Whether you merely shoot with your smartphone or you’re a professional photographer working in a studio, photo editing software can help you bring out the best in your images.
Today’s smartphones are more powerful than the point-and-shoots of just a few years ago, and pro-level cameras have passed the 100-megapixel mark. you need software to organize, optimize, and edit your digital photos.
A photo editing program offers quick and easy access to essential tools for enhancing, retouching, and manipulating photos to your desired outcome.
Photo editing software is keeping up, with ever-more-powerful features. People who shoot with a three-camera iPhone 12 Pro or with an advanced digital SLR both care how their photos look.
The best photo editing software programs combine power and efficiency to provide users with the quickest path to editing perfection.
Loaded with all the tools a user could need, some programs can be very complex with a steep learning curve, while others are more straightforward and easier to master.
With more than three dozen photo editors available for download, finding the right software to suit your level of experience and editing needs can be daunting.
Here we present 29 Best Photo Editing Software’s to suit every photographer.
Photoshop is a magnificent tool, but many of its users could do everything they need to in Corel’s photo editing software, PaintShop Pro, without having to pay a monthly tribute to Adobe.
PaintShop Pro supports layers and lets you edit both raster and vector image formats—something you’d need two of Adobe’s Creative Cloud apps to do. You miss out on some of the Adobe flagship photo editor’s most advanced tools, however, including 3D modeling, detailed typography, and face liquefy.
PaintShop Pro’s Performance is faster than in earlier versions, but in some photo editing operations it lags Photoshop. Likewise, while PaintShop Pro’s interface has improved greatly over the years, it’s still not quite as polished and unified as Photoshop’s.
If you’re a Windows user who’s not committed to the Adobe ecosystem, PaintShop Pro is a worthy alternative, especially given its low cost.
- Photoshop-like features at a lower price
- Powerful effects and editing tools
- Extensive help and tutorials
- Good assortment of vector drawing tools
- Automatic noise removal
- Inconsistent interface
- No macOS version
- Some operations slow
Corel continues to add new photo editing possibilities to its PaintShop Pro software, making it a worthy Photoshop alternative on Windows for a budget-conscious, one-time price.
Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac
GIMP is another free photo-editing tool.
This open-source photo editor debuted on Unix-based platforms and now offers versions for Linux, Windows and Mac. GIMP, which stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program, offers a broad range of tools including painting tools, colour correction, cloning, selection, and enhancement.
The development team has worked hard to ensure compatibility, so you’ll be able to work with all the popular file formats without problems.
The software also boasts a very capable file manager built in, similar to Adobe’s Bridge.
Features of GIMP:
- Full suite of painting tools including Brush, Pencil, Airbrush, Clone, etc.
- Extremely powerful gradient editor and blend tool
- Supports custom brushes and patterns
- Tile based memory management so image size is limited only by available disk space
- Virtually unlimited number of images open at one time
- Full alpha channel support
- Layers and channels
- Multiple Undo/Redo (limited only by diskspace)
- Editable text layers
- Transformation tools including rotate, scale, shear and flip
- Selection tools including rectangle, rounded rectangle, ellipse, free, fuzzy
- Advanced scripting capabilities (Scheme, Python, Perl)
- Plug-ins which allow for the easy addition of new file formats and new effect filters
- Load and save animations in a convenient frame-as-layer format
- MNG support
- Onion Skin (in GAP, the GIMP Animation Package)
- File formats supported include bmp, gif, jpeg, mng, pcx, pdf, png, ps, psd, svg, tiff, tga, xpm, and many others
- GIMP provides all essential editing features and tools.
- Has a pretty small learning curve, it’s easy for beginners to get the hang of.
- Completely free of charge and open-source.
- You can use GIMP to create GIFs using many layers.
- Allows you to edit images of various formats.
- GIMP’s selection tool isn’t very precise.
- Has lower features than other paid software.
- Lack of customer support, since it’s an open-source software.
- Limitations on the number of layers that can be used.
- Cropping is also a bit difficult to use.
- Download time is slow, since its a large file.
Platforms: Windows, Mac
Photoshop started the digital image manipulation revolution more than 30 years ago, and Adobe’s groundbreaking application continues to be the best photo editing software money can buy (or rent, to be more precise).
If you need layered image editing, typography, 3D modeling, drawing, and a multitude of effects, you need Photoshop.
Designers and photographers alike find the most and the most advanced tools available for their crafts in this application.
Mind-blowing AI-powered neural filters, sky replacement, live shapes, more control over cloud-stored files, and pattern preview all appeared in the major update released at the company’s Max conference.
New capabilities include a Super Resolution raw enlargement tool, support for Apple Silicon-based Macs, and 70 new Camera Raw presets.
The list of top ten tools and features are proved as the best of Photoshop:
- Selection Tools
- Pen tool
- Vector Mask
- Slice Tool
- Retouching Tools
- Photoshop 3D
- Smart Objects
- Adobe Creative Cloud
- Many photo correction and manipulation tools
- Slick interface with lots of help
- Tools for mobile and web design
- Rich set of drawing and typography tools
- 3D design capability
- Synced Libraries and Cloud Documents
- No perpetual-license option
- Premium assets aren’t cheap
- Interface can be overwhelming at times
The last app on the list is less of a free picture editor, and more of a design tool.
