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12 Best Online Photo Editors for Filters and Effects (Free + Paid)

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Read Time: 7 mins
This post is part of a series called Photoshop Portraits.
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New to photo editing and looking for free photo editing software? Check out this list of the best photo editors for exciting effects and filters.

12 Best Online Photo Editors for Filters and Effects

Remove stubborn fuzzies from your t-shirt. Or brighten up a selfie with a warm summer glow. Getting your hands on reliable online photo editors can make a huge difference in the outcome of your photography.

Now is the best time to take advantage of professional photo editing apps, software, and sites to make the most of your images.

And this list will help you do just that! Find this great selection of the best free photo editors as well as premium photo editing apps that are super budget friendly. Engage your creativity and make room for these programs featuring easy-to-follow lessons, fun filters, and amazing effects.

Looking for simple templates you can adjust all on your own? Check out our selection of Lightroom and Photoshop templates to help save time.

Let's take a look at the top paid and free photo editors available online.

Paid Online Photo Editors

1. Adobe Photoshop CC

Adobe Photoshop CCAdobe Photoshop CCAdobe Photoshop CC

Official Website: Adobe Photoshop CC

It's cheaper than Netflix, but it fulfills your creative expression. That's why if you have a little room in your monthly budget for it, you'll be happy you got it. For under 10 dollars a month, Photoshop is (still) the go-to software for millions of creatives and hobbyists around the world.

Now you have more control over your images than ever before. Making these tools easier every year, Adobe has made it so you can view, edit, and share your images with top-quality filters and effects.

Select the subjects in your photo with one click. Or use impressive masks to remove backgrounds fast. Yes, Photoshop is the "high-end" software on this list, but if you can, spoil yourself with its limitless potential.

Need to see it in action? Let our tutorials help:

2. Adobe Lightroom CC

Adobe Lightroom CCAdobe Lightroom CCAdobe Lightroom CC

Official Website: Adobe Lightroom CC

Not to be confused with Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom is its own program full of powerful image-altering qualities. It's made specifically for photographers and anyone who loves creating phenomenal photo stories in batches.

The latest updates improve overall performance and give you access to creative profiles as a helpful starting point for your workflow. Like a filter from your pro camera? Use it while you work with Lightroom's smart camera profiles.

Here are a few of our favorite Lightroom presets:

3. Photoshop Elements

Adobe Photoshop ElementsAdobe Photoshop ElementsAdobe Photoshop Elements

Official Website: Adobe Photoshop Elements

See a trend here? It's hard to ignore that Adobe's image editing suite provides all the essential tools and settings for stunning imagery. Photoshop Elements is another great tool that focuses on file organization and intelligent editing.

Design fun collages of your family, and then share them with everyone. Take it a step further and turn your memories into tangible gifts, artwork, and even souvenirs.

4. Affinity Photo

Affinity PhotoAffinity PhotoAffinity Photo

Official Website: Affinity Photo

Subscription models have made it a little harder for budding creatives to get started. That's why if you're looking for a suitable alternative to the Photoshop suite, just try out Microsoft's Affinity Photo software.

Pay a one-time fee of US$50 to push the boundaries of photo editing with high-performance tools. Easily run creative preset batches on any photo series and make laborious tasks simpler.

The best part? It even saves your undo history for efficient editing.

5. Snappa


Official Website: Snappa

The online universe is now dominated by graphics. So Snappa helps you create instant creative graphics using a stunning library of assets. Brand your graphics quickly for a uniform timeline or choose from pre-made templates designed by in-house creatives.

With a slightly different price model than the others, Snappa lets you start out for free with a few limited options. Upgrade your subscription to 10 or 20 dollars a month to get access to more templates and unlimited downloads.

Free Online Photo Editors



Official Website: GIMP

GIMP is built to bring you better photos. It covers the basics like cropping and resizing but also delivers advanced tools to help your photo manipulation projects.

Though it's regularly updated, you can also get involved with the community by reporting bugs or offering software suggestions. Try it out as a free alternative to premium apps.

2. Aviary


Official Website: Aviary

It's safe to say, we should definitely get used to editing with our phones. But don't worry—you can still use photo editors like Aviary on your computer too. The app doesn't deviate from the photo editing norm—it supplies users with multiple options for filters, borders, and retouching effects.

Sign in with your Adobe account to get access to even more presets. Play with the mood and style of your pictures to take them to the next level.

3. Snapseed


Official Website: Snapseed

Brought to you by Google, Snapseed is a photo editing app with lots of great features. Easily recreate the changes made on one photo so you can apply them to others, and bring out the details of your images with powerful structure tools.

Write an inspiring quote or make the next awesome meme with text tools for impressive graphics. Create non-destructive edits that don't damage the original photo.



Official Website: VSCO

So what do your favorite Instagrammers use? Probably the VSCO app. A photography app for iPhone and Android users, VSCO gives you all the essential tools for Instagram-worthy selfies. Enjoy advanced presets like emulating the look of film or removing stubborn imperfections with a few simple clicks.

Though VSCO is a free app, it comes with a few stipulations. The free version is very limited in its preset amount, so you'll eventually be drawn to buying each new preset as you go.

Want even more effects? Download special preset bundles to get the most out of this app.

5. Fotor


Official Website: Fotor

A comprehensive photo editing site that has already processed billions of images, Fotor helps you make collages, retouch photos, and design amazing graphics.

Need a quick cover for YouTube, Twitter, or other social accounts? Check out thousands of pre-made templates with hundreds of fonts, images, and patterns already programmed in.

Get access to even more design tools by going pro with a simple monthly or annual plan.

6. Instagram


Official Website: Instagram

Follow your favorite photographers while building your own brand and style. Sure, Instagram's popularity is slowly infiltrating our lives, but sometimes we forget it's also a helpful free photo editing app.

Unlike some of the other software featured here, Instagram's photo editing is much more limited. Just cycle through Instagram's iconic selection of colorful presets, for example. You can boost the brightness and contrast of any photo or change color schemes easily with simple tools. Want more engagement? Just use the new Instagram Story option to create fun GIFs, stickers, and cool text effects.

Combine your knowledge of Photoshop and Instagram for impressive graphics! Check out these tutorials:


Photo editing apps make it possible to explore creativity at our fingertips. They not only create inspiring images but are also leading the way to the future of what's to come for photography and design.

So what's your go-to app or software for photo editing? Let us know!

This has been a list of resources for the avid photographer and designer. Find more amazing photo editing templates suitable for multiple platforms on Envato Market and Envato Elements.

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