Best FREE Alternatives to Photoshop | Sites + Apps

Quite frequently I’m asked how I edit photos and create graphics. The assumption is always that I use Photoshop, or one of the programs Adobe offers. That is not the case, though. Outside of the one graphic design course I’ve taken and my part-time job, I actually never use Photoshop. And that’s not to say that I don’t like the program or that I wouldn’t like to use it regularly, because I certainly would; however I’m a college student ballin’ on a budget and the Adobe Suite would not be so sweet to my bank account. Thankfully my brother has been dabbling in the graphic design/photo realm for a while, so from the get-go I knew of these alternatives. So in case you’re in the same boat as me budget-wise, here are the best free alternatives to Photoshop!

Pixlr (online + app)

This is the first photo/graphic editing program I was exposed to way back in middle school. Pixlr is a program by Autodesk (the inc that makes CAD!). While this program has it’s limitations in terms of movability and flexibility of objects, and no guidelines, it has the important bells and whistles of Photoshop; adjusting color and light, crop, dodge, burn, the magic wand, layers, text, shapes, etc. It even includes some built in filters! This is also available in app form, which I highly recommend for fellow Instagram addicts!

Pixelmator (app)

Out of the three I’m sharing with you, this is by far my favorite program and the one I use most frequently. It is the most similar to Photoshop without actually having the price tag of Photoshop. This one isn’t quite free, though. If I can recall correctly it was around $3-$4; still extremely inexpensive for what it is. Like Pixlr it has the basic sidebar tools found on Photoshop and more filters than what Pixlr presents. What Pixlr lacks, this program has. Objects have better mobility and there are guidelines. Highly recommend this option!

Piktochart (online)

This program is unlike the two above. While it isn’t a photo editing program per say, you can still make some pretty cool infographics, reports, etc on this platform. It is so easy and extremely user friendly. This site is great for beginners looking to dip their toes in the graphic design world or individuals wanting a simple and surefire way to create a good looking graphic!

Picmonkey (online)

Similarly to Piktochart, Picmonkey isn’t quite like Photoshop; however you can still achieve high quality graphics from using this type of program. This is a site frequently used and raved about. When I used it I enjoyed it… until one day while using it I was met with a fishy pop-up that forced me to “force quit” out of my browser. 😒 Haven’t used it since then; however it is a neat little site for creating graphics, especially thumbnails and the like, and provides a plethora of airbrush/enhancing tools for photos in case you’re into that.

Most frequently I get asked about how I edit my Instagram photos. Regarding that, the only editor I use from this list is the Pixlr app and quite a few others. If you’d like to read about those platforms, let me know and I’d be happy to share!

Hope you enjoyed this post! What platform(s) do you use to edit photos and create graphics?


  1. I use Picmonkey sometimes and I like it but to be honest, nothing can beat Photoshop (if you know how to use it, because I'm still trying to figure out many things!).

  2. Hey,
    A great alternative for photoshop is the free software gimp. I'm not sure if they have an application for smartphones also, but it's great when work with your computer without haveing an internet connection.

  3. Wow. I never knew these sites even existed. Thank you!