Canva is a web-based software that requires registration, and also offers a paid version. However, the free version is more than enough if your main focus is to create digital designs.
There are endless templates to choose from, for anything from an Instagram post, to an animated presentation, or even company logos.
It has a simple drag-and-drop interface, and its templates are tailored to users with little to no graphic design knowledge.
There is also a large royalty-free image library, elements, and even sounds. Plus, you can upload your own if you wish. The mobile app gives you access to your designs on the go, so you can easily post them to social media as well.
However, if your goal is to improve on an existing image, the options are limited.
There are a few filters, color options, and an opacity slider, but not much more.
- Hundreds of great templates for graphic designs
- Easy drag-and-drop functionality
- Includes 5GB of free cloud storage
- Lacks detailed photo-editing tools
- Certain templates, stock images, and elements are only available with a subscription
5. DxO PhotoLab
Platforms: Windows, Mac
DxO PhotoLab is the replacement for the old DxO Optics Pro, adding local adjustment tools from DxO’s acquisition of the Nik Collection software to make it a more powerful all-round photo-editing solution.
You use the PhotoLibrary window to browse your image folders, create Projects and carry out basic filtering and housekeeping tasks, but PhotoLab’s real strength is its superb raw processing, amazingly effective DeepPRIME denoise tool (Elite edition only), excellent local image adjustments and highly effective (and automatic) lens corrections.
The image quality produced by PhotoLab is second to none. On the downside, you’ll need the more expensive Elite edition to get DxO’s DeepPRIME and ClearView Plus features, and if you want to apply perspective corrections (once built into Optics Pro) you’ll need the DxO ViewPoint add-on too.
DxO has also added PureRAW to its software suite – a raw batch processing tool that turns regular raw files into ‘Linear DNGs’. Other programs still treat these as raw files with all the tonal and color headroom you would expect, but they have DxO’s superior demosaicing, noise reduction and lens corrections pre-applied.
- Clear interface
- Best-in-class noise reduction
- Excellent autocorrection based on camera and lens characteristics
- Haze remover
- Geometry corrections
- Powerful local adjustments
- Few workflow tools
- Highest level of noise-reduction takes a long time
Though it’s still not a complete photo workflow solution, DxO PhotoLab can deliver image results beyond what’s possible in other photo software.
Platforms: Windows, iOS, Android, Cross Platform
If Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and Lightroom Classic are all overkill for you, but you still want to improve or enhance your pictures a bit, Adobe offers the free Photoshop Express.
This free photo editing app is available for mobile, web, and desktop platforms. Express features Adobe’s renowned imaging smarts, with a deep supply of tools for correcting and embellishing your photos.
Far from being the basic, stripped-down photo editor it was when it launched, Express has a lot of features, most of them aimed sharing online. The catch? You need to pay if you want to use many of its best features.
It’s worth noting that Photoshop Express is not Adobe’s only intro-level app for editing photos—far from it.
Most require a Creative Cloud subscription, however, including Photoshop Fix, Photoshop Mix, and the Lightroom mobile app. Another is Photoshop Camera, which, beyond just being a replacement for your phone’s default camera app, lets you apply some zany creative effects to spice up your Instagram feed.
None of those, however, offers Photoshop Express’s mix of basic adjustment and layer effects, and several require the more expensive subscription.
- Clear interface
- Lots of photo editing and embellishment features
- Good social meme tools
- Many features require a Creative Cloud subscription
- Weak retouching option
Adobes’ entry-level photo editing app is a freemium offering that lets you do some cool things with photos for free, but you’ll need to pay to access to its best features.
7. PhotoScape X
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Not everyone needs control of every single pixel in a picture. Sometimes, you might just want to make small adjustments or add a vignette effect.
PhotoScape X is the best free photo editing app for one-click touch-ups.
The interface is incredibly intuitive and comes with a huge variety of filters, making it suitable for beginners.
It also lets you quickly make collages, combine images, and even perform batch edits. If you’re unsure of how to use a feature, the website has video tutorials to take you through it, step by step. For more advanced users, there’s even RAW conversion.
Its power lies in its simplicity. Every tool is labeled and is self-explanatory.
You can play around with the different options to your hearts’ content, and always hit Undo or Undo All if you go too far.
- Viewer: Photo | Video | Audio Browser, Loupe View, Full Screen, Flag, Star Rating, Lossless Rotate, Share (Email,Twitter,Facebook), Metadata (Exif,IPTC,GPS) Viewer.
- Editor: 1,000+ Filters & Effects, Frames, Objects, Brushes & Tools, Rotate, Straighten, Flip, Resize, Crop, Circular Crop, Perspective Crop, Mask (Local Adjustments), Redo+, Project.
- Cut Out: Remove the background from an image. (Magic Eraser, Lasso tool, Brush tool)
- Batch: Batch edit multiple photos.
