Ah. The age-old debate of whether to empty your pockets for Photoshop, or save your money and settle for GIMP. As humans, it is our natural instinct to find the best option for the lowest price; but outside of price, we also recommend reviewing ease of use, mobility, performance, and functionality before you start your subscription.


Over the years, Photoshop has retailed upwards of $700 for the whole program, to a $10/month subscription package. This is a pretty big leap for Adobe to hop on the subscription trend of digital services and at a competitive price at that. Although Adobe has been making strides to keep costs at a minimum, GIMP is free… and you can’t beat free.

Ease of Use

Photo editing in Photoshop

When it comes to simplicity, GIMP is a much easier program to use than Photoshop. Due to a lack of tools and options, GIMP is much easier to navigate for a less advanced user. Also, GIMP is an open source program so it has a very customizable user interface. 

Photoshop, on the other hand, has such a vast set of tools that many of its users don’t find a need for them. Also, Photoshop isn’t an open source program making it a fixed and not customizable interface. Although GIMP may be easier to use for beginners, if you already work with Adobe products then Photoshop would be significantly more intuitive than GIMP because most Adobe products operate relatively similar to one another.

On the Go

Both programs have great options for travelling, but it all depends on whether you prefer to work on your smartphone or your laptop. Photoshop Express is a free app available on IOS and Android that is great for photo editing on the go. 

GIMP may not have a handy app, but since it is such a small program, it can easily be downloaded to a thumbdrive and transferred to any computer very quickly. It may not be as handy as using a smartphone, but even if you don’t have your desktop, you can still have the software available to you at all times.


Photo editing in Photoshop

When it comes to performance, Photoshop is an industry standard for photo editing because it performs at such an exceptional level. It’s fast, extensive, and a very powerful program for all aspects of photo editing.

GIMP also performs at a high level but it isn’t as extensive as Photoshop. Although it does have all of the essential tools that are necessary for basic photo editing, it doesn’t have the refined tools that Photoshop offers. But GIMP does have multicolored brushes, which is an area that Photoshop lacks in. Overall, both programs perform at a very high level in their respective fields. 


Although these programs perform at the heist levels, they differ immensely in functionality. One major difference between the two is that GIMP doesn’t offer CMYK colors. This is definitely something to consider if you rely on printing your graphics. Not only is there no CMYK, but the program is also destructive, meaning it doesn’t make a duplicate of your original photo for you to edit. 

On the other hand, Photoshop has much more frequent updates and is adaptable to ample file types, without the need for a third party program. Photoshop can also handle RAW images which is something GIMP isn’t capable of doing. 

With all this being said, Photoshop isn’t as perfect as it’s said to be. Batch processing speed is one area Photoshop falls short in comparison to GIMP. There is a significant difference when comparing the speeds of the two and GIMP is faster by a landslide. 


GIMP is great for those who are just starting to edit photos and need the basic tools for cheap. Photoshop is for those who aren’t worried about spending $10/month because they edit photos daily and need all of the refined tools that come with Photoshop. It’s up to you to figure out which program fits best for you at this time in your life.

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