Which free photo editing software is best for beginners?

I have seen this question pop up from time to time over the years.

The answer to this question is hard to say. There are some advantages and disadvantages, and more in-depth analysis can be found in this article by James Matherly. The key points here are:

Is a photo edited in Photoshop, Lightroom, or InDesign really ready for public consumption, or am I better off using my own software? There are quite a few great software programs for amateur photographers from Adobe and After Effects to VSCO and Lightroom. However, it is quite rare that an average user has access to those programs. It’s even rarer that an average user can use these programs to properly edit a photo, let alone be able to maintain it after the edit.

I hope this article helps you make an educated decision on which software you should be using for editing photos.

What to look for when choosing a new photo editing software…

Let’s face it, there is no “one size fits all” for a photo editing software.

There is no one program that solves every photo editing problem.

The goal of a software should be to provide the best editing experience for the user regardless of the type of user. That is why I try to recommend a few very good photo editing software programs.

For more information about the difference between each of these free photo editing software, check out this article.

Why should you purchase a photo editing software?

As I mentioned before, there are many different problems that a user may have when using a free photo editing software for professional grade photos.

A good photo editing software is a tool that allows you to:

Set image properties such as color/contrast, opacity, sharpness, etc.

Manage image formats, including PSD, JPEG, RAW, EXIF, etc.

Select suitable photo formats, such as JPEG (PNG/JPEG), Adobe Camera RAW, Lightroom, etc.

Create and save presets to work with those image properties.

Change your image to suit your needs and style.

Use filters to improve the look.

Have a complete set of tools to edit your photos.

Here is a photo editing software list below:



Adobe Camera RAW or Lightroom

After Effects


VSCO Edit Studio