Free Alternative to Photoshop and Lightroom

Alternative free photo editors and free image retouching alternative to photoshop
More than 110 photo editors alternative, photo effect, image manipulation, meme generator and paint and drawing freeware alternative

More? The last update of 110 free alternative to Photoshop Lightroom i have reviewed with pictures of each free photo editor in action.


You don't a have budget for a post processing software for your photographs?

You do not want to give again your credit card to another website?

You are searching for a free Photoshop or free Lightroom like to post process your images ?

You are searching for a real professional post processing RAW Apps! (not a simplistic solution like Picasa, iPhoto, or similar).


Some of you might be worried for whiching Operating System ?

All ... almost, but all the listing below are meant for at least the 2 or 3 major existing OS which can be : Mac OS X, Linux and Microsoft Windows.

Gimp is free and it's a real alternative to Photoshop
Gimp is free and it's a real alternative to Photoshop

There is plenty alternative to Photoshop or Lightroom out there, either online or on your desktop, it's not the free Apps which are missing!

But before to start i would like to give you some recommendations : download those free software only on their original website or/and using the link provided by those original website on their original website, everything else can lead to get a virus on your computer (i might be too much paranoiac but ... we never know). All the links i provide here are just a link to their original website's home page, that's all! You have to search on their website where to download the free software (usually you just have to follow the download link or register before to be able to download it).


Free photography software for your desktop.

  • Gimp : The real alternative to Photoshop, it work also with layers, have plenty of filters, options, tools, it will be too long to enumerate all what can do Gimp. Associated with UFRaw you will feel like you have adobe camera raw included. For Mac OS X, there is a special version of Gimp that i recommend strongly because it already include some interesting Plugins like Gimmick, UFRaw and more.

  • CinePaint : CinePaint is a free open source retouching and painting software that support very high image deep colors, such as 32bits formats or 16bits TIFF, it also support more conventional formats like JPG and PNG. This software seems to be the less updated among other, but it's a very powerful App and when something is working well, do you really need updates ? if the main website is not maintained, you can still download it here (on source forge).

  • RawTherapee :  If there is a free software which can do what Lightroom do and even more but stay easy to use it's RawTherapee ! It will post process all your Raw, JPG, TIFF, DNG and more, a very powerful tool !

  • LightZone : Like it's name said it work by zone, extremely powerful, plenty of options, a huge help on their forum, LightZone is a very nice free App to have and use, it's a different way to work than LightRoom, but it's a nice way and it's easy to use. The help is integrated to the App, so no internet connection needed if you need help in the beginning.

  • Photivo : Photivo is a free and open source photo processor. It handles your RAW files as well as TIFF, JPEG, BMP, PNG and many more. To my knowledge, it offers the most flexible and powerful denoise, sharpen and local contrast algorithms. it is not aimed at beginners.

  • Darktable : Darktable look and feel like LightRoom (look at the picture bellow). Darktable is an open source photography workflow application and RAW developer. A virtual light-table and darkroom for photographers. It manages your digital negatives in a database, lets you view them through a zoom-able light-table and enables you to develop raw images and enhance them.

  • UFRaw : This software is an UFO appears among other software. The Unidentified Flying Raw (UFRaw) read and manipulate RAW images from digital cameras. It can be used on its own or as a Gimp plug-in. UFRaw allow the user to apply ICC color profiles. For Nikon users UFRaw has the advantage that it can read the camera's tone curves. Even if you don't own a Nikon, you can still apply a Nikon curve to your images.

  • Photoscape : For Mac and Windows, it's a surprisingly nice editor. In my opinion more aimed at the beginners and advanced photographers, but if you shoot RAW you cannot use it, it does not read RAW (at least in the free Mac version which i tried or may be it come with the Pro version which is an "In App Purchase"). Having said that it's already fully loaded of nice and free editing tools, filters, borders, merging tools, photos collage, slicer, brushes and pens, stickers, animated GIF, and so on. In fact it is a really nice editor and viewer organizer too, i might keep it on my computer.

  • Fotor : Is a nice and very easy to use editor, plus it's also a free online editor. To choose the version for your operating system scroll down to the bottom and select the link under "PLATFORMS", or here for Mac, for Windows, for Windows 8... They do have also an App for iOS and Android. You can touch up your pictures, make a collage, a card, add borders and frames, add some effects, it nice and very easy.

  • XnView : It's around 15 years now that i know XnView (called XnViewMP for Mac and Linux) it's an awesome software for managing your photographs with a powerful and very fast batch processing system, it can read, view, and process all your images, and when i say all it's All! It can recognize more than 500 formats.

  • Hugin : This software is a bit special, it is specialized to stitch many pictures together, it's a Panorama Photo Stitcher, and i personally think it have it's place here, because often we need to stitch some photo to do nice panorama and Hugin is free.

  • Fiji : Fiji is a very special free editor and processing software, not aimed to beginners! It's made with the famous ImageJ2 at the core where they add a lot of features, add-on and plugins. Like ImageJ it is an image processing program designed for scientific multidimensional images. It can be very useful for photographers for extreme processing like for example using FFT (Fast Fourrier Transform) to remove patterns of a scanned photograph without affecting the quality of the picture. It's a must to have always your a computer, one day it might help you to do a job than even Photoshop and it's best plugins cannot.
Darktable has almost the taste of LightRoom © Patrice Laborda
Darktable has almost the taste of LightRoom © Patrice Laborda

All among internet, for sure there is a lot more free Apps, like Rawker or this well known Raw Photo Processor (called RPP for the friends) and so on. You might know some that i don't know, and i will be happy if you name them in a comment, but over all i think i gave you the most well known which are compatible with multiple operating system like Windows, Mac OSX and Linux, and the last and not the least, they are all known to be continuously maintain and updated regularly.

I would like to add 2 - 3 Free software which are not meant for photography, but for Drawing, Logo, Painting, Vector drawing, etc ...

  • Krita : Drawing and painting, it's fully functional and free. it offers also CMYK support, HDR painting, etc ...

  • FireAlpaca : Drawing and painting too, very simple, more simple than GIMP but with plenty of tools and windows are totally customizable which is a nice functionality, a must to try.
  • Inkscape : If you are an illustrator, a designer or a web designer or even someone who just needs to create vector imagery, take a look at Inkscape. It have all the tools you need and it's free!

In this next Photography Blog, i am giving you the most serious free online alternative to Photoshop Lightroom. What does that mean ? That you can also post process your pictures, photographs, images from your browser anywhere in the world, you just need an internet connection !

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