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14 Best Photo Editing Software for Photographers [ Mac and Windows Users ]

The demand for high-quality images is rising, whether for lifestyle, commercial, food, fashion, or other types of photography. Along with professional photography equipment, one needs high-quality photo editing software to produce such outstanding visuals.

However, choosing a photo editing software depends on various factors such as the purpose of use, features, expertise level of the editor, budget, and many other parameters.

This guide is designed to give you a detailed insight regarding some of the best photo editing software for photographers that you may find useful for editing your photographs.

So, without further ado, let’s get straight into our discussion.

What is the Purpose of Photo Editing Software?

Digital images don’t come out exactly the way you imagined while taking the image. They often have some issues with light, color, sharpness, etc., making the images look bland and unappealing. We need to use photo editing software to enhance the appeal of the photos and fix the errors.

Let’s look at the most popular photo-editing techniques that require photo-editing software.

Adjust Exposure:

The exposure of an image refers to the overall brightness and darkness of an image. Often, the details in a raw image don’t show up because of being too bright (overexposed) or too dark (underexposed). To balance the exposure, there are two tools in a photo editor which are-

Highlight: It deals with the brightness of the image. If the image is overexposed, then the highlights can be decreased to make the balance and vice versa.

Shadow: It deals with the darkness of the image. It can be adjusted to increase or reduce the number of shadows to make it appear eye soothing.

White Balance:

The intensity of light has an impact on how colors appear in photographs, such as natural light from a cloudy sky or gloomy weather creating a blue tone, natural daylight and artificial incandescent light providing both yellow and orange tones, and fluorescent light giving a green tone to an image.

The color temperature typically ranges from cool tones to warm tones, where cool tones appear bluish and warm tones appear orangish. So, the white balance is adjusted to fix the color temperature so that the image doesn’t appear unnatural.

Balance Contrast:

Contrast is the difference between the light and dark pixels of an image. The adjusting of contrast impacts the color, texture, light, tones, sharpness, and other elements of an image. Although changing the contrast might seem like just one feature, it causes many changes.

To understand how contrast affects various elements of an image, you must be familiar with the various contrast categories. So let’s learn about the categories.

High contrast: High contrast images don’t have any medium tones; rather, the tones will be at their most extreme, with the whites being the brightest and the blacks being the darkest. Besides, the images will appear sharp and vivid, highlighting all the prominent details of the subject.

Low contrast: In low contrast images, rather than black and white, the gray tone is more prominent. Due to the lack of highlights and shadows, the tonality of the images gets subdued. Moreover, the images will have a smoother appearance along with colors having closer tones like orange and yellow, green and blue, etc.

Tonal contrast: Tonal contrast emphasizes the contrasting tones through differentiating between the tones of the various elements in an image. For instance, if a light object is shot against a dark background, the difference in their tones will be distinctive.

Color contrast: Every color present in the color wheel has a specific tonal value. These colors are organized in the wheel, considering their chromatic relationship with each other. According to the tonal value scale, the lighter colors have a tonal value closer to white, while the darker colors have a tonal value closer to black.

Moreover, colors with small tonal differences (closer colors in the color wheel) will have subtle contrast, whereas colors with large tonal differences (distant colors in the color wheel) will have more contrast. So, adjusting color contrasts adds drama to an image, making the contrast between the colors more prominent.

Adjust saturation:

Saturation refers to the intensity of the colors present in an image. However, because of poor lighting and other factors, cameras fail to capture the elements’ true colors, leaving them looking flat or oversaturated.

Therefore, apart from black and white images, all the colored images often require adjustments in saturation to make the colors appear more vibrant, lively, and aesthetically pleasing.

Adjusting frame:

The organization of the frame determines how a subject will be portrayed in the final image, making framing play a significant role in photography. Often, due to the wrong position, lens, and other factors, the frame of the image requires adjustment.

Let’s look at the issues with framing in photography that is resolved by photo editing software.

Adjusting perspective: Perspective provides a sense of depth to an image. However, the perspective gets distorted because of the wrong position and angle. As buildings have specific geometrical shapes that are difficult to capture, this kind of problem is quite common in architectural photography. In such a situation, the perspective adjustment features come in handy.