- Collage: Merge multiple photos on the collage frame to create one final photo.
- Combine: Attach multiple photos vertically or horizontally to create one final photo.
- GIF Creator: Create Animated GIF.
- Print: Print photos.
- Screen Capture: Capture your screenshot and save it.
- Color Picker: Zoom in on images, search and pick a color.
- Split: Slice a photo into several pieces.
- Many more…
- Provides a wide range of editing tools with one-click effects
- Comes with a series of filters
- Supports RAW files
- Might take time to get used to the layout
- Advanced options are only available with a Premium subscription
Platforms: Windows, Mac
InPixio Photo Studio is another option that offers a lot of bang for our buck.
It’s intuitive and easy to use, and performs extremely well for the price and system requirements.
This version adds new features including sky replacement (useful, if not always the most realistic it could be), and background blur in the Pro edition, plus improved UI and new photo montage content in both the Regular and Pro editions.
The ease of use makes this one of the most accessible full-featured photo editors for beginners, allowing quick modifications to be made in no time at all.
The AI background eraser and improved cutout tool are particularly useful for making very rapid cutouts. With the Pro version, you also get inPixio’s Photo Maximiser for enlarging and Photo Focus for sharpening, two job-specific tools that can be used separately.
Key Features of InPixio:
- Professional photo editing
- Removing unwanted objects & backgrounds
- Enhancing & restoring old pictures
- Repairing photos
- Retouching photos, removing red-eye and blemishes
- Rotating, cropping or resizing images
- Creating unique photo cards & personalised gifts
- Printing photos
- Sharing photos on popular social media/photo sharing websites
- Perfect for photography enthusiasts and beginners alike
Like ON1 Photo RAW 2021 (below), Exposure X6 is a relatively little-known program that deserves a lot more recognition than it gets.
It’s a subtle, powerful and efficient all-in-one photo editing and browsing tool that specializes in analog film effects and comes with a huge library of simple one-click preset effects.
It doesn’t offer image layers (only adjustment layers), so you can’t combine photos, but for many photographers that won’t matter. Exposure X6’s strengths are its neat, simpler interface, some beautiful effects and presets and straightforward and effective tools.
Like ON1 Photo RAW 2021, it also offers non-destructive adjustments and ‘virtual copies’ to try out lots of different looks for a single image without having to save additional files.
Exposure X6 brings an Auto Enhance feature, GPU accelerated processing, improved noise and highlight handling and a new color replacement tool.
- Advanced Color Editor
- 3D Color Masking
- Linear and Radial Gradient Tools
- Spot Heal Tool
- Creative focus tools
- Nondestructive Layers
- Brush Tool
- Grain tools
- Infrared tools
- Noise Reduction
- GPU Optimized
- Transform Tools
- White Balance Adjustment
- Tone Curve Editing
- Watermark photos when exporting or printing
- Lightroom Migration Tool
Platform: Windows, MacOS
From Phase One, the maker of top-end professional photography hardware like the remarkable 100-megapixel IQ3 100MP Trichromatic, comes Capture One Pro 20 photo editing software, which offers digital photo import tools, raw camera file conversion, image adjustment, local and layer editing, and some organizational features.
Yes, that’s a big version number bump from the previous version 12, but there are a decent number of improvements here.
The software supports tethered shooting with a live monitor view and focus tools for shooting directly from the app.
Capture One is a strong competitor to Editors’ Choice winners Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, DXO Optics Pro, and others in the pro photo workflow space thanks to updates to its interface, export plug-in capability, masking tools, and especially its fine raw file conversion.
Features of Phase One Capture One Pro:
- A friendlier UI that’s easier to learn
- The Basic Color Editor is surprisingly powerful
- Better noise reduction, cropping and HDR editing
- Improved camera support
- Support for pen / touch and 4K, even on Windows
- Interface improvements, including scrolling, button labels, changeable background color, updated white balance picker, and new keyboard shortcuts
- Improved HDR sliders, now with Black and White sliders for better contrast control
- Improved Crop tool with edge handles, aspect ratio locking, and (finally) Enter key finishing the crop
- Better DNG support and added camera model raw support, including for Canon 90D, Nikon Z50, Pentax K-1 II, Olympus E-M5 III, and Ricoh GR III
- Excellent raw file conversion.
- Pleasing, improved interface.
- Fast import.
- Good photo-adjustment toolset.
- Superior noise reduction.
- Keyword tagging tool.
- No online sharing features.
- Interface can get complex, especially with layers.
- No face recognition.
- No panorama or HDR merging capabilities.
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android
Fotor comes in mobile, web and desktop version, so there’s a suitable option available whether you’re at your desk or out and about.
The software features a full suite of tools that should cover the majority of immediate editing requirements.
A one-tap enhance button aims to offer an instant fix, which will be loved by some and hated by others.
More control is offered via tools for resizing, cropping, rotating and straightening images. There’s also a background remover and some handy retouching tools such as red-eye and wrinkle removal.
There’s even an HDR image creator and tilt-shift editor in case you’re looking to turn your photos into something more dramatic.
