Best Photoshop Alternatives for Mac and PC in 2019

Photography continues to evolve more and more rapidly as time goes on. With this evolution of photography has also come the evolution of photo editing software. Now, photo editing software is floating all over the internet, free for all to download. Some are free and some are not; however, regardless of this, it is helpful to know which photo editing softwares are worth your while.

Once the Adobe released its best Photoshop software, it seems like no other editing tool can boast the same functionality. Photoshop has appeared to be a revolutionary instrument for editing photos, creating new styles and changing images in accordance with users’ preferences and tastes. It is a good selection of both amateurs and professional designers.

However, the app today requires paid subscriptions in case you want to benefit from a full set of actions. A free version delivers only basic functions. At the same time, the editor may seem to be a bit too complicated for beginners. Using the tool on Mac is another problem, as it requires additional plugins to use it in full swing.

For this reason, people are looking for free photo editing software for mac like Photoshop. There are some good alternatives available on the web. We have conducted a list of top three substitutions. They include some of the best free software like Photoshop.

1. Luminar 

Luminar is a professional grade photo editor equipped with all of the essential tools you will need to create powerful edits with maximum flexibility. Luminar is one of the best Photoshop alternatives for Mac because it gives users access to an unlimited number of styles. Luminar comes with professional tools that allow for user-friendly photo manipulation.

This Mac Photoshop alternative is sure to wow with 60 beautiful default styles and quick sliders that can help to instantly improve the appearance of an image. Luminar was also designed with aerial photographers in mind. Luminar is specially designed to help fix and enhance drone images, making Luminar one of the best Photoshop alternatives for drone photography. Luminar is designed to work on Mac models from early 2010 and on.

2. Aurora HDR

Aurora is an awesome HDR editor and Mac Photoshop alternative that works by analyzing millions of pixels and transforms them into stunning photographs. Aurora sports awesome features such as the ability to combine photos and bracketed images into seamless HDR images. This alternative to Photoshop offers manipulation of a highly dynamic range within single photos.

Aurora also features masking, image radiance, feathering and density, color temperature, and the ability to work in multiple layers. You can also use Aurora to edit Raw images or to convert images from Raw to Jpeg. For its quality, Aurora HDR 2018 received Apple’s Best App of the Year Award. This program also has a PC version, making Aurora a great Windows photo editor as well.

3. Photolemur 

Photolemur is another example of one of the best Photoshop alternatives for Mac. Photolemur has a lot to offer the average photographer, like its face recognition technology, for example. This technology works to automatically smooth skin and eliminates imperfections. This feature is also great for enhancing eye color for a vibrant look and the ability to whiten teeth.

Photolemur is a great photo manipulation option for those who have no Photoshop experience. This is because Photolemur has the ability to make complex adjustments automatically using AI technology. Photolemur offers a one-time-only payment, which means that you will own Photolmeur forever without the need for subscription payments.

4. Capture One

Capture One is one of the best Photoshop softwares for Mac because it gives users access to tools that are normally associated with high-end photo editing programs. Tools such as levels, curves, contrast, and exposure are available to help create stunning images with depth and nuance. Capture One is designed to mimic Lightroom. Just like Lightroom, Capture One offers style packs for an additional charge.

These styles can be utilized to make one-click adjustments that can save photographers a lot of time. Styles such as matte, film, black and white, and cinematic can be used to give your photos that little something that pushes them over the edge. And, if you really want to push it to the limit, you can even stack these features—a feature unique to Capture One.

5. ON1 

ON1’s goal was to be a one-stop-shop for all photographers. ON1 provides the best of both worlds by operating as a stand-alone photo editor or as a Photoshop plugin. ON1 is also always offering updates in order to ensure that you always have access to top-of-the-line photo editing capabilities.

Some of ON1’s recent technology updates include HDR merging, panorama stitching, and feathering masks. ON1 is designed to do pretty much anything you might need it to. ON1 will do everything from organizing your images for you to RAW development. ON1 also offer fast photo browsing so that you can spend less time hunting for images. ON1 offers the ability to work in multiple layers just like Photoshop which makes it a great tool for creating awesome montages!

6. DxO

DxO Photo Lab is one of the best Photoshop alternatives for photographers who are interested in getting the best quality from RAW format images. Many photographers even argue that DxO beats out Adobe Lightroom in regard to this trait because of its ability to manipulate RAW images to create photographs with low noise, wide tonal range, and excellent sharpness with ease. DxO Optics Pro is capable of making both global and local edits and add-on programs like ViewPoint and FilmPack are available to photographers who are looking for a little bit more out of their photo editing software.