Lens correction: Every lens has a different depth of field, so occasionally due to the subject’s distance from the lens or poor lighting, the edges of the images may turn dark, or the straight line along the edges may become distorted and appear curved. The lens correction feature works like magic.

Rotate: Tilted photos may require some adjustment to their angles to enhance their visual appeal. For that, photo editors have the option to rotate an image at 90 degrees and 180 degrees, both clockwise and anticlockwise. But what would you do if you needed to rotate an image 45 degrees or 10 degrees?

For this, photo editors offer the photo-straightening feature, which lets you change the angles to any degree you like.

Crop: Sometimes, images may have unwanted elements in the frame or extra negative space that need to be removed. To resolve these issues, the frame is resized by cropping the image.

Noise reduction:

The camera sensor, ISO, lighting, and other factors may cause splotches of color or a grainy effect in images, referred to as digital noise. Due to such distortion, images lose their visual appeal. That’s why the noise reduction feature is used to smooth out the noise from the images.

Removing imperfections:

Photographs may have flaws, such as spots, blemishes, shadows, reflections, small unwanted objects, etc. There are some amazing tools to solve these issues, like the healing brush tool. If there is a background issue that cannot be fixed, the blurring tool can be used to hide the flaws.

Additionally, the clone tool can be used to copy a specific area of an image and then paste it over the flaw to cover it up.

Background changing or removing:

This feature is used mostly for eCommerce photo editing. This method separates the background and foreground, producing a clear, distraction-free image. Moreover, it’s a general requirement for some renowned eCommerce sites as it makes the photos optimized, improves the visual impact, and draws the focus on the image.

Manipulate Image:

Commercial products frequently call for dramatic effects that are impossible to film in real life, such as creating artificial shadows and reflections, blending colors, combining multiple images, ghost mannequin photo editing, etc. for billboards, posters, or magazine advertisements.

Without photo editing software, it would be impossible to produce the beautiful images we see in advertisements.

What is the Best Photo Editing Software in 2022

Every photo editing program has something different to offer. Some user interfaces are easy to use, while others are difficult. Some are made for experts, while others are for novices. Some are expensive, while others are reasonably priced. Thus, choosing a specific software program becomes challenging.

Let’s check out some of the best photo editing software for photographers that you may consider choosing.

1. Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lr

If you are looking for professional photo editing software, then Adobe Lightroom is undoubtedly the one you are looking for. It is a simple, well-organized, beginner-friendly photo editing program. The best feature of this software is that when you use it for the first time, you will receive a thorough walkthrough of each module to help you understand how it operates.

This can be considered the best photo editing software for photographers who are new to this field and are dealing with a large number of photos. It keeps all the photographs in one place, making them convenient to access, edit, and share. Besides, automatic synchronization allows sharing photos from anywhere and store them on multiple devices.

Moreover, the software is continuously updated to enhance the user experience and includes new tools to broaden the scope of editing tasks.

Key features:

  • Supported platforms: macOS, iOS, Windows, and Android
  • User-friendly interface
  • Tethered live view
  • Customizable sliders
  • Extended zoom control options
  • Multiple device support and syncing
  • Numerous presets and professional filters
  • Efficient organization through face detection
  • Support various camera and lens-based corrections

Pricing:

Adobe Lightroom subscriptions cost $9.99/month. They also have a one-month free trial option.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Excellent organizational toolLimited editing tools
Metadata makes the search easierRequires 1TB cloud storage
Automatic cloud syncing of photosMight be sluggish on some devices
Cloning and healing features are decentLess compatible for complex editing
Edit photos without compromising the originalsPlug-ins are not supported in Lightroom CC
Convenient file management system

2. Skylum Luminar Neo

Skylum Luminar Neo

Skylum Luminar Neo is one of the best photo editing software for Windows and Mac. The AI technologies in this program offer some incredible features, such as sky replacement, backlight relighting, powerline remover for cityscapes, portrait enhancing tools, and other intricate editing tasks to produce jaw-dropping images. Besides, smart AI can identify images and suggest suitable presets.

Apart from AI technology, it has all the essential editing tools that are available in almost every editing software. Moreover, it can be connected with the mobile App “Luminar Share” to transfer images from phone to desktop or vice versa, to edit and share images on social sites.