Key Features of Fotor:
- Basic Effects
- Basic Edit Adjustment
- Basic HDR Tech
- Exclusive 100+ photo effects
- 1000+ design templates dimensions
- Advanced Beauty features
- Basic Portrait Touch-Up
- 30+ stylized photo frames
- 300+ custom designed stickers
- Regularly Updated New Content
- Advanced HDR Tech
- 80+ exquisite collage templates
- Backgrounds and textures
- Classic Content
- I love the ease of use and the layout of the options. That’s the best part so many options to choose from.
- Easy to add graphics and text to your pictures. Ability to crop, shade, and edit the look of your photos.
- I like that this software supports JPG, PNG and PDF. I can share on social media and also I can set for public display if i want to.
- And in addition, the site often froze, causing us to lose work, and having to start again.
Many people view Photopea as a great replacement for Photoshop.
It offers a lot of the same features, such as an assortment of filters, layers, quick selection tools, and the ability to work on several pictures at the same time. It even lets you edit PSD files.
Since it’s web-based, you don’t have to download anything, and can open it on any computer.
It doesn’t even require you to sign up. However, since the tool is online, you may encounter glitches, especially when you have to make heavy edits.
Additionally, some features are a bit more tricky to perform in this app.
For example, if you want to make a background transparent, it’s a more involved process that doesn’t always generate the best results.
- Can open PSD files
- Lets you edit from any computer without installation
- Has a large number of editing features
- Performance can falter with heavy editing
- Some features don’t work well
13. Sumo Paint
Sumo Paint is another very capable browser-based image editor.
It boasts all of the standard features you’d expect in a desktop tool. in fact, the Pro version for $9 a month includes the option to download a desktop version if you prefer.
Tools include brushes, pencils, shapes, text, cloning and gradients, which can all be accessed quickly from a Photoshop-like floating toolbar.
Sumo Paint can open saved documents from your hard drive, making it a viable option for editing and re-editing, and its latest upgrade gives it a slick look.
There are significant limitations, though. The editor appears to be RGB only, limiting its use to work designed for screens. There are No CMYK, Lab or other colour models offered.
Key Features of Sumo Paint:
- Gradient fill
- Line tools
- Image filters & adjustments
- Brushes, brush effects & styles
Platform: Web, Android
PicMonkey is a complete graphic design package that allows you to edit photos, make collages, apply touch ups, crop and more.
It will help you develop your design skills and bring out your creativity to easily edit your images.
With a free trial, you can test out all of PicMonkey’s unique features before you make any purchases.
Try using PicMonkey to edit your photos using specific templates or arrange your images into a collage.
Like Canva, PicMonkey’s tools are designed to help you turn your stunning photos into works of graphic design marvel! While you can use PicMonkey to make basic photo adjustments including brightness and other touch ups, this program shines when used to add graphic elements.
Key Features of PicMonkey:
- Basic Filters
- Collage effects
- Blank canvas design
- Automatic sizing for social media
- Collaboration features
- PicMonkey was easy to learn and it is very user friendly.
- PicMonkey has a plethora of templates to choose from and keeps content fresh!
- There are always updates! My content never gets old as they are always adding new features.
- PicMonkey offers many “auto” options which makes the process fast and smooth, i.e. auto adjust, auto correct, etc.
- PicMonkey could be even better if it were more user friendly to work on multiple templates at a time.
- Tutorials and instructions/tips would be a great additional feature.
- At times, the website will freeze and you may lose your work.
Longtime Photoshop plug-in maker Exposure Software (formerly Alien Skin) now offers Exposure X4, a full photo workflow application in the tradition of Lightroom.
In fact, the program bears a striking resemblance to Lightroom. It’s notable for a raft of interesting presets, layer support, a blur tool, and overlays including borders and light leaks.
However, it lacks Lightroom’s auto-correct tools, chromatic aberration correction, and strong geometry tools. That said, it also lacks Lightroom’s subscription fees, which are anathema to many photo software users.
Features of Alien Skin Exposure:
Complete Photo Manager:
- Review and edit photo metadata
- Search and filter photos using text, metadata, ratings, or keywords
- Flexible watermark (text, images or text from metadata) capability when exporting images
- Support for many compact, DSLR, and mirrorless cameras
- Lens distortion correction for a variety of popular lenses
- Supports a variety of file types (RAW, TIFF, JPEG, DNG, PSD)
- Catalog-free workflow
- Copy from card
- Send a photo to an external editor and then bring back the results
- Flexible File Export
- Over 500 Presets, including a huge variety of film simulations, vintage looks, cinema looks, black and white, border overlays, and more!
- Selective Presets
- Audition Presets lets you compare up to four presets at once.
