7 efficient open source photo editors

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One year after publishing one of the most controversial article on Inspired Mag (if Gimp is so good why does everyone use Photoshop), we get back with a roundup of open source photo editors. Feel free to contribute with suggestions and opinions in the comments section.

For most designers, Adobe Photoshop is the only photo editor they need. For beginners and experts alike, it has all the features they need to create powerful visuals. But it also comes with a hefty price that newbie designers may find too much. Good thing there are open source photo editors that anyone can use.

It’s the same for those who aren’t designers but would love to experiement with design. Though having a licensed high-end photo editing software sounds nice, it’s not practical if they don’t necessarily need it in their line of work. In cases like this, it’s better to opt for open source software that can deliver the result they need. Below are seven of best ones you can find online:


GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program is said to have features as good as Photoshop. But the simple fact that it’s free makes it a tad better. Compatible with Mac, Windows and other OS, this software lets you retouch, compose and author images. It supports multiple file formats which is one of its advantages. This photo editor also has comprehensive tutorials available online and resources compatible with the software. It’s the closest thing to having a freeware professional photo editor.


The main feature of this photo editor is the cropping, editing, tweaking of photos. But it’s also an amazing software to create animated GIFs. It has the batch editor option to make image editing a lot easier. Photoscape also supports RAW images that photographers can definitely appreciate. It’s a relatively new software that’s still expanding and developing. It’s exciting to see what else they can do to improve this already useful photo editing tool.

Pos Free Photo Editor

For someone who wants something really basic, Pos Free Photo Editor can do the job for them. The software supports majority of the graphic formats which makes viewing images easy. It has a user-interface that’s simple to understand. No profound understanding of technicalities is necessary to use this software. It’s definitely one of the easier to use photo editors out in the market. But for more experienced designers, they’ll probably demand more features.


Erase all of your memory of the old Paint in your first desktop computer. Cropping, airbrushing and inputting text aren’t the only things you can do with Paint.NET. It has all the essentials of a photo editing software and more. You can edit, crop, resize, collage and adjust images. But you can even remove red eye and even apply effects on your images. The only downside is it doesn’t support high-resolution RAW files and only runs in Windows.

FastStone Image Viewer

An easy-to-use photo editor, it’s not just viewing and organizing images that you can do with this one. Though the interface may seem a bit complicated at first, there’s a full screen function wherein the tools will appear when you hover at the edges of your screen. It makes editing a different but enjoyable experience. The functions are simple enough to understand but there’s a comprehensive 95-page Help file that can guide you. Based on reviews alone, it’s a great editing software, a cut above many of the open source photo editors.


Beginners can have a field day with this editing tool. It’s a lightweight photo editor that has all the features a user needs when tweaking photos. Photographers can find it particularly useful for its various editing options. It has a quick response time that makes editing pretty efficient. One of the best functions of this software is how quality of JPEG images are preserved even when rotated. Though it doesn’t have layers, it’s still a neat tool for quick and easy editing.

PC Image Editor

If fuss-free easy editing is the only characteristic you require, then this can do the trick. It’s a pretty basic photo editor that lacks the complexities of most of the software in this list. But for a beginner or for someone looking for a basic editing software, PC Image Editor is great for a simple tool. It has an easy navigation and a few editing choices.

It’s true what they say. Sometimes, the best thing in life is free, and it often comes with an easy-to-navigate GUI. So even though Adobe Photoshop sounds like a pretty amazing software, it’s not the only thing you can use to create good design and visuals.

Author bio: Robine Fisher is a research writer and a digital learning advocate from NYC. She’s currently taking her master’s degree on communications.

Catalin is the founder of Mostash - a social marketing boutique - and he's always happy to share his passion for graphic design & social media.