Key features:

  • Supported platforms: macOS and Windows
  • Great plugin for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe lightroom, and Photos for macOS
  • Master portrait retouching with intuitive AI tools
  • Creating bokeh effect with any lens in any light is possible
  • Removes background without masking
  • The supercontrast feature is excellent for exact tonal contrast and accent replacement
  • Cleans dust spots automatically
  • Relight feature allows adjusting the backlighting
  • One-click can mask up to nine different types of objects.
  • Atmosphere AI makes any landscape dramatic
  • Removes distracting elements automatically

Pricing:

Skylum Luminar Neo offers 3 plans. The monthly plan costs $14.95, which means $179 per year. The monthly fee for the annual plan is $8.25, which works out to $99 per user per year. And one user may pay $109 once for lifetime access.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Easy interfaceLimited presets
Affordable priceInitially respond slowly
Great for portrait enhancingImage management features are limited
Import RAW images quicklyExport and print options are limited
3 excellent AI toolsThere is no processing indicator
promising workflow using layers
An effective plug-in for Lightroom
30-day money-back guarantee

3. Adobe Photoshop Elements

Adobe Photoshop Elements

Adobe Photoshop Elements is the ideal digital photo editor for amateur photographers who don’t want the hassle of learning complex photo editing techniques. Even though it gives off a simplified impression, it has some incredibly advanced technologies that will astound you.

The Adobe Sensei AI can recognize background and foreground elements to simplify the subject identification process and separate the subject from the background. Moreover, it has a unique editing feature that allows you to change black and white photos into colorful ones. It also works great for enhancing portraits through its smooth skin feature, which removes blemishes, wrinkles, etc.

Key features:

Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux
Auto Creations feature automatically scans and categorizes images
Creates professional collage images
Open closed eye feature can fix the closed eye problem
Suitable for guided edits like background replacement, double exposure, overlay, etc.
Perfect for creating memes and multi-image text

Pricing:

The one-time purchase price of Adobe Photoshop Elements is $99.99.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Easy learning processNot included in the Creative Cloud
AI tools are goodAppearance is outdated
Great for amateur editorsStreamlining is still necessary
Numerous photo manipulation toolsTakes up a lot of hard disk memory
Supports different file formatsSocial sharing options are limited
Robust face-tagging and geo-tagging abilityLacks chromatic aberration modification tool
Reasonable priceLens geometry profile absent
Useful guidance for advanced techniques

4. Adobe Photoshop

14 Best Photo Editing Software for Photographers [ Mac and Windows Users ]

Adobe Photoshop is considered the best image manipulation software for Windows and Mac. Any professional photo editor and graphics designer will choose this program as their first option for having all the tools needed for professional-grade photo editing and artwork. Besides, the frequent updating of the software makes it difficult to name any editing feature that is absent in this program.

It has all the essential tools for photo editing and retouching that any other program offers. However, the software’s special effects and healing tools are hard to beat by others. The neural filters do their magic in the portraits by manipulating a subject’s expression, age, gaze direction, and others.

The software’s neural filters have also facilitated numerous photo restoration tasks, including noise reduction, dust and scratch removal, face cleaning, converting black and white to color images, and many others. Besides, the progress of the edits can be synced from desktops to smartphones through the Photoshop iPad app.

Key features:

On-going work can be saved in the cloud with version history with all the adjustments documented
Neural filters allow major changes in the subject’s age, expression, gaze, hair, pose, etc.
Discovery panel helps to find the tools easily

The sky replacement feature uses the automatic detection of the sky by Adobe Sensei to replace the sky and modify brightness, temperature, etc.

The pattern preview feature repeatedly displays the real-time pattern to simulate how the pattern will ultimately appear.

Live Shape feature allows users to control, edit, and create any shape through their existing shapes tools.
Has local adjustment layers for non-destructive editing

Pricing:

Adobe Photoshop offers 3 plans along with a 7-day free trial option. The monthly plan costs $31.49. The annual plan costs $20.99 per month, which is $251.88 in total. And the annual prepaid plan costs $239.88 per year.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Great for creating professional quality imagesComplicated interface
Industry-standard software for graphic design and image editingNeed lots of effort to learn the software
Loaded with powerful toolsSubscription fee is required every month
Updated frequently to add new tools and fix bugsLifetime license is not available
Ideal for complex editing workCan’t edit multiple photos at once
Supports multi-layer editingPerpetual license option absent
Works fast despite the images having large sizeQuite expensive
Cloud documents and libraries

5. PaintShop Pro

PaintShop Pro

PaintShop Pro is one of the top photo editing software to recommend for photographers looking for an editor with the same quality as Photoshop at a reasonable cost. It has a variety of strong AI-powered tools and fully functional graphics manipulation tools, making it great value for money.

