The best alternatives to Photoshop in 2024

Best alternatives to Photoshop - Photoshop open on a laptop screen
(Image credit: Adobe)
Best Photoshop alternatives: Jump menu

The list in brief
1. Best overall: Affinity Photo
2. Best subscription: Capture One
3. Best no-frills option: Paintshop Pro
4. Best for versatility: PhotoDirector 365
5. Best for AI tools: Luminar Neo
How to choose
How we review

Are you looking for the best alternatives to Photoshop? Think the software is expensive and hard to use? Well, you’re not alone. Launched as early as 1990, Adobe Photoshop is one of the oldest and most popular photo editing tools in the market. It’s currently part of Creative Cloud, a recurring cloud-based subscription from Adobe for creative professionals.

Since its inception, Creative Cloud’s pricing model has been controversial. Photoshop alone costs $22.99 a month or $263.88 a year, with no one-time purchase option available. 

The idea of having to pay for a monthly subscription doesn’t sit right with many early-career professionals and small businesses, who have been switching to competitors offering more generous pricing plans. Adobe seems to be aware of this issue, as it has started rolling out a "freemium" web browser-based version of the software that allows users to experience Photoshop's "core functions."

In this article, we will take a look at some of the best high-quality photo editing alternatives to Photoshop. Read on to see our top picks after we've tested them on features, pricing, and ease of use.


Adobe Photoshop CC – industry-standard image editing
The alternatives on this page are all great, but Photoshop has been the world's leading image editing tool for over 20 years for good reason. And the latest version is the best yet. It's available via a seven-day free trial via Adobe Creative Cloud before you sign up for the paid version, so you can try before you buy.

The quick list

Here are the best Photoshop alternatives at a glance. Click on the link for the full review. 

The top 3 alternatives to Photoshop right now

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Affinity Photo: The best Adobe Photoshop alternative

Affinity Photo: The best Adobe Photoshop alternative
A powerful image manipulation tool by Serif, Affinity Photo offers multi-platform support, in-depth features, and affordable pricing, rivaling Photoshop with best-in-class tools and real-time rendering.


Capture One Pro: The best subscription-based Photoshop alternative
Capture One Pro is a non-destructive photo editing tool, serving as an alternative to Adobe Lightroom rather than Photoshop, featuring cataloging tools, built-in presets, and the ability to make manual adjustments through layers and masks.


PaintShop Pro: A simple Photoshop alternative
Corel PaintShop Pro is a budget-friendly image editing tool that offers essential features, an assortment of textures, backgrounds, and brushes, with a user-friendly format catered towards beginners, and since 2020, it includes a dedicated photography workspace with touchscreen capabilities and one-click effects.

The best alternatives to Photoshop of 2024 in full

Best overall

Affinity Photo 2 logo

(Image credit: Serif)
The best alternative to Adobe Photoshop


Platform: Windows, macOS, iOS (iPad only)
Developer: Serif
Price: $69.99 (Windows/Mac) / $18.49 (iPad)

Reasons to buy

Highly affordable
Many advanced features
Real-time rendering

Reasons to avoid

No preset effects
No browsing or cataloguing tools

Affinity Photo 2 is the best image manipulation tool to rival Photoshop. It comes from Serif, a software company that used to focus primarily on desktop publishing tools. With the Affinity product line, however, Serif has completely outdone itself with multi-platform support, in-depth features, and affordable pricing.

Feature-wise, Affinity Photo 2 comes with best-in-class tools for layering, masking, and retouching images. It boasts real-time rendering capabilities where effects are applied immediately at the press of a button. 

However, as an advanced raster image editing tool, Affinity Photo 2 is not particularly beginner-friendly. The interface is very similar to Photoshop’s, so there are no instant presets that you can apply in a jiffy and no cataloging tools to make file sorting easier.

