The Ultimate Guide to the Best Photo Editing Tool for Beginners in 2024

By Bhargab
12 Min Read

Are you looking for The Best Photo Editing Tool for Beginners? In this blog post, I will provide an overview of the best photo editing tools for beginners by looking at criteria like ease of use, features, price, and more. I’ll review several top options across desktop and mobile, both free and paid. By the end, you’ll have a good idea of where to get started with photo editing as a beginner.

With the rise of social media and camera phones, more people than ever are taking photos and wanting to edit them. However, advanced photo editing software like Photoshop or GIMP can have a steep learning curve for beginners. The good news is there are now many easy-to-use photo editing apps and tools tailored specifically for beginners.

Criteria for the Best Photo Editing Tools for Beginners

When evaluating the best photo editing software for novices, there are a few key criteria to consider:

User-Friendliness – The tools need an intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface without complex menus or excessive features. Beginners will be overwhelmed by programs that are too advanced.

Key Features – At minimum, the editing tools should include cropping, auto-enhancement, filters, and basic adjustments like brightness, contrast, saturation, etc. Extra features like templates, frames, and text overlay are also nice bonuses.

Price – Preferably, apps for beginners should have free options or at least very affordable paid versions. Expensive subscriptions will deter those who just want to do casual editing.

Learning Resources – Built-in tutorials, tips, inspiration galleries, and overlays that demonstrate edits are very helpful for guiding beginners. Some amount of hand-holding is ideal.

Output Options – It should be easy to save edited photos to your camera roll or share directly to social media. Beginners want to see results and have edited photos at their fingertips.

Platform Availability – Since beginners may edit on both desktop and mobile, having an app available on multiple platforms is beneficial. But specialized mobile and desktop options also warranted inclusion.

With these criteria in mind, let’s look at the best user-friendly photo editing tools for beginners on both desktop and mobile.

Best Photo Editing Tool for Beginners for Desktop

  1. Adobe Photoshop Elements
Adobe Photoshop Elements
Best Photo Editing Tool for Beginners – Desktop

As the more approachable version of the advanced Photoshop software, Adobe Photoshop Elements is designed specifically for photography novices and hobbyists. The streamlined interface omits Photoshop’s more complex tools to avoid overwhelming beginners. It focuses instead on core editing needs like lighting adjustment, color correction, brush tools, filters, and automatic photo corrections.

Helpful learning resources in Elements include various guides, inspirational galleries, and video tutorials. One especially beginner-friendly feature is the prompt suggestions that pop up guiding users on possible edits as you mouse over different parts of a photo. There are also some templates for common projects like cards, collages, and calendars.

In terms of output, edited photos can be printed, saved to files, or shared on social media. Note that Elements is available by subscription for $99/year or one-time purchase starting at $99. So it represents an affordable paid option for beginners seeking polished results without the full complexity of Photoshop.

  1. GIMP
Best Photo Editing Tool for Beginners- GIMP
Best Photo Editing Tool for Beginners – Desktop

GIMP is a completely free, open-source photo editing app that works on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It offers an expansive set of advanced tools comparable to Photoshop but in an interface designed to be more user-friendly. Options are cleanly organized into menus like File, Edit, Colors, and so on. This structure helps newcomers navigate the breadth of features without too much confusion.

In terms of correction tools, GIMP has layers, selections, masks, filters and automatic fixes for common issues like red eye, color/brightness/contrast adjustment and more. It supports most file types and also has a very active user community producing plugins, scripts, brushes and helpful tutorials.

The main drawback with GIMP for complete beginners is the interface less intuitive than paid software. Learning to edit photos will involve some degree of YouTube watching. But GIMP remains an incredible free option for dabbling in photo editing on desktop.

  1. Photoscape X
Best Photo Editing Software for Beginners
Best Photo Editing Tool for Beginners – Desktop

A free download for Windows users, Photoscape X offers a clean, friendly interface for casual photo editing. The buttons and tools are neatly organized in vertical menus rather than the endless menus and windows found in complex software. Many of the core editing functions like cropping, filters, text, brush tools and color adjustments are available in the free version.

Photoscape X also stands out through fun features that lend themselves well to beginners. There are playful filters, clipart and animated stickers to decorate images. Drawing tools allow doodling directly on photos. And collage creation is very easy with the ability to choose from pre-designed layout templates.