It includes all the tools a photographer could need to edit photos, as well as graphic design tools like brushes, patterns, gradients, color palettes, and manipulation tools. The AI Upsampling feature is the most amazing feature, which is a boon for editing lower megapixel images.

It also has AI Artifact Removal and AI Denoise tools to restore fine details and original colors from images and fix images taken at high ISO. Besides, organizing, previewing, adding keyword tags to images, and editing multiple images simultaneously in the Manage Workspace option are also possible. It also supports plugins from Nik Collection by DXO, Adobe, and many more.

Key features:

  • Graphic design tools and templates are available
  • Photo editing tools like blurring and flaw-fixing tools are available to enhance portraits.
  • Numerous AI-enhanced presets are available
  • Refine brush for selecting the smallest details
  • The SmartClone technology combines elements from multiple images into one.
  • Sea to Sky tool enhances the clarity and contrast of underwater and drone images
  • Layers and masks-based workflow
  • 360-degree photo editing ability
  • RAW images can be processed

Pricing:

For a lifetime license, PaintShop Pro is available for only $79.99. Also, a 30-day money-back guarantee is offered if you decide it’s not the right choice for you.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Ideal for beginnersOnly for Windows; no support for Mac
Photoshop quality features at a reasonable priceCamera shake reduction, face liquefy, 3D modeling, detailed typography, etc. features not available
Great editing tools and effects for advanced usersInterface is complex like Photoshop
One-time payment for lifetime use; no subscription fee is requiredSome operations are slow
Supports photographic and vector images, making it convenient for both photo editors and graphic designers.
Learning tutorials and guidelines are available
Layer styles can be copied and pasted.

6. ON1 Photo RAW 2023

ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 Photo RAW is another popular software for editing pictures among photographers. It provides next-level photo editing features, like powerful AI that can mask images quickly, change the sky, adjust noise, upscale images, retouch portraits, and many more. Also, editing RAW images can be done without uploading them to the software; instead, accessing them from their stored location on the device.

Also, it functions as both an organizer and an editor for photos. Most importantly, you can take advantage of a 14-day free trial period to evaluate whether this is worthwhile for you to purchase.

Key features:

  • Supported platforms: Windows, Mac
  • Portrait AI automatically identifies faces in portraits and makes changes in skin tone, eyebrows, lips, etc.
  • Can be used as a plugin in Lightroom, Affinity Photo, PaintShop Pro, and many others.
  • Smart organize mode helps to select the image having the best appearance
  • Dual mode allows browsing and editing from the same tool
  • Using the selective color filter, you can swap out a particular color from the subject for one you prefer.
  • Editing history is documented to track the editing steps
  • Spot healing brush tool works great to remove dust, spots, blemishes, and unwanted objects from the image
  • Integrated with Apple photos
  • Executing live action and previews is possible
  • Numerous custom presets

Pricing:

You can purchase ON1 Photo RAW for just $99.99. You can also purchase 5 plugins for an additional charge of $79.99. So, at $179.98, you can enjoy the editor with plugins for a lifetime.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Image layers are integratedRAW processing is not up to the mark
Can be downloaded on any deviceCan’t be shared online from Windows
Works faster than Photoshop and LightroomFace tagging and geotagging features are not available
Good for text containing imagesSome features act slowly
Integrated video tutorialsPresets are limited
Synching is available
Provides lifetime license
Can be used as a plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop
14-day trial period with full functionality, no restrictions, and no watermark

7. DxO PhotoLab 5 Elite Edition

DxO PhotoLab 5 Elite Edition

DxO PhotoLab 5 can be considered the best photo editor for photographers seeking top-notch RAW image processing features. Despite being expensive, it is one of the most popular editing programs among editors and professional photographers.

Its RAW image converter, automatic camera and lens corrections, sharpening tools, noise reduction tools, U Point technology, and other features make this software hard to beat. Given its price range, the service it provides is definitely worthwhile.

