Photoshop Out of Your Budget? Photopea Can Help You Edit Your Images for Free

Russell Lahodny

When it comes down to it, you probably think I am cheap.

Through all of these articles I’ve written for Insider, the common theme is that I write about things that are free or close to it. I don’t actually do it for the sake of being cheap, though. I do it for the sake of you, the reader.

I’ve been in your shoes. I know that you have problems to solve, but you don’t always have the budget to throw money at the situation. So I have made it my mission to help you solve your problems with solutions that won’t break your bank. With that, I have come across another software that I think will help you avoid paying for photo editing software when the reality is you likely need it only for a simple project.

Allow me to introduce you to Photopea.

What Is Photopea?

To use its words, Photopea is an advanced image editor. Yes, think Adobe Photoshop or GIMP. The nice part about Photopea is it works and looks like Photoshop, but has the price tag of GIMP. I’ll be honest, I’ve tried using GIMP, but could never really understand the user interface. For someone who actually uses Photoshop on a regular basis, Photopea has a very familiar feel to it.

According to its website, Photopea needed some key features in order to be an advanced image editor. So it incorporated features like layers, layer masks, blend modes, brushes, selections, and procedural adjustments, like brightness, hue, saturation and more. Additionally, it wanted to be able to speak the same language as other photo editors, so it made it work with other file formats like PSD, XCF, Sketch, XD and CDR. The editor also works with your standard file formats like JPG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, SVG and DNG.

From a photographer’s standpoint, I have yet to get Photopea to open my Canon’s native raw file format, but the simple fix for that is to convert it to a DNG with Adobe’s free DNG converter.

Access Photopea Anywhere

Adobe’s Creative Cloud solution does provide you the ability to use Photoshop on different computers, but ultimately, you still are required to download the software to your computer. Not with Photopea!

You read that right. Photopea is a web-based solution. You simply go to and the application appears right in your browser window. Your menu bar and tools are at the top of the screen ready for you to get started. All you have to do is click on the File menu and select “New” or “Open.”

Once you have your file open you can make any of the standard “Photoshop” corrections. If you want to apply a filter, say a Gaussian blur to soften the photo—done. Want to select a part of the image? Use the lasso, the polygonal lasso, the magnetic lasso, or the Magic Wand to autoselect an area.

You might be wondering how Photopea makes money? Well, like most other free software or apps, it sells advertising that appears at the far right of the screen. You really have to look for the ads to notice them, but they are there. You also can purchase a Premium account, but it is not at all necessary.

So there you have it—another tool to help you edit your images with all the ease of Photoshop, but without the price tag. If you ask me which software is best, Adobe wins, hands down. If you ask me what I thought about Photopea, I’d say I would use it every day if I didn’t have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription.


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Russell Lahodny is vice president of W.A.C.E. and vice president of local chamber relations at the California Chamber.