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GIMP: BEST Free Alternative To Photoshop

GIMP Image Manipulation

Adobe Photoshop is undeniably the number one choice of professional photographers and image and design professionals when it comes to editing photos. It’s a given that Photoshop will be the program they’re using.

But while Photoshop is the top choice of professionals, it comes at a hefty price tag which leads many non-professional photographers to ask if they really NEED to use it.

While the answer to that question can really only be answered by each person individually, there is a serious alternative to Photoshop that should be concerned. GIMP, despite it’s funny sounding name (which stands for the GNU Image Manipulation Program), is a powerful, full featured, open source photo editing program that can do a lot of what Photoshop can do.

If you’re not familiar with Open Source software, it’s fantastic stuff. Basically it comes from very talented people who donate their time and skills to create software alternatives that are available free of charge. GIMP is a great example of excellent Open Source software that delivers top notch performance.

Similar to Photoshop, GIMP has a customizable interface so that the user can set it up the way he or she chooses. GIMP modules can be organized, arranged, opened or closed, to accommodate the users workflow and their individual needs.

GIMP allows for a lot of automatic photo enhancements too. Often a click of a button can yield great results. Tools like the Clone Tool and the Healing Tool allow for advanced editing, similar to what you’ll find in Photoshop.
Files can be saved in a full range of formats including TIFF, JPEG, PNG, PSD, and GIF. Files can also be saved in formats like zip to optimize hard drive space.

GIMP can be run on a range of platforms including Windows, Mac, and Linux.
If you haven’t tried GIMP, and you’re debating about whether or not you need to purchase Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, give GIMP a try. It’s a free download, so you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.

The GIMP community is big and very supportive. The software works great, and you may decide you don’t need to spend the money on Photoshop after all!

Matt Ballard is a professional photographer and author of the popular photography blog, Art of the Image at
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