PhotoDirector

18 Best Free Photo Editing Software for Windows PC in 2024

Last Updated on Mar. 1, 2024 – by David Morgan
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Are you tired of scrolling through social media and feeling envious of others' amazingly beautiful photos? Don't let a lack of photography experience or editing knowledge hold you back. With the right free photo editing software, you can transform your pictures into works of art without spending a fortune..

We've done the research and gathered a list of the 18 best free photo editing software for Windows PC in 2024. These software options range from beginner-friendly to advanced, allowing you to edit pictures to your heart's desire. So why wait? Start sharing your memories on social media with confidence and join the photo editing revolution today!

Snapshot of Our Top 3 Free Photo Editing Software

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1. PhotoDirector Essential - Best Overall

PhotoDirector Essential is the best free photo editing software available. It is an all-in-one tool for organizing and editing images with an incredible mix of tools and unique features. Although it offers advanced features, this free photo editor for PC remains very easy to use, with a variety of AI-powered tools to apply complicated-looking edits with a single click. Detailed Review >

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2. MyEdit Image Editing Tool - Best for Online Editing

MyEdit is the best free photo editing software found online. It is easy to access and use and has AI-powered tools for fast and accurate results. Detailed Review >

Try Online for Free Secure Link
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3. Promeo - Best for Templated Graphic Ads for Social Media

Promeo is the best free photo editor for PC for busy creators and influencers. Jump-start the creative process by customizing a beautifully designed template with text, stickers, filters, and animations. Detailed Review >

How to Choose the Best Free Photo Editing Software

We’ve narrowed the field of suitable free programs you can use to edit pictures, but how do you choose the very best free photo editing software for your needs? Below are a few things to look out for in a free photo editor for PC:

Features

The free photo editing software on our list cover everything you need to edit pictures, whether you need social-media-friendly templates, layer editing, text tools, or only the most basic tools. Explore the features for each to make sure your favorites are included.

Budget

Of the free photo editing software on our list, some are completely free, some offer slightly pared-back free versions, and others are intended more as “try before you buy.” If you need a free photo editor for PC, make sure the tools and features you use the most are available in the free version. If you are testing different platforms to purchase in the future, make sure the premium version is within your budget before you spend time learning the free photo editor for PC.

Skill Level

It’s important to choose the best free photo editing software for your skill level. Even if you have aspirations of using professional software, you need to start with a tool that is beginner-friendly. Otherwise, you could spend months trying to become familiar with a program and give up on your dreams in frustration. And if you have more experience, don’t settle for a program that only offers easy, one-click solutions and little creative control.

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How We Test the Free Photo Editing Software on Our List

Why trust our opinion on the best free photo editing software? Below we discuss how we tested and ranked software to find the 18 best free photo editors for PC. 

Test Key Features

We edit pictures using all the key features of the software we review. We test the basic features found in every free photo editor for PC, so we can do a direct comparison. Then we test the tools that make the software unique.

Compare Versions

When we test free photo editing software, we compare the free and premium versions to see what is included and what is reserved for only paid subscribers. 

Analyze Reviews

We read critic reviews and user reviews to get a good idea of how others view the free photo editing software. This helps us verify our tests. We use reviews from trusted sites to compile our rankings of the best free photo editing software.  

Best Free Photo Editing Software Comparison Chart

Product Best For Notable Feature Price Link
PhotoDirector Essential Empowering creators of all experience levels to edit pictures into studio-quality masterpieces Generative AI features, a full suite of photo editing tools, and photo management in one Free; Premium: $3.75/month
Free Download Secure Download
MyEdit Image Editing Tool Generating AI images and profile pics online A large selection of Text-to-Image tools including AI Room, AI Scenes, AI Outfit, AI Images, AI Avatar, and more Free; Image: $4/month Image & Enhancer: $7/month
Try Online for Free Secure Link
Promeo Templated graphic ads for social media Remove backgrounds instantly, and create new settings with generative-AI Free; Premium: $2.50/month
Free Download Secure Download
Pixlr Photo collages Auto grid features that suggests a range of unique layouts Free; Plus: $1.99/month Premium: $7.99/month Download
Photoscape X Batch editing images Use Focus Stacking and Merge to HDR to combine images taken at different focus distances and exposures Free; Pro: $39.99 Download
Fotor Creating profile pics Turn portraits and landscapes into works of art with AI art effects Free; Pro: $3.33/month Pro+: $7.50/month Download
BeFunky Editing images with overlays and frames A large selection of customizable themed overlays Free; Premium: $5.99/month Download
Photopea Photoshop users on a budget Apply various Blur effects (Gaussian, Radial, etc.) to different parts of an image Free; Premium: $8 for 30 days, $15 for 90 days, or $50 for one year Download
PhotoPad Resizing images Super Resolution tool to upscale images losslessly for printing Free; Home: $60 Pro: $70 or $3.88/month Download
Ashampoo Photo Optimizer Correcting perspective distortions Significantly enhance images with one click Free; Premium: $15 or $12/year Download
Photo Pos Pro Text effects for graphic designs Smart selections for easy background and object removal, including a Smart Select Brush and Magnetic Select Free; Premium: $49.99 Download
Canva Graphic design Millions of design assets and highly customizable templates Free; Pro: $119.99/year Download
Paint.NET Layer editing Special effects such as blurring, sharpening, red-eye removal, distortion, noise, and embossing Free Download
Movavi Photo Editor Quick and easy object removal AI Retouch to whiten teeth, remove blemishes, smooth skin, and more First 10 images free; Premium: $69.95 or $49.95/year Download
InPixio Photo Studio Adding and editing frames Create Photo Montages with backgrounds, stickers, and text Free; Studio: $49.99/year Studio Pro: $59.99/year Studio Ultimate: $99.99/year Download
GIMP Advanced editors and illustrators Image manipulation features like Smudge, Dodge and Burn, Blur, and Sharpen. Free Download
Adobe Express Social media Templates and editing tools for photos and videos Free; Premium: $9.99/month Download
Darktable Lightroom users on a budget Photo management features including geotags, star labels, color codes, and more Free Download

