5 Great Programs to Use If You Don’t Have Photoshop or Lightroom

For any type of artist, whether it’s digital art such as drawing, painting, photography and digital retouching, having an editing program like Photoshop or Lightroom is essential. Without these kinds of tools, photo manipulation cant be done to present a finished product, whether it’s for your personal use or for commercial use. In this article, we’ll talk about other programs one can use that are cheaper and maybe easier for you to learn in case you’re looking to jump into the world of editing tools.


1. Paint Shop Pro X8

Created by Corel, this is the next best editing program to Photoshop. There are a ton of features including On1 Perfect Effects 9.5 in which you can stack multiple types of filters over the photo and look at live previews with blending. You can even use this area to create your own filters to add drama and intensity to your photos (the only kinda place we want drama in our lives, am I right?). The best part is the fully customizable option or you can mess around with presets included! For those who are just getting started and may not have the best capturing equipment, Perfectly Clear 2 SE is included in Corel Paint Shop Pro X8. This means you can increase the clarity and fine-tune all of the colors within a photo if the original image isn’t the best.

2. Adobe Photoshop Elements

Adobe Photoshop Elements is basically a simpler version of Photoshop. This is great for rastering graphics and is more used for those who take up digital manipulation as a hobby. Typically, commercial businesses lean towards the full Photoshop package when they’re looking for an editing program, rather than a limited program. Elements allows people to create, edit, and share images after organizing them in a simple manner (and who doesn’t love simple these days). So if you’re not a commercial business then this might be perfect for you!

3. Serif Photo Plus

Serif Photo Plus, also known as PhotoPlus X5 or X8, is a photo-editing program that is much cheaper than Adobe Photoshop by the hundreds. With this editing tool, you can create clarity in photos as well as make colors pop, add unique crops to your photos, blur where you need to and doing this all with pinpoint precision. It even has an easy to use HDR feature! It’s a great and inexpensive alternative to Photoshop.

4. Zoner Photo Studio

Aesthetic wise, this program is more similar to Lightroom than it is Photoshop. Zoner allows those to create with a nice and easy workflow, as well as work with GPS, keywords, batch filters, geotagging, 3D makers, sharing, lens corrections, noise reductions, exposure and balance, color management, and much, much more. Focusing on the ease of post-processing, Zoner is a great alternative to Adobe Lightroom.

5. Corel Photo Impact

Last but not least, Corel Photo Impact is another editing software that serves as a decent alternative to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. Created by the same company as the first on our list, Photo Impact Pro allows an easy and express mode for quick edits like color, exposure, and composition, as well as an easy user interface. You can also attach photos to fun templates and share them to whomever you wish. This program even incorporates graphic tools for videographers and aspiring filmmakers!



There are many other programs out there that work just as well as Adobe’s products and can give you more bang for your buck. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are both industry faves, and that’s why there’s such a hefty price tag on there. Give the underdog a chance and you just might be pleasantly surprised!