7. Affinity

Described as the standout best Photoshop alternative for professionals, Affinity has much to offer the modern photographer. Affinity Designer is a great tool for photographers who need a photo editor that is capable of camera Raw editing, HDR merging, professional retouching, panorama stitching, focus stacking, PSD editing, batch processing, digital painting, 360-degree rotation, and multi-layered compositions.

Affinity also offers many of the tools that people would normally associate with Adobe Photoshop, such as levels, curves, black and white, and white balance. Affinity also offers advanced, refined selection algorithms. This allows for precise selections for masking, selectively applying adjustments, or any other local adjustment you may need to make. Affinity also offers customizable toolbars, a choice of light or dark UI, and the ability to create your own keyboard shortcuts, making it perfect for those who want to work their way.

8. GIMP 

Probably the most well known free Photoshop alternatives, GIMP is one of the best free art programs and has a lot to offer the photographer on a budget. GIMP has all of the same capabilities as Photoshop, but is accessible to anyone who would like to download the software. GIMP’s features can be extended through the use of plug-ins and hundreds of plug-ins are available through GIMP’s registry. GIMP also offers both basic and advanced image editing and retouching tools.

GIMP brushes, drawing and selection tools, selection masks, color adjustments, and layers are all examples of the tools that you would commonly use to manipulate photographs that you can use through GIMP. GIMP also supports a wide variety of file formats for both display and for export. GIMP is frequently updated in order to give you the best, up-to-date experience. GIMP also gives graphic designers access to drawing tools and free drawing software. 

9. darktable

darktable is another free Photoshop alternative and is available for both Mac and Windows computers. darktable is a great alternative to Adobe Lightroom and offers sliders to manipulate contrast, highlights, curves, etc. Basically, everything that you would be able to do in Adobe Lightroom. darktable is designed to be user-friendly and easy to use even for beginning photo manipulators.

darktable allows the user to look at their edit history and go back and make changes. There are also tabs for masks and image info. darktable provides a seamless workflow that is able to be learned on the fly without excessive information or tutorials. darktable also has neat features that appeal even to the film photographer. Store digital copies of your negatives and view them on a virtual light table.

10. RawTherapee

Raw Therapee is a free photo-processing application for RAW photo manipulation. Raw Therapee is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers and offers a myriad of neat tools. What is most exciting about Raw Therapee is their unique wavelets and retinex tools. The wavelet tool is something that is still very much in the works for many other photo editors.

The wavelet tool utilizes a mathematical function that splits the image into various levels of detail. This allows the artist to work on the levels that interest them. Raw Therapee also has other unique features such as post-resize sharpening, which helps to preserve the crispness of an image after resizing. Or, maybe you would be interested in RawTherapees other unique tools such and the luminance and perceptual tones, which affect exposure tone curves. 

11. Topaz Studio

Topaz Studio is one of the best free Photoshop softwares and RAW file processors. Topaz Labs promises free updates for life and can be downloaded to both Windows and Mac computers. Topaz Labs is designed to function as a stand-alone editor, but it can also act as a Photoshop plug-in for those who are already invested in Adobe. The free version includes ten adjustment settings and a variety of preset effects, and, for most photographers, this is probably all you will need for simple edits such as color correction or red-eye correction.

However, if you are interested in having access to the remaining fourteen adjustments, you can purchase the Pro Pack. The Pro Pack is available for a 30-day preview for those who are interested in learning more about these additional adjustment settings. However, with over 400 preset effects, you may not even want the Pro Pack. 

12. Cyber Link Photodirector

Cyber Link is a great video editor for those who are looking for a fast rendering, clear interface. Cyber Link offers a wide variety of effects and is often referred to as the best video editor for creating 360-degree videos. Multi-cam editing along with 3D and 4K capability, Cyber Link has much to offer the modern photographer, graphic designer, and videographer. Motion tracking and screen recording are two other neat features that come with Cyber Link.

Comparable to Adobe Premiere Elements, Cyber Link allows users access to new text effects, integrated tutorial links, best-matched profiles, and AI art styles like the Van Gogh and Chinese painting filters. Cyber Link also offers video nesting and a pre-cut tool. Cyber Link also gives photographers the options to combine photos. LUTs is also available for easy color correcting.

13. Photo Pos Pro

Photo Pos Pro may have an outdated looking interface, but don’t let that fool you. Photo Pos Pro gives photographers easy access to commonly used tools in the top bar for a user-friendly, intuitive feel. Photo Pos Pro also has a neat feature that gives the user a “Tip of the Day”. This feature allows the user to come into contact with photo editing tools and features that they were maybe unaware of. This allows for an environment in which a photographer continue to grow and learn.

Photo Pos Pro also has a variety of keyboard shortcuts that streamline the photo editing process. The user has control over whether to hide or show various toolbars and palettes which allows for more control over the appearance of the interface and a cleaner look.

