Photoshop too expensive? Try these 5 free alternatives

While your smartphone is also a great digital camera, its built-in editing software is another story. If you want a professional-grade photo editor, most photographers and graphic designers use Adobe Photoshop. It's been the go-to photo editing program since 1990.

Mastering Photoshop isn’t easy. Click or tap here for some great free interactive Photoshop lessons.

Photoshop is also pricey. It costs anywhere from $10 to $80 a month, depending on which apps and services you use. But what if you could get something just as good for free?

There are a ton of freebies online. How’d you like a free video editing program, design software, or firewall? Click or tap here for 15 tech freebies you don’t want to miss.

If all you need is a great Photoshop-alternative, though, here are 5 worthy contenders.

1. Just like Photoshop, but free

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a downloadable, professional-grade photo editor with an extensive Photoshop-like collection of essential editing tools. In addition, GIMP boasts advanced filters and layer masks. Whether you want to add text, erase a background, or add texture to a photo, this no-cost editing software will meet your needs.

What I like

  • The interface is customizable with plugins
  • Available for Windows, Mac and Linux
  • Tutorials are readily available

What I don’t like

  • Not available for mobile devices
  • Designed for advanced users

Click or tap here to download GIMP.

2. A web-based winner

The free version of SumoPaint 2.0 allows you to edit photos online and has similar Photoshop tools and features, including a variety of brushes, brush effects and styles, and line tools. SumoPaint’s collection of stickers, filters, and frames is perfect for crafting creative images.

What I like

  • Easy to use
  • Web-based (no download necessary)
  • Handcrafted filters

What I don’t like

● Paid Pro version required for ad-free or offline use

● It is a beta version, so things could break or change

Click or tap here to download SumoPaint.

3. Enhance any image with ease

The Pixlr X editor is a powerful free photo-editing program that has a wide range of special effects such as filters, overlays, borders and stickers to enhance any image.No need to limit yourself to the editor as Pixlr, from Autodesk, is a family of web-based and native mobile image editing apps, including the original Pixlr editor for both Android and iOS.

What I like

  • Can be used with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Explorer
  • Quick fix tools
  • Mobile app requires little space and memory
  • Instantly share on social media

What I don’t like

  • Interface is generic
  • The program can be slow

Tap or click here to use Pixlr X.

4. Mobile-friendly Photoshop

As a free mobile app, Adobe Photoshop Express will impress. Like the desktop version of Photoshop, this app allows you to manipulate your images in a variety of ways using a variety of tools, including temperature and color correctors. With Photoshop Express, you can overlay images, add text, apply quick fixes, create collages, and more.

What I like

  • One tap sharing to social media
  • Add a custom watermark to images

What I don’t like

  • Requires other apps: Photoshop Fix, Mix and Sketch for additional core editing features such as brushes
  • Does not use layers
  • More complex than other editors

Click or tap here to download Adobe Photoshop Express.

RELATED: Struggling to keep all your photos organized? I helped a caller to my national radio show organize 45,000 digital images. Get my best tips for maintaining a large photo collection.

5. Great for graphics

Canva is not your typical photo editor. It can be used to design graphics for numerous applications including presentations, branding, social media, blogs, book covers, and more. Canva has a vast library of free and paid customizable elements, templates, and layouts. Editing tools include image cropping and speech and thought bubble creators.

What I like

  • Drag-and-drop functionality
  • User-friendly
  • Send finished project directly to social media
  • Web-based

What I don’t like

  • Scant editing tools
  • Pro version required for basic features (exporting designs with a transparent background)
  • Can be costly (even though a free version, you may need to purchase elements)

Tap or click here to use Canva.

BONUS TIP: Is private browsing really private? The one trick to stay truly hidden online

Today's technology makes life easier and more fun, but unfortunately, the companies behind it are greedy with our data. Between targeted ads and recommendation algorithms, there really aren't too many private places left online.

To surf the web anonymously, you need to hide your search history and browsing activity. Your browser's built-in settings can help, but how "private" is this mode, really?

Tap or click to learn how to keep your identity hidden from advertisers and data firms.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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Learn about all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation's largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today's digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at