21 Free Programs And Applications To Retouch Photos

We bring you a collection with 21 free programs and applications to edit photos and do your touch-ups, whether they are quick and simple or something more in-depth. We are going to try to offer you both the most popular ones and other less known ones, which could serve as an alternative if you want to explore in search of new tools.

We are going to focus primarily on PC applications , although we are also going to include some web applications to use from any browser, and other mobile applications. You will also have some apps for mobile and Windows adapted to the PC, with the common point of having a free cost.

We propose these 21, but as we always say at Xataka Basics, we want to invite you to leave us your preferences and proposals in the comments section . This way, we can all learn from our community of xatakeros and discover some projects or tools that we may have overlooked.



Darktable is an open source program that has been created to aspire to replace other paid programs, also offering all the necessary tools for photo retouching. Furthermore, another of its great assets is that it is completely cross-platform* and free , being available for Windows, macOS, FreeBSD and multiple GNU/Linux distributions.

This application is focused on processing photos that come directly from the camera in RAW format, to act as digital development. However, it also has many other retouching options that can help you.

  • Link: Darktable.org


This is a slightly different alternative to the rest of the list, because it is not an application or program like the majority we have tried, but rather a web application that you run from the browser . Fotor is not an application that seeks to give you all the options in the world, but rather it is designed to allow you to make quick touch-ups with a single click.

Therefore, it offers you several quick enhancement options for your photos , making it a quick tool to use. The bad news is that if you only want to retouch specific parts of a photo, then you may fall short. It has a free version and a paid version, the free one being quite complete with options such as editing groups of photos.

  • Link: Fotor.com


GIMP is possibly one of the best photo editing applications you can find. And not only that, but it is open source and completely free , which means that the entire community can see how it works and help solve bugs, and that you will never have to pay anything to use it.

It is a program designed to be a complete alternative to paid Photoshop , so it will not lack the most advanced options to edit your photographs, work with layers and more. It also offers the simplest options, filters and many other details to use it for both quick edits and more complex creations.

  • Link: Gimp.org


GlimpseGlimpse is a fork of GIMP , which means that its creators have used the open source of GIMP to create a derived application from it . It is an alternative that seeks to bring its interface closer to Photoshop so that it looks more similar , and makes the jump easier for users who are used to the Adobe application.

It is a very young program that was born after the disagreements with the GIMP mod called PhotoGIMP, and that sought precisely to photoshop GIMP. If you want to give it a try, it is a project that will grow as the months go by and the arrival of new versions.

  • Link: Glimpse-editor.github.io



Changing things a bit, inPixio is another excellent free photo editor with which you can do various types of retouching. Despite being free, it not only offers you a large number of filters, but also adds many editing options ranging from effects such as making the photo old to many better ones, including cropping, color adjustments and more.

  • Link: Inpixio.com



Krita is an excellent digital painting program designed especially for artists working with illustration, comics, concept art, painting, and more. It is a free and open software tool , with versions for Windows, Linux and macOS.

It has an intuitive user interface that doesn’t get in the way of your work, with panels that you can move and customize to suit your work style. It also features brush stabilizers, pop-up palette, brush engines, wrapper mode, and resource manager. And obviously, as you imagine, it will also help you retouch photographs, although perhaps not in such an intuitive way.

  • Link: Krita.org



He is another of the most popular and veteran photography editors on the scene. It was originally sponsored by Microsoft, as part of a project by some university students. And after that, the tool began to fly by itself and continue to evolve on its own within the educational field.

Initially, Paint.NET sought to be a substitute for the legendary Microsoft Paint, but over the years it has become a much more complete tool with quite advanced options , such as adding layers, special effects, and all kinds of advanced editing. .

  • Link: Getpaint.net

Photo Pos

Photo Pos

This is a professional program that you can download for free, and that combines several free options with paid options when it comes to allowing you to retouch your photos. The free tool is enough for most simple touch-ups, with an interface that seeks simplicity of use so that you don’t get lost in the menus as can happen with Photoshop or GIMP.

A good feature of this application is that if, despite its efforts, you find it too complicated to understand, it also offers an optional design for first-time users, which readapts everything to a filter-based aesthetic. The big limitation of this free version is that you can only export your photos at a maximum resolution of 1,024×1,024 pixels.

  • Link: Photopos.com


We now continue with another web application. There are a large number of online photo editors, but in this list we are going to propose a few to focus on installable applications. However, Photopea is an editor aimed at professional use, an alternative to Photoshop and GIMP, so good that it is worth keeping it here.

To do this, it has features such as being able to work with layers and masks, blending modes to combine layers, selections, and adjustments such as tone, saturation, blurs or shyness. Everything that the big guys offer, along with the rest of the basic options. The difference with other alternatives is that it has a very similar interface to Photosop , seeking to be an online solution for those used to working with the Adobe editor.

  • Link: Photopea.com



A tool that has several versions, from the mobile version that you have for Android, iOS or Windows 10 adapted to the desktop, to a free version specially made for Windows. It’s an alternative to Snapseed and VSCO for quick and easy editing, with a good collection of simple settings and presets. More focused on sharing photos on social networks, but useful for quick touch-ups.

