Best Photo Editing Tools for PC - Free to Download

January 01

16 min. to read

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From a simple editor to quickly enhance your photos to a professional editor equipped with cutting-edge features, you'll find something in the list below that suits your needs.

If you don’t care about your images, you don’t get attention. This rule now applies not only to businesses but to individuals. Whether you’re a professional photographer retouching photos for a client or an average Instagram user, you know how important it is to give your images a polished look before showing them to the world. The good thing is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on powerful photo editing software to make your photos look perfect.

This article lists the best photo editing software for PC that you can download for free. Whether you’re looking for a professional editor equipped with cutting-edge features or a simple editor to quickly enhance your photos before publishing on social media, you'll find something in the list below that suits your needs. 

Best photo editing software for PC (Free Download) 

1. Microsoft Windows 10 Photos (free)

Photos is a built-in photo editing app that comes with Windows 10. Few people use it for more than viewing photos, though Microsoft has included a bunch of features in their Photos app that can come in handy.This app allows you to sort your photos into collections, albums, and folders. A useful people tagging feature uses facial recognition to organize your photos, making it easier for you to browse photos of specific people on your PC. This feature is disabled by default, so if you want to use it, you should enable it manually in the People tab. There are a number of editing features in Photos too, including crop, rotate, photo enhancing filters, basic light and color adjustments, blemish removal, and red eye correction.

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2. Luminar (7-day free trial)

Luminar uses cutting-edge AI technologies to automatically edit your photos. In addition to fundamental features like layers, masks, blending modes, transformation tools, editing brushes, and clone and stamp tools, Luminar offers advanced AI-powered tools that can enhance your photos with just a click. These tools include Sky Replacement, AI Structure, AI Skin and Portrait Enhancer, Sunrays, Accent AI, and Smart Contrast. Although almost all of Luminar’s tools are automated, they can be customized to achievethe results you want. Luminar also comes with over 70 creative styles, called Looks, that you can apply to your photos to make them appear more sophisticated. You can also create your own Looks and share them with others. 

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3. GIMP (open-source)

GIMP is one of the most popular photo editing tools for PC that you can download for free. It’s recently been updated with a whole lot of new features and improvements to existing features. GIMP feels like Photoshop in terms of its interface and functionality, with a bunch of different tools for different needs. It’s packed with tools for simple editing, like transform and crop, as well as tools for more complex work: layers, masks, blending modes, color management tools, retouching tools, blur and sharpen tools, and more. However, GIMP doesn’t support the CMYK color profile, so it might not be the best option for printing. 

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4. Photolemur (free with watermark)

Photolemur is another fully automatic photo editing app. It’s great for amateurs, beginners, and those who don’t have time for editing. Photolemur analyzes photos using Artificial Intelligence algorithms and applies complex adjustments in the blink of an eye. In one click, it will enhance the colors in your photos, fix exposure, remove haziness, adjust color temperature, restore details, fix lens errors, and more. The app also automatically enhances portraits by smoothing skin, removing blemishes, enlarging eyes, and whitening teeth. One of the most useful features of Photolemur is batch processing, which allows you to import and apply corrections to several photos at once.

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5. LightZone (free, open-source)

This open-source photo editor was designed to work with RAW files. LightZone offers a non-destructive way of editing photos: changes are applied to a copy of the photo, leaving the original unchanged. With LightZone, you can always undo edits after they’re saved, even if you’ve started a new editing session. LightZone boasts numerous tools for basic and advanced photo editing: ZoneMapper, White Balance, Color Balance, Sharpen, Relight, Clone, and others. One of the most interesting features of LightZone is Styles, or combinations of photo adjustments that can be applied to one or multiple photos. There are a bunch of built-in Styles, and you’re free to create your own.

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6. Paint.NET (completely free)

Paint.NET is one of the best pieces of photo editing software for PC that’s completely free. This photo editor was initially developed as an alternative to Microsoft Paint but has surpassed it in many ways. Paint.NET boasts a user-friendly interface that requires little time and effort to learn. It comprises a good set of tools for making selections, moving selections, retouching, recoloring, and more. It also contains essential tools for adjusting levels, brightness, contrast, curves, hue, and colors. Paint.NET is packed with a huge number of effects and filters that allow you to play with noise, glow, distortion, sharpening, and blur. 

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7. Aurora HDR (7-days free trial)

As you can tell from the name, Aurora HDR is designed for High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. The app automatically aligns and merges multiple exposures with the help of Artificial Intelligence to create a single tone-mapped image. For single-exposure photos, Aurora creates a tonal map that allows you to achieve outstanding results by bringing out more information to work with. Aurora HDR offers over 20 core tools for tweaking your HDR photos to perfection, including Dodge & Burn, Denoise, Tone Curve, LUT Mapping, HSL, and a Polarizing filter. It also boasts a number of automated tools like HDR Denoise, HDR Smart Structure, and HDR Clarity that automatically recognize and fix flaws in your photos. 

