GIMP or Photoshop – Which One to Pick for Image manipulation?

Avatar for Stevan Vlaski

In the early 2000s, my dad bought me a small Konica Minolta digital camera. At the time, owning a digital camera was a big thing, so I took some random photos outside, and I immediately came home to plug the camera into my computer. I clicked on an unfamiliar blue icon with the acronym Ps on it. Shortly I discovered that I could manipulate my photos with tons of effects and filters. Twenty years later, this program became a part of my daily life.

They say that Adobe is a graphic designer’s best friend, offering many digital and print media art tools. Programs such as Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere, and Adobe XD are the industry standards when it comes to generating content both for professionals and amateurs. But all these fantastic tools come with a hefty price of around 50€ per month.

Recently I decided to try out cheaper or free alternatives. For graphic design, I successfully replaced Illustrator with Vectornator. For content production, I switched from Adobe XD to Canva, and this month, I’ve been testing GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) to try and replace Photoshop.

I compared them based on four categories: features, UI, Compatibility, and pricing. Here is the verdict:


Both have many similar features, such as the Rectangular & Elliptical Selection Tools, The Lasso Tool, and the Magic Wand. However, while GIMP is great for quick photo editing, Photoshop takes editing to another level. Especially with the recent AI update. With one click, I can change the sky, facial expressions, lighting, and much more. So Photoshop wins this category.


Both have a similar layout, but again, Photoshop retakes the win. Photoshops tools are well organized, maybe it’s a force of habit, but I struggled to find the right tool I need while using GIMP.

gimp vs photoshop


It depends on one’s preference, so this category is a tie. If you work remotely like me and own more than one device, Photoshop offers mobile apps. Their creative cloud is helpful to save and edit photos from anywhere. However, GIMP effortlessly works on Linux, OS X, and Windows.


I have to give this one to GIMP. It’s free, you can change its source code and distribute your changes. In contrast, Photoshop’s basic plan with 100GB of storage costs 20€ per month. It’s cheaper if you combine more Adobe apps, though.

Overall, GIMP covers the bases well, it’s great for begginers and it’s free, but given its long years of development and deep resources, Photoshop wins 🏆. For professionals who make their living out of image manipulation, it’s worth spending extra on a tool that is reliable, user-friendly, and accurate.

Avatar for Stevan Vlaski

Digital Marketer & Brand Identity Developer for Icecat based in North Macedonia.

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