Best alternatives to Photoshop - Affinity Photo in use on a computer

Affinity Photo is developed by the European software company Serif  (Image credit: Serif)

One of the standout features of Affinity Photo 2 is its seamless integration with other Affinity apps, such as Affinity Designer and Affinity Publisher. This allows you to easily switch between vector and raster editing, creating a powerful and efficient workflow for your design projects. 

Affinity Photo 2 supports a wide range of file formats, including PSD, AI, PDF, and SVG, ensuring compatibility with your existing files and making it easy to collaborate with others. With its advanced tools, intuitive interface, and affordable pricing, Affinity Photo 2 is an excellent choice for professional photographers, graphic designers, and anyone looking for a powerful and versatile image editing solution.

At just $69.99 for Windows or Mac and $13.99 for iPad, Affinity Photo is one of the most affordable Photoshop alternatives. You can only choose the $164.99 Universal License, that includes Affinity Designer 2, Affinity Photo 2, and Affinity Publisher 2 for macOS, Windows, and iPadOS.

Read our Affinity Photo 1.5 review for more information.

Best subscription

Capture One logo

(Image credit: Capture One)

2. Capture One Pro

The best subscription-based alternative to Adobe Photoshop


Platform: Windows, macOS
Developer: Capture One
Price: $14.92 a month or $299 one-time

Reasons to buy

RAW image support
Advanced color editing
Layer manipulation

Reasons to avoid

Doesn’t support all cameras

Capture One Pro is an excellent photo editing tool that’s better described as an alternative to Adobe Lightroom rather than Photoshop. 

Unlike Photoshop, Capture One is a non-destructive image manipulation software that comes with cataloging tools and built-in presets. If you want more in-depth manipulation you can make manual adjustments through layers and masks. 

Capture One Pro features seamless RAW processing, meaning that you can add RAW files straight from your camera without having to process it into a PNG or JPEG. Although its RAW support for different camera brands isn’t as extensive as Adobe’s, the images produced are sharper and less noisy than in Photoshop. 

Other features include a modular interface that can be customized to your liking and a keywording tool to help you tag images.

Best alternatives to Photoshop - Capture One Pro in use on a computer

Capture One Pro is a subscription based alternative to Adobe Photoshop (Image credit: CaptureOne)

Capture One Pro costs $14.92 a month for a subscription. This includes support for most camera brands. If you’d rather pay a one-time fee, Capture One also has a $299 plan. It is available for both Windows and macOS operating systems.

Capture One Pro has advanced color editing tools, which provide precise control over color grading and adjustments. With its unique Color Balance tool, you can easily adjust the hue, saturation, and lightness of specific color ranges, allowing you to create stunning and professional-looking images. 

Additionally, the software offers a range of powerful tethering capabilities, enabling you to connect your camera directly to your computer for instant image capture and editing. This feature is particularly useful for studio photographers who need to review and adjust their shots in real-time. 

Best no-frills option

Corel Paintshop Pro logo

(Image credit: Corel)
The best no-frills alternative to Adobe Photoshop with touch support


Platform: Windows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7
Developer: Corel
Price: $54.99 / $69.99 one-time

Reasons to buy

AI-enabled presets
Lots of brushes and backgrounds
SmartClone technology

Reasons to avoid

Slow rendering
No macOS support

Photoshop may be the most advanced image manipulation tool in the market, but the fact remains that most people end up using less than half of the features it offers. Corel PaintShop Pro is a budget-friendly alternative that focuses on the essentials of image editing and offers an assortment of textures, backgrounds, and brushes for you to work with. 

Feature-wise, Corel PaintShop Pro doesn’t break new ground. However, it does an excellent job of delivering the essentials in a user-friendly format for beginners. Since 2020, Corel PaintShop Pro now comes with a dedicated photography workspace. This new workspace is completely touchscreen-ready and comes with effects that can be applied with just one click.

Best alternatives to Photoshop - Corel Paintshop Pro in use on a computer

Corel Paintshop Pro can work with both raster and vector image files (Image credit: Corel)

Corel PaintShop Pro has an extensive selection of creative filters and effects, which allow you to quickly transform your images into stunning works of art. From vintage and retro looks to modern and artistic styles, PaintShop Pro offers a wide range of options to suit your creative vision. 

