photoshop alternatives

As one of the most powerful photo editing programs, Photoshop has been regarded as the most professional tool to meet different types of editing needs in various fields. Without doubts, Photoshop could provide users with the most extensive functions on editing photos. However, in some cases, people may tend to some simpler ways to edit photos in order to meet their day-to-day tasks. Therefore, if you are confused about the complicated interface and too abundant features that Photoshop offers, then the following Photoshop alternatives which are provided for free would be suitable for you.

Part 1: Pros & Cons of Photoshop

Photoshop is a bitmap editing software developed by Adobe. Its main functions include adjusting the color of the image and synthesizing the image, which is mainly used for graphic design, web design art and photo studio post-processing. For your better understanding about Photoshop, here are the main pros and cons of Photoshop that have been sorted out.

Pros Cons of Photoshop


  • Pixel level editing: Pixels are the most basic elements that make up a picture. Photoshop can do pixel-level editing which is powerful. In addition, users can also use Photoshop to create images, such as adding fonts, vector patterns, and so on.
  • Layer: This function allows the image to be edited in layers, or combined with layers for unified modification. Within the same layer, user can use the Layer Mask function to select and edit the part, which could present better photo effects.
  • Action: For Photoshop, any tiny actions applied to the picture could be recorded, and at the same time they could be applied to any different pictures without any duplicate editing.
  • A large number of tools: The most attractive point is that Photoshop has a large number of editing tools you can refer to, including various selection tools, repair tools and so on. What you only need to do is to learn the functions of each tool.
  • photoshop tools
  • Comprehensive editing effects: The magic of Photoshop mainly lies in that it could easily turn some common pictures into some professional works via its comprehensive features and functions.
  • Customization: If you would like to make your photos stand out among others, Photoshop could apply customized actions to the pictures which could suit your social media in the better way.

× Disadvantages

  • Batch processing is inconvenient: Photoshop has powerful editing and processing functions for single pictures, which seems to be designed only for processing single pictures. Although the camera RAW plug-in can be used to process RAW files, the batch processing function of Photoshop itself is not powerful.
  • Complicated interface: Since Photoshop has so many functions, it is not easy for beginner users to know all the functions immediately. Users would have to spend more time in getting familiarized with the complicated interface and its detailed functions.
  • photoshop interface
  • Inconvenient for word editing: Since Photoshop is a bitmap software which is made of pixels. Then there are a lot of small squares which is not suitable to arrange the text layout.
  • Consume a lot of space: Due to its large number of professional features and functions, processing Photoshop would usually occupy too much capacity on your storage which may slow down PS’s overall performance.
  • Chargeable: Photoshop is chargeable which is sold at a high price.

Part 2: 10 Best Photoshop Alternatives Free 2021


Leawo PhotoIns is able to automatically improve quality of the photos you have taken due to its Artificial Intelligence Enhancer Technology. Users can enhance portraits by retouching skin, removing freckles, adjusting lighting, enlarging eyes, etc. Leawo PhotoIns can automatically detect areas like over-exposure, narrow dynamic range, etc. instantly and accordingly, and some adjustments would be added to these areas to make your photos look much more comfortable. Among them, if you have further requirements on the sky photos, this tool would optimize photo colors and tints to improve these photos in a more vivid way. When you are not satisfied with the photos taken by your DSLR cameras, you can even adopt Leawo PhotoIns to enhance the RAW photo effects.

  • photoins
  • Leawo PhotoIns

    - Enhance portrait photos easily with advanced AI technology
    - Fix photo exposure and white balance issues automatically
    - Optimize photo colors and perfect photo tints
    - Make photos perfectly clear with smart dehaze
    - Boost photo lighting and color quality
    - Process RAW and JPG files

Pros Cons
  • User-friendly interface
  • Easy to use
  • Clear instructions and functions
  • AI Enhancer technology
  • Batch processing
  • Support RAW photo and JPG image
    • Not that professional


    GIMP is short for The GNU Image Manipulation Program, an image editing and processing program written in GTK. GIMP was popular among many drawing enthusiasts when the Linux system was launched. Its interface is quite lightweight, but its functions are not inferior to professional drawing software; it provides a variety of image processing tools, filters, and many more component modules. GIMP is well-known on the Linux platform and is currently widely used under Windows, and it also supports Mac.

    Pros Cons
  • Free
  • No ads
  • Comprehensive layout support
    • No drawing capability
    • Not support camera RAW
    • Outdated interface

    Pixlr X

    You can completely treat pixlr X as an online photo editing program. In addition to common image attributes such as contrast and brightness, Pixlr X can also adjust color temperature, hue, and even exposure. There are a large number of built-in filter effects, which can also be freely selected, and there is almost nothing for users' professionalism. The simple version is more automated in operation.

