You don’t need Photoshop to be a good graphics designer, Here is why.

Photoshop is undoubtedly an extremely professional and complex tool to study. But nowadays a lot of other tools available online completely free can allow you to be an excellent photo editor even without it. Wanna know how?

Here we go. 

A Routine of a Photo Editor

If you are a specialist in charge of designs and illustrations in some company or website, and to install Photoshop may be neither possible nor undesirable at the eleventh hour, even if you are well familiar with the tool and have excellent skills using it.

Newspapers, magazines and websites always need photo illustrations, just like they need photographers or designers, and copywriters.

However, a Photo-editor does not only look for photos, or does he only collects them, edits and proofs, but he is involved in the process of an article creation, builds a number of illustrative ways to explain the idea of the text and gives it an additional meaning, emotional content and so on.

An experienced Photo-editor has a well established communication and management of photographic environment, works with them, formulates the tasks for them.

For such routine there are different solutions called proofing software or collaboration platforms (ProofQuick, etc.)

Well, if you call yourself an expert, you probably know that Photography and Photo-editing are the two essential components of Photojournalism.

The higher the level of each of them, the better the result is. And a good Photo-editor contributes to the Photographer much for an example,

  • He evaluates the quality of the images,
  • He is involved in the post production of the product, in other words,
  • He co-sponsors and manages editing and photography.

Unfortunately, in modern practice, Photo-editors may sometimes be referred to as ordinary photographers, moderators or illustrators.

Although the level of a professional photo editor presupposes much more. He must have not only the taste and erudition, but also know a lot about the art of photography, enjoy imaginative thinking, understand the laws of fine arts and design and be able to use modern tools like Photoshop, etc.

Sometimes even graphic designers, with a good education in the humanities that work as Photo-editors but do not use Adobe Photoshop are taken as amateurs, but believe when I tell you they are all wrong.

There are at least a few ways out of this situation to prove they can be the best even without much Photoshop obsession.

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Free Editors to Process Photos Without using Photoshop

In fact, many of us are faced with the need to process variety of images in variety of life situations. As a rule, Photoshop program is needed for the most basic image editing options which is not quite cheap. That is why there are programs that allow professional photo editing without spending time and money on Photoshop.

If you occasionally need to crop a photo, or make a collage, there are many free photo editing softwares alternatives or online services, that will do that even if you are not a professional.

In order to make your life easier, we will talk about 9 most popular free editors for processing photos and being a good editor without Photoshop.


This is an excellent and pretty universal editor for the Windows operating system. If you’re a Photoshop user, you will notice the similarity of its user interface and PhotoFiltre.

This editing software is suitable for both the beginners and advanced users. Despite some “cut-down” set of features, PhotoFiltre can replace Photoshop easily.

A Screenshop of Photofiltre showing its simple UI

Of course, this excludes the editor user control for some tools, but leaves enough room for playing with color, saturation and other effects. If the number of possible filters will seem clearly insufficient, there is an opportunity to expand them by connecting additional plug-ins (you can find them on the website of the developer on demand).

Advantages: levels, a lot of color correction and light / shadow options. 
Disadvantages: layers, appropriate tools settings. 
Comparative characteristic: if Photoshop gets a 10, PhotoFiltre then gets 6.


This one is a free photo editor, performing standard features to view and edit images. Most likely, this program will be much sought after by the female audience, thanks to all kinds of filters, frames, etc. You can create interesting collages and postcards.

A screenshot of Photoscape on its Batch editing feature

In Photoscape, you will find one of the simplest interfaces you’ve ever seen. Therefore, even a 6-year old child can deal with it easily.

Advantages: it takes up little space on your hard drive, batch photo processing, simplicity. 
Disadvantages: suitable for basic, non-professional operations mostly. 
Comparative characteristic: if Photoshop gets 10, then Photoscape receives 5.