The software provides a comprehensive set of tools for working with text, allowing you to easily add and customize captions, titles, and other text elements to your images.

Corel Paintshop Pro costs a one-time fee of $54.99 and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. With it, you gain access to a variety of AI-enabled presets, 360-degree photo editing, and the new SmartClone tool, which uses content-aware cloning to seamlessly merge different elements together. You can also buy Corel Paintshop Pro Ultimate for $69.99, which throws in additional tools like AfterShot, Corel Painter Essentials, and PhotoMirage Express.

You can read our Corel Paintshop Pro 2020 review for more information.

Best for versatility

CyberLink PhotoDirector 365 logo

(Image credit: CyberLink)
The best multipurpose alternative to Adobe Photoshop with guided edits


Platform: Windows 7+, macOS Mojave+
Developer: CyberLink
Price: $99.99 one-time or $39.99 a year

Reasons to buy

Stock library
Guided edits
Smooth UI

Reasons to avoid

Not enough lens profiles
Fewer editing tools

While CyberLink started out as a Lightroom alternative, it has since grown to become an all-inclusive replacement for Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and Photoshop Elements. The all-in-one image manipulation software features a smooth unified interface and plenty of advanced tools to set you up on your path to photo editing. It comes with a growing collection of animations, stock images, masks, filters, and more.

A very useful feature worth considering for beginners is guided edits. Those new to the software can take advantage of an array of interactive built-in tutorials to get better acquainted with the system. If purchased as a subscription, PhotoDirector also includes access to Shutterstock’s library of stock images and other creative assets. However, users who purchase with a one-time fee will not be able to take advantage of the stock library.

Best alternatives to Photoshop - CyberLink PhotoDirector in use on a computer

CyberLink PhotoDirector offers guided edits for beginners (Image credit: cyberlink)

CyberLink PhotoDirector also shines in its video-to-photo capabilities, a feature not commonly found in other photo editing software. This innovative tool allows you to extract high-quality still images from video footage, giving you the flexibility to capture the perfect moment even if you missed it during the initial shoot. 

PhotoDirector's face tagging and recognition features make it easy to organize and find photos of specific people, a real time-saver when dealing with large collections of images.

CyberLink PhotoDirector costs $99.99 one-time to buy. If you want more features and active support, you can also buy the subscription-based PhotoDirector 365 for the price of $39.99 a year, which also includes additional assets. If you’d like to try before you buy, a one-month free trial is available in exchange for your email address.

For more on this platform, you can read our CyberLink PhotoDirector 12 Ultra review.

Best for AI tools

Luminar Neo logo

(Image credit: Luminar)

5. Luminar Neo

The best AI-powered alternative to Photoshop


Platform: Windows, macOS
Developer: Skylum
Price: $199 one-time or $7.95/month

Reasons to buy

Preset library
Automatic touch-ups

Reasons to avoid

Inconsistent performance
No cataloguing tools

Luminar Neo is an application designed for those who require more in-depth customization than what’s offered by basic image editing tools, but who don’t have the technical expertise to make it happen. As the world’s first and only photo editor powered entirely by artificial intelligence (AI), it bridges the gap between basic image editing apps like Photoshop Elements and advanced image manipulation software like Photoshop.

If you’re looking for features that offer maximum flexibility and manual customization, you’re out of luck. However, Luminar Neo does offer an extensive collection of automatic effects that can turn any ordinary image into a cover photo. You can do things like replace the sky, change the weather, fix skin blemishes, adjust color balance, and more—all with the power of AI. You can even apply an automated overall fix to make your image look more professional.

The AI effects blend in seamlessly, but Luminar Neo does have its downsides: it suffers from a complete lack of cataloging options, and the rendering performance could be better.

