Do I really need Photoshop?

I am frequently asked things at work like, “Do you have any spare copies of Photoshop that I could have?” The usual answer to this is a “no” because getting this software is pretty expensive. New copies cost around 700USD and for a non profit, this is a pretty hefty cost.

I’ve recently started asking people what they plan to do with Photoshop and the usual answer is “I’ll be uploading images to the blog or Ill be working on a small project”.

These requirements though are pretty basic and probably use about 50 dollars of Photoshops true value. Usually these images have the same things done to them:

  • resize and crop
  • text overlay
  • some color correction

For tasks like these, there are other programs that do this, just as well as Photoshop, just without the huge pricetag.

I’m listing out a few programs that I have used over the years to do things like this and some that I have gotten recommendations for.


Cost: Free

I started using THE GIMP ( back when version 1.x was cool  on a Windows computer that barely had any computing power. My like for GIMP is mostly sentimental. It is a very fully featured program, but the learning curve is pretty steep and when there are errors, they can be a bit cryptic at times. That being said, GIMP is very good at what it does, editing pictures. The cost is great… free. So you get what you pay for.


Cost: 60USD

I haven’t used Pixelmator ( that much. Their offering is quite compelling as a Mac-only piece of software. This software is a very easy to use, stable, photo editing. There is a free trial of their software and they do bulk licensing as well. This would be what I would recommend for most people as it does the majority of small tasks very well.


Cost: 50USD

I haven’t used Acorn ( at all, but one of my friends recommended this. 

In conclusion, find what works for you based on feature set and go with that. Photoshop is the gold standard for everything so that will be what everyone wants. However, there are other options that can help bridge the gap until money can be saved to purchase the software.