PhotoDirector Essential vs

Best For

Empowering creators of all experience levels to edit pictures into studio-quality masterpieces

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Notable Feature

Generative AI features, a full suite of photo editing tools, and photo management in one

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Price

Free; Premium: $3.75/month

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Link

Free Download Secure Download

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The Best Free Photo Editing Software for Windows PC - Ranked

1. PhotoDirector Essential


Best For: Empowering creators of all experience levels to edit pictures into studio-quality masterpieces


PhotoDirector Essential is the best free photo editor for PC and Mac because it combines Lightroom's photo processing and organization functions with Photoshop's powerful editing, enhancement, and altering tools. This free photo editor for PC offers AI-powered tools and Guided modules that lower the learning curve and help you produce high-quality photo effects in a few clicks.

Remove pesky objects and people with AI object removal and content-aware fill - which automatically fills in the missing part of the picture once an item has been removed. Restore old photographs with one click, remove blemishes, whiten teeth, apply blur effects, create stunning panoramas, and much more. Besides tools for editing images, you can also use this free photo editing software to find and create new content. Browse millions of high-quality stock images to use in your projects, or generate images from a text prompt using AI.

PhotoDirector Essential is the best free photo editing software on this list. It is very beginner-friendly but also has all the advanced editing tools for more experienced editors. Not to mention, it’s always at the forefront of the latest photo trends and technology because of regular updates. The newest update brings even more generative AI functionality, with AI Scenes, which reimagines your images into jungles, industrial settings, beaches, and many more from a text prompt. There’s also new backgrounds for product photography, making PhotoDirector a multi-functional tool for photographers, graphics designers, content creators, and e-shop owners.


Pros
  • Beginner-friendly features for intuitive and effortless editing
  • Excellent photo management and organizational tools
  • Includes advanced features and manual adjustments for those who prefer more creative control
Cons
  • Stock libraries are only available in the premium version

Key Features

  1. Harness the power of AI to instantly enhance photos, or use text-to-image tools to generate brand-new content
  2. Reshape, repair, and enhance your complexion, figure, and overall appearance with photo retouching tools
  3. Animate your photos easily with anchor points and make your own GIFs

Compatibility: Windows, Mac


G2 Rating: 4.3/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 5/5


Price: Free
*Premium subscription available for $3.75/month  


Download the best free photo editor for PC now and see why PCMag said it gives, “Adobe a run for its money…”


Check out these related topics for photo editing:

2. MyEdit Image Editing Tool


Best For: Generating AI images and profile pics online


MyEdit is the best free photo editing software found online. It offers powerful AI tools but is incredibly simple for beginners. We loved using this free photo editing software for its unique AI effects and generative content. You can create new images from a text prompt, or apply a fun cartoon, sketch, or art filter to your current images. You can even change your outfit or turn your house into LEGO! MyEdit is also the best free photo editing software for creating profile pics, with an Avatar Generator and a new Headshot Generator. We recommend MyEdit for users of any skill level who need a profile pic generator, or want to try AI-generative features for free. It’s also an excellent tool for realtors, interior designers, and anyone with an online store. The new AI Room tool gives your room a makeover with AI-powered interior design tools, while AI Product Background generates unique backgrounds for your merchandise from a custom prompt.

This free photo editor also includes an image converter, basic tools for editing images like rotate, crop, flip, and resize, plus advanced features to remove distractions or upscale photos. We were highly impressed with the background and object remover tools, which were more accurate than in some more extensive paid software.

You can use all of MyEdit’s tools completely free - including AI generative content. While most free photo editing software either don’t include AI content or give you a limited number of credits, MyEdit’s credits reload daily. The makers of MyEdit are constantly adding new AI-powered features, including 3 new tools since our last review (AI Room, AI Sketch, and Headshot Generator). While it is not as extensive as the best free photo editing software - PhotoDirector, MyEdit is by far the best online option.


Pros
  • Quick and easy, just visit the site and start editing images right away
  • Powerful and accurate AI tools make complicated-looking effects easy
  • Credits for free generative AI content reload daily
Cons
  • File size limit of 50MB

Key Features:

  1. Convert images to JPG or PNG
  2. Automatically transform your images into cartoons using 11 different cartoon/anime styles
  3. Accurately remove backgrounds and objects from images with one click
  4. Use AI to upscale, enhance, denoise, and deblur images to instantly improve quality and resolution

Compatibility: Web Browser


Overall Rating: 4.5/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 4.5/5


Price: Free
*Premium subscriptions available for $4/month for Image and $7/month Image and Enhancer


Try MyEdit for free today (and tomorrow, and the day after that, and….you get the idea).

