I love photoshop. I really do – in my line of work, I don’t think I couldn’t live without it. But there are free ways to achieve the same effects that Photoshop gives, especially if you don’t need the advanced photo editing.


Why Photoshop might not be for you 

  • you just don’t need all of the features to justify the price.
  • you’re not looking to get technical or deal with a learning curve – you need something simpler.
  • you want something that you can use right from your browser – not a separate application.


Why I only Selected 3 Options

I’m not leading you on a wild goose chase to try and test EVERY photoshop alternative. Are an entrepreneur who relies heavily on Photoshop for photos and graphics, I’ve tried and tested different options. These are the 3 that I think are best for your projects. They’re each a little different so you might actually meet all of your needs by using a combo of a few – like I do!


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Best Free Photoshop Alternative 2018

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While this isn’t strictly a Photoshop alternative when it comes to photo editing, Canva is my go-to for most graphic projects. While other people use Photoshop, I create my product images, opt-ins, ebooks, quote images, Instagram story templates…. everything in this free program.

Why? Because it’s so damn easy. There is a drag and drop interface, no complicated menus, and tons of free, built-in elements that are available to use. The biggest reason

They have popular size templates – so you never need to go Google searching for the size of a Pinterest graphic, Facebook header, or e-book page. Plus, if you have no design skills, they give tons of pre-made themes for each size.

Canva is truly the easiest way to create graphics.


Why it’s a good photoshop alternative:
  • Though you’re not using traditional Photoshop “layers”, you can create layered effects in your graphics.
  • You can add images to mockups (see how here).
  • Create graphics much more easily.
  • Use right in your browser – no heavy duty program taking up space and slowing down your computer.
  • Store your designs in your Canva account – no need to save drafts or even finished products to your computer.
  • Need the paid version to save files with transparent backgrounds. For example, if you wanted a logo with a transparent background to display over images or different backgrounds, you need the paid version to save anything without a background.
  • Cant create “warped” layers. For example, if you want to add your own image to a computer screen on an angle, you can’t do that in Canva. The layers are all pre-made shapes – size can be adjusted but changing angles and warping the shape can’t be done.


Best Free Photoshop Alternative 2018

Photo from MacUpdate.



Gimp is a true photoshop alternative – it has the most similar features and the two programs actually have quite similar interfaces in terms of style.

Gimp definitely does not have all of the capabilities of photoshop, but this likely won’t bother a beginner. It is also not as good as photoshop for digital or graphic design projects, but people looking to edit photos and do some graphic work will probably still enjoy it and find most of the features they need.


Why it’s a good Photoshop alternative:
  • Many of the features you’ll need, you’ll find. The programs are definitely the most similar and this is listed on many websites as THE best Photoshop alternative – it’s the closest thing you’ll find.
  • Super similar to Photoshop – just free!.
  • Takes up much less space on your computer (smaller program size).
  • Great photo editing capabilities and a great intro to the type of editing photoshop can do.
  • Limited options – but this probably won’t bother a beginner.
  • It is a desktop program so you will need to download and store on your computer.
  • The interface is a bit complicated and the program does take some practice and learning – just like Photoshop.


Best Free Photoshop Alternative 2018

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Pixlr is another cool editor – and truly my personal favorite Photoshop alternative as far as photos go. Although Gimp is closer to Photoshop, I don’t use it as much because it’s a desktop program. Pixlr is a browser app, which is so much simpler and take less of a toll on my computer. Especially if I just need to make a quick tweak, I really prefer to edit in a new tab or window, instead of running a separate program.

That being said, Pixlr does have less options so there might be times where you might want to have Gimp around too. I would start with Pixlr and add Gimp into the mix if you hit a roadblock with your capabilities.


Why it’s a good photoshop alternative:
  • Some of the same features as Photoshop (although less than Gimp).
  • The same features become much more intuitive and easy-to-use. I love the color-replace tool, for example, because it’s so much easier to use than others I’ve found, including Photoshop and Gimp.
  • Use right in your browser – no heavy duty program taking up space and slowing down your computer.
  • Simpler interface, compared to both Photoshop and Gimp.
  • Limited options – but, again, this probably won’t bother a beginner.




I think a mix of all 3 – or at least 2 – will probably make your life easiest. I personally use all 3:

  1. I use Canva to create my designs and graphics.
  2. Pixlr Editor is my go-to for quick photo editing needs like color replacements (because you can do it right from your browser).
  3. I’ll use Photoshop (but you could use Gimp) for any advanced needs that I have.

These are all amazing tools and they have different strengths and weaknesses. It will depend on the project and the requirement but I would try out all of these programs and use the one that makes the most sense for the situation.


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