  • Link: Photoroom.com



Personally, I have been using PhotoScape It is a tool that has many functions, from its photo viewer to its complete editor, focused on basic functions but also with several advanced ones.

You will be able to apply all kinds of color effects and filters to your photographs, cuts and transformations, add figures, combine them and create collages. You can also edit multiple photos at once, work with layers, apply frames or work with RAW images. It is a tool between basic and advanced, which tries to make it easy for you.

  • Link: X.photoscape.org

Photoshop Express

Photoshop Express

Photoshop Express is the little brother of Adobe’s powerful photography application. It doesn’t have as many advanced options, but it offers many of the options necessary to make good photo edits, being a completely free application . Of course, with reduced compatibility to raw camera files, and files with JPG and PNG formats.

For the rest, the application has an interface adapted to mobile phones , with touch elements and easy access. Still, you don’t have to worry, because in addition to Android and iOS, there is also a version in the Microsoft Store to download it on Windows. In all cases, it is a free application.

  • Link: Adobe.com

PicsArt Photo Editor

PicsArt Photo Editor

It is one of the most popular and complete photo editors for mobile devices, although you can also find it in the Windows application store for your PC. With its free version you can not only create collages of up to 10 images, but you can also edit videos and photos. To do this, you have a gallery of tools that allows you to edit the image with different visual effects, as well as crop them to your liking.

The application has different pre-designed proportions to be able to upload them to different social networks and websites. You can choose to use Instagram ratios, but also create them for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or YouTube. It also lacks basic editing tools. It has a paid version with synchronization between devices and more advanced editing options.

  • Link: Picsart.com



This tool is an open source , cross-platform alternative to Paint, which is also free. Of course, despite being a direct competition from Paint, which has not entered the list due to its limitations, it has some extra options with which you can do some basic photography retouching.

In addition to the classic Paint drawing options, Pinta also incorporates adjustments and effects for photo editing , as well as multiple layers to work with, a complete history of changes, and different visualizations for the interface. It is available for both GNU/Linux and Windows, macOS and FreeBSD.

  • Link: Pinta-project.com



It is another powerful photo editing web tool. On their website you will find two types of product, a Pixlr E focused on more professional photographic editing and with support up to 4K images, and a Pixlr X for quick edits with simpler options so as not to waste a lot of time.

  • Link: Pixlr.com



Polarr is an application that became popular when its web version was one of the first to offer support for digital development of RAW files. But it is also a free program for Windows that you can download from the Microsoft Store , offering you all its power natively so as not to depend on your connection.

It is a fairly complete tool, which allows you to edit by layers and has its filter system to make quick adjustments to your photos. It also has advanced editing options, with retouching functions, histogram, effects, and all the basic tools you would expect in a program like this.

  • Link: Polarr.com



It is an application that seeks to be an alternative to Darktable in the digital development of photos, and that is also free and open source , having versions for GNU/Linux, and 64-bit versions of macOS and Windows 10. As its name indicates, has been designed for editing photos in RAW format, although it also works for other common photographic formats.

With its photographic engine you will be able to carry out complete management of the color of your photos, and also in elements such as their tone and exposure. The tool tries to maintain the balance of offering an interface that works for both expert users and beginners in this type of photo editing.

Link: Rawtherapee.com



This is another photography application focused on mobile devices. In fact, it has been one of the best in this field for years , especially for offering an easy-to-use gesture interface along with a good list of tools. Everything works through swiping to change settings and changing the level of each setting.

With Snapseed you will be able to make everything from simple cuts to advanced adjustments such as modifying the orientation of a face or deleting objects. Its main advantage is that it is totally free , without ads or surprises. Therefore, you have here everything you will need to edit photos from the limitations of the size of a mobile screen.

  • Link: App Store and Google Play


Halfway between a social network and a photo editor for smartphones , VSCO is one of those alternatives that you cannot miss on your mobile, especially if you are a user of networks like Instagram. It is an app specialized in allowing you to make quick edits that you can then quickly share on social networks.

On the one hand, the app offers the classic basic editing tools present in all these types of applications, and on the other, it has a large selection of presets and effects ready to be used. Additionally, you can also create templates based on your own custom configurations so you can quickly reuse them. It has a paid version with even more presets and filters.

  • Link: Vsco.co

Windows Photos

And we are going to finish with the photo viewer that comes preinstalled in Windows 10, and which is free for all users of the operating system. Photos, has several tools for quick retouches for your photos. They are not very advanced tools, basically filters and some quick settings, but for quick fixes it can be useful to know that you don’t need to install anything for the essentials.

In addition to quick edits, Photos also has other functions such as drawing on your photo, adding 3D effects such as rain or confetti, animated text or the possibility of creating videos with music.

Bonus: Canva

And as a bonus track, we’re going to finish with Canva , which is a design creation program. However, among its huge number of options and tricks it also offers the possibility of performing small photographic retouching, although it is not a tool strictly created for this. In addition, it has several integrations to be able to complement it with other online tools.

  • Link: Canva.com