5 Free photo editing apps

A question I get asked a lot is if I edit every photo I put up online. Yes…yes I do. And honestly, most of the time anything you see on my website or blog has been run through Photoshop. The reason? Because it truly is the best photo editing program out there. If you want to become a more serious photographer or make money with your photographs I definitely encourage you to purchase and learn the Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom programs. But I understand that learning Photoshop takes a lot of time, and a lot of effort. Although I definitely think it is worth both your time and effort, today I am going today I will share my favorite 5 free photo editing apps, perfectly fit for the novice photographer, and anyone on a budget.

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Adobe Lightroom
Adobe Lightroom (desktop version)

Wait…didn’t I just say that I was sharing free apps? Yes, and I am. Adobe Lightroom for mobile is actually free! If you download the LR app you can use all the camera functions, shoot in iPhone raw, and use light editing techniques. It is true that to use the full functionality of the app you have to pay for it but at $4.99/month I think it is worth it. Now, if you already have the Adobe PS & LR download(which is under $10 for students and teachers) then you get full functionality for free and it automatically connects to all your adobe cloud devices for free. So worth it!

Pixlr online advanced photo editor

My students have been really big fans of Pixlr for some time now. They have an online full version and you can do some really great things with this app. The advanced photo editor looks a lot like Adobe Photoshop. They have collages and filters which my students go a little crazy for. It’s not perfect and I have to remind my students not to get too excited about all the possibilities that are there and try and keep it clean, but it is definitely worth a look.

Snapseed on the app store

Another photographer favorite is Snapseed. I’m putting this here because my students think this is a great mobile app. You can do a lot with this app and I find it to be user friendly as well. It also works on the iPad, so if you have a tablet and prefer to do some photo editing there this is a great free option. A lot of photographers think this is the best option if you really want to make your photos look more like film.

Photopea working on a .psd image

I have to say that Photopea is one of my very favorites. Mostly for it’s ability to do advanced editing and for really looking so similar (like so so similar I’m not exactly sure about how they don’t get in trouble) to Adobe Photoshop. While teaching last year with students who did not have access to iPads and us being remote, this was the best option for those students. You can save your file out as a .psd with full layers and it seamlessly transfers into Photoshop. Photopea hosts online, so it can be a bit clunky sometimes, but many tutorials that work in Photoshop are transferrable to Photopea. Honestly it is a great free option for a very advanced photo editing software.

Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop Express is another app that people think you have to pay for. But you do not! This is an entirely free mobile option (works well on tablets too). There are a lot of very easy filters and object selection. My students mostly use this app for easier edits but are always surprised by how much can actually be done with a free phone software.

So there are my very favorite 5 free photo editing apps! I didn’t really list them in 1-5 order, because that is really hard to do. Depending on whether you need a phone app or you want more of a full andvanced photo editor, you should be able to find a match in this list. Be sure to let me know in the comments if I missed one of your favorite free editing apps!

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For the classroom:

My favorites for the classroom are Lightroom app for the phone (free for students) and photopea. Photopea is an almost copy of Photoshop and runs online so there is no need to download software or take up room on your devices. It is, however, a bit clunky as it runs on wifi. But especially if you have students with different devices (ask me about that one year where I had students with both iPads and Chromebooks and was supposed to teach the same content) it is a great alternative.



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I am a professional photographer & photo educator. I’m here to share with you my best (and easiest) tips and tricks for taking amazing photos. I’m sharing years of knowledge as a teaching artist to help you find a way to share your unique point of view with the world. Welcome to The Photo Method.

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