Adobe Photoshop is the go-to software solution for professional-level photo editing and art creation. It hosts a powerful suite of tools to help creatives get the most out of every drawing, painting, and photo.
If the learning curve or the price tag is too steep though, it isn’t the end of the world. While Photoshop is ubiquitous to the extent that it’s become a verb, it isn’t irreplaceable - there are excellent alternatives out there.
If you’re curious to see what other software solutions offer similar features to Photoshop but serve different needs, read on to find out the best Photoshop alternatives in 2023.
Best Open Source: GIMP
GIMP is perhaps the most well-known solution like Photoshop, and for good reason.
Widely considered to be a worthy alternative, GIMP is an open-source platform that lets users do the following:
- Retouch photos
- Compose images
- Create animation
- Use plug-ins for coding
What many like about GIMP is that it’s free to use, and has a wide array of features that rival Photoshop. It’s effectively a photo editing, batch processing system, and image format converter all wrapped into one.
That’s not to mention the opportunity to make it what you want it to be with all the plug-ins and extensions that expand its utility and allow for advanced scripting. But it’s also a beginner-friendly tool if all you’re looking for is photo editing or art creation.
Professional Photo Retouching - In a straightforward comparison with Photoshop, GIMP holds its own with many photo retouching features. You can create GIFs, edit images in different formats, and use all the essential editing tools.
Potential for Scripting - GIMP is unique in that it’s an open-source platform, meaning you can use plug-ins and extensions with coding experience to completely change how it works.
Best Free Alternative: Pixlr
If you’re looking for a free Photoshop alternative that functions much the same and still offers a variety of photo manipulating features, Pixlr is an excellent solution.
As a web app, you can use Pixlr in your preferred browser, which means no software downloads are necessary. While it’s not as feature packed as either Photoshop or GIMP, Pixlr more than makes up for this with simple and straightforward photo editing.
Here are some things you can do with Pixlr:
- Drag-and-drop photos for editing
- Use one-click filters and sliders
- Add textures and layers
- Access a library of 10 million+ stock assets
As a user-friendly photo editing tool, anyone can start using Pixlr and get the hang of it quickly.
Photomash Studio - You can automatically remove photo backgrounds and quickly create product images in Photomash Studio.
User-friendly Interface - As a web-based tool, Pixlr offers streamlined workflows from any browser, making it easy for anyone to create or edit.
Best Browser-Based: Photopea
Another browser-based Photoshop alternative, Photopea provides a comprehensive photo editing experience that’s easy to use and offers various exporting options for quick work-related projects.
The user experience with Photopea is effortless, since you don’t even need an account to get started. Simply upload the photo you want to edit, and get right into it. This lack of a barrier to entry makes it an excellent browser alternative to Photoshop for fast editing.
With Photpea, you can do the following:
- Crop images
- Add text
- Edit layers
- Export images in various formats
Photopea offers a pared-back experience compared to many Photoshop alternatives, but as a free and easy-to-use solution, it’s a great option if you need to do some photo editing in a pinch.
Upload and Edit - One of the best features of Photopea is how you can upload your photo and edit it straight away - no account necessary.
Export Options - Photopea lets you export your photos in various formats such as PNG, JPEG, and SVG.
Best for Digital Assets: Canva
Canva is a platform for creating and editing digital assets, allowing users to do a range of design tasks, including the following:
- Create banners for LinkedIn
- Make logos
- Design marketing assets from flyers to posters
- Edit photos
Canva isn’t necessarily a direct alternative to Photoshop. Instead, it offers a comprehensive range of pre-made templates so that businesses, freelancers, and marketing teams can create professional digital assets.
If you’re looking for a powerful way to bolster your marketing efforts from photo editing to digital assets, Canva is hands-down the best solution.
Digital Asset Creation - With Canva’s pre-built templates and tools, you don’t need to be a creative expert to make a professional logo, flyer, or photo.
Flexible Pricing - You can use many of Canva’s features for free, though there are premium plans if you want to access brand kits, use premium tools, and download all your digital assets.
Best for Fast Edits: Affinity Photo
Affinity Photo in some ways, is like a Photoshop lite in that it offers a trimmed-down solution that works faster and doesn’t get so bogged down in processing-heavy tasks such as rendering.
As such, Affinity Photo is for anyone who wants a frictionless yet in-depth photo editing experience.
Here are some of the features you can use in Affinity Photo:
- Unlimited layers
- 1,000,000% zoom
- RAW file editing
- End-to-end 32-bit workflow
- Undo and redo tool working up to 8,000 previous iterations
Perhaps best of all, Affinity Photo is far more affordable than all subscription-based pricing models. Simply pay a one-time fee and the software is all yours.
RAW Photo Editing - Take RAW files and correct and edit them in Affinity Photo, adjusting everything from exposure to noise levels.
Unlimited Layers - Use as many layers as you need, along with effects and live filters to get your photo looking picture-perfect.
Best Mac Alternative: Pixelmator Pro
Pixelmator Pro is an excellent Photoshop alternative for Mac users looking for a feature-packed photo retouching platform.
Here are some of the things you can do in Pixelmator Pro:
- Layer management
- Resizing and image repairing
- Core ML-powered background removal
- Machine learning for photo enhancement
Equipped with smart AI and machine learning capabilities, Pixelmator Pro offers precision photo enhancement so you can adjust size and resolution without affecting photo quality. Plus, since it’s a Mac-only solution, Apple users can pull it up while in the Photos app for quick access to the powerful editing features.
Regular Updates - If you want a photo editing platform that grows over time and accrues more features to make your access more valuable, you’ll appreciate the frequent updates that add more functionality to Pixelmator Pro.
Mac Ecosystem Integration - If you’re a Mac user, it’s worth having a photo editing platform that integrates with your other apps, like Pixelmator Pro does. Rather than constant tab or app-switching, you can use the software from the Photos app.
Use Insightful to Track Employee App and Website Usage
If you’re onboarding employees with a new software solution, there’s a risk that they won’t use it as much as they should or stick with previous solutions believing them to be a better option. To avoid the issue of shadow IT, you can use an employee tracking app like Insightful to monitor app usage.
With detailed productivity reports, work tracking tools can give you an insight into exactly how your employees spend their time. That way, you can see if they’re actually using the new subscription you’re paying for or not.
When it comes to using metrics to measure employee performance, app usage is often underrated. It allows you to go beyond seeing how much time an employee was clocked in for, so you can divide it into productive and unproductive hours.
Employee web monitoring tool Insightful lets you optimize efficiency, track specific app and website usage, and build productivity reports for individual employees that you can use to monitor performance over time.