Photo editing? Tips for 20 free programs

If you took a lot of photos this summer and you actually want to edit them all, then you don't always have to resort to a well-known tool such as Adobe Photoshop. There are many programs with which you can edit and manage photos. We list the best 20 free tools for you in this article.

1. IrfanView

The program IrfanView is surprisingly versatile. The tool is small and uses hardly any system capacity, so you can easily browse through your photos and review them with others. IrfanView can handle a remarkable number of file formats (including audio and video formats) and is even capable of performing simple operations such as rotating and resizing. It also offers some filters. One of the most enjoyable features of the program is to make changes to multiple photos (batch) at the same time. If those are not enough options, you can expand the functionality with many plugins. Here you can read how to get started with IrfanView.

2. RawTherape

Photo files on your camera generally come in two flavors: jpg and raw. Jpg is the standard that all PCs can handle. Raw is primarily intended to store as much image information as possible. With a program such as RawTherapee you can then adjust all kinds of settings afterwards. With RawTherapee you can apply color corrections, change perspective, change sharpness and adjust white balance. All this works according to the 'non destructive' principle: all adjustments can be undone. RawTherapee can save or export your adjustments to a jpg file. The program is very extensive and powerful, but requires some knowledge. You will get a start of that in this article.


When it comes to image editing, Photoshop (Elements) reigns supreme in terms of possibilities and quality of the editing itself. But the program comes with a price tag. If you're looking for a free equivalent, GIMP is the closest. The interface looks a bit like an older version of Photoshop, with a plethora of buttons, windows and menus. It takes a while before you have mastered GIMP, but then you have a very extensive image editing program at your disposal. If you want to find your way around GIMP, take our Photo Editing with GIMP workshop.

4. Paint.NET

Is GIMP a little too lavish in terms of features and interface? Then try Paint.NET. With this program you can easily edit your photos with filters, color correction options and effects, among other things. Those who like to work with layers can get to work extensively in Paint.NET. However, if you want to edit your psd files, you will need an extra plug-in. The same applies to those who would like to use the program in Dutch. You can read here how to use Paint.NET in practice.

5. PhotoSun

To get straight to the point: PhotoSun is not a high-flyer when it comes to photo editing. Because the program performs many basic operations very quickly, it is still handy to have on hand. Launch PhotoSun and drag a photo you want to edit into the PhotoSun window. You can perform basic operations such as rotating, resizing, cropping and red-eye removal quickly. Behind the button Effects some effects are hidden, for example to give your photo a retro look. click on frames for beautiful picture frames. The options behind the button collage are a bit too simple, but very nice to make a 'wrong photo' with.

6. XnView

The power of XnView lies in the management and conversion options. Searching for files can sometimes be a big job. Not everyone renames photos, and then looking for that 1994 holiday snap shot with your Canon is like looking for a needle in a haystack. XnView searches the exif data of the files, so that you actually find a photo from 1994, shot with a Canon. What the program also scores with is file conversion. XnView goes way beyond just file conversion. You can automatically edit a series of photos and in this way crop, rotate, flip, resize, provide texts, watermarks, etc. an entire photo collection. You can export the action sequence as a script. XnVieuw is available for the desktop as well as for the tablet and smartphone.

7. Pixlr

The photo editing website Pixlr proves that a good program does not always require an installation. All tools that are offered can be used online via the browser. Pixlr offers a number of different online photo editing programs. Pixlr Express is a simple tool that allows you to make quick adjustments without requiring a lot of prior knowledge. Pixlr Editor is more similar to Photoshop Elements. It is in Dutch and is in no way inferior to professional tools. Finally, there is the Pixlr-o-matic, in which you quickly crop a photo and add a filter.


Instagram also offers many options for editing your photos. The social media platform is no longer just about filters and nowadays you will find many different ways to adjust your photos in the app. The advantage of Instagram is that you can share your most beautiful pictures directly on your social media. The options within Instagram are now so extensive that we have dedicated a beginners course to it.

8. Phoxo

Phoxo is a free and powerful editing program. It is small, easy to use and can be seen as a mini version of Photoshop. You can use this program to add layers, crop, and retouch. In addition, you can add more than 50 special effects to your images. It is also easy to add text to the photo via Phoxo. The program has simple options for shadow text and gradient text. The site contains tutorials and free clip art that you can consult.

9. Zoner Photo Studio Free

Zoner Photo Studio Free is a photo editor that allows convenient editing. You do have to activate it once by entering an email address. Zoner Photo Studio Free is also a program to manage your entire photo collection. On the left of the screen, look for a folder with photos, after which photo thumbnails appear in a filmstrip at the bottom. Also, a preview of the currently selected photo is shown in the center of the screen. Click on the tab at the top right Editor to edit the selected photo. You can return to the photo manager at any time by clicking Manager.

