120 Free desktop photo editor's software alternative to Photoshop Lightroom.

Free Photo editors and Free image photoshop alternative
More than 120 photo editors, photo effect, image manipulation, meme generator and even paint and drawing freeware are listed below

120 free images and photos editing software alternative to Photoshop and Lightroom for your desktop are listed (below) with a link to their original website (to be sure that you will download the original photo editing app and the latest update), so if you are searching to download the best of the best free photo editor software or a picture editing application which look like Photoshop or Lightroom or not, here, you can choose between a lot of them.


All the reviewed free photos editors are cross-platform, which mean it can be for Mac OS X, Windows or Linux at the same time, even iOS and Android for some.


Here we go with a list and a review almost side by side of free photos editors and raster graphics editor to download to your desktop (or mobile phone), all are free photo editing alternative to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.


120 Free desktop alternative Photoshop editor, image editing, RAW converter and Lightroom alike.

Lightzone is a photo browser and a powerful photo editor
Lightzone has a browser to cull your pictures with a powerful editor

LightZone is a free photo editing software with a zoomable lighttable, called also lightbox (photos browser, photos organizer and photos viewer) and a RAW photo processor software, which deserve to be a lot more well known. Lightzone has everything you need to retouch and edit your photos. All the editing tools are also able to work locally in the picture.
For Windows, Mac OSX and Linux...

The user interface of GIMP, a free alternative to Photoshop
The user interface of GIMP, Free Image and photo editor software alternative to Photoshop

Gimp Means GNU Image Manipulation Program and it might be the most well known free photo processor and editor, image converter and retouching. GIMP is not aimed to beginners, and it is as complex as Photoshop and often compared to it for image composition and image authoring.
For Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, Gimp is a lot...

The old user interface of CinePaint, free photo editing software
The old user interface of CinePaint, free photo editing software

CinePaint is a fork from GIMP and was used in the professional motion picture industry (see Wikipedia). Cinepaint can work with high bit depths 16 and 32 bits color too.
For Windows, Mac OSX and Linux, this photo editor software can ...

Photivo Free Editing and Processing photo software
Photivo Free Editing and Processing photo software

Photivo is not aimed at the beginners. Photivo free photo and RAW editor is extremely well featured with plenty of tools. If you are very picky on your photo post processing, this is the processing editor software for you, and it can work in 16 bits processing with GIMP.

Darktable is featured with a browser, a photo editor and more
Darktable is featured with a browser, a photo editor and more

Darktable is very similar to Lightroom with almost the same layout. Darktable ergonomics is also very similar to Lightroom. Darktable can manage your folders, pictures and digital negatives in a database with keywords and rating and has advanced photos culling functions.

Based on the Unix system this Raw processor is for Mac OS Xand many Linux distribution, FreeBSD as well as...

RawTherapee : A RAW processor and image editor a bit complex
RawTherapee : A RAW processor and image editor a bit complex

RawTherapee is, may be, the most well known "Lightroom like" and "competitor", if i can say that, which in my humble opinion do not deserve this popularity, but it's my personal taste and i think that LightZone or Darktable can do the same job in an easier way and with a better ergonomic. Do not get me wrong, this RAW photo editor is a very ...

Photoscape is more than a free photo editor
Photoscape is more than a photo editor, it can do collage and gif

PhotoScape X is surprisingly very nice ! I was truly surprised by this pictures editing and processing software. It is not a RAW editor but it have plenty of tools, some are in the app purchase, but still the free version is fully loaded with ...

UFRaw user Interface, not so aimed at the beginners
UFRaw user Interface, not so aimed at the beginners

UFRaw puzzled me, i do not know how it is acting with Linux but on my Mac OSX i was disappointed! The only advantage of this RAW converter and image editor is that it have an automatic lenses correction in it, but...

Fotor is a full featured photo editor
Fotor a complete photo editing suite with filters and effects

Fotor is made for Mac OSX , Windows , iPhone and Android (scroll down on their website to find the link for your phone or tablet) is aimed at the beginner and advanced photographer editor. it is a very simple RAW converter, it is fast and has plenty of effects, it have a well developed "tilt shift" function, many kind of frames and borders, you can write and and do collage too...

SeaShore a very simple image editor
SeaShore a very simple image editor look, but more powerful than expected

SeaShore is an open source images editor for Cocoa. It features gradients, textures and anti-aliasing for both text and brush strokes.

It supports multiple layers, alpha channel editing and core image effects. For Mac OS X, this editing image software feel...

User Interfave of Pinta © Pinta project
User Interfave of Pinta © Pinta project

I didn't try Pinta because i am on Mac OSX and to use Pinta (1.4 MB only) i needed also to download and install "Mono" (+220 MB) which is a framework for Pinta ...

Sorry but the ratio is too huge for a software i might never use again after testing it...

