Image editing alternatives to Photoshop in 2020

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.

But what if you need to do more? At the very least, you’ll want to reduce the size or pixel count but Photoshop 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 apps tend to focus on one of two image types: Raster or Vector.

Raster images

  • Photos – images used in Facebook, Etsy, Instagram
  • Made up of pixels and have a resolution
  • Lose quality as you enlarge them – resolution dependant
  • Great for websites, product shots
  • File formats: JPG, PNG, WEBP

Vector images

  • Line drawings and illustrations
  • Made up of  mathematical lines
  • Retain quality regardless of size as they are not dependant on resolution
  • Great for print
  • File formats

For now, we’ll look at the raster or pixel based editors.

Image apps – free or affordable

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 and have found it to be intuit.

  • 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…

If you are wanting something more advanced or creative than you may be able to handle in-house, we offer a design service. This covers design for online use as well as printed materials like adverts, brochures and branding.