Modern smartphones enable us to capture stunning photographs using advanced cameras, easy settings, and impressive optics providing high-definition images with crisp quality. We can even edit the photos on the same device by using one of the many fantastic photo editing apps with multiple useful and powerful features.
The first step to good smartphone photography is buying a decent device with a quality camera and pro features. Then you can select from one of the free or premium image editing apps. While some only allow you to take photos and have a few essential functions, other applications come with a range of professional-level picture editing features that let you bring out the best in every image. The best ones also help you organize your pictures on your device.
What Are Photo Editing Apps?
The process of editing an image involves tweaking and altering the picture to enhance its look. For digital photographs, there are many photo editors trusted by professionals for Windows 10 and Mac. These programs come with presets and template that optimize the editing workflow. For an improved and faster user experience, image editing apps have customizable user interfaces.
Best Features To Consider When Selecting A Photo Editor
When choosing the right photo editing app for your needs, you should keep in mind multiple factors. The first on the list is the user experience; if you just need an editor for basic adjustments like fixing the color, cropping, straightening, removing minor blemishes, then using an online app is best because you don’t have to download an app. A clean, intuitive, and contemporary interface will make the process more straightforward and quicker.
However, if you have advanced photo editing skills, go for software that you can run on your computer or laptop. It will offer you more flexibility and versatility through masks and layers. Desktop programs are explicitly designed for professional photo editing and can be used to work on photos in batches. Just make sure that the editor has the tools that match your skillset and offers everything you will need.
Sometimes, we underestimate the capabilities and power of free photo editing software. However, today, multiple free picture editor apps have impressive features that might be all you need to tweak your image. Although these software might not be as powerful as the complete desktop Photoshop version, often, you don’t require a complete set of high-end features.
We recommend that you consider some free tools, and today’s article lists the nine best free photo editing apps of 2021 that might be all you need.
9 best free photo editors in 2021
If you are in need of free image editing software but find yourself confused and lost in the plethora of free choices that all seem promising, then we have made the task simpler for you by listing the best.
Our top 9 list features only free software that you can try without worrying about the costs; we have shortlisted feature-rich programs that will be ideal for anyone:
- Adobe Photoshop Express Editor
- Ashampoo Photo Optimizer
- A wide range of easy-to-use editing tools
- Adjustments for exposure, color, and sharpening adjustments
- Tools for cropping, rotating, correcting perspective, and straightening.
- Healing tool and tool for selective adjustments
- Multiple adjustable filters including black & white, vintage, and textures
- Tools for enhancing portraits, lens blur, and vignette
- Add double exposure, text, and frames
Snapseed was introduced a decade ago as a powerful yet easy-to-use photo editing app. Today, it is owned by Google and is one of the most feature-rich editors with a clean and sensible interface.
Geared more towards the more experienced and skilled users, the app has the essential tools like Crop and rotate and more advanced features such as Healing, White Balance adjustments, and Lens Blur. Furthermore, there are a bunch of impressive filter effects like Glamour Glow, Grunge, Noir, Retro Lux, and Grainy Film.
The easy-to-use double exposure effect allows precise blending. For finessing a portrait, use the Face Enhance feature to add lighting effect specifically in the face; you can also smooth the skin and bring focus to the eyes.
Another unique thing about Snapseed is that the editing is non-destructive, plus RAW DNG files can be opened and worked on with ease. And if you have created a look that you like, and want to use the same again on another photo, just save the look. It is pretty impressive how many useful and professional features have been included in this free app, but we aren’t complaining since Google owns it, and we don’t have to pay a dime.
However, if you are new to editing photos, Snapseed might not be the best pick for you. Nonetheless, it is the best free photo editor online, which is why it has the number one spot.
- Presets effects, which you can add to
- Fantastic editing tools
- Interesting combinable filters
- Lacking browsing/organizing feature
- Not suitable for beginners
- Auto-save function not included
2. Adobe Photoshop Express Editor
- Connect to the Behance social media platform.
- Intelligent sharpening filters.
- Created using the generator technology.
- Images edited on the app are automatically saved on cloud storage.
- Innovative upsampling feature transforms low-resolution photos ready for printing.
- Path selection tool available.
- Conditional actions support optimizing repetitive tasks.