Key features:

  • Chromatic aberrations remove unwanted color casts easily
  • Edge softening tool makes the edges of the images softer to give a smooth look
  • Local adjustment allows specific changes in selective areas
  • Support for IPTC metadata and keywords
  • Exclusive U Point technology adjusts the sensitivity level of local adjustment tools like graduated filters and automatic and manual brushes
  • Leading authority in lens corrections

Pricing:

DxO PhotoLab 5 Elite Edition is available for a one-time cost of $219 for a lifetime license.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
High-quality RAW image processingPrice too high
Supports Fujifilm X-Trans beta filesGet a little slow at times
Vast collection of featuresAdditional cost for some tools
Upgraded tools for local adjustmentPhotoLibrary is still very basic
Offers camera and lens profiles

8. CyberLink PhotoDirector 365

CyberLink PhotoDirector 365

CyberLink PhotoDirector 365 is another digital photo editing software within a budget. This software is a combination of Photoshop and Lightroom, which means the tools and the workflow layers are like Photoshop, and the organization style is like Lightroom. Moreover, various sound effects, special effects, GIFs, animations, etc., provide an artistic vibe to the images.

New features are included with every update, such as new templates and effects. Along with the basic editing tools, there are sky replacement tools, painterly filters, professional-level adjustment tools, body shaping tools, face recognition tools, content-aware object selection, and many more. Also, you can import images from your camera and organize them with the help of tags, categories, and keywords.

Key features:

  • Supported platforms: Windows and macOS
  • Offer precise layer editing
  • Color customization is possible with precision tools
  • Glitch effect and AI sky replacement tool to give the image new depth
  • Advanced AI technology removes unwanted objects and retouches portraits to provide a flawless look
  • Keyword tagging and facial recognition
  • Painterly filters to create an artistic effect
  • Useful learning resources
  • Easy animation effects
  • Support several file formats and popular cameras
  • Has sound effects to include with images and videos

Pricing:

The pricing for the CyberLink PhotoDirector 365 is the same for both Mac and Windows. The annual plan costs $54.99, and the monthly plan costs $14.99. However, a subscription costs only $3.33/month.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Beginner-friendly powerful interfaceGeotagging not available
Offers various advanced effectsChromatic aberration and noise correction are not robust
Includes some impressive tools like a body shaperInsufficient lens profile
Provides extensive layer supportLimited raw image profiles
Supports tethered shootingUpdates are not frequent
Available for both one-time purchase and subscription

9. inPixio Photo Studio 12

inPixio Photo Studio

If you are looking for a photo editor that works with one click, then inPixio Photo Studio 12 is the one for you. It is an AI-generated automated picture editing software that makes your editing work much easier and faster. This editor is perfect for amateur photographers who want to do simple editing quickly and with little difficulty.

The fully featured AI-generated technology can detect and remove the background, the sky, and unwanted objects from a picture with only one click. You don’t have the hassle of learning complicated editing techniques like Photoshop and other editors. However, the pro version contains all the improved features.

Key features:

  • Supported platforms: Windows and macOS
  • Photomontage AI for fun photo editing
  • Erase object AI removes distractions and unwanted objects without distortion
  • Edit Photo AI automatically does the image correction and also provides manual editing options for adjusting brightness, temperature, contrast, etc.
  • Remove Background AI detects the background and removes it with one click
  • Sky replacement AI can swap skies as per your preference

Pricing:

There are 3 versions available. The Photo Studio regular version costs $49.99, the Photo Studio Pro costs $59.99, and the Photo Studio Ultimate costs $99.99. However, all these prices are for only a 1-year subscription.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Easy to useSky replacement often looks unrealistic
Include RAW editing toolsImage management tools are limited
Worth the moneyFinal product of the trial version includes a watermark
Trial version availableService based on subscription
Numerous presets are available

10. GIMP

GIMP

GIMP can be considered the best photography editing software that works for free. GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. So, it should be evident from the name that this software has both image editing and graphic design capabilities. Both beginner and professional photo editors love this open-source image editing software.

This software has almost all the advanced tools like Photoshop and other professional paid editing software, for instance, working in layers, customized brushes, patterns, special effects, animation packages, and so on. Even though it doesn’t provide all the cutting-edge tools, the tools it does provide are adequate, given that they are available for free.