- Basic operations such as exposure, contrast, saturation, and other common adjustments
- Advanced Nondestructive Layers
- Brush Tool
- Linear and Radial Gradient Tools
- HSL Tools
- Spot Heal Tool
- Creative focus tools for adding bokeh and vignettes
- Overlay borders, textures, and light effects
- Grain tools
- Infrared tools
- Customizable User Interface
- Edit photos side-by-side
- Ability to view up to six images at once in side-by-side view
- Shortcut Keys
- Auto Updater
- Apply watermarks to prints
- Print a grid of images as a contact sheet
- Apple sharpening appropriate for particular paper selection
- Preview window and easy adjustment of print parameters
- Pleasing interface.
- Lots of nifty effects and filters.
- Fast image transfer.
- Layers and local adjustments.
- Good printing options.
- No auto-correction tools.
- Weak lens-profile corrections.
- No chromatic aberration correction.
- No face or geo-tagging.
Photo-workflow application Exposure is similar to Adobe’s Lightroom. It boasts lots of filter effects, but it’s missing some key capabilities, such as automatic image correction.
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android
Sometimes referred to as Adobe Photoshop “light,” there’s nothing a beginning photography enthusiast can’t do with Adobe Lightroom Classic. Lightroom offers guided walkthroughs for every module to accelerate users up the learning curve, allowing users to master its clean and easy workspace quickly.
That’s why we selected Lightroom as the best photo editing software for beginners.
Lightroom was launched in 2007 to complement Adobe Photoshop as an all-in-one photo editing platform with image cataloging and raw-processing capabilities. Where Photoshop excels with photo manipulation, Lightroom is a more than capable photo enhancement tool.
For $9.99 a month, the Starter plan includes access to its web-based Adobe Photoshop Lightroom that lets users easily edit, organize, store, and share full-resolution photos anywhere.
Or, you can pay the same $9.99 a month for the Photography plan, which adds Lightroom Classic and The Photography plan with 20 GB of storage. Or you could pay $20 a month for 1TB of storage. All plans include Adobe Spark, which allows users to create social media graphics, videos, and web pages.
Lightroom works magically with iPads, iPhones, and Android devices for automatic photo transfers with automatic syncing.
Once there, the program lets users organize their work and share it from anywhere. Content can be uploaded to social media with just a few clicks.
Photographers transitioning from beginner to more advanced can simply add Adobe Photoshop for a more complete editing platform.
- Intuitive user interface
- Guided walkthroughs with each module
- Mobile synchronization
- Extensive library of one-click preset edits
- Mobile apps for iPhone and Android phone
- Not as complete as Adobe Photoshop
- Initial raw conversion is slightly more detailed in some competing products
- Requires subscription
Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom remains the gold standard in pro photo workflow software.
It’s a complete package, with top-notch organization tools, state of-the-art adjustments, and all the output and printing options you could want.
Snappa is an online graphics and design software available online for photographers who want to transform their images into something more.
Maybe you’re looking to convert your pictures into social media banners, or photos for your blog.
Snappa will help you to transform your images by adding new dimensions and effects with ease. And, you don’t even have to download anything to get started.
Plus, Snappa promises “no learning curve,” so this program is perfect for beginner photo editors and designers.
The easily-accessible upper horizontal toolbar contains all the major tools you’ll need to transform your image, including effects, text and graphics. Simply select a tool and set your customizations in the sidebar panel that opens.
Key Features of Snappa:
- Drag and drop photo editing
- Image dimension templates
- Available high-resolution stock photos
- Add graphics and texts in seconds
- Share graphics on social media
Platform: Windows, iOS, Android
Nik Collection 4 is the latest version of the celebrated Nik suite, and consists of eight separate plug-ins which can also be used as standalone programs.
Analog Efex Pro is brilliant at analog/darkroom effects, while Color Efex Pro is a hugely powerful suite of filters for individual use or combined into ‘recipes’.
Silver Efex Pro remains the best digital black and white plug-in ever and is updated in this version with a fresh, modern interface, a new ClearView option and more powerful selective control points.
Viveza gets the same treatment and is elevated from a relatively simple local adjustment tool into a much more powerful plug-in.
HDR Efex Pro is pretty handy as an HDR merging/effects tool, and while Sharpener Pro and Dfine feel pretty dated now, they can still be useful for output sharpening and noise reduction respectively.
And then there’s Perspective Efex, DxO’s most recent addition, which offers powerful lens and perspective corrections, tilt-shift effects and advanced wide-angle distortion correction.
You can use the Nik Collection 4 plug-ins with Photoshop, Lightroom and from within DxO PhotoLab – or use them as external editors with other programs like Capture One.
- Includes color, black-and-white, HDR, and sharpening tools
- Silver Efex is fantastic
- Perspective Efex includes miniature effect filter
- Integrates with Adobe and Capture One workflow
- Supports latest operating systems and displays
- Underwhelming nondestructive workflow support
- Film looks are available in competing software
Platform: MacOS, iOS
Pixelmator uses Mac OS X libraries for fast, powerful image editing.
It allows seamless integration with iPhoto and Aperture, as well as iCloud. There are also built-in export tools for Facebook and Flickr.
Colour correction tools include Hue/Saturation, Shadows/Highlights and Contrast and Pixelmator supports filters.
it comes with 150 to experiment with. You can also open and save images in many popular formats, including PSD, TIFF, PDF and PNG.