- Helpful single-click color correction feature.
We were already fans of the Photoshop Express Windows version for PC and laptops, and the mobile app has also received our seal of approval because it is best suited for smartphones. After all, the Photoshop Express platform was initially designed for mobile phones.
Additionally, the two sister apps – the Photoshop Fix and Mix smartphone apps make up for the features that Express lacks, so we recommend that you get all three free applications to get the best functionality.
Although Photoshop Express is free, you will need an Adobe account, which is easy, free, and quick to create, plus you won’t need a credit card. Understandably, Photoshop Express isn’t as powerful as Photoshop, but it does have the essential tools one needs for simple photo edits and making collages.
Express features plenty of adjustment and corrections options, as well as filters known as looks. Basic cropping and resizing tools are also available, plus there are some preset size options for social networks like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin, and Etsy. The app also supports RAW files. If you need more advanced tools, you’ll have to pay for the Premium subscription.
Getting Photoshop Mix will allow you to work with layers on Express by cutting, blending, layer images. For added restoration and retouching features, we recommend getting Photoshop Fix, which includes tools like Heal, Face-Aware Liquify, Smoothen, Lighten and Darken.
- Advanced looks or filters
- Pleasing and practical design
- Easy to use interface
- Wide range of tools with Fix and Mix
- Social media image size presets
- Limited advanced features
- It needs Flash to run
- Only JPG format files are supported
- Includes a set of professionally designed templates for workflow optimization.
- Allows users to add text to photos.
- Download, publish, share HD graphs through Canva
- Easily add graphs to infographics and presentations, etc.
- Speech bubble tool for dialogues.
- Multiple photo-enhancing effects are included.
A free-to-download graphic design and image editing app available for smartphones and the web, Canva is a versatile tool that is great for adding filters, resizing, and editing photos quickly and easily. It is ideal for beginners and home users who don’t want to splash out money on advanced software with complex tools.
You will require a free account to get the extremely useful 1GB free cloud storage with snaps and designs, plus you will get access to about 8,000 templates, and to keep your edits organized, you will have two folders.
There is also a premium version for skilled users that includes advanced tools like the automatic background remover. However, we trust that the free version is sufficient for basic photo editing tasks such as adjusting the color, sharpening, cropping, resizing, adding filters, vignettes, tints, and text. You can edit and adjust the filters too. The free version doesn’t add watermarks to edits or need any plugins to work.
Canva is designed for template-focused graphic design. However, it’s easy to use and lightweight, perfect for making some quick adjustments to images.
- The selection of templates is fantastic
- Canva Account comes with free cloud storage
- Web versions and Mobile applications are available
- Easy-to-use interface
- Lightweight doesn’t take too much space on a smartphone
- Suitable for beginners
- Lacks manual fine editing tools
- Minimal free features
- Footer supports PNG and JPEG files.
- Easy sharing of edited images to social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Top choice for beautifying portraits
- Hassle-free photo frames.
- Fantastic selection of effects.
- High-resolution export options
- Includes fun stickers to add to photos.
If you love taking selfies and creating fun edits of your photos but want a simple, easy-to-use image-editing app for quick adjustments, then Fotor will be a good pick. It is free and comes with plenty of impressive filters that bring out the best in any photo.
Fotor comes with a fantastic range of features for basic and professional online photo editing. The tilt-shift tool is fantastic, while the excellent range of preset vibrant and vintage color choices don’t fail to impress. The menu system is also a standout since it is simple and easy to grasp. Although it gives you the power to adjust curves and levels, it does make the process too complicated.
Fotor can process multiple photos in one go, which is a feature that most free image editors lack. This feature is perfect if you want to give various images from your camera roll a unified look without spending ages going through the same process individually for each picture.
Fotor is one of the best editing apps for face beautification. With Fotor, you can perfectly enhance photos and make flawless beautification adjustments within seconds. Fotor offers a vast range of beauty tools, including fine-tune, blur tools, straightening, red-eye removal, reshape photos, teeth whitening, and wrinkle remover. It also comes with an expansive collection of high-end filters that allows professional-like editing without any hassle.
The best thing about Fotor is that it does not only offer photo editing, but with Fotor’s app, you can also edit pictures on Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices for free without any registration. Overall, Fotor offers a vast range of features that are only found in high-end photo editing software.