Key features:

Supported platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Healing tool fixes spots, blemishes, etc.
Export file type has a lot of options, including PNG, XPM, TIFF, GIF, JPEG, MPEG, PDF, etc.
Supported hardware devices are USB, MIDI controller, etc.
Supports working in layers
Numerous photo enhancing filters and effects are available
Contains a variety of tools similar to those found in paid software

Pricing:

The ability to download GIMP for free is by far its most significant advantage. The downloaded version can be used for an unlimited time.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Absolutely free use for everyoneCluttered interface
Can be used for both photo editing and graphic designTemplates are limited
Easy to export in different formatsLack of software tutorials
Open source updatesEditing is destructive; editing shouldn’t be conducted on the original image
Can be expanded with multiple extensions
Supports RAW file editing from the camera

11. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023 is a professional photography editing software that has an all-in-one solution from image editing to organizing. It supports more than 700 RAW camera models and the regular updates keep up with the recently released camera models to make the software compatible with all types of camera users.

The most fascinating feature of this software is its blended clone tool. With the help of this tool, the copying and pasting of pixels have become easier. This smart tool can analyze the copied and target pixels and blend the pixels precisely, which makes duplicating, restoring old images, removing unwanted objects, and many other tasks seamless.

Besides, the parametric editing done in the develop mode keeps track of the editing instructions and allows users to make the changes, such as removing all the instructions, removing any specific instruction, or reverting back to the original image without causing harm to the original image data.

Whether you are a beginner or a professional, their video tutorial resource center has all types of tips and tricks that will come in handy. Also, ACDSee’s mobile syncing feature can transfer images wirelessly from mobile to PC.

Key features:

  • Non-destructive RAW photo editing
  • Image can be edited directly from source files from the drive rather than imported into the software
  • AI facial edit tool can change the shape of facial features, add makeup, and adjustments can be saved as a custom preset to apply to other images simultaneously
  • Focus stacking tool extends an image’s apparent depth of field
  • Smart erasing and cloning effects are combined through the blended clone tool.
  • AI action tool allows selecting the subject, background, sky, and other elements to replace, remove, or add a blurring effect
  • Photomerge tool combines multiple images smoothly
  • AI facial recognition can identify faces in photos for easy searching

Pricing:

The one-time fee for ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023 is $149.99. You can enjoy free updates for one year and technical support at this price.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Syncing is allowedUser interface needs some improvements
30-day free trial availableSkin tuning in the develop mode faces some lagging
Parametric editing allows adding, adjusting, or removing existing edits to a fileHigh-end professionals may find better software than this one
Editing can be done in layers
Shape selection tools help to select curves precisely
Face recognition AI can label, merge, rename, or delete faces
Aligning and blending layers can be done automatically
Both buying and subscription options are available

12. Capture One Pro

Capture One Pro

When compared to other software, Capture One Pro may be more expensive, but its high-quality RAW processing and editing tools place it among the best RAW photo editors available, especially for professional studio photographers. Although it is compatible with more than 450 camera models, the tethering option is available for selective camera models, including Sony, Canon, Nikon, and Phase One.

All the outstanding features you can use in this program includes, an advanced color grading tool, a non-destructive workflow, layer-based adjustment tool, cataloging tools, preset effects, before-after tool, clone brush tool, healing brush tool, keyword tag organizational tool, Panorama merge, HDR merge, and many other tools.

Its user interface is created with professional photo editors in mind, so it might be a little challenging for new users to grasp. Nevertheless, the polished results it will generate will make the effort of learning the software worthwhile.