Best alternatives to Photoshop - Luminar Neo in use on a computer

Luminar Neo is the first fully automated image manipulation application for PCs (Image credit: Skylum)

One of the most impressive aspects of Luminar Neo is its ability to learn and adapt to your editing style over time. As you work with the software and make adjustments to your images, the AI algorithms analyze your preferences and gradually tailor the suggested edits to better suit your unique vision. 

This personalized approach to photo editing sets Luminar Neo apart from other AI-powered tools, which often apply generic, one-size-fits-all adjustments. 

You can purchase Luminar Neo for a one-time fee of $199. Luminar Neo is also available in subscription plans starting at $7.95/month for the software alone. Other plans add additional extensions.

The best alternatives to Photoshop, compared

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Alternative to PhotoshopPlatformDeveloperPrice
Affinity PhotoWindows, macOS, iOS (iPad only)Serif$69.99 (Windows/Mac) / $18.49 (iPad)
Capture One ProWindows, macOSCapture One$14.92 a month or $299 one-time
Corel Paintshop ProWindows 10, Windows 8/8.1, Windows 7Corel$54.99 / $69.99 one-time
CyberLink PhotoDirectorWindows 7+, macOS Mojave+CyberLink$99.99 one-time or $39.99 a year
Luminar NeoWindows, macOSSkylum$199 one-time or $7.95 a month

How to choose the best alternative to Photoshop for you

Photoshop is an image manipulation tool that allows you to edit and enhance raster images using a series of manual and automatic techniques. If you are looking for an all-encompassing Photoshop alternative with the exact same features and a better price range, Affinity Photo is probably the best choice for you. 

Otherwise, the best alternative will depend largely on your specific requirements. For example, Capture One is an excellent choice for those looking for a Lightroom-esque photo editor, whereas those requiring touch support and the ability to switch between raster and vector formats may choose Corel Paintshop Pro. CyberLink PhotoDirector is a good choice for beginners thanks to its guided edits feature, while Luminar AI is for those who want a completely automated workflow. 

How we review the best alternatives to Photoshop

At Tom's Guide, we frequently evaluate software products as part of our mission to help guide people in choosing the best tools for their needs. Regarding photo-editing tools, we understand that Adobe Photoshop is the established industry standard, but it requires a steep learning curve and is expensive, and some people may look for an alternative.

The first step in the evaluation process is installing each software and checking for compatibility with the different operating systems and devices. We examine the software's features and interface, testing how user-friendly it is and how easy it is to navigate.

One of the critical aspects we examine is how the software performs as a Photoshop alternative. As such, we test how similar it is to Photoshop in functionality and features. We also note its ability to open and adjust various file types, such as PSD files, to make workflow easier for Photoshop users transitioning from the original tool to its alternative.

We also check how well the alternative software performs different tasks, such as cropping, layer adjustment, and image resizing, among others. These are the features that people care about, and we capture what is vital in photo editing software.

Another important aspect we evaluate is the pricing of the software. We compare the prices of different alternatives and note the features available at the particular price point to determine which ones represent a good value for money spent.

When it comes to support, we test the customer service of each software, including the availability of tutorials and technical support, to ensure that users can get the necessary help they require.

Overall, we test software products to ensure that we recommend only high-quality alternatives to Photoshop. We gauge their features and interface, abilities to perform the critical tasks and compatibility, among other things, to create an informed opinion on which software offers the best solutions.

 See our testing methodology page for more information.

Next steps with photography software

Read our guide to the best website builders for photographers and the best cloud storage providers for photos and pictures. We also discuss our favorite photo editing software available today.

For photo editing, we've listed the best photo editing apps on the market. And if you're on a budget, we've reviewed all the best free photo editing software you can get today.

Ritoban Mukherjee

Ritoban Mukherjee is a freelance journalist from West Bengal, India whose work on cloud storage, web hosting, and a range of other topics has been published on Tom's Guide, TechRadar, Creative Bloq, IT Pro, Gizmodo, Medium, and Mental Floss.

With contributions from