Try Online for Free Secure Link

3. Promeo


Best For: Templated graphic ads for social media


Promeo is one of the best free photo editing software for content creators and online businesses. It is incredibly simple to use - just pick a template, customize it, and share it to your favorite platforms. You can create a high-quality ad for social media or a product mock-up without paying a marketing company to do it for you. Like MyEdit, you can generate beautiful images and product backgrounds from a text prompt, and apply the new background to all of your merchandise with the touch of a button. You can even create templates from text prompts, such as “Clothing 50% off sale” and customize the results.

With this free photo editor for PC, you can remove objects and backgrounds instantly, or blur and white-out backgrounds to remove distractions. Promeo is unique compared to other free photo editing software because you can not only edit pictures but create short video posts as well. You can also add eye-catching animated elements to static posts, ads, invites, and flyers.

We found customizing a template with text, stickers, LUTs, and images is easy with Promeo. We were also impressed with what you get in the free version (all titles, stickers, and LUTs, plus 1 million stock videos and 2 million images). Should you decide to upgrade, the premium version is very affordable. While MyEdit is the best online photo editor, we think Promeo is the best free photo editor for PC for marketing, especially if you want a tool to create video ads and animated content.


Pros
  • Updated daily with new content
  • Thousands of professionally designed templates
  • Includes tools to edit pictures and videos
Cons
  • Not as many templates available in the free plan

Key Features:

  1. Access millions of free stock images
  2. Add animated elements to posts with motion titles and stickers
  3. Easily remove objects or backgrounds with AI Auto Cutout
  4. Choose from a diverse library of color filters and LUTs to instantly change the feel of your image

Compatibility: Windows


Google Play Rating: 4.6/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 4.5/5


Price: Free
*Premium subscription available for $2.50/month


Download this free photo editing software with the link below, and start editing images into animated, eye-catching posts today.

4. Pixlr

Pixlr Interface

Best For: Beginners to learn layer editing


With this versatile free photo editor for PC, you can create graphic designs from a template, edit pictures, create product mock-ups, and generate AI images from text. We’ve always felt Pixlr was one of the best free photo editing software for making photo collages, but the recently added Photo Grid Maker tool has moved it to another level. It’s an AI-powered collage creator that automatically places your images into multiple grid layouts. You can choose an aspect ratio, adjust the size of the grid lines, change the background color, and adjust the shape of the corners.

Pixlr's lightweight free photo editing software works well for beginners and more experienced editors in need of a quick solution for editing images. The software supports layers and masks and includes customizable brushes and visual effects.You can search through 10,000+ templates optimized for any need, such as Facebook Cover, Twitch Banner, X Post, YouTube Thumbnail, TikTok video, and more.

Every time we test Pixlr the price of the paid versions goes up and more free tools are placed behind a paywall. However, you can still use quite a few tools for free, including generative AI, but there are daily export limits. We moved Pixlr above Photoscape X in our updated list because the former has added new AI features, such as an Avatar Generator and Product Shot Creator - similar to what you find in our top 3 free photo editing software. In our test, we couldn’t upload iPhone (HEIC) images, which was frustrating. We also found it difficult to navigate between tools, as many are on separate pages and require you to download images, then re-import them for further editing. 


Pros
  • Beautiful stock images are available for free download
  • Accessible to a wide range of skill levels
Cons
  • Free version offers limited downloads and contains annoying banner ads
  • Can run slow, especially while rendering

Key Features

  1. Create stunning designs with pre-made templates in a variety of social-media-friendly sizes
  2. Generate a product mockup
  3. Improve portraits with a range of skin retouch tools

Compatibility: Windows, Web Browser


Get App Rating: 4.5/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 4.5/5


Price: Free
*Premium subscriptions available for $0.99/month for Plus, $1.99/month for Premium, and $7.99/month for Team

5. Photoscape X

Photoscape Interface

Best For: Batch editing images


We think Photoscape X is the best free photo editing software for anyone who needs to edit multiple images at once. While you can batch edit pictures using any of Photoscape’s tools, it comes with dedicated tools for the most common batch tools, such as Batch Resize, Batch Rename, and Batch Format Change.

Photoscape X is not just a free photo editor for PC, but also a photo viewer, GIF creator, screen capture device, RAW image converter, and more. It comes with several automatic color effects, such as a color splash tool, selective color adjustments, and a color replacement effect.

In our research, we found most users like editing images with Photoscape X because it is so quick to use. It comes in at #4 because it is very robust for free photo editing software, and it’s beginner-friendly once you learn the layout. However, unlike our top 4 options, it is not updated regularly - it’s been 2 years since the last update - and therefore lacks AI-powered tools. It also lacks support for a wide variety of formats, and it freezes when handling RAW files.  


Pros
  • A wide range of tools and features are available in the free version
  • Ideal for beginners with easy-to-use features
Cons
  • Freezes if handling multiple RAW files
  • Few manual options for experienced editors

Key Features

  1. Create stunning panoramic photos with ease
  2. Quickly remove blemishes, spots, and other imperfections with a spot-healing brush
  3. Emulate the look of old film cameras with light leak effects

Compatibility: Windows, Mac


TechRadar Rating: 4.5/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 4.5/5


Price: Free
*Pro version available for $39.99

6. Fotor

Fotor Interface

Image from Fotor.