Layers are preserved in Photoshop documents, which lets you collaborate with colleagues who use Adobe’s software. A recent update also adds compatibility with Apple’s M1-powered machines.
Key Features of Pixelmator:
- Layer Styles
- Dynamic Paint Blending
- Repair Tool
- Drawing Tools
- Quick Selection Tool
- Text Tools
- Color Presets
- Preset Aspect Ratios
- Color Adjustments
- Content-Aware Fill
- Arrange Tool
- Template Gallery
Platforms: Windows, Linux, MacOS, FreeBSD
Inkscape is another 100% free piece of editing software perfect for budding photographers.
You can download it on Windows or Mac, or you can access the source code if you want to put it into your own app.
Like Photoshop, Inkscape is designed to give you complete control over your images, whether you want to clone objects, manipulate the colors in your images or overlay text.
Key Features of Inkscape:
- Color picker
- Multiple text formats
- Copy-paste object cloning
- Calligraphy tools
- Available extensions and add-ons
- 2D Drawing
- Data Import/Export
- Image Editing
21. Affinity Photo
Platform: Windows, MacOS, iOS
We complain that there’s too much Photoshop doesn’t do, but the fact is for many photographers this kind of old-school image-editor is exactly what they need.
And Affinity Photo gives you exactly the same thing, but subscription-free, via a single extra-low payment. Affinity Photo is sold at a budget price point, but it has the tools and the features and the power to compete with Photoshop head-on.
Serif has focused particularly heavily on the retouching market, with cloning, healing and retouching tools, an Inpainting tool for automatic object removal and a dedicated Liquify persona (workspace) for localized image distortion effects.
Affinity Photo is an extremely powerful photo editor with more tools and features than there’s space to list here, from focus stacking and HDR tonemapping to high-end frequency separation – and version 1.8 is a free update for existing users that brings another raft of improvements.
Features of Affinity Photo:
- Raw Editing
- HDR Merge
- Panorama Stitching
- Focus Stacking
- Batch Processing
- PSD Editing
- 360 Image Editing
- Unlimited Layers
- Smart Object Support
- Digital Painting
Performance and power:
The raw power under the hood of Affinity Photo will leave you amazed at how quickly you can work.
Watch your edits render in real time and dive into the huge toolset, tailored to the demands of a professional workflow.
- Live, real time editing
- Massive image support (100+ Megapixels)
- Super smooth pan and zoom at 60fps
- Open and edit PSD and PSB files
- PSD smart object import
- Support for the most complex vector docs
- Studio presets for the UI layout and other timesaving tools
Platforms: Windows, MacOS
For many reasons, Luminar has quickly grown to become one of the the most popular editing tools for professional photographers around the world.
For one, you pay a one-time flat fee for the program rather than a monthly subscription like Adobe. And, Luminar offers a ton of built-in tools and accessories!
Luminar is a one-stop shop for photo editing that can be used by itself or as a plugin in with Lightroom, Photoshop and even Apple Photos.
Luminar Key Features:
Luminar has gained popularity for its AI slider, which applies automatic quick fixes to your photos including brightening, clarifying, toning and other basic adjustments.
It also comes with a host of built-in tools to make your photo editing easier and faster. These Skylum Luminar features include:
- AI Editor
- Exclusive filters like Sunrays filter (which lets you add realistic looking sun rays to your images) and Orton filter (made famous by the Lord of the Rings and blurs parts of the image while focusing in on others)
- Adjustment Layers
- Image Layers
- Dedicated presets for DJI drone photos
Skylum Luminar Extras:
What we love most about Skylum Luminar is its expandable gallery of Luminar Looks.
These Looks are sets of editing solutions, much like Lightroom’s presets. But, Luminar Looks are even easier to use, and there’s more of them!
Skylum’s extensive Luminar Looks collection makes achieving specific, stylized photos even easier than ever.
And, while Skylum comes pre-packaged with its own set of high-quality Looks, you can also find them for free all over the internet.
Some of them are made by freelance photographers, but others are made by popular, professional photographers to help you achieve the looks you’ve loved in their work.
Once you apply a Luminar Look to your image, you can tweak the edit’s intensity and fine-tune it to fit your photo.
You can also build and save your own Luminar Looks, which saves you editing time in the long-run.
Platform: Windows, MacOS
PortraitPro is a professional image editor designed for photographers who specialize in portrait photography.
The application includes everything you might need to edit skin tone, remove blemishes or wrinkles from your subject’s face, add makeup and more.
Also, it allows you to add effects to fix things like poor lighting or get rid of sagging cheeks.
New, built-in interactive tutorials make this program super easy to use, especially if you already know how you want your finished photo to look.
PortraitPro saves your progress as you work through these tutorials, so you always know how your photo editing skills are improving!
Key Features of PortraitPro:
- Advanced layering options
- Skin smoothing with ClearSkin 5 technology
- Wrinkle Remover
- Makeup tools
- Award-winning editing using sliders
- 3D relighting
- Expression sliders to enhance smiles, frowns and more
24. ON1 Photo RAW
Platform: Windows, MacOS
ON1 Photo RAW is perhaps the single most complete solution of all the programs here, and the 2021 version brings new color selection and replacement tools, a new Spot Healing Brush and new portrait and landscape enhancement tools.