Pixelitor is a very nice and well made light Photoshop alike
Pixelitor is a very nice and well made light Photoshop alike

Pixelitor surprised me by it's simplicity, and a very easy to use photo editor with a lightweight Photoshop look, but very well featured with useful photo editing tools.


It work in a Java environment, mean it work on many different operating system. For Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and BSD. It is a very efficient free photos editor for desktop.

User Interface of Photo! Editor software © Photo! Editor
User Interface of Photo! Editor software © Photo! Editor

Photo! Editor is for Windows, iOS and Android. It have a good basic tools library to enhance your pictures. i didn't tried it, so i cannot say so much about it, just go to the original website and see what this Photo editor is all about.

Pixlr Desktop image editor is a must for filters, layouts and frames
Pixlr Desktop image editor is a must for filters, layouts and frames

Pixlr Desktop : It does convert RAW image. At first i was not sure because of the need to register and open an account (even if it's free), after a second thought and so after to register and install it, i was very surprised how nice this free editing photos and raw processor software was in fact. For Windows and Mac OS X. You got all the basics to edit a picture, even a double exposure possibilities ...

XnViewMP is an image browser and viewer photos organizer
XnViewMP is an image browser, viewer organizer very fast.

XnViewMP and me, it's something like 15 years that i know this one may be the best free photos and images organizer and viewer, and it does many other things very useful for everyday use.

XnView can rename recursively folders of pictures or an entire album by batch processing and...

User Interface of perfect Effects 9, editing photos software
User Interface of perfect Effects 9, editing photos software

On1 Perfect Effects 9 Free : is now replaced by On1 Effects 10 Free. The differences between the v9 and the v10 are mainly on the right side of the user interface, but basically, the 2 versions are quite the same for the user experience.

Because it use layers, brush, mask, blending mode, and...

User Interface of Luminance HDR is very simple and effective
User Interface of Luminance HDR is very simple and effective

Luminance HDR is for Mac OSX and Windows, HDR mean High Dynamic Range, the concept here is to take the same picture with multiple exposures that you blend together to have a High dynamic range. Luminance can also simulate multiple exposure with only one picture and...

User Interface of Hugin photos Panorama Stitcher
User Interface of Hugin photos Panorama Stitcher

Hugin Panorama Photo Stitcher is for Mac OSX and Windows. I didn't really use or test it because i didn't have many pictures to stitch together, i just throw few pictures which have nothing to do together just to see the interface and how it handle the pictures. Interesting interface, it took a bit of time to...

Fiji a scientific image editor which goes far beyond photoshop
Fiji a scientific image editor which goes far beyond photoshop

Fiji For Mac OS X, Windows and Linux or imageJ2 are the same at the core, Fiji have just more plugins and addons inside.

Those 2 scientific image processing and image analysis / image editor are not aimed at the beginners ... at all !

Let's re-phrase it : beginners you have no idea where you might get in. Fiji is fully featured with...

The very simple user interface of Rawker might be disappointing
The very simple user interface of Rawker might be disappointing at the first look, but what it does, it does it very well !

Rawker is for Mac OSX. It's a free photo editing software, which has a very simple but effective user interface, and it has batch processing abilities.


A powerful editing software with a nice and very simple GUI where you can quickly adjust your RAW photos and convert them in JPEG or...

the very simple User interface of a powerful editor that is Skitch
the very simple User interface of a powerful editor that is Skitch

Skitch is for Mac OS X and Windows, I wanted to finish the "reviews" by this little image editor which is not an image editor but something you might fall in love when you want to very quickly draw annotation, indication, markup tool, underline something, do a screenshot, drag'n drop a picture or whatever will do for this famous sentence:

"A Picture is worth thousands words".

RPP is a free Raw Photo Processor
RPP is a free Raw Photo Processor

RPP - Raw Photo Processor is for Mac OS X, but might be installed as a Photoshop or Lightroom plugin. RPP is not aimed for beginners and people who like sliders.

RPP is a precision tool to develop Raw pictures. First at all it will...

IJFR instant jpeg from raw
IJFR instant jpeg from raw

IJFR Instant JPEG from RAW for Mac OS X and Windows. This little software doesn't do a lot, but what it does, it does it extremely well!

This little application work with the right click on the mouse when you put your mouse on the top of a RAW file or a full folder of RAW photos, it extract the JPEG embedded in it (right click on a RAW picture > JPG).

XnRetro an Instagram alike application
XnRetro an Instagram alike application

XnRetro : For Mac OSX, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android is an Instagram alike for photo effects.

It features 20 color effects, 15 light effects such as bokeh and leak, 28 frame borders. XnRetro has adjustment like the contrast, gamma, saturation, vignetting, noise, where each feature or effect can...