Best For: Creating profile pics


Fotor is one of the best free photo editing software for editing images with AI effects. Transform profile pics into a cartoon, anime, Disney princess, Barbie, or comic. Turn landscapes into sketches, impressionist paintings, abstract art, and many more. Use a Color Splash filter to create a black and white image with one or two colors remaining, or colorize your black and white originals. If you like creating and generating unique profile pictures, artworks, and posts with the help of AI, then Fotor is a great free photo editor for PC, Mac, and online.

This free photo editing software is easy to navigate, and a first-time user would have no problem finding the features they need. It offers several different interfaces, including a graphic designer, photo editor, collage maker, and AI content creator. This free photo editor for PC has some unique and fun tools such as Face Swap, AI Expand, AI Face Generator, and our personal favorite, an automatic Text Remover.

Fotorcontinues to remain at the forefront of AI technology, and constantly adds features before most other free photo editing software. However, using the free version is still troublesome, since many tools are only available with a subscription, and there are annoying ads and pop-ups which caused our computer to lag. You’ll also have a watermark on your downloads, even if you stick to non-premium tools, and you only get 5 credits total for AI-generative content. If you are looking for the best free photo editing software for AI content, we suggest PhotoDirector or MyEdit, because free credits reload daily.   


Pros
  • A user-friendly interface for users of any skill level
  • Lots of AI-generation tools, with a folder to store and manage your AI content
Cons
  • High system requirements can cause your computer to run slowly
  • When using the free version, there are constant pop-ups reminding you to upgrade and annoying ads

Key Features

  1. Improve images instantly with 1-Tap Skin Retouch, 1-Tap Enhance, and AI Enlargement
  2. Create the perfect profile pic with AI Avatar Generator and Circle Crop
  3. Add depth and focus to your photos with various blur tools, including radial and tilt-shift blur

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Web Browser


G2 Rating: 4.2/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 4.5/5


Price: Free
*Premium subscriptions available for $3.33/month for Pro and $7.50/month for Pro+

7. BeFunky

BeFunky interface

Best For: Editing images with overlays and frames


As the name suggests, BeFunky is one of the best free photo editing software for infusing personality into your images. It comes with an excellent selection of artistic filters, graphics, and text tools. We like it best for its themed overlays and frames, because it offers a selection and customization options we haven’t found in any other free photo editor for PC. Overlays come in a long list of categories, such as Alphabet, Numbers, Patterns, Hearts, Halloween, Winter, etc. You can adjust the transparency, size, and rotation, plus increase blur and shadows. Frames come in categories like Art Deco, Lace, and Filmstrip, and are customized by color, opacity, scale, and padding.  

BeFunky also has portrait retouching tools to add make-up, whiten teeth, slim features, erase blemishes, and more. With ten photo editing modules, you can quickly browse through the software's editing interface to alter template layouts, upload and store images, add text and graphics, and make minor tweaks. In addition to the free photo editing software, there’s a collage maker and graphic designer you can choose on the main interface.

Proficient editors will likely wish for more options, especially in the free version. We found entire sections were paid-only, however, they weren’t labeled as such. We had to click on each tool to see if it was a premium feature or paid, taking up valuable time. BeFunky's is a free photo editing software designed for editing images quickly, however, we found the pop-up tips that appeared with every tool were extremely tedious.We recommend PhotoDirector as a great alternative. It’s also a photo editor, collage maker, and graphic designer, but it includes an AI image generator, has a more robust free version, and a cheaper paid option.


Pros
  • Edit multiple photos simultaneously with batch processing
  • Create stunning designs with customizable templates
Cons
  • Limited Smart tools and no AI tools are included in the free version
  • Every time you click on a tool, a tooltip pops up that you have to manually close

Key Features

  1. Choose from a massive amount of image overlays and textures to customize images
  2. Enhance your photos with a variety of unique filters and art effects
  3. Access over 1 million free stock images to use in your projects

Compatibility: Web Browser


G2 Rating: 4.2/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 4/5


Price: Free
*Premium subscription available for $5.99/month

8. Photopea

photopea interface

Best For: Photoshop users on a budget


If you use Photoshop but find yourself needing a free alternative, Photopea is the best free photo editing software for you. In our research, it came up over and over again as a great budget-friendly option for Photoshop users. It supports Photoshop files and has a similar feature set and interface, though slightly pared back.

Edit pictures or create graphic designs from scratch using this free photo editing software. It comes with design assets such as stock images and templates and has a large selection of filters and adjustments. We loved that even though there is a premium version of the software, every tool is available for free. The paid option does not add any features, but enhances the editing experience by increasing storage, removing ads, providing email support, and keeping track of more steps in your history.

Photopea is updated annually, and the most recent release brought a long list of new tools and improvements, most notably a Magic Replace tool and improved one-click Background Removal. There’s also a new Blur Gallery that allows you to use different blur effects on different parts of an image. We moved it up from #12 to #8 because of the growing amount of tools users can access for free. However, Photopea is too complex for beginners. There is a helpful Learn tab filled with step-by-step instructions, but it will take a long time to get comfortable with it if you aren’t familiar with Photoshop. During our test, we suffered through a lot of trial and error, because this free photo editor for PC lacks real-time previews of effects.