- High-end photo filters
- Includes Batch image processing
- Can export High-resolution images export options
- Powerful yet easy to use
- Extremely satisfying 1-tap enhancements
- Intuitive design with a simplistic look
- A vast range of tools and filters for free.
- Direct social media sharing option
- Available for Mac, Windows, iOS, and Android
- It doesn’t support any plugins
- Contains annoying add
- Basic features and no complex tools
5. Ashampoo Photo Optimizer
- A single software for editing, organizing, presenting, slide templates, and sharing unlimited photos.
- Numerous effects are available for turning your images into a piece of art.
- Easy, 1-click editing feature.
- Highly user-friendly software interface.
- The option to share photos via social media and email is available.
Ashampoo is one of the best free photo editing software for Windows 10. It has proved its efficiency through the years by providing the best features for image editing, viewing, organizing, converting, and publishing.
Editing multiple photos in minimum time, then Ashampoo Photo Optimizer is the best choice. To save time, you can upload and edit multiple pictures at a time, or you can also select individual images and enhance them with Ashampoo’s one-click optimization tool.
Ashampoo is famous for its batch processing tool – a vital tool most of the best free photo editing software lack. With a batch processing tool, you can get a pile of pictures edited in one go.
All you have to do is feed several photos at once, and Ashampoo will fix the imperfections and edit them to perfection for you within a short time period. The Ashampoo processing tool is perfect for editing vacation, wedding, party, and other event photos at once without any hassle.
Ashampoo is designed to offer ample features for professional-like photo editing without making it too complex for beginners. The interface is simple and uncluttered with cleanly organized tools.
The only con that we found in this free photo editor was that you couldn’t apply the same manually set editing changes to a set of multiple pictures at once.
Although the software is available for free, you would have to share your email address before using the Ashampoo Photo Optimizer. You can use the premium version of the software – Ashampoo Photo Optimizer 7 – which comes with a broader range of optimization tools.
- One-click optimization tool
- Batch editing option available
- Well-organized interface
- Top-notch manual controls
- Numerous editing effects are available
- Easy and quick Collage design option
- Auto optimization results are only satisfactory
- Lack of essential features
- Needs email registration
- Amongst the world’s most intuitive photo editing apps
- The best cloud-based editing software.
- A vast range of professionally designed presets for quick photo editing.
- Available on the web, online, and mobile.
- Invite others to edit your pictures.
- Easy to follow in-app tutorials.
Lightroom is one of Adobe’s most trusted and loved photo editing and organization software among professionals. The biggest con of Lightroom is that it comes at a hefty price. However, you can use the free app if you are willing to compromise on the range of features.
Although the Lightroom app comes with limited features, it still offers an impressive range of features usually unavailable in most free photo editing software. With Lightroom App, you can easily capture, edit, organize and share pictures from your iPad, iPhone, and Android devices.
The Lightroom app allows you to improve unlimited pictures with a range of intuitive tools powered by AI. Lightroom has a spectrum of features to edit and enhance your photos and helps you capture images like a pro.
We love Lightroom because you can make changes and compare photo edits without losing the original photo.
The Lightroom mobile app offers ample features for top-notch quality photo editing; however, we recommend you invest in a Lightroom Creative Cloud subscription if you want professional results.
- Tools for editing fine details
- Presets developed by professionals
- Excellent organization and sharing features
- Pro camera for capturing professional-like photos
- Limited features
- The app runs slow at times
- Excellent for creating grid style, freestyle collages.
- One of the best apps for easy photo and video editing
- A brilliant app for on-trend social media photo and video editing
- Tons of tools and templates for easy, professional-like editing
- Impressive range of trending filters and popular photo effects
- It provides a wide range of texts, stickers, gifs, magic effects, and more.
If you want to revive your social media platforms, especially Instagram, there isn’t a better photo editing software than Picsart. Picsart provides a massive range of tools, effects, and add-ons for creating attractive and engaging Instagram photos and videos.
With Picsart, you can experiment your creativity with unique tools, features, filters, and trending add-ons. The AI-powered tools enable you to edit pics like a professional with minimal effort.
Picsart is perfect for Instagrammers because of its on-trend filters, features, and effects, but it is fast and easy to edit photos and videos on Picsart. You can take your IG videos, stories, reels, and TikTok videos to the next level with Picsart’s creative video editing software.