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8. Photo Pos Pro (free)

Photo Pos Pro is a powerful tool that combines a simple and user-friendly interface with high functionality. The app is packed with all kinds of tools for comprehensive photo editing with any level of expertise. In Photo Pos Pro, you can enhance your photos using a vast selection of color management and retouching tools including Curves, HSL adjustments, Color Enhance, Red Eye Reduction, Sharpen, Clone Brush, Blur, and Reduce Noise. You can also play around with dozens of built-in filters and effects. Photo Pos Pro comes with support for layers and masks, giving you precise control over the editing process. 

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9. PhotoScape X (free)

PhotoScape X is all-in-one photo editing software that enables you to improve your photos using a range of professional yet intuitive tools. This app is packed with essentials for in-depth photo editing such as masks, layers, and color management tools. In PhotoScape X, you won’t have any difficulty changing the background, removing noise or haze, recoloring, or straightening an image. It also offers a ton of retouching tools like Spot Healing brush, Clone Stamp, Red Eye Correction, and Remove Stain, enabling you to make your portraits look perfect. Additionally, it comes with hundreds of effects and filters to make your photos stand out. 

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10. Lightroom (free trial) 

Lightroom is one of the world’s most popular photo editors, beloved by photographers of all skill levels for its non-destructive approach to editing images and lots of unique and powerful features. In Photoshop, you can speed up your workflow immensely by creating your own presets that you can apply to other photos with just one click. And with the Batch Processing feature, you can apply presets to multiple photos at once, which saves even more time. Naturally, Lightroom is packed with high-end tools for camera and lens-based corrections, color management, color and luminance masking, perspective correction, and spot healing. 

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11. Pixlr (free, online)

This photo editor is a web application so well-equipped with unique features that it’s become a popular choice for photo manipulation. Pixlr offers a handful of unique features for optimizing the editing process. You can start by uploading a photo from your desktop or a URL, or you can import a picture right from Facebook. Pixlr has all the core tools you need to adjust your photos quickly and easily, and, most importantly, online. Along with basic transformation tools, Pixlr offers advanced ones for fixing blemishes and spots, removing objects, managing colors, and more. Additionally, it comes with a selection of cool filters and effects to brighten up your photos.

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12. RawTherapee (free, open-source)

RawTherapee is high-end RAW photo editing software for PC that you can download for free. Like many other RAW editors, this open-source photo editor enables you to edit RAW photos non-destructively. Its interface may look a little overwhelming with the abundance of tabs and icons, but it’s packed with all you need for processing photos like a pro. In RawTherapee, you can adjust a photo’s exposure, highlights, shadows, tone mapping, sharpness, and noise, use algorithms and wavelet levels, fix hot or dead pixels, and try out a solid number of other tools and features. RawTherapee also allows you to create presets and apply them to your photos to save considerable time and work more effectively.   

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13. darktable (free, open-source)

This is another open-source RAW photo editor aimed at improving a photographer’s workflow by simplifying the bulk editing of photos. DarkTable offers a powerful suite of photo editing tools for non-destructive editing of RAW photos. In this app, you can play around with color and tone corrections including levels, curves, brightness, white balance, velvia, and color channels. DarkTable contains a number of tools for fixing visual imperfections like Sharpen, Denoise, Liquify, Spot Removal, Defringe, and Haze Removal. You can also work with visual effects including Watermarks, Grain, Bloom, and Soften. 

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14. InPixio (free)

With a simple interface and basic yet powerful photo manipulation tools, InPixio is designed to help photo enthusiasts make their photos look better without putting in too much effort. Packed with tons of useful tools for photo editing, InPixio is a great tool for improving your photos and making creative montages. It allows you to manually or automatically remove backgrounds or unwanted objects from photos, adjust the hue, brightness, contrast, shadows, and temperature, transform images, fix red eye, retouch photos, and add various effects, texture, styles, filters, and frames. InPixio also comes with a bunch of built-in presets.

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15. Polarr (free)

Polarr is browser-based software that brings a complete selection of advanced photo editing tools in a minimalist and completely customizable interface. In Polarr, you can not only apply adjustments to the entire photo using Color, Light, Detail, Noise, LUT, and other settings but also adjust specific areas in your photos with the help of Depth, Brush, Luminance, Radial, and other masks. Polarr offers a wide selection of blending modes, filters, and photorealistic effects that you can use to add creativity to your photos. Plus, it allows you to create your own filters and presets and share them with the world. 

Best Photo Editing Tools for PC - Free to Download Image1516. Photopea (online, free)

Photopea is a free online editor that runs locally without requiring you to upload files to a server. If you get disconnected from the internet while working in Photopea, you can still use it completely offline. Photopea is suitable for basic and advanced editing alike, enabling you to work with different types of layers, masks, smart objects, adjustments, filters, layer styles, etc. This editor comes with a great set of brush tools including Eraser, Clone Stamp, Dodge, Burn, Smudge, and Sponge. Photopea supports PSD, XCF, Sketch, XD, and CDR files.

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