Pros
  • All tools are available for free use
  • Supports RAW image files, popular file formats (PNG, TIFF, JPEG, GIF, etc), and files from Photoshop and GIMP
Cons
  • The software is difficult for beginners and requires a lot of trial and error
  • You need a strong internet connection when using this free photo editing software, and even then you may have stability issues

Key Features

  1. Access a variety of drawing tools including pens/brushes, path selections, and an automatic rectangle tool
  2. Remove blemishes and other imperfections with healing/spot brushes
  3. Automatically create a lovely ombre effect with one-click gradients

Compatibility: Web Browser


Software Advice Rating: 4.6/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 3.5/5


Price: Free
*Premium version available for $8 for 30 days, $15 for 90 days, or $50 for one year (Teams pricing is also available for teams of 5, 20, and 50)  

9. PhotoPad

PhotoPad Interface

Best For: Resizing images


We found PhotoPad to be one of the best free photo editing software thanks to its image resizing and upscaling tools. PhotoPad uses AI-powered tools to resize images without loss of quality. It comes with a liquid resize effect that will change the aspect ratio of your image with no distortion, and a Super Resolution tool to upscale images losslessly. It’s a great resource for anyone who likes to print their images.

PhotoPad has all the tools you’d expect from free photo editing software, including frames, color correction, crop, and rotation. This free photo editor for PC has some features usually limited to premium software, such as a blur tool, drawing tools, and creative effects like warp, paint, and embroidery.

PhotoPad is very beginner-friendly and comes with lots of learning tools such as a help manual, video tutorials, user forums, and technical support reps. While there are tons of features for both beginners and advanced users, they don’t allow for the same number of customizations and adjustments. It also lacks photo organization and management features. We prefer our choice of the best free photo editing software, PhotoDirector because it offers tools for professional and beginner photographers.


Pros
  • Offers a lot of support for beginners, such as video tutorials and a help manual
  • A user-friendly interface that makes editing images accessible to everyone
Cons
  • Some tools require a lot of tweaking to get right
  • Light on features for experienced users looking for more control

Key Features

  1. Add color to black-and-white images and bring new life to old photos
  2. Quickly and easily remove blemishes, spots, and other imperfections
  3. Choose from a selection of clipart and fonts to add creative elements to your photos

Compatibility: Windows, Mac


G2 Rating: 4.1/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 4/5


Price: Free
*Premium versions available for $60 for Home, $70 for Pro, or $3.88/month for unlimited updates

10. Ashampoo Photo Optimizer

Ashampoo Photo Optimizer Interface

Image from TechRadar.


If you are editing photos of landscapes or tall buildings with perspective distortions, Ashampoo Photo Optimizer is the best free photo editing software for you. We found it very helpful for fixing vertical and horizontal distortions and straightening horizons. This program is quick and easy, and these edits can be made with a single click.

You can also use Ashampoo Photo Optimizer to enhance your photos by optimizing colors, contrasts, and exposure times for single images or multiple images at once. We like that it also has manual adjustments so you can edit pictures with precision.

Ashampoo Photo Optimizer has a clean UI, and no tool is more than 2 clicks away, making it easy to find what you need. Version 10 of the software comes with 30 built-in LUTs and support for downloading LUTs from the internet. In our test, we were grateful for manual sliders, because its namesake auto-optimization tool was hit-or-miss. It’s also missing advanced tools such as layer editing. We recommend our pick for the best free photo editing software, PhotoDirector, as a better quick and easy solution for editing images. While both programs offer one-click optimizations and manual sliders, only PhotoDirector has advanced features.


Best For: Correcting perspective distortions


Pros
  • Enjoy fast and efficient editing, even on older or less powerful devices
  • User-friendly interface and straightforward features
Cons
  • Does not have layer editing capabilities
  • Automatic tools don’t always work, requiring manual adjustments to achieve desired outcomes

Key Features

  1. Add a touch of drama to your photos with implosion/explosion effects
  2. Fine-tune the tonality of your images by adjusting brightness, contrast, and more
  3. Easily crop and rotate your photos to perfect composition

Compatibility: Windows


CNET Rating: 4.1/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 4/5


Price: Free
*Premium version available for $12/year or $15

11. Photo Pos Pro

Photo Pos Pro interface

Image from fixthephoto.


Best For: Text effects for graphic designs


Photo Pos Pro is one of the best free photo editing software for its stunning text effects, including an array of font styles, effects, and textures such as gel, chrome, metal, etc. It has 2 modes to cover any skill level. Beginners can choose the Novice mode for easy one-click solutions, while experts can enjoy manual editing tools.  

This free photo editor for PC comes with some fun special effects, such as dispersion, pencil sketch, motion effects, and a unique “pop-out of picture” effect. You’ll find all the tools needed for professional editing, like Layers, Masks, Curves, Scripts, Effects, Brushes and more. It also comes with photo templates for greeting cards, collages, and photo montages.

We like that Photo Pos Pro has modes for any skill level, however, the Novice mode lacks important features like layer editing, and the Expert mode has a steep learning curve. They are also very different in layout, so you can’t switch back and forth easily between the two. We prefer the functionality of the best free photo editor for PC, PhotoDirector, where there is one easy-to-use mode, and every tool has both automatic and manual options. 