The Picsart app interface is easy to use, but its most significant benefit is its engaging app interface. Picsart’s massive range of unique and creative tools will keep you engaged in editing for hours.
The Picsart app also enables you to easily share your Picsart’s creative work with other photographers, editors, artists, and illustrators. You can connect with others and get inspired by their work, and learn new techniques daily. All in all, Picsart is an excellent photo editing app, especially for editing social media photos and videos.
- A massive number of unique and creative tools
- Packed with on-trend filters
- A user-friendly and highly engaging app
- Picsart social network
- Excellent for editing IG stories, YT shorts, and TikTok videos
- Includes ads
- A lot of paid tools and features
- Single-click image correction feature.
- Easy feature for removing unwanted objects from images like a pro.
- You can also improve selections on an image with the smart touch-up tool.
- The cloning stamp allows you to make duplicates of various items in an image.
- You can also change the background of your images.
- You can get creative with inPixio and make photo collages with ease.
If you are searching for the best free downloadable photo editor for creative image processing, then inPixio is an excellent choice. The inPixio app allows you to get creative with its tools, features, and filters.
With inPixio, your creativity is limitless. The easy and fun to use app refreshes your inner creativity, so you can edit photos that are double as highly engaging social media posts.
Overall, inPixio deserves top marks for its range of tools, usability, image processing speed, and support. It is hands-down one of the best free online photo editor apps, and we highly recommend it.
If you like the free version, there is no doubt that you will love its full version that comes with a wider range of tools, features, filters, and functions.
- It comes with an extensive range of tools for professional-like image processing.
- Allows easy image sharing option
- It offers a range of special effects
- Easy and fun to use
- Excellent software for creative image editors
- Offers one-tap photo editing
- You cannot remove the inPixio watermark with the free version
- It does not support batch edit
- Difficult to install
- Includes select one-click, easy to use, preset filters
- It offers a good range of easy to use tools
- Simple options for tweaking exposure, color, and sharpness
- Video editing option available
- Simple and fast to use.
VSCO is one of the most popular multipurpose automatic photo editors. VSCO has developed photo processing tools for some of the best image editing programs, including Adobe Camera RAW, Adobe Lightroom, and Aperture. It is highly recommended and trusted by mobile photography enthusiasts.
VSCO offers an excellent range of image editing tools and perfectly balances filters and presets. You can also easily adjust the concentration of the filters according to your preference.
VSCO has years of experience in the image processing tools field. Therefore, all of VSCO tools and filters are well-balanced and allow easy and convenient professional-like image processing.
VSCO also allows you to showcase your editing work and also to share other people’s work. You can organize, create, and share albums of your image processing work on VSCO, which makes VSCO an excellent platform for new and aspiring image editors.
VSCO is a widely trusted photo editing software free that celebrities use and recommend for its simplicity and efficiency.
- Easy to learn and convenient to use
- Offers ample tools for professional editing
- It offers a good selection of filters on the web
- Excellent camera app
- Allows easy social media sharing option
- Not the best software for RAW files
- Limited filters with the free version
Top factors to consider when selecting a Photo Editing Software
Finding and selecting reliable picture editor is a challenge; you should consider the following facts when choosing the best free photo processing software:
- It should offer a wide selection of tools, features, effects, filters, presets, and functionalities.
- It should have ample stock images.
- It should have ample customization and animation features.
- It should support Batch editing (especially if you tend to edit multiple photos at once)
- It is important to have a search feature to help you find desired photo designs.
- It is essential to select software with multiple platforms support (if you generally edit on various devices and platforms)
- It should offer trustable Cloud Storage support.
- It is vital to have software that can convert photos in various formats and allows sharing on multi-platforms, especially social media websites and apps.
We hope that this best free photo editing software list will help you find a photo editing app that ticks all the boxes and helps you edit photos and videos like a professional.
There are tons of image editing software available nowadays; however, finding free photo editing software is a challenge. We hope that with this review, you will find the best photo editing software free that fulfills your current photo editing needs and also accompanies your future photo editing needs.
What is your favorite photo editing software, and what makes it better than other software? Would you please share details of your favorite free editing software in the comments section?