Key features:

  • Heal brush fixes small imperfections
  • Before-after tool to preview the changes
  • Dehaze slide automatically modifies the saturation, contrast, and other settings.
  • Styles and presets allow the creation of new styles and the application of pre-made styles
  • Refine mask gives a smooth look by softening the edges of the mask
  • Pro standard profile retains the original color of the image
  • Brush adjusting feature can adjust the opacity, size, and harshness of the brush
  • Robust masking ability
  • Advanced color grading tools give a lot of flexibility to adjust the white balance and colors
  • Interface can be customized
  • High-quality tethering tools

Pricing:

The pricing plan offers 3 deals, including monthly, yearly, and one-time payment. The monthly subscription costs $24, the annual subscription costs $179, and the lifetime license costs $299.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Supported platforms: Windows and MacExporting without a watermark is not possible
30-day free trialCloud storage option missing
Free learning resourcesFace Recognition feature is not available
Smooth workflowInterface can become complex with layers
Rich selection stylePlugin options are limited
Smooth and fast performanceSubscription fee is too high
Supports high-quality raw processingOnline sharing feature is not robust
Same features as LightroomDespite having similar features, the photo organization style is not light lightroom
Adjustments based on layers
High-quality raw file conversion

13. Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo

Although Affinity Photo is a new editing software for photographers, the features it offers make it a great alternative to other powerful editors like Photoshop. It has almost all types of advanced editing features, like RAW editing, Layer editing, Panorama stitching, HDR merging, and other features that a professional photographer may require.

The most incredible aspect is that all these cutting-edge features are available at a low cost. There is also good news for Photoshop users. This software allows accessing and editing Photoshop PSD files, making the transition between both software seamless.

Key features:

  • Layer-based workspace for non-destructive editing
  • The HDR merging feature produces high dynamic range images with a wider range of light and color.
  • The panorama stitching feature allows the creation of panoramic images from multiple images.
  • Focus stack merging feature adjusts the depth of field in wide-angle images
  • Smart background removal tool almost immediately eliminates background elements
  • Brushes can be customized
  • Image linking feature allows linking images like Publisher
  • Add path text feature allows adding text on the path of a curve, line, or shape
  • Filters can be used on the mask layers

Pricing:

The pricing plan differs for Mac, Windows, and iPad. A Mac and Windows plan costs $54.99, and an iPad plan is $19.99. However, they offer a free trial option for Mac and Windows only. iPad users have to buy the software directly.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Supported platforms: Windows, macOS, and iOSNot recommended for beginners
Supports RAW file processingDoesn’t have design templates
Supports vector and raster imagesSteep learning curve for beginners
Budget-friendlyWorkspace can’t be customized
Performance is fastLack some key features
iPad pro app allows PC-like editing on the iPadCataloging absent
Compatible with PSD filePlugin resources are limited
Lifetime licenseInstant preset effects are unavailable
Provides a free trial optionLarge image files can occasionally make the software slow
Learning resources are available

14. DxO PureRAW 2

DxO PureRAW

As the name suggests, DxO PureRAW 2 is specially designed to process RAW images. This software is not created to replace other software; you can utilize its unparalleled features such as lens-specific correction, lens sharpness, and DeepPrime noise reduction within your favorite editing software.

You can use this software as a plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop and transform the RAW files into flawless images without disrupting the workflow.

Key features:

  • Exceptional DeepPrime noise reduction that preserves details
  • Maximizes the quality of RAW images
  • Removes every possible lens defect to make the images flawless
  • 8000 brand-new optic modules
  • HiDPI support
  • Up to 15 times faster on the best Windows PC
  • 4 times faster on an Apple Silicon Mac
  • Can be activated on up to 3 computers

Pricing:

You can purchase the lifetime license of DxO PureRAW 2 at $129.

What We LikeWhat We Dislike
Amazing lens profile-based correctionsExpands file size
Creates noise-free flawless imagesWeak chromatic aberration
Enhanced lens clarityNot budget friendly
Supports any raw photo workflowInsufficient input settings
Straightforward user interface
large camera database
Can be used as a Photoshop and Lightroom plugin

What Should You Look for in Photo Editing Software?

Choosing which editor will best meet your needs can be challenging, given the vast selection of editors available. However, decision-making becomes easier if you are aware of some fundamental factors that should never be compromised.

Let’s take a closer look at some fundamental elements you should consider before choosing a photo editing program.

1. System compatibility

The first thing that should be considered is the compatibility of the software with your computer and camera. Some editing programs support almost all major operating systems, while others are designed to support a specific one, like Windows, macOS, or Linux.

The hardware specifications, the processor, the graphics card, the size of the software to fit on the disk, the file formats, the camera’s RAW files, and other elements all influence software compatibility.

An editor may have multiple devices for editing or need to change the device in the future. To avoid having to buy multiple licenses for their various devices, they should take into account all of these factors before purchasing the software and use one license for all of their devices instead.

