Image editing alternatives to Photoshop in 2022

UPDATED July 2022: If you have an online presence of any sort, you’ll need to deal with editing images. If you’ve had a website redesigned, or plan on updating your older site, an image editing app will be vital.

Until now, you may have just taken images off your phone and uploaded them. Perhaps cropping them on your phone itself and then used it.

But what if you need to do more? At the very least, you’ll want to reduce the size or pixel count. Photoshop may be the industry standard for photo editing but it carries a huge price tag. It’s what we use but not everyone can justify the heavy price.

To help you gain more control over your images, we put together a few alternatives that are either free or affordable alternatives to Adobe Photoshop.

Image editing types

Image editor apps tend to focus on one of two image types: Raster and Vector.

raster or pixel based image formatRaster images

  • Photos – images used in Facebook, Etsy, Instagram – photos your phone takes.
  • Made up of pixels and have a resolution
  • They lose quality as you enlarge them – resolution dependent
  • Great for websites, product shots
  • File formats: JPG, PNG, WEBP, GIF

vector or line drawing image exampleVector images

  • Line drawings and illustrations
  • Made up of  mathematical lines
  • Retain quality regardless of size as they are not dependent on resolution
  • Great for print, vinyl cut vehicle lettering and more
  • File formats: Ai, EPS, WMF, EMF, SVG

For now, we’ll look at the raster or pixel based editors – so the ones for photos basically.

Image Editors – free or affordable

Ashampoo Image Optimiser

I’ve known of Ashampoo for a while as they make system utilities, movie editors, pdf creators and more. Until recently, I’d forgotten they offered an image editor – a free and premium version. Currently, as it’s their birthday, you can get the app for around £34.99 (at time of writing) – which ain’t bad! It’s a lot simpler than Photoshop and other layer-based apps but for simplicity, it may be just what you need.

ashampoo image optimiser
  • Crop, straighten, mirror, rotate
  • Auto-optimise
  • Colour correction, spot correction
  • Sharpen, blur
  • Colourise – loads of Instagram style filters too.


krita image editing app logo

Although aimed more at the painting side of things – great if you have a tablet – it’s still useful for the basics too.

  • Layers – add text over a photo
  • Advanced masking
  • Transforming, resizing
  • Can open PSD files
  • Saves a working file so your layers aren’t lost
  • Wand selection
  • Range of filters
  • Cost: Free – full version, no trials or subs


Affinity Photo by Serif

Affinity Photo logo

This is part of the Affinity family of apps by Serif and is a comprehensive and affordable option. We’ve used the vector-based app Affinity Designer too and have found it to be intuitive. Affinity Publisher handles document layouts.

  • Digital Painting
  • Opens Photoshop .PSD files
  • Range of filters / colour adjustment
  • Dodge, burn, clone patch
  • Layer masks
  • Cropping, resizing
  • Available for Mac, Windows and iPad
  • Cost: £48.99
affinity image editing dodge


Pixlr Editor

Pixlr Image Editor logo

This is one of my favourite editors. Online version with no login required. It’s very similar to Photoshop and will even open up PSD files. The Editor has recently been redesigned and is easier than ever to use.

  • Add text
  • Overlay logos
  • Works in layers
  • Dodge, burn, blur, sharpen
  • Magic wand selection tools
  • Saves a PXD working file for later editing


If you get stuck…

Need something more advanced and you can’t do it in-house? We offer a full graphic design service.

We do everything from image retouching, logos, illustration, social media banners, and info graphics – all for use online. We also design for print too, including adverts, brochures and stationery.

If you’d like tuition on editing or prepping images for web (or you’d like us to do it), give us a shout >

PS – we aren’t affiliated with any of these software developers or retailers. We just think they have great apps.