There’s also an optional ON1 subscription service for Adobe style image sharing and synchronizing with mobile devices. ON1 Photo RAW 2021 has a built-in hybrid browsing and cataloguing module that gives you fuss-free exploring of your image folders but more powerful search tools if you need them.
It has an Edit module with Develop, Effects, Portrait and Local (adjustment) panels, and the Effects module alone has a vast array of filters that can be adjusted, masked and combined in an infinite array of permutations.
It pulls off a particularly amazing trick, incorporating layers, masking and compositing tools into its fully non-destructive workflow.
ON1 Photo RAW might not be as well-known as some rivals, but it’s worth any keen photographer taking a look, especially with its fresh, crisp and modern new interface.
Key Features of ON1 Photo RAW:
- Organizing: Everything photographers need to import, cull, and organize their photo libraries.
- Raw Processing: With the ultimate image clarity, beautiful color, and maintain the finest details.
- Combine Photos: With the perfect compositing and masking tools with built-in filters.
- AI-Powered Features and Integrations: For color and tone to editing portraits and reducing noise.
- Powerful Effects: The best collection of photo effects, filters, LUTs, and presets.
- Resizing, Printing, Sharing: Show the highest quality photos.
- Cloud Sync and Mobile: Capture, edit, organize, and sync your photos across all of your devices and computers.
- Lots of high-quality filters
- Supports layers
- Face-tuning tools
- Lens profile adjustments
- Interface not as slick as some competitors’
- Some operations run slowly
- No face- or geo-tagging
- Limited online sharing in Windows app
ON1 Photo RAW is brimming with editing tools and offers a great selection of high-quality filter effects, but its interface is dense, and the program is short on organization and output options.
Platform: Windows, MacOS
Photoshop Elements is a more basic alternative to Photoshop CC.
Its handy Quick and Guided Edit modes make it great for beginners, but that doesn’t mean it lacks power.
The 2021 version includes Auto Creations, a collage tool that scans and groups photos automatically or via the tagging and sorting tool Adobe Sensei.
It also comes with a range of performance enhancements and upgrades – see our Photoshop Elements 2019 review for more about the software. One plus over Photoshop CC is that Elements doesn’t require a subscription.
- Many powerful image-manipulation tools
- Strong face- and geo-tagging capabilities
- Excellent image output options
- Powerful search
- Helpful guidance for advanced techniques
- No chromatic aberration correction or lens geometry profiles
- Too few social sharing options
- No local help system
Adobe Photoshop Elements is an excellent option for photo hobbyists who don’t want to pay a subscription or learn complex Photoshop techniques.
Platforms: Windows, Android, iOS
CyberLink’s PhotoDirector started life as a workflow alternative to Adobe Lightroom.
It has since taken on features of Photoshop and added hand-holding help features like those in Photoshop Elements to become an all-in-one photo editing application for image-making enthusiasts. CyberLink continually adds new tools, such as adjustment layers, masks, painterly AI filters, text kerning, and guided edits.
The latest version (12) keeps the software in step with Photoshop by adding AI sky replacement, people masking, GIF animation, and other new effects. You also get Shutterstock content if you buy PhotoDirector via subscription both one-time purchase and subscription options are available.
Despite what some might see as feature-creep, the program remains impressive in both its usability and breadth of capabilities.
While PhotoDirector does indeed give Adobe a run for its money in terms of photo workflow and image editing, it lacks some powerful features found in Lightroom and Photoshop, such as raw camera file Profiles and geotagged maps.
Still, it goes beyond Lightroom with drawing tools, face-beautification tools, and blur effects, and unlike Photoshop, it includes nondestructive workflow and collection organization.
Advanced features include face tagging, content-aware object removal. There’s even a body-slimming tool—a feature of undeniable (if troubling) appeal.
- Friendly yet powerful interface
- Many advanced effects
- Body shaper and other impressive editing tools
- Layer support
- Painterly AI styles
- Tethered shooting
- Doesn’t support raw format from new mirrorless camera models
- No geotag maps
- Interface doesn’t follow Windows standards
- Inadequate chromatic aberration corrections
- Not enough lens profiles
Photo workflow and editing program CyberLink PhotoDirector offers a smooth interface and powerful tools.
New in this version are a sky replacement tool, GIF animations, stock photos, glitch effects, people selection, and more.
Platforms: Windows, MacOS
No other editing software can match Adobe Photoshop CC for its power, sophistication, and massive array of tools and add-ons. Adobe Photoshop CC is unmatched for its fast and powerful editing applications, offering full-featured functionality only a pro could appreciate, making it our choice as the best photo-editing software for professionals.
Adobe Inc. has been a leading graphics software maker since 1988, and Photoshop has been its hallmark editing platform since 1990. It has been among the top photo editing platforms ever since, and with its constant improvements and updates, Adobe aims to keep it there.