The simple user interface of Phantasmagoria
The very simple user interface of Phantasmagoria

Phantasmagoria : Run under Java, so it can run on Windows, Mac OSX , Linux and everywhere java is installed. It is a very simple photo editor to go straightforward on your photo editing.

i recommend to go first in the "Tools / options" to uncheck "Autoscale when opening" to be able to save and work on your full sized picture.

Sharpshot a simple photo editing software, but it does not handle RAW photographs
Sharpshot a simple photo editing software for Mac OS, Windows, Linux, BSD, etc... but it does not handle RAW photographs

SharpShot for Mac OS, Windows, Linux and BSD, it use Java (which you should have already installed by default on your computer like almost every computer). To launch this photo editing program, click on "launchSharpShot.command", once Sharpshot is open, you can work directly ...

Polarr photo and RAW editor
Polarr is a very nice and well tooled Photo and RAW editor

Polarr is a very well tooled photo editor and RAW processor. The free version might miss the local brush adjustment but you can already do a great job with the free editing tools. For Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android and iOS, this little piece of freeware is already fully featured with pro level photo editing tools...

There is a lot more free photos editors or images retouching software out there, but they often are not made for multiple operating system like Mac OS and windows or GNU/Linux at the same time or i am still testing them for the review.

I put a list bellow, you just have to click on their name to visit their respective website.


27) HDRtist Free : Mac OS X.
28) Visions : Windows (DAM, manage your photos in 3D, image viewing gallery).
29) PhotoFiltre Windows.
30) Paint.net Windows.
31) PhotoPlus Windows.
32) Photo Pos Pro Windows (or here).
33) PixBuilder Studio Windows.
34) FastStone Windows.
35) PhoXo Windows.
36) IrfanView Windows.
37) InPixio SuperPhoto Free Windows.
38) Magix photo designer 7 Windows.
39) Funny Photo Maker Windows.
40) Chasys Draw IES Windows.
41) Photo Plus Starter Edition Windows.
42) PT Photo Editor Free : Windows.
43) Krita : GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, Windows (drawing and painting).
44) Medibang Paint : Mac OS X and Windows, iPad and Android.
45) FireAlpaca : Mac OSX, Windows.
46) Inkscape : GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, Windows.
47) Blender : Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, FreeBSD, Windows.
48) Picasa : Mac OSX, Windows.
49) LightBox 2 : Windows (scroll down to get the free V2).
50) Artweaver : Painting and drawing (free for non commercial and education).
51) Imagina : Free Photo Editor.
52) Hornil Stylepix : The lite version is free but seems very already very powerful.
53) ImLab: Windows, Mac OSX, Linux.
54) nps Image Editor : Windows.
55) Photodemon : Windows portable USB too.
56) Photobie : Windows.
57) Photormin : Windows.
58) Pixia : Windows.
59) Vintager : Windows, simple but extremely nice.
60) Preview : Mac OS X, a way under-estimated photos, image and PDF processor.
61) Shape Collage: Mac OS X, Windows, Linux collage at any shape, written shape.
62) Simple viewer Gallery for your website.
63) Pics Art Windows, iOS Android, collage special effect editor.
64) Picture Collage Maker Free.
65) Poladroid Polaroid effects.
66) Image Analizer Windows.
67) PaintStar Windows.
68) Photopus Windows.
69) PC Image Editor Windows.
70) vvvP Multi platform images viewer and organiser.
71) photospills All Windows for collage photo.
72) PixelStyle Photo Editor No more free, it's even becoming a very bad joke now!!
73) Paintbrush For Mac OS X or here.
74) Daz 3D 3D software easy and powerful.
75) HeliosPaint Mac OS X, Windows and Linux/Unix.
76) Image Tricks Mac OS X, photo filters and effects, the lite version is FREE.
77) ArtRage 2 Windows and Mac, super paint and draw app, version 2 is free.
78) Compositor Mac filters and channel effects.
79) FotoSketcher Windows, artistic effects.
80) TwistedBrush Open Studio Windows artistic effects, brushes and paint.
81) KolourPaint Linux-Unix/KDE image editor paint software.
82) ExifRenamer Mac Change many things in the photo exif.
83) GeoTagger Mac, to geotag your photos with google earth.
84) GPSPhotoLinker Mac, add GPS and data to your photos.
85) ImageMagick Mac, Linux-Unix, Windows and IOS.
86) iMagine Photo Mac, Works with AppleScript.
87) iResize Mac OS X batch resize, compress and save photo.
88) Keyword Manager Mac OS X, assign keywords to your photos.
89) PhotoInfoEditor Mac OS X, Edit metadata in the photo.
90) PhotoGPSEditor Mac OS X, Edit GPS info on a Map.
91) PhotoStikies ThumbsUp Mac OS X.
92) Rita Mac OS X, Drawing and paint non restricted shareware.
93) Scaletron Mac OS X, calculator for rescaling, upscale downscale images.
94) ToyViewer Mac OS X.
95) Xee Mac image viewer.
96) PictBear Windows.
97) RealWorld Graphics Windows, Photo editor, paint, draw + vector program +...
98) LazPaint Windows, Mac OS X and Linux: Paint and graphic stand alone editor.
99) GrafX2 Mac OS X, Windows, Amiga, etc ... Pixel Art, Bitmap paint program.
100) Pencil2D Mac OS X, Windows and Linux, paint program, look nice (scroll down).
101) Acorn For Free Mac OS X (click on the nut to download it).
102) DigiKam Mac OS X, Windows, Linux and FreeBSD Photos management and Edit.
103) Imgv Windows, Need to be a nerd to install on the other OS, it's an Image viewer.
104) SketchBook Free Windows, Mac OS X Paint program.
105) PhotoPad no more free, now it's just 30 days trial.
106) DrawPad Graphic Designer Windows, Mac OS X.
107) Sculptris Mac OS X, Windows digital art and 3D.
108) Wildbit image viewer for windows.
109) Nomacs Image Lounge Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, OS2 and so. Image viewer.
110) Zoner Photo Studio Windows, Viewer and basic photo edit.
111) MyPaint Windows, Mac OS X(via MacPort) and Linux, paint software.
112) Registax Windows, astronomy photo.
113) DeepSkyStacker Windows, image Stacking freeware.
114) StarTrails Windows, image stacking and astronomy photo freeware.
115) Nik Collection : Mac Os X and Windows, Google Nik are now free.
116) DrawPlus SE Realistic Vector draw software.
117) PagePlus SE Design and publishing software. (see #41 too).
118) PanoramaPlus SE stitching software.
119) Craftartist Compact Digital crafting.
120) PC image Editor Windows free image editor.
121) FreeVimager Windows image viewer, editor and organiser.
122) Algodoo Vector draw and animated physics freeware.
123) Vpaint Vector paint software.
124) DrawBerry Vector graphic software.
125) sk1 Vector graphic and press software.
126) Alchemy Vector graphic software.

