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Photoshop Alternatives: 5 Best Photo Editing Programs for 2020! 

by Byrne Anderson
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As soon as we hear the term “photo editing,” our minds immediately gravitate towards Adobe Photoshop. While Photoshop can help create outstanding results, many designers are becoming uncomfortable with its primacy in the market as well as the constant price increases, and they’re on the lookout for alternatives. Today, we have compiled a list of some of the most widely-used and reliable photo editors that can be your new go-to if you want to say goodbye to Adobe.

  1. Serif Affinity Photo

One of the strongest contenders to replace Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and Lightroom. Affinity is a vector graphic design application with a combination of vector and pixel art environments. As a program, Affinity supports Photoshop’s signature file standards at a significantly lower price.


  • Supports RAW and PSD file formats
  • RGB, CMYK, LAB and Greyscale functionality
  • Layer-based image editing options
  • Significantly cheaper (USD $49.99, a one time fee).


  • Doesn’t have predefined lens-specific corrections
  • Non-customizable workspace
  • Targeted for professionals, not very friendly for rookies
  1. GIMP

GIMP is a free and open source Photoshop alternative that is powerful and multifunctional. GIMP is designed to be compatible with plugins made for Adobe Photoshop. GIMP first appeared way back in the mid-’90s, so there are multiple tutorials and guides on the web that will help you better understand its tools. GIMP also has a slightly different UI from Adobe Photoshop and is easier to modify to your preferences. It supports a wide variety of formats and has a multitude of features like photo composition and image retouching, color correction and more. GIMP is a great choice for beginners.


  • Constant maintenance and updates to fix issues.
  • Smooth and lag-free performance for all platforms
  • Versatile and customizable with plugins and scripts


  • Non-supportive of 16bit color channels
  • Isn’t entirely bug-free
  1. Skylum Luminar

Luminar has grown to become one of the most popular editing tools for professional photographers around the world. The software can be yours for a one-time fee and it can act as a plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom and Apple Photos.

It’s the perfect solution if you’ve been looking for a tool that can help you with an automatic quick fixes for things like brightening, clarifying, toning as well as other basic adjustments. If you’re accustomed to Lightroom, you would notice that Liminar is quite similar, combining the Library column, Edit, and Info sections in one menu. Adjustment tools like white balance, temperature to exposure, contrast, shadows, lens correction, and transformation tools are also available. Three unique and useful features of Luminar:

  • Sky Enhancer: These are unique filters that make the sky look more expressive and increase in contrast
  • Accent AI: This filter analyzes your photos and applies enhancements automatically, saving you the hassle of making several manual adjustments
  • Sun Rays: Adds realistic sun rays to your photos and lets you customize the same.


  • Exclusive Sunrays filters like the top and bottom lighting filter and an Orton filter
  • Adjustment and image layers
  • Dedicated presets for DJI drone photos


  • Speed and reliability issues
  • Standard controls are buried
  • No face recognition
  • Keyword tagging

While the Skylum Luminar delivers effective automatic photo enhancement, a modern interface and some distinct filters and adjustment tools; it falls short of its competitors in many areas.

  1. Pixlr Editor

The Pixlr Editor is a rather unusual photo editor, but still shares some similarities with Photoshop. It’s available in several versions including desktop and mobile—however, the most useful version is the web version. The web version is also the only version that comes with one layer of support. As it has many tools that Photoshop does it’s still a great editor, but there is no downloadable offline version.

Included Features:

  • Over 2 million free effects
  • Filters and overlays
  • Creative editing app


  • Available in free versions
  • Available as app on mobile
  • Large number of tools


  • Slightly overwhelming for beginners
  • Requires internet connection
  1. ON1 Photo RAW

It’s free, easy to install, and comes with hundreds of predefined filters and other solutions. ON1 Photo RAW is easy to enhance and can be used on any operating system. As Photo RAW is compatible with cloud services such as Dropbox, it makes the managing of these images easy on the cloud.

Included Features:

  • Photo RAW has built-in lookup tables for color grading
  • Manual mode allows you to change any characteristics of your images, from exposure and lighting to contrast and saturation


  • 170 effects with photo editing, brush and masking tool
  • Custom presets
  • Textures and borders
  • Live adjustments and previews


  • Not as powerful as Photoshop


If you’ve been looking for an alternative to Photoshop that is cost-effective but still powerful, then we hope you found this article useful. There are some editors like ON1 Photo RAW and Pixlr which are a great option for quick fixes like size change, contrast settings, filters, cropping, and image rotation. There are other powerful editors like Serif Affinity Photo and GIMP that can help you take care of more professional aspects of your images.

One last thing! If your editing images for an eCommerce website, then it’s important you optimize them. All photo editors will be able to perform basic eCommerce image optimization, it’s just a case of knowing why and how. If you’re looking for a professional graphic designer to do the work for you, the CodeClouds Creative Design team is the right choice.

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