Pros
  • Excellent graphic design and text tools for social media
  • A feature-rich free version that provides a lot of value
Cons
  • Difficult to switch between one-click and manual options
  • Steep learning curve for new users

Key Features

  1. Remove and replace unwanted backgrounds
  2. Choose from a variety of frame and collage templates
  3. Quickly and easily remove red eye from your portraits

Compatibility: Windows


TechRadar Rating: 4/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 4/5


Price: Free
*Premium version available for $49.99

12. Canva

Canva Interface

Image from Canva.


Best For: Graphic design


If you have no graphic design experience but need to create marketing materials or social media posts for your brand or company, this is the free photo editor for PC for you. It comes with customizable templates for every popular platform. Start with a photo or template, then browse Canva’s thousands of filters, frames, graphics, stickers, and text options to add some flair.  

This free photo editing software also has an image enhancement tool that can brighten and sharpen images in one click, or you can fix individual elements with adjustment sliders. You can also create photo projects such as calendars, invites, flyers, and memes.

There are millions of design assets available in the free photo editing software, although Canva saves the best stuff for premium subscribers. While it doesn’t have the advanced editing capability of PhotoDirector or Photopea, Canva has added a new Magic Studio, filled with AI editing and generative tools. It includes AI-generated content from text prompts for designs, presentations, images, videos, and scripts. You can edit pictures with Magic Switch (resize), Magic Animate, Magic Morph, Magic Grab, and Magic Expand. Unfortunately, all of the Magic Studio tools, including background and object removal, are only available in the Pro version. The one exception is Magic Edit, which allows free users the chance to add an AI-generated element to their images. Or so they say. We spent a very long time trying to use Magic Edit in the free version, but couldn’t find it as an option. 


Pros
  • Professionally designed templates make it easy to achieve great results
  • An easy-to-use interface that’s accessible for beginners
Cons
  • Limited photo editing tools
  • Team collaboration tools, brand kits, and AI content are only available in the paid version

Key Features

  1. Add text and graphics to your photos to create memes
  2. Edit any element of a design in a variety of ways
  3. Create mockups or logos with the transparent image background tool

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Web Browser


PCMag Rating: 4.5/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 3.5/5


Price: Free
*Premium version available for $119.99/year

13. Paint.NET

Paint.Net Interface

Image from Paint.net.


Best For: Layer editing


Paint.NET is one of the best free photo editing software for anyone who needs a free solution for multi-level image editing. Editable layers are typically reserved for paid software, but Paint.net offers this functionality for free. Even better, every edit to a layer is recorded, and you can go back and undo any change.

This free photo editing software has adjustment tools so you can tweak brightness, contrast, saturation, hue, and curves. You can make an image sepia-toned or black-and-white, apply blur, or sharpen images. You can also change perspective and add tilt with the unique 3D Rotate/Zoom effect. 

This is not a replacement for more professional software, but Paint.NET is one of the best free photo editing software for beginners who want to learn more advanced editing techniques. Our one major complaint when testing this free photo editor for PC was with the text tools. You can’t make changes to the text once it is added - something that almost every other free photo editor for PC will allow.  


Pros
  • Benefit from an active community that provides tutorials, forums, and plug-ins
  • Enjoy simplified versions of advanced editing tools
Cons
  • May not have the features and capabilities required by professional photographers
  • Offers limited control over text effects

Key Features

  1. Copy and paste pixels from one part of an image to another with the clone stamp tool
  2. Draw smooth, precise shapes and lines with drawing tools for Bezier curves
  3. Add depth and dimension with powerful gradient tools

Compatibility: Windows


FixThePhoto Rating: 3.5/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 4/5


Price: Free

14. Movavi Photo Editor

Movavi Picverse interface

Best For: Quick and easy object removal


Movavi Photo Editor was originally built as a tool to remove objects from photos, and it has excelled at that task ever since. This free photo editor for PC removes objects automatically, and uses AI to generate a natural-looking background as a replacement. There is also an adjustable brush for added precision.

Almost all of Movavi’s tools are automatic with accompanying sliders, for easy and accurate editing. Edit pictures by tweaking the color, brightness, contrast, and saturation, or apply Magic Enhance for automatic lighting improvements. This free photo editing software comes with fun graphical elements such as stickers and overlays, plus text, titles, and captions for fully customized photos.

Movavi Photo Editor is software intended for beginners to edit pictures with ease, and it delivers on that front. It has a good amount of AI-powered features, but some of the results fall short of expectations. New tools include AI Retouch for portraits, natural colorization of black and white images, and 34 additional color presets. Unlike our top choice, PhotoDirector, Movavi does not have a free-forever version, and the 10 photos you can edit free of charge will be watermarked.  


Pros
  • Excellent restoration tools to repair old or damaged photos
  • Automatic tools with sliders for precise adjustments
Cons
  • Erase and stamp tools may not achieve the desired results
  • Only contains basic tools and effects, and is not a good fit for advanced editors

Key Features

  1. Enhance clarity and detail with sharpness adjustments
  2. Easily remove objects and backgrounds with AI
  3. Correct light and color by adjusting exposure, brightness, contrast, and more

Compatibility: Windows, Mac


FixThePhoto Rating: 3.5/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 4/5


Price: First 10 images are free, then $49.95/year or $69.95 for a lifetime license

15. InPixio Photo Studio

inPixio Interface

Image from inPixio Blog.

