Movavi Photo Editor

  • Easy retouching and digital makeup application
  • Creative filters and texture overlays
  • Object removal and background replacement
  • Customizable captions

Edited by Pat Bitton

May 19, 2020

Best Photo-Editing Software for Beginners

Do you enjoy taking pictures? And do your friends like watching them? If yes, why not try to enhance your pictures for them to become even new popular? Even if you are a complete beginner in photo editing, there’s plenty of apps that are easy-to-use for newcomers. Here, you’ll find our list of best easy photo editing software that can help you to spice up your images. Please note that there are some programs that are free only during the trial period.

Best Easy Photo-Editing Software

For photographers who have never tried to use photo editors, choosing the right one could be tough. All programs have their pros and cons, but if you want to get the one that will suit you, look at:

  • Interface. If you can’t find how to crop images or don’t see where to switch from video to photo editing, maybe this software is too complex for your purposes.
  • Readable user manuals. They are your best friends when you start to use a new photo editor.
  • Speed. No one wants their photo to be processed for ages.

On the basis of the factors described above, we have chosen several apps that are user-friendly, work fast and you can always find many guides for this software, no matter what you work on: PC with Windows, Mac, mobile device, or just online.

Movavi Photo Editor

Price: Free trial, $44.95 for a full version

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

When talking about the best photo editing software for beginners, it is necessary to mention Movavi Photo Editor. With this app, you can make a masterpiece on your photo’s basis in just a few clicks. Movavi Photo Editor has loads of editing tools that you can use in any way you want: denoise the image, retouch it, add amazing effects. One of the advantages of this app is that it can automatically restore damaged or torn old photos in no time. Also, you can always look at the original photo in the same program window or check the difference between 'before' and 'after' using a built-in tool.

Pros

  • Supports all popular formats
  • Simple interface
  • A lot of graphic effects

Cons

  • In the trial version, you can only save images with watermarks

You can check out the review of this program on fixthephoto.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

Movavi Photo Editor

The easiest way to turn any snapshot into an eye candy

  • Improve quality and retouch blemishes
  • Add effects and filters
  • Crop, straighten, and flip pictures
  • Change image backgrounds and remove objects

Best Free Photo-Editing Software for Novices

Inkscape

Price: Free

Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux

This app differs from others: its main feature is vector drawing. Choose Inkscape if you want not only edit your images but draw new ones by yourself and become a good graphic designer. The program has an open-source code that means that any programmer can improve it for other people to enjoy drawing even more.

Pros

  • Wide range of editing tools
  • Supports a lot of image formats

Cons

  • Processing feels slow sometimes

You can check out the review of this program on techradar.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

PhotoScape

Price: Free

Compatibility: Windows

PhotoScape is a free photo editor with an impressive variety of tools. The program has an image viewer, batch editing function, and a built-in screen capture tool. However, PhotoScape’s best feature is the photo editing toolkit. Simple and powerful, with lots of well-labeled options, it’s clearly aimed at beginners. If you are looking for a free program that isn’t too complicated, PhotoScape might be just what you need.

Pros

  • An impressive variety of tools
  • Can edit RAW images

Cons

  • The interface may seem confusing, compared to other photo editors

You can check out the review of this program on techradar.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

IrfanView

Price: Free

Compatibility: Windows

IrfanView is primarily a photo viewer with many other useful tools, such as a batch file converter, a photo editor, and a scanner interface. Despite its old-fashioned interface IrfanView is easy to use and will cause no trouble for inexperienced users. The icing on the cake is the program’s wide support of various plugins, that allow users to customize IrfanView according to their needs.

Pros

  • Image editor with lots of features
  • Useful photo viewer

Cons

  • The interface may seem a bit outdated

You can check out the review of this program on techradar.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

FastStone

Price: Free for personal use

Compatibility: Windows

FastStone is another free image viewer with image editing options. Batch processing, extensive editing features, and wide format support are wrapped in a simple and user-friendly interface. However, due to the variety of tools, the program seems to work slower than some of the more specialized programs.

Pros

  • Batch processing
  • Well-designed interface

Cons

  • Tends to work slower than its competitors

You can check out the review of this program on dpreview.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

Paint.NET

Price: Free

Compatibility: Windows

Paint.NET is a simpler alternative to more complex programs such as Photoshop and GIMP. It’s a great choice for beginners since it features some advanced photo editing tools along with many effects that you can apply in one click. The program is easy to use, due to its simple and user-friendly interface.

