Best free app for efficient stock photography editing and keywording on a MacBook​

Published by Markus on

Markus Raab taking photo with his Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II banner cropped

Best free app for efficient stock photography editing and keywording on a MacBook

Everyone knows about the big players – no matter if you are a Windows or a MacOS user. Photoshop and Lightroom. They used to be extremely expensive and actually not really affordable for an ordinary person. Most of the people who used Photoshop back then used to have a cracked version. 

Nowadays it is not necessary to acquire such a professional software for the very big bucks as it is possible to use (quite affordable) subscription models. 

However, I still suggest beginners to rather spend money on the next equipment or just something totally different in life. Spending money most often means researching beforehand. 

Is it the right software? Will it serve my needs or is it way too complicated for me and has a steep learning curve? Whatever it is, as soon as you spend money you are probably interested in answering many questions beforehand.

Shouldn’t you actually spend your time by shooting photos, editing, keywording, learning about stock photo trends and regulations? 

The following tools worked quite well for me and my personal workflow. Even though you can always maximize your workflow, often it is just better to start. 


GIMP is a free and open-source graphics editor used for image retouching and editing, free-form drawing, converting between different image formats, and more specialized tasks. There is no need to invest in Photoshop if you can start right away with Gimp. The learning curve to fully understand what you can do is very steep no matter which graphic program you look at. However, with a few tutorials, you are good to go to edit your first photos successfully. 

Gimp screenshot


I remember how I struggled with the more professional software (Gimp / Photoshop). As a beginner you might only want to edit the contrast here and there, get some more highlights and saturation, or find the right crop for your photo. If you want to start very efficient without going over some Tutorial I can highly recommend Fotor Photo Editor. There is a free and a pro version (subscription model) but for the start the free version is sufficient. If you want to go deeper you know it is time to switch over to Gimp or throw in cash and consider Photoshop.

Fotor Photo Editor

Adobe Bridge

Adobe Bridge is a free digital asset management app that helps to manage your photos. Think of it as a light and manage-only version of Adobe Lightroom.

Adobe Bridge screenshot


Xpiks is an amazing open source software for keywording and bulk uploading to several stock photography platforms. There are stock photographers who stick to one single stock platform, however, if you are among those who like to contribute to several platforms this is the way to go. Upload your files including all your keywords and description with one click to all your stock photo platforms. 

Xpiks screenshots

Overall there is a lot of good free software out there that will do it for the start. I know if one wants to switch later it needs perhaps some re-structuring and re-learning. However, this point will not come to soon and till then you will know more about your personal workflow to see which software suits you best.

Categories: stock


Markus is a passionate photographer, WordPress web developer, Atlassian Confluence & Service Desk enthusiast, and a self-motivated lifelong learner. After different professional studies and some years on the corporate career path, he decided to try an entirely different approach and completely turned his life upside down. Pausing his career, going off the beaten path in life and on backpacking travels and discovering his true self.


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