10. Microsoft ICE

Microsoft ICE (Image Composite Editor) is a powerful program. According to the accompanying video on the download page, ICE can merge up to 200 photos into one panorama. The ease of use of ICE is good. You drag the photos into the window and the panorama is created with the push of a button. Then choose automatic crop and the edges are trimmed cleanly from the panorama. After creating the panorama you can export the file in different formats: jpg, tiff, png, psd (Photoshop), deep zoom tileset and hd photo image. The last two are for displaying on web pages in high quality and with the possibility of zooming in.

11. Opanda IExif

The Opanda IExif tool is not intended to view the photo itself, but rather all the exif information that the photo contains. For example, this data includes what camera the photo was taken with, the exposure time, whether the flash was used, the ISO value, and much, much more. At the bottom of the program is a thumbnail of the photo for which you have requested all the EXIF ​​information, so that you know exactly which camera settings give which results. If you would like to change this exif data, you can do so if you install the Opanda PowerExif Editor tool.


Befunky is an all-in-one platform with various capabilities. The program offers three functions. With the photo editor you can crop and resize your photo. The tool also allows you to add effects. In addition, Befunky has a collage maker. You can upload your photos and the program will make its own collage. You can also choose to use Befunky layouts and do the rest yourself. Finally, there is the option to create graphic designs for, for example, a poster or birthday card. Befunky just works in your browser. Select 'get started' at the top right of the website and choose one of the three functions.

13. PixName

A handy tool to organize your photos is PixName. The interface of the program does not look very attractive and you probably need the help function regularly in the beginning. But once you've found your way, PixName provides you with an extremely handy program that allows you to rename, rotate or search entire groups of photos based on entered criteria (such as date). After the installation you indicate what your images folder is, then you can also use the program to import photos from the camera, a folder or from e-mail. This way they are ready in the right folder without renaming and rotating trouble.

14. Photor

When you start Fotor, you are immediately faced with a choice: open the module edit or collage? The naming is already a good indication of what you can expect from both modules. With Edit, the idea is that you first load a photo, after which it can be edited in all kinds of ways. There is a panel ready for you with headings such as Scenes, Crops, Adjust, Effects, Borders and Tilt-Shift. The Collage module is specifically aimed at bringing together different photos. This can be done in two ways. Either you choose a particular template (there are eighty designs available) or you choose the option Freestyle.

15. Photofilter

Photofiltre is one of the more comprehensive free photo editing tools out there. There are simple presets to adjust the exposure and colors of your photos, but if you dig deeper into the menus, you'll notice that there are also many settings that you can adjust manually. It is very useful that you can work with different layers. You can also easily add fun filters and embellish the photo with other effects. This makes Photofiltre a handy tool for people who want to brighten up a photo as quickly as for the more advanced user.

16. Fast Stone

The Faststone program takes a different approach: the program focuses more on organizing your photo material. Importing photos and organizing them is a breeze. But Faststone is more than just a handy tool to keep things tidy. There are a few quick ways to edit your photos. For example, you can adjust color levels, remove red eyes and resize or crop the photo. Ideal if you want to make some small changes quickly.

17. Photo

At the website you don't need a program to edit your photos, you just do it in your browser. The possibilities are of course not as extensive as with one of the more well-known programs, but if you want to quickly edit your material, it is a handy option. You can choose from many effects that give your photos that little bit extra, add extra layers to brighten up your photo or play with the size. A nice addition is the Stickers option, where you can add a mustache or other images to your photo, for example. All in all, is a nice tool.

18. Photopea

Photopea is a very handy website that is very similar to Adobe Photoshop in terms of functions and design. Best of all, it's free and it just works in your browser! The website can even handle PSD files, allowing you to import and export files in this file format. The Photopea web application is also getting better and better. For example, the CTRL+Z shortcut was recently added to undo an action – a familiar shortcut to many Adobe users. Photopea is definitely worth a try, it feels like you're working with Photoshop. Many of the free features are also almost exactly the same as with Photoshop. After some practice and getting used to the website, you can beautifully edit your photos with it.


The website is, as the url indicates, of Dutch origin. That's handy, because most other programs and tools are made in English, or at least translated. mainly focuses on ease of use. You upload a photo and are presented with quite a few editing options, such as fixing underexposures, adding filters and effects. is not a particularly powerful tool, but you can remove small errors and irregularities from your photos in an easy and fast way.

20. Dark Table

Finally, Darktable should not be missing. Darktable presents itself as a virtual light table and darkroom, words we still know from the film roll era. Just like RawTherapee, the program is intended to work with raw files in a non-destructive way. The options are extensive and professional. After editing the raw files, they can be exported in common photo formats.

Recent Posts