Best free and cheap photo editing software

Beyond the ultra-lightweight likes of Microsoft Paint, photo editing software has traditionally tended to be pretty expensive, but there’s no need to spend a fortune for picture-perfect photos. There are plenty of free photo editors around, from old-school classics like GIMP to a few more recent upstarts.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best free photo editing software to help get you started, and towards the end we’ve even thrown in one or two paid options just in case you’re looking for a Photoshop alternative with a few more advanced features.

Best free photo editing software: GIMP

Get GIMP for free

GIMP (aka GNU Image Manipulation Program) has basically been around forever (at least in internet terms), tracing its origins way back to 1995 when it was created as an open source equivalent to Photoshop.

These days you can get it for Windows, OS X, or Linux, and it’s entirely free. While it lacks some polish compared to some of our other selections, you can’t fault GIMP for its selection of features, which is about as comprehensive as you can get without laying down some money. It helps that the layout is pretty close to Photoshop’s, making it immediately familiar to anyone who’s dabbled with the Adobe program.

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