Top 5 free picture editors

The quality of your digital images can have a huge impact on the success of your business. Not every photo you take is going to be perfect though. So, how do you achieve professional results without breaking the bank? Well, there are several fantastic free picture editing applications that can help make sure your images look their best.

To help you, we've reviewed them here so you can select the right one for you. Your decision should be based on a number of factors:

  1. Your skill level when it comes to image manipulation. If you're not familiar with photo editing, you'll need a straightforward app that can intuitively auto correct and adjust elements for you.
  2. The level of editing required. If you'd like more advanced features you may need more sophisticated software.
  3. The image use case. You'll probably need different resolutions and formats for print and digital, so make sure your editor can do this.

Here are the benefits and features of some of the most mainstream free picture editing tools currently on the market.

Canva

Canva

Canva is a popular cloud-based editing software that users can access in their browser.

You can achieve professional results on desktop and mobile devices by using some of Canva's templates that offer a useful starting point for your designs. They're categorised too, making it easy to create promotional content for a range of use cases.

You can perform basic photo enhancements, like adjusting the brightness, contrast and saturation too.

Canva's free features mean you can maintain a professional look for your company on the go, and you can gain access to the more advanced editing tools, fonts, and templates for a subscription or small one-off payments.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Photoshop

It's safe to say that Adobe has established itself as the industry leader where photo and image editing are concerned.

Photoshop Express doesn't offer all the bells and whistles that professional photographers and designers need, but you will be able to make quick and effective edits - without paying for the full suite.

You can use this app to add text and create collages, as well as all the usual basic image editing features you'd need for making simple changes. You'll only be able to get JPGs out of this program, though. It runs on Flash too, so those are a couple of points to take into account.

GIMP

GIMP

Many people swear by GIMP as the best free photo editor. It's got lots of tools and capabilities, and is ideal for everyone from beginners to more experienced users. More advanced users will appreciate the customisable brushes and layer masks, as well as the ability to create animated GIFs.

As an open-source piece of software, the platform is continuously improving, which is excellent news for users. However, it's worth noting that GIMP is only available as a desktop programme and the interface may seem a little 'busy' at first.

Pixlr Editor

Pixlr

This is an online photo editor, and also a favourite amongst critics. The interface design takes a lot of inspiration from Adobe's editor and offers exceptional features like:

  • Level adjustment
  • automatic enhancement tools
  • customisable brushes
  • layers
  • masks

The great thing about this editor is that it doesn't require any downloading�"you can just visit the site whenever you like and get going�"and it can be used across all devices. However, due to the fact that it uses Flash�"a plugin that Adobe is going to discontinue�"you may find yourself having to pay to use the HTML version of the program soon.

Paint.Net

Paint-Net

College undergraduates developed this free program as the next-generation answer to Microsoft Paint. However, it's functionality is considerably more advanced. Paint.Net allows you to use layers, while it supports plugins and provides the photo enhancement tools you are most likely to need, such as working with curves and sharpening.

It certainly offers enough features to achieve professional results, but it's not on a par with PhotoShop. One of the biggest advantages of Paint.Net though is that it records all of your changes, and you can undo and redo as much as you like.

Free software will always have limitations but any of these photo editors will give you some great tools for creating and editing images.

Try and few out and see how you get on - we'd love to hear what you think.

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