So you’ve graduated from your smartphone’s photo editing tools. You might feel that the apps offered by your phone’s operating systems or Instagram are a bit basic. And now you are looking to take your photo editing skills up a notch or two.

You have fired up your desktop, downloaded some photos and want to become a photo editor. Does that mean you have to splash out on high-end photo editing software? This depends on your budget and how far you want to go with editing your photos. Most desktop operating systems include photo editing tools at no extra cost. Windows 10 has Microsoft Photos included. It offers a decent level of image correction.

For Apple Mac users, Apple Photos is included with the software. It also does a decent basic photo edit. Both apps sync with online storage: iCloud for Apple and OneDrive for Microsoft.

Let’s take a look at some standalone photo editing tools:

Adobe Photoshop – $120 annual subscription


Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop started digital image editing 30 years ago.  Adobe’s photo editing tools makes it to be by far the best photo editor on the planet. If you need layered image editing, including typography, 3D modelling, and drawing. Photoshop is for you. Designers, photographers and photo editors find it the most advanced tool available. Photoshop is also compatible with other great applications like Premiere Pro, Illustrator and After Effects.  You can easily move files around from one app to the other. Photoshop remains the first choice for professional photo editing software. The main obstacle for some people is the cost of paying the monthly subscription for this app.


Affinity photo  – $49.99 one off purchase



Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is another great photo editing tool. In fact it is my pick for the best budget photo editor for professionals. This is because it offers powerful tools, like Photoshop. RAW processing within the interface. It can also read, open and edit Photoshop PSD files. And most of the other features that professional photographers want and need. All at a budget price, with no subscription fees.

Gimp – free


Gimp photo editor

GIMP is a free, open-source image editing platform. The app has an array of professional-quality features.  Which can rival Adobe Photoshop capabilities. Its montage features allow the photo editor to fine tune images and create artwork from scratch. GIMP also provides plenty of features for the advanced user. Including filters, Bezier curves, layer masks, and an animation package. It has an array of compatible downloadable plugins. This photo editing tool is the best free image editing application. The ideal package for photographers who want to get into photo editing without spending a ton of money.

Pixlr – free, $3.99 to $14.99 a month


Pixlr Photo Editor

Pixlr is a web-based photo editing tool for designers, freelance professionals. Also amateur photography hobbyists looking for an easy-to-use photo editing solution that is accessible on a wide range of devices. Including mobile phones and tablets.

There are three versions: Free, Advanced and Professional.

The online software provides users with the ability to edit a wide range image types. Including .jpeg, .psd, and .gif formats.

This is a web-based application which you can use on your preferred browser. Whether it’s Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Explorer.

Picmonkey  – mobile app is free, $70 -120 annual subscription



PicMonkey is both a photo editing and design tool. It is a powerful yet easy-to-use alternative to complicated  software. PicMonkey also provides a solid amount of graphic design tools.

On the downside PicMonkey has an image size limit. You can choose from three different options. But no option will allow you to upload images larger than 16 Megapixels . If you upload a photo that is larger than this. The platform will automatically resize it to 4000X4000 pixels.

The downside for me is the pro version costs the same as Adobe Photoshop. For me it would be a no brainer which photo editing tool I would rather use.

For further reading, there is a more comprehensive PDF on my Google Drive

As always I hope this post has been of help to you, feel free to contact me if you have any photo editing queries. I will be more than happy to give you a hand!