It is impossible to ignore such amazing graphics editor as Paint.NET. After analyzing the huge amount of readers’ comments on various forums and sites dedicated to photo editing, it’s possible to come to the conclusion that the Paint.NET is a real find.

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Despite the fact that a step-by-step installation of Paint.NET is a real bore, this editor still can compete with Photoshop at the proper level. By installing this program, you can adjust and create gradient layers, use a large assortment of effects and filters. Even a novice user will cope with the instrument panels and palettes which are very similar.

Paint.NET Screenshot

Advantages: layers, full-featured toolbar levels. 
Disadvantages: sophisticated color correction, and certain tools. 
Comparative characteristic: if Photoshop gets 10, the Paint. NET receives a solid 8!


Many people like this photo editor very much. Today, GIMP is available for most operating systems (Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, etc.).

Since it’s launching in 1995, GIMP has taken its place among the competitors, and even surpassed Photoshop in some ways according to the numerous users.

The future is truly you when you are using GIMP

The interface is clear and simple. This is an editor that allows you to easily cope with such tasks as: program formation, the development of animations, image processing, preparation of graphics for WEB-pages, registration of printing products and many other things.

Not bad, huh?

GIMP is almost nothing to criticize, because there is simply no better free Photoshop alternative at the moment than this one.

Advantages: the”lighting” effect, a complete set of brushes. 
Disadvantages: Adjustment layer, some preview moments. 
Comparative characteristic: if Photoshop gets 10, GIMP receives 11! Since it provides the users with 90% of Photoshop features completely free. Fair enough.


Meet the brand new editor online. Aviary is an editing software for devices based on Android, which offers basic options and the ability to import photos from photo sharing site such as Flickr, Picasa, and a variety of social media sites, such as Facebook.

Aviary Filters

Editor offers four applications with fun ‘bird’ names. Before downloading one of them, you need to decide: what with and how you wanna work. If you need to prepare a photo for a social network, choose a simplified version of Photoshop – ‘Phoenix’, thanks to which you will be able to use a tone correction, insert text, overlay different layers, etc.

The remaining 3 applications are suitable for those whose interests are not limited to basic ways of photo processing. Vector Editor ‘Raven’ will help in the creation of drawings, lines and diagrams. ‘Peacock’ is characterized by its developers as a “visual laboratory” and looks pretty interesting. But you run the risk to get lost in a variety of settings and elements.

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Finally, ‘Toucan’ is useful for the graphic design. With this editor you can find the right color palette for the site, and even evaluate the accessibility of the site (!) especially for people with different forms of colorblindness. Choose and test what you like!

Advantages: toolbar, filters, keyboard shortcuts. 
Disadvantages: it depends on the type of application. 
Comparative characteristic: If Photoshop gets 10, the AVIARY Phoenix – 9, AVIARY Peacock – from 2 to 8 (depending on how much time you can spend studying the editor), AVIARY Raven – 5 and AVIARY Toucan – 6.


This is a GIMP close relative, primarily focused on the image editing for films and animation. And it is worth noting that in this area Cinepaint is excellent. Besides, Cinepaint is a powerful image editor. In general, there is much to work with. 

A screenshot of Cinepaint

Advantages: much-improved interface (as compared with GIMP), a lot of different interesting effects. 
Disadvantages: a small number of filters. 
Comparative characteristic: if Photoshop gets 10, then Cinepaint gets 7.


This fast online service for image processing causes only positive emotions. The plain editor is perfect for basic operations, such as creating collages, simple image editing, etc. Of course, it cannot be compared to Photoshop, but it’s simply due to the fact that its developers never pursued such idea, indeed. 

Fotoflexer filter

Advantages: ‘magic stick’, Liquify, and other easy-to-use filters. 
Disadvantages: settings, “brush” equivalent. 
Comparative characteristic: if Photoshop gets 10, then FotoFlexer receives 5.

Of course, there are many other software solutions you can come across on the web, designed especially for photo editing, and which can help you in your every day photo editor’s routine for both individual and professional use and still make a good editor of you.

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