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The Definitive Best Free Photo Editor Online (and 10 Alternatives)

5 Best Free Photo Editors in 2020

Whether you’re a YouTube star or run your own online store, high-quality photos and graphics are essential for your success.

Why?

Great visuals are an indispensable part of our online presence, building trust, and making our brands look their best.

But there’s no need to burn money to achieve the best aesthetics.

There are plenty of photo editors available that don’t cost as much like Adobe’s Photoshop but still work a treat.

But how do you actually edit images online for free?

Usually, all you need to do is sign up with your email and you’ll be ready to get started.

No strings attached – just upload your picture, work on the edits until you’re happy, and export the finished result.

In this article, we’ll explore the 10 best free photo editors to bump your photo quality up a notch.

1. Pixlr

Pixlr editor

Hailed as the best free photo editing alternative to Photoshop, the browser-based Pixlr is packed with features suitable for both professional and casual photo editing.

You have layers, effects, advanced color pickers, and a range of other editing tools at your disposal.

And if you’re looking for some more premium features, such as custom brushes, auto enhancement, and color correction, this little powerhouse has your back.

You can toggle between the simplified Pixlr X interface, and if you need more power, Pilxr E has your back.

For those with a few dollars to spare, you can access more templates, AI tools, fonts, and premium stock images for as little as $5/month with the premium version.

Pixlr Pro is compatible with popular formats such as PSD and Sketch, so you can easily edit projects imported from other photo editing apps.

Key takeaways:

  • Accessibility and features. Considering it’s a free online photo editor, Pixlr packs a considerable punch for anyone looking for an affordable photo editor.
  • Intuitive interface. Pixlr’s designed to be as convenient as Photoshop’s.
  • Integration options. You can create an account to save your work in the Pixlr Library and edit photos saved in Google Drive, Facebook, Flickr, and Picasa.

2. GIMP

GIMP editor

If you have some photo editing experience, look in the direction of GIMP.

Its key selling points include a customizable interface, advanced retouching options, as well as format compatibility.

And it works on most modern operating systems, too.

Being an open-source online photo editor, GIMP can seamlessly integrate with popular programming languages such as Python and Perl.

Plus, it has a registry filled with community-made plugins you can use to tailor the software to your needs.

Overall, if you know what you’re doing, GIMP will treat you to a notable selection of photo editing tools, from perspective changes to smart selections and healing tools.

Key takeaways:

  • Jam-packed with advanced features. This editing software offers an impressive array of professional tools with no strings attached – it’s a great Photoshop alternative.
  • Free to use. No ads, no hidden price, and it’s open-source too.
  • Steep learning curve. Casual users might find the tool a bit intimidating due to the somewhat crowded and relatively complex interface.

3. BeFunky

BeFunky editor

In need of a simple photo editor for minor edits?

BeFunky’s got you covered. This browser-based photo editing software makes editing pics as easy as ever.

With a drag-and-drop interface, plenty of creative overlays, and enhancement options, you can edit your photos with the click of a mouse.

BeFunky is not only convenient to use, but it’s also available as a mobile app on Android and iOS – making editing photos on the go easy.

As far as online photo editors go, BeFunky offers three editing modes: a basic photo editor, a photo collage maker, and a design creator that allows you to create banners, brochures, infographics, and other graphic design projects.

Its most remarkable features include batch processing and editing, background textures, and easy-to-use photo filters.

Plus, you can unlock more features with BeFunky Plus starting from $6.99/mo.

Key takeaways:

  • Great for retouching. BeFunky offers plenty of useful features for casual photo editing on the go.
  • Different editing modes. The well-designed editing modes are intuitive and easy to navigate, leaving no room for guesswork.
  • Best user experience with a paid plan. Most of BeFunky’s most useful features are not free – if you’re on a budget, it might not be the best online photo editor for you.

4. Fotor

Fotor editor

Much like BeFunky, Fotor works wonders for casual photo editing and quick photo fixes.

Its drag-and-drop editing features are straightforward, meaning that beginners can get the hang of how to edit photos easily.

Since Fotor is designed more as an image enhancer than a complicated editor, it will feel lacking in features if you’re looking for Photoshop-level image editing.