    Pixlr X
    Pros Cons
  • History tools
  • Compatible with various platforms
  • Open sources
    • Available for online only
    • Limited tools
    • Low processing speed

    Affinity Photo

    Affinity Photo is an ideal PS alternative software. It supports Mac, Windows and iPad platforms which can make full use of your hardware performance. Affinity Photo supports to save the editing history. When you make a display, you may need to adjust the spatial position of the picture. At this time, you can use the perspective tool. Affinity is fully functional and has made very detailed for different system platforms. It ensures that your computer can play its due performance.

    Affinity Photo
    Pros Cons
  • High processing speed
  • History record
  • Simple UI
    • Lack of functions
    • Higher requirements on the system
    • Not available when offline


    PicMonkey is an online special effects editing tool for pictures. PicMonkey has the flexibility, collaboration, and rapid iteration functions. Hundreds of templates would be provided and the size is suitable for social media posts, flyers, business cards, etc. Users can also easily add text and graphics to photos, or use the one-click background remover function for advanced processing. In addition, you can also add special effects, coatings and borders, which can be saved immediately after completion.

    Pros Cons
  • Many advanced functions and templates
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Totally free for online
    • Outdated interface
    • Limited output formats
    • Slow processing power
    • Not available when offline


    Canva is a photo editing aprogram that allows you to make beautiful designs anytime and anywhere. With Canva, you don’t need to have design experience, and you don’t need to install complicated design software. You can also obtain the beautiful designs you want in just a few minutes. Canva is very easy to operate. It can be used by everyone and is suitable for all aspects of life design.

    Pros Cons
  • Simple interface
  • Free layouts and elements
  • Available for daily use
    • Not professional
    • Lack of comprehensive functions

    Photos Pos Pro

    Photo Pos Pro has become one of the most popular photo editors in the world which can provide users with multiple possibilities in the field of image enhancement and image editing, as well as computer graphics design. Using this editor, you can perform various tasks from simple basic tasks to complex tasks as well as editing existing images, creating new works based on existing images, etc.

    Photos Pos Pro
    Pros Cons
  • Suitable for both beginners and professionals
  • Many helpful tutorials
  • One-click manual editing tools
    • Run slow
    • Limited on exported size


    Krita is a free and open source free drawing program that supports Windows, Linux and macOS, and initially supports Android tablet devices. It is fully functional, capable of all painting processes from drafting, marking and coloring to final adjustment. Krita has a highly customizable brush system and perfect layer functions, which can be non-destructive through transparency and deformation masks Sexual editing. It can draw bitmap images, vector graphics and make animations, and has complete color management functions.

    Pros Cons
  • Similar to Photoshop
  • Customized interface
  • Advanced layer system
    • No RAW filter
    • Hard to operate
    • Outdated interface

    Upscale Pics

    Upscale Pics, as a lossless magnification tool, it can magnify your image 2x to 8x for free, using AI algorithm to solve the pixelation problem, thereby increasing the resolution and making the blurred picture clearer. No matter what the clarity of your original picture is, this software can zoom in on it, allowing you to see more details of the picture. By the way, with Upscale Pics, you can also reduce noise in photos.

    Upscale Pics
    Pros Cons
  • Magnify any photos
  • Free program
    • Not a real photo editing tool
    • No enough editing functions and features


    Another free image upscaler you can choose is Zyro which would allow users to upscale the photos in the proper way with the help of the deep convolutional neural network. This is free to use and you would not be limited from the image numbers. If you don’t have higher requirements on the output quality, then Zyro could be your best choice since its output quality is not as great as promised.

    Pros Cons
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • No registration required
    • Low output quality
    • Only 2x upscale
    • Low processing speed

    Part 3: Do You Really Need Photoshop?

    photoshop layers

    Photoshop may own the biggest fame in this field, but it is not the only option you can use to edit and optimize your photos. Photoshop maintains its title as industry standard, and photo editors of all levels love the fact that it usually contains the most advanced features available. If you absolutely must have the most photo editing tools with graphic design options, then Photoshop is still the best choice. Referring to the above recommendations on the best Photoshop alternatives, now you may have a decision that which your own preferred software is to edit your photos. Each editing tool has its own pros and cons. The most important factor to choose the proper one may lies in your specific needs.

    In conclusion, if you prefer the simple interface and the easy editing processes, here Leawo PhotoIns would be strongly recommended. If you would like no subscription tool which is equipped with clean design, you can choose one of the most powerful photo editors - Affinity Photo, which can also be compatible with iPad. If you tend to download a free photo editor which may only have the simple and basic functions and features, GIMP and PicMonkey can be your best choices. Based on your special needs on upscaling photos, Upscale Pics can be the one you should depend on.