Pros

  • Simple, yet powerful
  • Well-ordered interface
  • Many useful editing tools and effects

Cons

  • Brush work is limited
  • You can’t correct text after applying other effects

You can check out the review of this program on fixthephoto.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

Ashampoo Photo Optimizer 2019

Price: Free

Compatibility: Windows

Ashampoo Photo Optimizer 2019 is a quick and easy way to improve your photos. This program features one-click enhancement, as well as a slider-based system to adjust photos manually. Another useful feature is batch processing. The variety and number of editing tools are decent for a freeware, so we can recommend Ashampoo Photo Optimizer 2019 even to inexperienced users.

Pros

  • Clean and simple interface
  • Allows manual adjustments

Cons

  • Sometimes auto optimization seems hit-and-miss

You can check out the review of this program on techradar.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

XnView MP

Price: Free for private use

Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux

Primarily an image viewer, today XnView MP provides not only countless ways to browse through your photos but also a set of manual and automatic image editing tools. This program also features a screen capture tool and batch processing. Such an impressive variety of tools makes XnView MP an ultimate solution for all your image processing needs.

Pros

  • Simple and powerful
  • Supports Photoshop plugins

Cons

  • You can’t directly add text or make simple pixel corrections

You can check out the review of this program on fstoppers.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

GIMP

Price: Free for private use

Compatibility: Windows, macOS, Linux

GIMP is an open-source alternative to Photoshop. The program is packed with professional editing functions such as layers and customizable brushes. However, apart from professional features, GIMP has tools that might be interesting for an inexperienced user as well, such as auto-enhancement and various filters.

Pros

  • Wide support for plugins
  • Can open almost any image file

Cons

  • The interface may seem a bit cluttered

You can check out the review of this program on techradar.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

Best Free Online Photo-Editing Software for Beginners

Pixlr Editor

Price: Free

Compatibility: online

This app is a free one but it has loads of features that you don’t usually see in freeware. You can draw on your photo, add stickers, filters, or text, retouch your image or change it in a funny style. Pixlr Editor can be used online or on mobile devices, and it will enhance your pictures easily and quickly. It has an autosave option, so your work won’t be lost because of disconnect or switching off. Not only beginners but advanced users also can make something new with Pixlr.

Pros

  • Free and easy to use
  • Large library of stock images
  • No watermark

Cons

  • Limited sharing options

You can check out the review of this program on techradar.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

Fotor

Price: Free, with the pro version for $39.99/Year

Compatibility: macOS, Windows, online

If you have multiple devices and don’t want to switch between various apps, try Fotor. It is available on computers, mobile devices, and even online, so you can use the same app whenever you want. Fotor allows you to store your images in the cloud, which means you can work with the same image anywhere. The program has a huge variety of functions from basic ones like ‘crop’ or ‘rotate’ to highly specialized like the tilt-shift effect or special frames. However, some features can be fully used only if you have an upgraded version.

Pros

  • Wide range of collage templates
  • Can adjust focus in photos

Cons

  • Only a few advanced photo editing tools

You can check out the review of this program on photoworkout.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

Canva

Price: Has free version, pricing plans start at $9.95 per month

Compatibility: online

This is a great choice for users who prefer to edit their pictures online. There’s no need to download anything. If you have your photo and a computer or another device with the Internet connection, that’s enough. You can start working with Canva. This tool is designed not just for photo editing but also for diagram creating, so if you want to prepare some infographics for your boss, Canva is just the thing. It has loads of built-in templates for various purposes, but you also can adjust your photos manually.

Pros

  • Access to stock images
  • Large selection of preset designs

Cons

  • Photo editing tools are limited
  • Pictures edited with the free version have a watermark on them

You can check out the review of this program on techradar.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

piZap

Price: Free, but has a pro version for $5.99 per month

Compatibility: online

PiZap is a free online editor that focuses on funny and frivolous editing and is great for preparing photos to share on social media. If you want to make your own meme or a new emoji and share it with your friends, this web app is a great choice. However, some of the more advanced editing tools are available only in the paid version.

Pros

  • Clear, intuitive interface
  • Lots of filters and tool, including meme maker

Cons

  • The free version lacks more advanced functionality

You can check out the review of this program on techradar.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

Advanced Level Photo-Editing Software for Beginners

PortraitPro

Price: Free trial, $44.95 for the full version

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

As its name suggests, PortraitPro is mostly used to adjust the portrait photos. It is a highly specialized app that is really good at retouching. PortraitPro identifies the face’s parts, distinguishing skin from hair, and can see differences in age and gender. With this app, you can change the portrait’s options automatically or manually, add a background or your own watermark, add some volume where needed or change the skin tone, reshape the face and paint on it to mimic the make-up.