Aside from offering basic editing features, Fotor is loaded with an extensive library of special photo effects: think premium-quality filters, stickers, and borders.

The best thing is that you can use Fotor almost anywhere: there’s a web-browser editor, as well as desktop software for both Windows and Mac.

Or, if you’re into smartphone photography, you can also use the photo editor app on your phone.

The editor also supports batch processing and one-tap enhancement for quick and easy photo editing, making it a great tool for jaw-dropping social media posts.

If you want to take things to the next level, the pro version can be unlocked starting from $8.99/mo.

Key takeaways:

  • Best for beginners. Overall, Fotor is a great photo editor for novices who look for simplicity and speed.
  • Image format and resolution support. Fotor doesn’t compromise on quality: high-resolution file export is available for those who need it.
  • No advanced features. Since Fotor markets itself for beginners, it lacks in more complex and sophisticated editing features, and might not be the best free photo editor for a pro.

5. VSCO

VSCO landing page

Since its launch, VSCO quickly became one of the online photo editors for Instagrammers.

And it still remains the best contender when it comes to smartphone photo editors.

It’s perfect for people who want to edit a picture fast and share it simultaneously on social media.

Although this free picture editor offers conventional editing tools (think photo resizing and basic adjustment features), VSCO shines when it comes to its great selection of ready-to-use presets and special effects.

Like the filters and overall adjustments you’ve made while editing a photo?

VSCO lets users also create templates based on their own custom settings for later use.

While the free version is already perfectly convenient for most, VSCO X offers more filters, more advanced tools, and exclusive educational content.

The price isn’t too bad, either – for $4.99 a month, VSCO X offers good value for your money.

Key takeaways:

  • One of the best free photo editing apps for smartphones. Many Instagram influencers swear by VSCO.
  • Comprehensive presets. With the extensive number of user-friendly presets and settings, you can polish your graphics in a few taps or less.
  • Save your own templates. You can only save one template at a time in the free version, while the paid version allows up to ten.

6. Photoscape X

Photoscape editor

At first glance, Photoscape X doesn’t necessarily blow you away like a piece of software trending TechRadar would rave about.

But don’t judge a book by its covers: this photo editing software has a surprisingly lot to offer.

Supporting both Windows and Mac, the desktop software has a stylish and intuitive interface and a wealth of different editing tools available.

Users can choose from different filters, effects, and layers, or go more technical with raw file conversion, batch image editing, and much more.

Although Photoscape is more targeted towards beginners, it’s comprehensive enough to offer a lot for a more seasoned editor.

Key takeaways:

  • No browser or mobile app support. You need to download a desktop version to use Photoscape.
  • Animated GIF creation. Who doesn’t want to learn to create GIFs?
  • Plenty of online tutorials. Photoscape sure wants to help you to get started – they offer lots of video tutorials on their website.

7. Canva

Canva editor

While many know Canva as a platform for pretty presentation slides and CV templates, you can easily edit a photo or two with it, too.

After its 2012 launch, the Australian design platform has become one of the most popular online photo editors for beginners.

And no wonder: the sheer number of different templates make it easy for a total novice to create beautiful designs in next to no time.

Canva’s design tools are easy to use but definitely more focused on creating visuals for social media and business environments.

When upgrading to Canva Pro or Enterprise, users get additional access to premium-only templates and a huge stock photo library, on top of other tools (think brand kits and custom fonts) tailored for small businesses.

Key takeaways:

  • An enormous template library. Think of almost any possible graphic design project – chances are that Canva has a template for that.
  • Easy to use. Canva makes graphic design easy for beginners, as the tool is very intuitive to use.
  • Stock photos. If you have a paid plan, you get access to a high-end stock photo library.

8. Photoshop Express

Photoshop Express landing page

Put your hand up if you have heard of Adobe’s Photoshop.

But chances are that you haven’t met Photoshop’s younger sibling, Photoshop Express.

Continuing Adobe’s high standards of excellence, this free online photo editor has everything you would need in a mobile photo editor.

Photoshop Express’s impressive auto-fix feature adjusts everything from contract to exposure in a single click.

The app also offers other effects, features, and extras to make mobile edits easy – and if you have a Creative Cloud subscription, you can continue working on your photos seamlessly in the real Photoshop.

