It's a dilemma we've all faced: we've got a great digital photo, but we want to tweak it, crop it or edit in some way on our computer before printing it or sharing it with others. Unless, of course, we just want to use Instagram filters and be done with it, photo editing software generally costs money.
But you don't have to fork over a lot of cash for a monthly Photoshop subscription. Why? Because there are perfectly good Photoshop alternatives available for editing images and photos that are free to use.
Here are five of the best that you can download today:
Now, wait, you might say: Photoshop is not free. But what you may not know is that you can download a perfectly good copy of an older version of the software, CS2, from Adobe without paying a dime. This became available right after Adobe made its software subscription-based, but most people still don't know about it.
So how do you get a free copy of Photoshop? Go to Adobe.com and sign up for an Adobe ID. Then log in to the site, accept the terms and conditions (that basically says that Adobe doesn't recommend that you download an older and unsupported version of the software) and choose the language you wish to download Photoshop in.
Even better? Adobe offers the entire CS2 suite for free, including Illustrator, After Effects, InDesign and more.
Yes, it's outdated. Yes, it's unsupported. But ignore Adobe's warning because people have been successfully running this software on both Windows 7 and Windows 8 since it became available (the CS2 suite is also available free for Mac).
Pixlr is an online and offline editing tool that works in your browser. What makes it so unique is that it offers a lot of the same features as Photoshop. It's also available as an app for both iOS and Android, so you can use it on your smartphone and tablet, too. You can upload your own images or create them right in the browser or via the Pixlr app. And, of course, it's 100 percent free.
Many recommend GIMP for all photo editing needs, especially if you need things like layer support, magic wand style tools and a huge library of plugins. Unfortunately, because GIMP comes with a ton of features, it's often complicated to use and requires a bit of a learning curve (but then again, so does Photoshop). GIMP also supports a huge number of file formats, including Photoshop's .psd extension. Of all the programs on the list, it's probably the closest you'll get to Photoshop without actually using Photoshop. GIMP doesn't just run on Windows and Mac, though. It's also available for Linux.
If you don't mind ads and being limited to working with just .png and .jpg files, the free version of Sumopaint is a great alternative to Photoshop. With an interface and features similar to both Photoshop and Pixlr, Sumopaint can help you tweak and spruce up your images. The software works both in your browser (online) and offline, so the free version is definitely worth looking into.
If you're looking for a true Photoshop alternative, PicMonkey is probably not an option for you. However, if you just want to edit some photos for fun, it's an easy piece of software to work with. In other words, if you just want to put clip art on your images, like adding a party hat to your latest selfie, this is the editor you'll want to use.
However, PicMonkey does offer features that let you rotate and crop photos, as well as re-size and add effects.
Of course, PicMonkey also offers a premium subscription that lets you do more with your photos. The free version limits you to editing online.
[Photo Credit: Adobe]