In the interest of full disclosure, we're not going to lie, we are huge Photoshop fans. However, there are times and situations where shelling out for this premium piece of software is just not in the cards. It is with an eye on our budgets that we have compiled this list of 10 free web based photo editing options. Look to our second installment for free Photoshop alternatives for Macs & PCs.
While not all of these photo editing options are created equal, we hope that we've provided enough choices to find the one that best suits your needs. Best thing about this list is that all of the options are free which means it doesn't hurt to try several till your ideal Photoshop replacement is found. We say "your ideal" since not everyone needs to use all the tools that Photoshop offers and one person's Photoshop replacement could be a simple crop and red-eye remover while another person's would be an editor that will work with layers and pixel level detail.
We've divided our picks into two categories, the first being basic photo editing solutions, ideal for quick edits, and the second for more advanced editing options including working with layers.
- Picnik: This site gets top marks in our book for being a simple, clean, and easy to use basic photo editor. Look to the snappy grass themed Picnik for your light editing needs.
- Photoshop Express Online: One of the most elegant basic web photo editing tools, think of it as a lighter, simpler Photoshop.
- Flauntr: Any site that requires a user account to use the extremely basic photo editor gets demerits in our book. When checking out which free editor will best work for your needs, do you really want to create yet another user account online? No thanks, Flauntr.
- LunaPic: Although we have heard some good things about this extremely basic photo editor, we are not terribly impressed. Ads are very intrusive and we think with so many other options out there, this site is not the photo editor for us.
- DrPic: Like LunaPic, this is a very basic photo editor that is over-run with ads. However, with a slightly cleaner interface, this site has the edge in ease of use over LunaPic.
- Sumo Paint: Like all of the other web apps in this category, Sumo Paint works with layers and has several brush tools.
- FotoFlexer: We debated putting this site in our Basic category since its look and feel is more similar to the others in that group, however the limited layer support made us move it into this category. Unlike the other web apps in this category however, FotoFlexer does have an ad on the top of the editing workspace.
- Aviary: One advantage of Phoenix, the photo editor from Aviary, is that it plays nicely with their other web apps like Raven, the vector editor.
- Pixlr: We're big fans of Pixlr and love it's easy to use interface and ability to work with layers.
- Splashup: Another very layer friendly site, Splashup comes in two flavors, one for more advanced editing including working with multiple image and pixel level control and light flavor for casual editing.
Did we miss your favorite free web based photo editor? Any suggestions for free photo editing applications we must include in our Mac & PC roundup? Let us know in the comments!
(Lead Image: Flickr member Kaptain Kobold editing photos, licensed for use under Creative Commons)