Alternatives to Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is an incredible tool. It lets organizations edit the images they need to produce professional-looking brochures, pamphlets, and marketing materials. The problem is that Photoshop is far from inexpensive. A quick online scan will show that newer versions of this image-editing program can run higher then $600. For small business owners on a budget, this program isn't feasible. This doesn't mean, however, that these small business owners don't have photo-editing options. In fact, businesses can choose from a number of alternatives that are not only cheaper but are actually free.

These alternatives are not quite as dynamic as Photoshop but they provide enough of the elements to be useful to the small business owner. Here is a list of three that make photo-manipulation easy, without straining the wallet.


GIMP, which stands for GNU image manipulation program, is the choice of many a cost-conscious designer. That is because this free program contains many of the most important features of Photoshop. The GIMP website even offers a version of the program—cleverly named GIMPShop—that features a screen layout that is a virtual twin of Photoshop's.


Remember that old MSPaint program that came with your Windows program? Paint.NET is the successor to this, and it's a unexpectedly powerful—and free—photo editor. Paint.NET comes with its own special effects, an unlimited undo (a nice feature for those designers who are far from perfect), and an online forum full of users who aren't shy about sharing their favorite tips and strategies for using this program. The only negative of Paint.NET? It only works with Windows-based systems.


Picnik is a free program that works on Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems. This program has some really fun effects such as blurring, darkening, and lightening images. It’s one of the most popular free editing programs, as you don’t have to download files to use it.

There is no need to purchase the expensive Photoshop program to produce professional looking pamphlets. For the small business owner on a budget, any of these programs will do the trick while keeping standards high.