14. Pixelmator Pro 

Pixelmator Pro is one of the best Photoshop alternatives for Mac and unfortunately is only compatible with Mac computers. However, Pixelmator Pro has a lot to offer photographers. Pixelmator Pro offers user s that ability to manage layers, paint, repair images, and has made RAW image processing a breeze. Pixelmator Pro works with Apple’s framework powers to allow for features like automatic horizon detection, image recognition, layer naming, and quick selection.

Pixelmator Pro also works with Apple’s framework in order to integrate machine learning into the application. This allows for the editing software to detect patterns and draw a conclusion based upon the previous action. Pixelmator Pro was designed to have that AI effect that many photo editors are striving for these days.

15. Corel PaintShop X6

Probably one of the best Photoshop alternatives when it comes to advanced manual and automatic photo editing, Corel PaintShop X6 is designed to process RAW images and was designed to be a more affordable version of Adobe Photoshop. PaintShop was created with the hobbyist in mind. This is not only because of how affordable PaintShop is but because, unlike Photoshop which can take months to master, PaintShop is meant to be easy to master in just a few days. Corel PaintShop X6 does this by allowing for a customizable interface.

Beginning photographers can select a more simplistic interface when they are in the process of learning the basics and can switch to a more advanced interface when they are ready. This allows for a stress-free learning process that allows the user to progress at a pace that is most comfortable for them.

16. Photoshop Elements

Photoshop Elements offers photographers a wide variety of powerful manipulation tools, strong face and geotagging capabilities, and excellent output options. Photoshop Elements is also designed to auto-tag and gives the user access to powerful search options. There is also helpful guidance provided to the user for more advanced photo editing techniques. A 30-day free trial is available to photographers who are interested in spending their money wisely on a Photoshop alternative that they know is going to work in their favor.

Photoshop Elements features an awesome organizer application that allows photographers to import, group, tag, and output their photos. The powerful search options, auto curation, and sharing tools that are available to the user not only free up the main editing application but also allow for seamless image exporting and storage.

17. LightZone

LightZone was created be a digital darkroom for both jpeg and camera RAW images. LightZone has been around for quite a few years, so it has definitely had to the time to mature into being one of the best Photoshop alternatives. LightZone was designed to be user-friendly and offers photographers a wide variety of awesome effects, such as soft skin tones, bright scene, SLR sharpen, mid-tones sharpening, skin glow, dark scene, bright scene, fill flash, and soft toning.

LightZone also offers the tools one typically relates to photo editing software like hue/saturation, color balance, clone, and spot. LightZone also offers photographers the ability to work in layers and to work in selections for local edits. LightZone is frequently being updated to provide users with the best experience possible.

18. ACDSee Photo Studio 

Other than a very creative name, ACDSee Photo Studio has much to offer the modern photographer. ACDSee gives the user access to excellent organization tools and a mobile companion app, similar to circuit design space. This photo editor also blends features from both Photoshop and Lightroom. The only difference? It is much more affordable, which is great for the up-and-coming photographer or the hobbyist.

ACDSee is described as being an excellent introduction into the realm of RAW photo editing for new photographers. ACDSee is crafted with the beginner in mind. If you are more of a professional photo editor, this may not be the Photoshop alternative for you. However, for someone who is just starting out, ACDSee Photo Studio has just what you need to learn the ropes.

19. actually started out as a college project designed to replace Microsoft Paint; however, became so much more than that. Now a feature-packed pixel-based photo editor that is perfect for day-to-day image enhancements, offers a free image editor that is able to function as a great Photoshop alternative and is capable of creating some pretty creative results. features a logical and straightforward interface, keyboard shortcuts, and a variety of menu options. also offers other image-enhancing features such as red-eye reduction and a Sepia conversion tool. Whatever you are looking to do, it will most likely be a possibility with’s comprehensive range of image adjustment tools.

Before choosing which Photoshop alternative you would like to use, make sure you take into account what you want to get out of your photo editing software. Are you looking for more advanced features such as LUNs or batch processing? Are you looking for RAW to jpeg capabilities? Or, do you need something a little bit simpler like red-eye correction and general global adjustments.

Each Photoshop alternative has its pros and cons and some are better at performing these functions than others. This is why it is always worth it to do your research before diving in head-first. Save yourself the frustration and your hard-earned cash by being thoughtful about your photography investments.

If you are still interested in seeing what Photoshop has to offer before you begin considering alternatives, then you may be interested in how to get Photoshop for free. Adobe Photoshop is available for free trials, as well as Lightroom. However, it is a free trial, so you won’t always get Adobe Photoshop free. Adobe requires all of its users to subscribe and make monthly payments in order to continue to use their software. This is why many people are on the lookout for good Photoshop alternatives. Hopefully, you have found an alternative or two that you are excited to break in.

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