When one thinks of editing photos, we typically jump straight to software options like Photoshop or Lightroom. While these are fantastic options, they are both are quite expensive and require a moderately fast computer to run on. This can be a deterrent for someone who wants to quickly edit or touch up a photo.
Fortunately there are some great alternatives out there that are completely free and require no downloading of software! This is where an online photo editor comes into frame (pun intended 😉).
So after a lot of research and testing, I have rounded up what I believe are some of the best free online photo editors for creators and photographers. Ok, lets get stuck in!
Top 12 Best Free Online Photo Editors
1. Pixlr Editor
Time is a luxury that not everyone has. Offline editor apps are studded with features but often come with complex installation instructions. For users looking for a fully-featured, convenient online photo editor, things can get a bit messy. Enter, Pixlr Editor.
Presented with a fully Photo-shop style editing interface, the app makes it on our list of best free online photo editors. The features include:
- Generous selection of filters to experiment with
- Support for layers and masks for advanced editing
- Flash-based app, soon to be migrated to HTML5
- Keyboard shortcuts for options like levels and curves
- Allows photos to be imported from Facebook
The “Express” in the title may suggest otherwise but this app from Adobe is in fact a free editor. This is a trimmed down version of the actual full-blown Photoshop app. The features include:
- Flash-based interface, soon to be migrated to HTML5
- JPEG support for files smaller than 16MP, no wider than 8191 pixels
- Full-screen view for easy editing
- Clear, uncluttered menus
- Legacy tools include saturation adjustment, cropping, resizing and white balance among other more advanced ones.
Photopea is your average online photo editor, with one twist: support for Photoshop PSD files. The feature sets it apart from other apps as even Photoshop express fails to offer this.
- HTML5 based web-app meaning no need for extra plugins
- Supports layers, masks, vectors advanced text editing tools
- The user interface is similar to GIMP, the free desktop editing tool
- Availability of keyboard shortcuts simplifies ease-of-use
- Ability to work on multiple images in separate tabs
Fotor’s clever use of icons and collapsible toolboxes make it a perfect tool for social media enthusiasts. The free offering includes:
- A one-tap enhance tool to give your pictures a quick boost
- An array of manual tools for more in-depth adjustments
- A file size limit of 8MB
- Flash-based interface
- Stickers, seasonal greetings and custom colors to match the social media generations’ needs
Polarr is available as a premium desktop application and a free web tool. There are of course limitations to the online version, however it is still nothing short of impressive:
- Express and Pro layouts to suit your skill needs (Pro resembles an interface similar to Photoshop)
- Tooltips and keyboard shortcuts make it easy to navigate around
- Editing features include adjustments, brushes, facial identification, filters and cropping
- There are also “guides” through which you can learn a great deal from
- Pictures can be exported in JPEG, TIFF and PNG format
piZap has been designed around the requests and requirements of social media users. Stickers, colorful text, icons and the ability to share right away are crucial parts of the web-based tool.
- Available in both HTML5 and Flash editions
- Ability to choose photos from your Hard drive, Google Photos, Stock Images, etc.
- Interface has a dark design with sliders for adjustments
- Contains an integrated meme tool
- Photos can be shared on almost all major social media networks
The first impressions aren’t so modern for the tool. However, if you inspect the features closely, you’ll find that it has everything you need.
- Tabbed interface splitting the basic features from the more advanced ones
- Effects toolkit packed with creative filters and some old-fashioned ones
- Smoothening and sharpening tools
- Flash-based build
- 2000s style cheesy glittering text
8. Sumo Paint
Sumo Paint is a flash-based online editing tool that puts more emphasis on creation of artwork rather than editing.
- Supports layers and offers ways to manipulate them; masking isn’t offered
- Contains a huge choice of customizable brushes with adjustable orientation, gravity and scattering
- Checks all the basic features such as rotation, cropping, smoothing and wet edges
- Cloud server saving functionality removes dependence on offline data storage
- Ad-based model to generate revenue
9. Photo Raster
Photo Raster is a Photoshop-alike online tool that requires user registration for an ad-free experience.
- Contains all the basic features such as cropping, layers, filters and adjustments
- The interface is self-explanatory and doesn’t take much time to get used to
- Formats supported include JPEG and PNG
- Has some browser-support issues
- Email-based registration
BeFunky is heavily focused on all the features social-media addicted netizens are looking for.
- Collage layouts for Facebook covers, cards, etc.
- A basic editor including features such as cropping, adjustments, filters, etc.
- Images can be imported from Facebook profile
- A decent text editor with a variety of fonts
- Has an “Auto fill” feature to arrange all your images in a collage form for you
Featured Paid Photo Editors
11. Lightroom CC
It has been 28 years since Photoshop was first released. It has successfully managed to keep up with the winds of change. Today, Adobe offers Lightroom in addition to Photoshop as part of its Adobe CC suite. If editing photos is your main concern rather than creating artwork, then Lightroom CC is more than enough.
Originally offered as a desktop application (still), Adobe has developed a cloud based (CC) version with the following features:
- Straightforward user interface that can be split into four phases, importing, organizing, editing and sharing
- Arrangement of editing tools in a narrow vertical strip makes them easier to locate
- Slick performance thanks to Cloud-based build
- Contains all major features as the desktop version apart from Camera Calibration panel and Auto mask options
- Android and iOS mobile apps available separately
Snappa is a cloud-based editor fit for personal, social media and marketing purposes. The editor is a scaled down version of Photoshop; however, it is powerful enough to cater for the requirements of small teams.
- Contains collaborative tools to help team members save time
- Contains a graphics library for free
- Connects with social media accounts of users
- Slick and simple user interface design
- Has video tutorials for novice users
Wrapping It Up
Hopefully this guide on the best free online photo editors has helped you find the right editor for your needs. While most of these editors can do JPEG and PNG, only some can do RAW photos. All of these options are available on both Mac and Windows computers. If you want to learn more about photography, you can view my guide on the best photography courses here. Thanks for reading!