Making collages is also easy, and features like stickers and different text styles make it easy to share your creations on social media.

Key takeaways:

  • Only available on mobile. If you want to be also editing a picture on your desktop, you need to look at alternatives.
  • One-click auto fix. Touch up your photo and share it on social media fast.
  • Beginner-friendly. Photoshop Express is the best online photo editor for beginners: mind you, it’s the next best thing to the real deal.

9. PicMonkey

PicMonkey

Want to edit pictures online and also work on your social media posts?

Try PicMonkey, a design tool aimed at businesses and individuals alike who look for simplicity and speed.

From touching up your product photos to creating stunning posts for Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram (to name a few), you can expect hundreds of different templates, an intuitive image editor, one-click filter tools, and much more.

Although you have to have a paid plan to use PicMonkey, you can try the tool out before committing to anything: there’s a 7-day free trial available.

The basic plan gives you most of the functionalities you’ll need if you run an online store, from multiple export formats (JPG and PNG) to real-time collaboration and file share.

If you want to use PicMonkey’s more exclusive tools (think one-click background remover or stock images), you should be prepared to upgrade to a more expensive plan.

Key takeaways:

  • Best for beginners. Thanks to the intuitive and well-sectioned interface, PicMonkey is a great option for beginners.
  • Paid-only platform. PicMonkey is one of the few paid-only platforms on our list, but you can try it out for free.
  • Plenty of one-click tools. Have no idea how to remove the background of an image or resize your designs for different platforms? Don’t worry, the platform does it for you.

10. piZap

piZap editor

Looking for an online photo editor that lets you edit images, create collages, and add frames and texts to your creations?

piZap might be the tool that you’re looking for.

Packed full of different design features, the editor has hundreds of templates for social media posts and flyers.

But the tool also caters to some rarer projects: not all online photo editors let you create phone backgrounds and app icons like piZap.

The accompanying mobile apps for both Android and iOs make it easy to create images while on the run, and editing is made easy with plenty of sliders to adjust anything from colors to exposure and contrast.

Overall, piZap is a fantastic example of a modern and sleek free online photo editor.

Key takeaways:

  • Rarer templates. Want to create a logo for your business or an icon for your app? That’s easy with piZap.
  • Easy editor. No need to worry about understanding the ins and outs of HTML – this platform uses sliders for adjusting image temperature, brightness, and the rest.
  • Best upgrading options. If you want access to more fonts and some stock image credit, you can upgrade from as little as $2.99 per month.

What are photo editors?

A photo editor is a piece of software that lets you alter images.

Usually, you can manipulate your photos to the extreme or make more subtle tweaks to colors or the brightness of your snap.

Some photo editors require you to download and install the software to your desktop computer, while others are browser-based: in most cases, you only need a stable internet connection and a Windows or an Apple computer.

Increasingly, smartphone editors are becoming more and more mainstream, making it easy to share and upload your finished photos to platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

To find the best free photo editing tools for your business and needs, start by answering these questions:

  • What types of graphics and visuals do you need?
  • On which online platforms do you mostly interact with your audience?
  • How many people will be working on your visuals?
  • Are you looking to scale up your team or your image needs at some point in the future?
Person editing photos on a laptop

Why do I need to edit my photos?

Post-processing your photos is important everywhere online because most people will only skim through your content.

But don’t despair: there’s a simple trick to get people invested in your posts – just throw in some images.

According to Venngage, having visuals in a content piece increases visitors’ desire to read by 80%.

Posts accompanied by images earn 180% more engagement than those without.

Not just any image will do though; visual consistency is key.

This means that you should be ensuring that all visual elements you use for branding are consistent in quality and design.

Since 67% of consumers judge a product based on the quality of the image they see online, high-quality visual content is a great way to make a statement.

Plus, that way you’ll also leave a lasting impression your audience can relate to.

Written by

Author avatar

Martina

Martina is an expert in writing about website building and eCommerce, but her real passion is helping others grow their small business online. From solid branding to punchy marketing strategies, you can count on her for the best growth tricks. In her spare time, Martina loves nothing more than a good scoop of ice-cream and a sweaty match of tennis.

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