Best For: Adding and editing frames


IInPixio is a free photo editor for PCs known for its one-click AI editing solutions. It is one of the best free photo editing software for its collection of 100+ beautifully-designed frames. There are frames for any number of occasions and holidays, and the frames can be customized by color and size. All are included in the program’s limited free version, along with filters, textures, and vignettes.

This free photo editing software’s tools are automatic, but you can edit pictures in manual mode for more precise control. Crop, adjust brightness and contrast, and add text with this free photo editor for PC.

InPixio Photo Studio reserves most of its tools for the paid versions, but if you simply need to edit pictures by cropping, adjusting, or adding a frame or filter, then the free photo editor for PC will work for you. InPixio’s premium versions still pale in comparison to many of the free photo editing software on our list, which is why we placed it at #15.   


Pros
  • Choose between manual and automatic options to achieve the desired results
  • A huge library of editable frames and textures
Cons
  • Few tools compared to other free photo editing software
  • Free version is not available on Mac

Key Features

  1. Replace skies and backgrounds with ease
  2. Improve image quality by removing noise and grain
  3. Remove unwanted objects from your photos with object removal

Compatibility: Windows, Mac


Capterra Rating: 3.9/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 3.5/5


Price: Free
*Premium subscriptions available for $49.99/year for Studio, $59.99/year for Studio Pro, and $99.99/year for Studio Ultimate

16. GIMP

GIMP interface

Image from Gimp Workshop on YouTube.


Best For: Advanced editors and illustrators


GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free photo editor that features a surprisingly well-rounded amassing of features that rival those of Photoshop and similar paid programs. The software comes well-stocked with advanced features like layer editing functions, masking, color management features, and effects.It also has features for creating original artworks, such as Paintbrush, Pencil, Airbrush, Ink, and MyPaint brushes that you can download from GitHub. It has functionality for editors, illustrators, and graphic designers who desire advanced tools on a budget.

For even more functionality, you can download free plugins created by other GIMP users. Further, the software's customizable layout and ongoing developments ensure that it stays on pace with other free photo editing software. GIMP works well with other open-source software, like Scribus and Inkscape.

GIMP is #16 on our list because it falls short of most other free photo editing software when it comes to user-friendliness. It has a steep learning curve and tools that aren’t as precise as those powered by AI. For instance, there is no magnetic lasso tool, so object selection can be difficult with patchy results. The loaded interface often feels overwhelming, and beginners and intermediate editors may struggle to find solutions for complicated editing techniques. Additionally, this free photo editing software offers little help for its users outside of the community discussion panels.


Pros
  • Enjoy a large library of adjustable brushes
  • Includes custom color adjustment and gradient tools
Cons
  • Hard to learn for new users
  • The tools are not as powerful as they are in paid software

Key Features

  1. Improve the dynamic range of your photos with tone mapping
  2. Enhance your designs with a variety of graphic design elements like shapes and textures
  3. Create original artwork with tools designed for digital painting and illustration

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux


G2 Rating: 4.3/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 3/5


Price: Free  

17. Adobe Express

Adobe Express Interface

Best For: Social media


Visit the website for Adobe Express, and you are greeted with templates to create any kind of social media post - such as YouTube banners, TikTok ads, Instagram posts, and Facebook Stories. It also has an instant resize tool that is perfect for busy influencers who need to repurpose one post for many platforms. Spring for the Premium version and you’ll have access to branding kits and a content scheduler as well.

Adobe Express is an all-in-one free photo editing software, graphic design tool, video editor, and PDF editor. The free photo editor for PC even includes a limited amount of Adobe Stock images and Adobe Fonts. But we like it most for its polished and fully customizable templates.


Bottom Line

This free photo editor for PC helps non-designers create professional-looking social media posts. Although Adobe Express is similar to Canva, we placed Canva on top because it offers more photo editing tools. Adobe Express also lacks support for layer editing, and only accepts JPG format.


Pros
  • An easy-to-use interface for those with no experience
  • Tons of professionally-designed templates
Cons
  • Does not support layer editing
  • Requires Flash, which may not be available on all computers
  • Only supports JPG, limiting the types of images that can be edited

Key Features

  1. Easily crop your photos to achieve the perfect composition
  2. Remove unwanted backgrounds with one click
  3. Add AI textures to text using a descriptive prompt

Compatibility: Web Browser


PCMag Rating: 3.5/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 3.5/5


Price: Free
*Premium subscription available for $9.99/month

18. Darktable

Darktable Interface

Image from Darktable.


Best For: Lightroom users on a budget


Darktable is an open-source and completely free photo editor for PC. We think it’s the best free photo editing software for Lightroom users because it offers support for tethered shooting and RAW image processing for over 400 cameras. It also has some photo management tools including geotags, stars, and color labels, and it handles up to 10,000 images. It is often compared to Adobe Lightroom, and it is a worthy alternative to Lightroom for those intent on saving some money. Its cataloging features are not as robust as Lightroom’s, however, Darktable offers more tools for editing images.

It’s one of the best free photo editing software for editing images with professional-level color adjustment tools, hot pixel fixes, masking, and blending with precise control over all tools and effects. You can add grain to images for an analog film look, make photos appear monochrome, or demosaic images.