Pros

  • Is great for retouching portrait photos
  • Has both automatic and manual editing options

Cons

  • Is a bit too specialized for an average user

You can check out the review of this program on dpmag.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate

Price: $84.95 for a lifetime license

Compatibility: Windows

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is more of a professional photographer's tool, so consider using it if you want to dramatically alter your images. You can adjust every single option, and then, if you change your mind, save just some of these modifications without the need to undo unnecessary ones. There are several video manuals for ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate, so you won’t feel lost with all these features. The program is designed for desktop but ACDSee also offers mobile apps.

Pros

  • Many preset filters
  • Batch processing
  • Simple photo-management

Cons

  • Is intended for professional use, so may seem too expensive and complex for an average user

You can check out the review of this program on pcmag.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

Photolemur

Price: Free trial, $35 for a single license

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

This program is the one from the future. You almost don’t have to do anything yourself: just click one of the few buttons in Photolemur’s minimalistic interface. The algorithms of artificial intelligence will do the rest. After that, you’ll be able to compare the ‘before’ and ‘after’ stages by moving the slider on the screen. Developers claim Photolemur is a learning program, and the more you use it, the better it works.

Pros

  • Simple interface
  • Supports a lot of image formats
  • Advanced AI enhancement

Cons

  • You can’t edit photos manually – there’s only an auto-enhance option
  • Windows 10 Photos app is free and has almost the same functionality

You can check out the review of this program on pcmag.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

Luminar

Price: Free trial, $89 for a single license

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

Luminar is another great program that widely uses artificial intelligence to improve your images. It can automatically add some sunshine to your photos or make the sky bright. Sharpen the objects on your picture, remove noise or unwanted objects, pinpoint the details, make the image glow, and do the whole more with Luminar. Here, you can change the options manually: the program offers built-in video tutorials.

Pros

  • Powerful AI tools
  • Simple interface
  • Easy and fast

Cons

  • Lacks export options

You can check out the review of this program on naturettl.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

PicMonkey

Price: Free trial, $7.99 per month for the full version

Compatibility: Windows, macOS, online

PicMonkey is the app for desktop and mobile devices, and one of its best features is the possibility of teamwork. You can adjust your photos with filters or special effects and then share the images with your friends who will be able to make their suggestions or corrections. You can work together at the same time on the same file and all changes will be stored.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Great for teamwork

Cons

  • Has image size restrictions

You can check out the review of this program on capterra.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

Zoner Photo Studio X

Price: Free trial, $4.99 per month for the full version

Compatibility: Windows

Zoner Photo Studio X is an advanced toolkit for photo editing that includes layers, corrections, effects, online galleries, etc. However, its well-designed interface makes it a good choice for beginners. Another advantage of this program is its relatively low price. All in all, Zoner Photo Studio X is perfect for a slightly experienced user.

Pros

  • Supports layer editing
  • Lots of effects
  • Features online storage and galleries

Cons

  • Doesn’t support some newer camera models
  • Seems a bit slower than the competitions

You can check out the review of this program on pcmag.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

Capture One Pro

Price: Free trial, $24 per month or $299 one-time payment

Compatibility: Windows, macOS

This photo editing software is extremely convenient for editing and converting RAW files from any camera. In addition, Capture One Pro is packed with a wide range of image adjustment tools and even has some organizational features. However, the program’s interface might be a bit confusing, especially with layers.

Pros

  • Raw file conversion
  • Advanced photo adjustment tools
  • Keyword tagging

Cons

  • No online sharing
  • Lacks face recognition

You can check out the review of this program on pcmag.com by following the link below:

Go to the review

So, if you are looking for the best free photo editing software for beginners, check our list, and maybe you'll find some apps useful. For your desktop, consider using Movavi Photo Editor! It has all the functions you might need as a newcomer. If you’ll have questions during your work, you always can use tutorials, including video ones, read the user guide or the corresponding how-to. Also, you can easily customize the app according to your needs: move tabs, change the keyboard shortcuts, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

In our opinion, a photo editor for beginners should have a wide variety of editing tools and simple interface at the same time. Here are a few examples of such programs:

Free software is an excellent option for anyone who wants to make some simple edits, without a deep knowledge of photo editing. We have picked some of the simplest free photo editors for you to choose:

Movavi Photo Editor

The easiest way to turn any snapshot into an eye candy

  • Improve quality and retouch blemishes
  • Add effects and filters
  • Crop, straighten, and flip pictures
  • Change image backgrounds and remove objects