10 free programs to edit and enhance your photos

To edit your images you don't need to use paid programs: there are very useful free softwares like Gimp and Paint.Net

Nowadays, communication on social networks is mainly based on multimedia content such as photos and videos. Posting exciting and quality photos can improve our online presence. Doing so, however, is not easy and for this you need to rely on very good photo editing programs. And it is not necessary to spend anything: most of them are free.

In addition to increasing our followers, publishing beautiful photos can improve the presentation of our association and even our company. At the beginning it is better to rely on experts, but with a bit of practice we too can become good photo editors. Also because all the software that we will list in this short guide are easy to download and very intuitive to use, and with a little experience can become really essential tools for our online life. Also, as mentioned, they are all free, so trying them out and learning them won't cost you anything.


This is one of the most widely used programs as an alternative to Photoshop. Also because it is compatible with Linux, Windows and Mac computers. The features are great, the big flaw is the graphical interface, very old-fashioned. The program hasn't been updated in a while. If the interface limits you, you could try the GimpShop variant. Although for the less experienced will not be easy at first to disentangle the various commands. But thanks to the guides on the Net you can learn quickly. GIMP can read a myriad of formats, including Photoshop PSDs, Windows Icons (ICOs), PS and EPS files, PDF files, and AutoDesk FLICs.


IrfanVIew is a photo viewer, but it also has a number of hidden features that can help editing enthusiasts. Among the most useful advanced features is the ability to change the image file format to any other existing format. A very convenient action depending on the work we have to do with the photo. Besides, it has a whole series of filters that we can apply with a simple touch: from pixellated to black and white through contrast. It also has a function to add text and lettering to the photos.


This is quite a famous program since it is available on both Mac and Windows and allows you to perform various specific actions on the photos. Its strong point is its graphical interface that is very reminiscent of a cell phone app. Moreover, all functions are easily found in the menu at the top or in the graphic menu on the left and are grouped in various categories. In addition to the classic resizing, cropping and red-eye retouching actions, there are also stickers and lettering to apply that are very reminiscent of social networking sites like Instagram and Messenger.


Can you get as many functions to use as in Photoshop in one easy-to-use free software? The answer is Paint.Net. The buttons in the Quick Bar are the basic ones found in all editing apps, but in the settings and tools you'll find a whole host of very special features that are easy to learn how to use over time. There are also drawing and vector graphics tools. Let's say it can't replace Photoshop, but it's definitely one of the best free alternatives for beginners. 

PixBuilder Studio

This software is very similar to Paint.Net but even has more advanced features, so it can be used by both editing newbies and those who have a good knowledge of the field. The software reads Photoshop icons and PSD formats. It has a number of editing options plus a diverse set of brushes that are useful for applying designs and effects to photos. There is also one aspect that should not be underestimated: PixBuilder Studio is a lightweight program that consumes little memory and works well even on older PCs.


Are you interested in constantly doing small retouches and format changes to your photos? Then XnView is the right program for you. The software allows you to change the format and is also very useful for those who manage a lot of photos for work or passion. It allows for the cataloging and mass organization of photographs. It also has multiple tools to edit and correct digital photos in various ways and in just a few clicks.

FastStone Image Viewer

This has been voted by users as one of the best photo management software. Again, the reason is because of its pliability. It allows you to work with a lot of files of different formats. This software allows you to work with all major file formats: BMP, JPEG, JPEG 2000, GIF, PNG, PCX, PSD, EPS, TIFF, WMF, ICO, TGA and many RAW formats from digital cameras. There is another aspect that should not be underestimated: it is completely in Italian. And then there is a graphic interface that can be customized according to your editing knowledge. To top it off, it provides quick access to EXIF information saved by cameras and smartphones.


Could this list be missing a software for creating fun collages? Obviously the answer is no. PhotoScape won't have the photo editing features of  Photoshop, in fact it doesn't even compare to the other solutions seen in this guide, but it allows you to combine multiple photos together. Choose frames and apply stickers and lettering. It can also turn your photo collage into a GIF.


Now let's talk about photomontages and retouching, which are often used on social networks like Instagram, where all communication is based on images. If we are not photography professionals, it is normal to make small mistakes when taking a photo. Errors that can be made less visible, or totally eliminated by applications like FotoMix. The functions are very advanced and for experts, but the guide present on the default software will guide even a neophyte in the realization of a complex photo editing in a few steps.

Hornil StylePix

Let's close with Hornil StylePix, a very lightweight program. The features offered by this software are very similar to those of Paint.net and it contains basic photo retouching options and some advanced tools recommended for experts. It also supports several image formats but unfortunately Photoshop PSDs are missing. The program is also very useful for viewing our photos in slideshows, or for applying filters from the many presets in the program. You can also add text to images.