While Darktableoffers many learning tools like user forums, video tutorials, and instructional posts, it will take time for beginners to get familiar with the free photo editing software. Darktable is also incredibly slow, which can frustrate professional photographers, and why it comes in last on our list.   


Pros
  • A free alternative to Lightroom
  • Good quality RAW processing
Cons
  • Learning curve for beginners
  • Confusing feature groupings make it hard to find tools

Key Features

  1. Easily retouch your photos with tools that can fix exposure, color, and more
  2. Add location data to your photos with geotagging support
  3. Reduce noise and improve image quality with denoise tools

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux


FixThePhoto Rating: 3.5/5


Beginner-Friendly Tools: 3.5/5 


Price: Free

What is the Best Free Photo Editing Software?

Whether you enjoy snapping photos on your phone or have built a career as a professional photographer, you should demand the best from your free photo editing software. Creating extraordinary Photoshop-like effects doesn't rely on having the most expensive, complex photo editing software around.

PhotoDirector is the best free photo editor for PC that allows you to animate photos, remove unwanted objects, change backgrounds, and add amazing special effects. There are even beautification tools like body-slimming, skin smoothing, and teeth whitening. With so many tools and effects, PhotoDirector is surprisingly easy to use, with guided edits and tutorials when you need them.

No matter how much experience you have, PhotoDirector makes it easy to edit pictures with basic tools or advanced visual effects. From one-click corrections to AI-powered sky replacement and more, PhotoDirector guarantees an unmatched editing experience.

Download PhotoDirector by clicking the link below and get started editing images for free today!

Best Free Photo Editing Software FAQ

1. What features should I look for in free photo editing software?

The top ten features you should look out for in the best free photo editor for PC are:

  1. User-Friendly
  2. Organizational tools
  3. Color correction and filters
  4. Layer editing
  5. AI-powered tools
  6. Content-Aware editing
  7. Photo animation
  8. Beautifying tools
  9. Color effects
  10. Light effects

For a free photo editor for PC that checks all of these boxes, try PhotoDirector by clicking the link below.

2. Should I pay for photo editing software?

Some free photo editing software like PhotoDirector Essential offer advanced features, but it is an exception to the rule. If you want to add photo effects or edit pictures with layers, you will benefit from paying for quality software. PhotoDirector has paid software that includes a 4,000,000+ stock library and lots of extra creative assets.

Whether you pay to edit images or stick with a free photo editor for PC is completely dependent on your needs and what kind of edits you want to make. If you’re editing images with simple adjustments like cropping, rotating, or flipping, then a basic free photo editor for PC should be fine.

Try editing images with the best free photo editing software by clicking the link below.

3. How much does photo editing software cost?

Prices can vary quite a bit. There are completely free photo editing software, some that are purchased with a one-time fee, and others that offer subscriptions. We included a comparison chart with prices in our Best Photo Editing Software in 2023 article to help you better understand the cost.

4. What is the best photo editor for free?

PhotoDirector Essential is the best free photo editing software available. You can use it for free as long as you want, and even have access to the premium features found in PhotoDirector 365 for 30 days. This free photo editor for PC has advanced features with plenty of manual tools to make precise edits. It is also beginner-friendly with automatic, AI-powered options for those with less experience.

To start editing images with the best free photo editor for PC available today, click the link below.

5. What is the easiest free photo editor?

PhotoDirector Essential is the easiest free photo editor for PC and Mac. It has a clean, intuitive user interface, guided edits, and lots of tutorials and blogs with step-by-step instructions for every feature.

Click the link below and learn how to edit pictures into share-worthy content using the best free photo editing software for beginners.

6. Is there a free version of Photoshop?

No, Photoshop is not a free photo editor for PCs. It has a 7-day free trial, but after that, it is $22.99 per month.

7. What is the closest thing to Photoshop that's free?

PhotoDirector Essential is the closest thing to a free version of Photoshop you can find. Check out our blog 19 Free Photoshop Alternatives With Similar Features in 2023 for more information on free photo editing software to rival Photoshop.  

If you want to edit pictures with Photoshop-like features but without the hefty price tag, click the link below and download PhotoDirector for free.

8. What is the best photo editor for beginners?

PhotoDirector is the best way to edit pictures for beginners. The free photo editor for PC comes with AI-powered tools that let beginners make professional-looking edits with one click. Its tools and features are easy to find and very user-friendly.

Download PhotoDirector by clicking the link below, and start editing images right away - no experience necessary!

9. How do I get better at editing?

Get better at editing by downloading PhotoDirector for free and practicing. PhotoDirector has online tutorials for every feature with simple step-by-step instructions.

Learn how to edit pictures with advanced tools in no time by clicking the link below.

10. Which website is free to edit photos?

MyEdit is the best free photo editing software found online. Just visit the site and start editing images with no signup required. It has all the basic tools you need to edit pictures, like crop, flip, rotate, and resize, plus powerful AI tools for more advanced edits like object/background removal, a Cartoonize Effect, deblur, and denoise.

Click the link below and try MyEdit’s incredibly fast and accurate AI editing tools and generative AI features for free.

11. Which online photo editor is 100% free?

MyEdit is a 100% free photo editor for PC you can access with your web browser. You don’t need to put in your payment details, or even sign up to use MyEdit’s powerful AI-based tools.

Get completely free access to powerful AI tools - including generative AI content - by clicking the link below.

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