinctive character. Some users may also like the tool to create GIF files from selected photos. Photoscape X is only available in English, but with such a friendly and intuitive interface it shouldn’t be a big problem.

Fotor – an intuitive photo retouching program

Source: Fotor.com

Fotor is a browser application that allows beginners to effectively process photos. It’s best for retouching portraits – so if you happen to photograph people, this software may be of interest to you. Here you will find all the basic functions of photo editing software such as exposure enhancement, shadows, highlights, color temperature and cropping. Something that draws your attention is the Beauty, which has tools that allow you to perform unusual treatments such as changing eye color, improving makeup, or even whitening your teeth. A distinguishing aspect of this program are also short videos-instructions (displayed after hovering the cursor over a question mark) presenting the possibilities of a given function. 

Paint.NET – an extension of the well-known

Paint.NET is a program that looks a bit like the well-known editor, with the difference, however, that we will find many more functions here. The program has no ambition to serve professionals, so the tools it includes are easy to use and intuitive. This doesn’t mean it’s poor – in Paint.NET you can, for example, work with layers, insert gradients, and more. This tool can be especially useful for those who like to work in a familiar environment, known from the classic Paint.

Which photo stitching software will be the best?

Some of the programs discussed here have a tool that allows you to easily prepare a collage.you should opt for Pixlr X.,You won’t even have to look for this feature anywhere – before starting the project, the application itself will show you this option on the home page. Moreover, thanks to the fact that the program does not need to be installed and it supports Polish language, you can assemble your collage in no time!

Which photo editor to choose for retouching?

If you are looking for a simple and convenient photo retouching program, be sure to reach for Fotor. Its “beauty” features are the answer to everything you need for quick, easy photo retouching. Its extensive tool library, combined with the ability to run in the browser, makes it almost the perfect tool for this task.

Related: Free drawing software – what free PC and tablet drawing programs are there?



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