Advanced users may find Photoscape X too limiting, but total newbies will enjoy tinkering with the intuitive array of options. It’s free, easy to learn and achieves fun results perfect for social media.

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Best Photo Editing Tool for Beginners for Mobile & Tablet

  1. Snapseed

Developed by Google, Snapseed is a free iOS and Android app with powerful editing capabilities tuned for beginners. The interface displays open images in the full screen view for easy swiping between edits. Options are cleanly divided into Categories like Tools, Lens, Structure and Tune Image. Simply tapping a category exposes slider adjustment options. This avoids a cluttered interface that could otherwise overwhelm novice users.

In the Tools category, the Healing tool allows easy removal of objects by tapping unwanted spots. The Brush tool makes localized adjustments like exposure, saturation and more. There’s also selective color adjustment and the unique Grunge filter that makes photos appear painted or sketched. Cropping, tuning and transformation tools round out the offerings. While not having as many fancy templates or extras as some apps, Snapseed provides everything needed for basic photo enhancements.

The app also makes sharing final images easy with save/export functionality. Overall, Snapseed hits the right balance of powerful correction tools and simple interface for mobile beginners.

  1. Adobe Photoshop Express

As another offering from Adobe, Photoshop Express delivers automated editing options and core adjustment tools in an easy cross-platform app. It’s free to download with optional premium features available as in-app purchases. Beginners will benefit from the large variety of one-touch Filters and Fixes that allow enhancing photos in a couple taps.

More precise editing control comes from Basic Adjustments like Exposure, Contrast, Highlights and White Balance. There’s also Cropping, Straightening, and Perspective fixes. The app adds plenty of decorative elements as well with Text, Borders, Collage templates and more. Conveniently, all edits and changes appear live in the preview window rather than requiring repeated tapbacks.

Finally, saving and sharing is made seamless with native connections to cloud storage services and social media accounts. Streamlined yet powerful, Photoshop Express hits a sweet spot for those wanting to elevate mobile photos without complication.

  1. Pixelmator

Exclusive to iOS/iPadOS devices, Pixelmator offers a full-featured photo editor tailored for mobile users. Both the interface design and tools are tuned for touchscreens rather than clunky desktop ports. The app also takes advantage of Machine Learning for impressive automatic enhancements with just a tap. For manual adjustments, the editing tools cover color correction, light & shadow recovery, repair, filters, text, shapes and more.

These tools are thoughtfully incorporated into the streamlined design. For example, the single-slider Auto Enhance tool provides a friendly starting point for beginners before diving into more advanced adjustments. Photo editing newbies can tap to improve brightness, contrast and saturation all at once. Pixelmator also utilizes the iOS ecosystem well by allowing photos exports to other apps for further embellishment.

Altogether, Pixelmator provides mobile users with desktop-grade photo editing in a design perfect for touchscreens and tailored to learners. The cost falls on the higher end at $7.99 but delivers plenty of value unlocked from the App Store.

Other Beginner Photo Editing Options

Here are a few other dependable options worth considering for starter photo editing:

  • Ribbet – Fun, template-based editor good for making cards, collages and adding stickers. Free on iOS/Android.
  • Fotor – Provides filters, frames, text and adjustment tools. Free on desktop/mobile.
  • Canva – More focused on design with templates, graphics and layouts to create visual content. Free on web/mobile.
  • BeFunky – Quickly edit, apply filters, overlay graphics and more. Free web version available.
  • PicMonkey – Web and mobile platforms to edit, layer graphics, textures and touch up photos. Free version available.


I hope this detailed overview gives you a solid starting point for finding an easy-to-use photo editing tools as a beginner. The good news is that improving basic photos no longer requires advanced skill or expensive software. Modern apps both desktop and mobile now offer intuitive interfaces, smart enhancement features, and automatic correction tools.

Remember that the best programs for novices feature straightforward design, helpful learning resources, and sharing capabilities. Paid options like Photoshop Elements provide impressive results for those willing to invest. But also don’t overlook capable free apps like Snapseed that can elevate phone photos with a few taps.

The most important tip is not to get overwhelmed early on. Photo editing should remain fun rather than frustrating. So feel empowered to experiment with these user-friendly beginner apps. Snap some shots with your phone or camera and then apply some new filters or adjustments. Share your enhanced creations with friends. Before you know it, you’ll have the confidence and skills of a seasoned graphic artist!

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