That's all for today, but be sure i will update this page with interesting free photo editing software and more.

Do not hesitate to left a comment or if you know/use some nice free picture editors write it below!


And for the last question, you want to know which of all those free alternative to Photoshop, Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom i prefer ?


There is few like Darktable, LightZone, Pixlr, PhotoScape, Fotor and lately the new Polarr, which i truly appreciate for whatever reason each of them has.
But they are meant for different kind of work, different level of post processing, different way of editing an image, and if i should keep one and only one, i am thinking about ...

- Do I should keep just one? Are you sure?! because i don't want to keep just one ...

Seriously, try them all, because after all they are free, and if you want to choose only one, it will be your own choice.

If you like this page let me know it in a comment below and don't forget to share it now.

Thank you for your support.

Write a comment

Comments: 5
  • #1

    Lynda (Tuesday, 05 April 2016 22:49)

    Thank you very much for the caption with each image, it helps a lot for disabled people like me :)

  • #2

    Romaric (Tuesday, 17 May 2016 01:22)

    With a huge list like that, i am surprised that you didn't put Rawstudio (https://rawstudio.org/) on your list :( Rawstudio is very powerful and yet very easy to install and to use :)

  • #3

    Patrice Laborda (Tuesday, 17 May 2016 02:16)

    Romaric : If I can understand that Linux guys like to tweak, code and compile things, I will never understand why open source coder/programmer often propose only link to compile a program or very hard to find the binaries link somewhere in the text... All those nonfinished programs are a very bad joke for all of us which are not a programmer.

    If you expect my reader to download the source/package and compile it to make a binary or just open the Terminal or any other command line program with no user interface to install a software for a PHOTOGRAPHER, you're on the wrong blog ;)

    If the programmers do not want to propose a properly finished software even if it's free but easy to install for every single one, I will not list it here, and please do not tell me that few command in the Terminal or any other command line is easy, I call easy to install any .exe or .dmg or .ppa without passing by a command line, everything else are made for nerds only and a very bad joke for us non-geek.

  • #4

    Ann (Tuesday, 12 December 2017 10:45)

    what can you say about photolemur (https://photolemur.com)? they have free version.. i think it's one of the best one-tap-enhancer decisions today

  • #5

    Patrice Laborda (Tuesday, 26 December 2017 02:28)

    Hi Ann,
    When i arrive on a website with the big "promo" hard to find where to close it to continue to navigate on the website, then when I am obliged to register to download a trial version, it give me the way of thinking of the people behind this website! which is the bad way!

    So i will never try it, because when it says "free" it should be FREE and not forcing people to register to download things, plus you don't know and they don't say it if it's compatible with Macs or Linux, and i am almost sure it's only for Windows...