While I think that everyone knows that Adobe is king when it comes to photo editing, even with the added affordability of an Adobe CC subscription ($9.99 a month for just one program), the software costs can be an added expense a early-stage business might want to avoid. Here are some of the best free photo editing apps and software available to you on the web (and through your phone).  

Web Based Software

Upload your photos, resize, edit and download them again in the new format. This photo editing software is all web-based. 

Pixlr Browser-Based Version

The website is flashy and sleek and only requires a browser with Flash to run. I found it pretty easy to navigate - it feels a lot like Photoshop, but with less oomph. If you’ve never used Photoshop before it might take you a little while to get the hang of it. 

Fotor Browser-Based Version

You can download a version of Fotor for Windows machines, but the browser version might be better for on-the-go or coffeehouse work sessions, since it allows you to save to cloud-based storage. I really love how this program gives you clear directions on how to move through photo editing - a great program for beginning editors who don’t need complicated terms. 

SumoPaint Lite

Easy and free, this browser based software only requires Flash to run and is pretty simple to understand, especially if you’re familiar with Photoshop basics. You can also download SumoPaint for desktop work, or SumoPaint Pro, which offers a pay-as-you-go option that might be attractive for businesses that only edit when they have shop updates. 


You’ve probably heard of this super-easy Flash software. It’s a favorite among scrapbookers and bloggers due to it’s simplicity and accessibility. When you first log in, it walks you through a basic tutorial with videos on how to use the features, making this a great candidate for those who aren’t already Photoshop-savvy. 

Computer Based Software

This software is all easily downloaded directly onto your computer for batch photo editing or editing away from the web.


GIMP is probably one of the best-known free photo editing software options out there and is available on both OSX and Windows. It’s a little complex but can pack a punch in terms of Photoshop comparison, so if you’re looking for a good Photoshop replacement for free, have at it! There are tons of GIMP tutorials available online, too.  

Color Story 

From the blogger team behind A Beautiful Mess, this beautiful and easy to use app is now available in browser format. The presets and filters are 


This is also available as a browser-based application, in case you don’t run a Windows machine (this is Windows-only) and want to use it, but the downloadable version seems to have more ‘stuff’. The creators of this software have made it very beginner friendly and easy to use with prompts galore.


The website doesn’t look fancy, but the PC-only software is easy to grasp and use, according to most reviews. A great beginner’s entry-level to basic photo editing without all of the Photoshop fuss. Unfortunately, no Mac version at this time.

Google Nik Collection

This program has gotten great reviews and with a name like Google behind it, you know it’s going to be easy to use. Think Instagram filters, but for your computer. This works on OSX or Windows machines. There are lots of tutorials available for this program, but it won’t give you editing capabilities the way Photoshop will - it’s more or less a ‘quick fix’ type of program.


You can download this software or use it directly in your browser - either way, SumoPaint is easy to use and understand, with some Photoshop-similar features, all wrapped up in a free package.

Phone Based Applications 

Check whether the app is available for Android or iOS - editing made easy when you’re using your smartphone for photography. 

Pixlr App Version (Android & iOS) 

This photo app claims to be the most used world-wide, and is available on both iOS and Android operating systems. While it’s popular, some users have indicated that the app doesn’t always save complex changes, so this is better for simple editing on your phone (try the browser or computer version for better complex editing!) 

Aviary App (iOS only) 

If you want to start small and move into Adobe Creative Cloud software later, this is a great choice, as it fully links to the CC platform. Aviary is only available for iOS, but features easy to use presets and editing options. 

ColorStory App (Android & iOS) 

This photo editing app is free, but buying filters beyond the basics will cost you extra. It has the bonus feature of being able to do some photoshop-like editing directly in the app (curves, brightness, etc.) and even build your own custom filters. 

Want more photography ideas, tips and tricks for your dye business? Join our discussion group on Facebook! 

January 15, 2018 — Rob Colon

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