Thanks to the advancement of smartphone cameras, everybody and their grandmas take tons of photos every day. And you can bet most of those snaps are far from perfect. That’s why we need to edit a photo or two every once in a while. Nothing fancy or complicated – just to darken the image a little bit, crop and resize it to fit your blog, or maybe to change the picture format.
Using a Photoshop-level image editor to do simple image editing would be overkill and require a steep learning curve. For that purpose, you can get away with a simple photo and image editor. If you are a Mac user, here are five simple and free photo editors you can use for your everyday photo editing.
DarkTable is a free and open-source photo editing program that’s beloved in the Linux community and also available for macOS. More advanced than some of the other options on here, DarkTable offers plenty of advanced photo editing functions, like the ability to create multiple masks for your photos, excellent workflow features, and excellent compatibility with a huge range of high-end cameras.
It’s brimming with modules, such as the excellent Tone Equalizer and the filmic RGB module. With some practice, you can give your professional photos a beautiful look that’s hard to obtain elsewhere.
DarkTable is designed for post-processing RAW photos, so if you’re looking for quick touch-ups then you may be better off looking at the other options on this list. If you’re serious about your photography but don’t want to splash out for something like Adobe Lightroom or want to really learn about photo editing as you go along, then look no further.
Preview is the default quick file viewer that comes with macOS. We can safely assume that Mac users uses the app every day to get a quick glimpse of everything, including images, documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and PDFs, to name just a view.
What many users probably don’t know is that Preview also comes with a basic image editor. If you open an image using the app, you will find options to rotate, resize, add border, add text, adjust color, and more. If you can’t locate the editing tools, go to “View -> Show Markup Toolbar” to reveal them.
You need other apps to get more advanced image-editing tools, but for a quick preview and light editing, Preview should be sufficient. Plus, it’s free and no installation is needed.
Apple released Photos in 2015 along with OS X 10.10 Yosemite to replace iPhoto as the default photo management for macOS. Other than managing your photo library, Photos is also able to do quick edits and touchups to your image collection.
The absence of layers, selection marquees, and in-depth RAW editing tells us that Photos is not in the league of Photoshop, and it does not position itself as such, but the editing tools are far more complete than Preview.
The app integrates well with iCloud Photo Library, offers users the ability to do non-destructive photo edits, and supports RAW images to some extent. There are also proper histograms, some sharpening masks, vignetting, layer adjustment, white balance correction, support for a pile of ready-made filters, and the ability to add more customized filters using extensions. And don’t forget the quick red-eye removal.
4. Fotor Photo Editor
There’s a reason why many people recommend Fotor as their choice for a simple photo editor on Mac. The app is incredibly easy to use. Everything is preset from the very beginning, and you don’t need to deal with complicated settings.
The app will start by giving users three choices: do a standard edit, make a collage from a selection of pictures, batch-edit multiple photos at once. You can continue by selecting the image(s) you want to deal with.
The editing interface is also simple. You get all the viewing tools, such as rotate and zoom below the image and the editing tools, such as scenes, crop, adjust, and effects on the right side. Clicking one of these tools will give you even more actions.
The simplicity of the app will make sure you won’t get overwhelmed and intimidated by the editing process of the more advanced editor.
If you are more of a social media kind of guy/gal who loves to take and share customized and cute pictures, you may want to try Pixlr. This online image editor from Autodesk is the perfect filter and overlay app to create unique and interesting pictures. The app features a dozen artistic effects, attractive lighting options, vector graphic shapes, stickers, and more.
The app is perfect for those who want to make flashy pictures without the trouble of touching scary photo-editing things like white balance, saturation, or hue. Pixlr may be your ticket to social networking fandom.
The site is now split into “Pixlr E,” designed for advanced photo editing, and “Pixlr X,” which is more about graphic design. We recommend Pixlr E if photos are your main concern.
As the platform for the creatives, Mac gives its users plenty of options in choosing image editors. It’s impossible to include everything in the short list above, but it should be enough to get anyone started in his/her image-editing journey.
Want more quick Mac pointers? We’ve put together all the ways you can zoom in and out on your Mac screen. On a similar note, we also have a beginners’guide on how to use the macOS terminal.