Photoshop offers three downloadable, subscription-based packages starting at $9.99 per month for its Photography Plan.
In addition to the Photoshop platform, the plan includes Adobe Lightroom (see our choice for best photo editing software for beginners) with 20 GB of cloud storage. For $20.99 a month, the Photoshop plan offers powerful imaging and design apps with 100 GB of storage.
For professional photographers who want to do it all, the $53 per month All Apps plan offers everything in the Photography plan plus 20 Creative Cloud and mobile apps, such as Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Premiere Pro, with 100 GB of storage.
Photoshop is a Mac and PC compatible desktop solution that can also run on iPad. A mobile app is also available with limited functionality. Designing graphics and posting them to social media is a snap.
Users can use add-on apps, such as Adobe Social and Adobe Experience, to manage their social media content.
Photoshop is not recommended for beginners or casual photographers due to its complexity and cost.
Also, Photoshop is not known for its capacity to organize your work, but if you run it in concert with Lightroom, it does have that capability.
- Powerful and fast
- Masking and selection tools are best in class
- Sleek and easy-to-use interface
- Compatible with many other photo editors
- Mobile apps for iPad, iPhone, and Android phones
- Too complex for beginners and casual photographers
- Subscription pricing is on the high end
Platforms: Windows, Mac, iOS
Like Adobe, ACDSee has been around since the early days of digital photography.
Despite its comparative lack of name recognition, ACDSee’s photo workflow and editing package, ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate, has long had partisans who prefer it to Lightroom.
ACDSee continues to develop its software, and it now includes Photoshop-like layer editing capabilities. Some of the program’s tools, such as its Light EQ adjusters, are particularly good.
It’s also one of the faster photo workflow apps, but it still falls short of its top competitors in initial raw camera file conversion quality, effectiveness of corrections, and interface usability.
- Performance: Fast launching, mode-switching, working with keywords & categories, RAW decoding, and database maintenance, ACDSee let’s you focus on the task in hand.
- Batch Rename: A dynamic and efficient process for renaming multiple files. The options are almost endless.
- Batch Resize: Resize multiple images to any dimension, following pixels or percentages, along either edge, or as a print size.
- Presets & History Pane: A dedicated Develop Mode pane to enhance your editing process. Create and categorize a library of presets or take snapshots and view your full edit history.
- Watermark Tool: Add watermarks with more accuracy – particularly beneficial for applying watermarks to a batch of images.
- Crop Tool: Relative positioning functionality allows you to crop multiple images in seconds.
- Quick Search: Toggle options for Quick Search makes finding images in large databases much faster.
- ACDSee Mobile Sync: Wirelessly and instantly send photos and videos directly to ACDSee Photo Studio from your mobile device by scanning the QR code on your monitor! The app is available on iPhone and Android.
- Facial Recognition & Face Detection: The Face Detection & Facial Recognition tool will find the humans in your photographs so you can name them for quick searching. ACDSee will immediately learn which names to put to which faces, and suggest possible matches when needed.
- Duplicate Finder: Find duplicates across a variety of folders and locations. Rename or delete detected duplicates to keep your file collection under control.
- Multiple Image Baskets: Create up to five image baskets to gather and hold images and media files from all over your hard drive. Name individual image baskets and use them to easily view, edit, or share their content.
- Cloud Access: Get files from the team over Dropbox ™ or OneDrive ™ or back up existing work with direct access to cloud sync root drives within Manage mode.
- Actions: Create an Action by recording your editing process, categorize and manage your Actions, and batch apply any of 125+ pre-loaded Actions to multiple images at once.
- Import & Export Actions: Share your Actions with other users by exporting them as convenient, compressed packages, or receive Actions made by friends, enjoying the limitless creative potential of recorded Actions.
- Full set of image editing tools.
- Good performance.
- Lens-profile-based geometry correction.
- Face recognition and geotagging.
- Good skin-improvement tools.
- Responsive performance.
- Cloud storage integration.
- Dizzyingly overcrowded interface.
- Face recognition isn’t well surfaced.
- Lens-profile-based image correction tools less effective than the competition.
- Weak noise and chromatic aberration tools.
Just like Photopea, Pixlr E is an online and desktop-based photo editor that has an interface reminiscent of Photoshop.
That said, it’s much easier to use if you’re already familiar with Photoshop.
Similar to Photopea, it offers levels and exposure adjustments, as well as layers and masks. However, it has several features that make it even more extensive.
For one, you can open pictures directly from a URL. It also has a library of royalty-free images and recommended templates if you’re creating a design.
However, some tools are only available in the Premium version, and you can only work on one picture at a time.
- Offers templates and free images for graphic designs
- Opens files from multiple locations
- Provides extensive image editing features
- No need to install
- Has ads
- Some features require a Premium subscription
- Can only work on one image at a time
That’s pretty much it! So, there are Best Photo Editing Software You Can Use.
If you have any other favorite Photo Editing Softwares, then don’t forget to share them with us in the comment below. Also, if you liked this article, Share on your favorite Social media platform.