2. Editing tools and quality

Some software may have advanced tools in addition to basic editing tools that can be used with complex and specialized editing techniques. So, the first step in choosing an editor is to be clear about your motives. Any simple basic editor will work well if you want an editor for basic editing such as adjusting exposure, contrast, saturation, etc.

However, if your purpose is to use advanced editing techniques like removing image background, retouching, masking, creating shadows, manipulating images, etc., you will need advanced tools like the pen tool, brushes, filters, and many others. So, the type of tools you need should be taken into account when choosing the editor.

In addition, the editing quality may differ from one editor to the next. That’s why it is advisable to use the free version to check the editing quality and your compatibility with it.

3. User-friendly workflow

The tools in a photo editing program must be organized properly. Besides, the navigation process must be clear enough for the editor to comprehend how the software works.

Moreover, the software should work fast to process the commands and make the changes accordingly. Your productivity will be impacted if the workflow is sluggish. To prevent unexpected complications, the software must also have the capability of supporting a variety of file formats, such as RAW files from various camera brands.

4. Sharing features

What’s the point of using software that doesn’t allow you to share your edited images easily?

The ability to share images directly from photo editors to various social media platforms and website builders like WordPress has advanced in recent years. Also, some editors alter the image size before uploading it to a website in accordance with the requirements of that website. So, select editors who have these convenient online photo-sharing features.

5. Guidelines and tutorials

Guidelines and tutorials are essential to understand editing software better. In particular, a beginner or new user needs such guidelines the most. You won’t want to waste your valuable time trying to figure out how the tools work on your own, so look up eBooks, online encyclopedias, printed books, FAQ sections on websites, videos, or any other resources before choosing your editor.

Such guidelines also come in handy for a professional editor when switching to another editor. They can learn about the different tools and evaluate the quality and workflow to decide if the other editing software offers any specialized tools they may need.

6. Updating frequency

Software frequently has bugs and other problems that need to be fixed to improve the working environment. Additionally, new tools are invented and occasionally included in the software as technology develops. Therefore, picking software that offers regular updates is essential to improve the user experience.

7. Affordability

Lastly, the cost is a significant consideration when buying licensed photo editing software. You have to consider the features of the tools along with your budget. Moreover, some editors demand high-end computers, which adds an additional expense to your budget. So, it’s better to use the trial version before purchasing the license.

FAQs Regarding Photo Editing Software

Do all photographers edit their photos?

Yes, every professional or freelance photographer needs to deliver perfect images, and that is not possible to produce without editing them.

What does a professional photographer use to edit photos?

A professional photographer uses high-quality photo editing software to edit their photos and produce a professional quality image, such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, etc.

Which software is best for professional photo editing?

For professional photo editing, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, PaintShop Pro, Luminar Neo, inPixio, Affinity Photo, and CyberLink PhotoDirector 365 are a few of the best editing software.

Is Photoshop better than Lightroom?

Among Photoshop and Lightroom, Lightroom is definitely the better one considering its organizational tools, easy user interface, and editing quality. However, Photoshop is also good, but its complex user interface makes it difficult to operate.

What is the easiest photo editing software to use?

Almost all the editing software has some complexity in their interfaces that makes the learning curve steep. However, the simple interface of Lightroom makes it one of the easiest and most beginner-friendly editing software.

Which photo editing software is best for beginners?

Adobe Lightroom, PaintShop Pro, CyberLink PhotoDirector 365, GIMP, Photolemur, AirMagic, and ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate 2023 are the best photo editing software for beginners.

What are the most common features of photo editing software?

The most common features of photo editing software are cropping and rotating tools, built-in filters and effects, color adjusting tools like contrast, saturation, white balance, highlight, shadow, etc., healing tools, different types of brushes, selecting tools, and many more.

Final Thoughts

The quality of images greatly depends on the editing software you use. So, before selecting the editing software, you must give emphasis on the feature the editing software provides. However, to be sure if the editor you chose is perfect, you should try out the trial version before purchasing the lifetime license or subscription.

Amy Grace
Amy Grace

Amy Grace has been engaged in commercial photography for a long time. She has enough proficiency and skill set in photography and has nailed the task up to the mark and has helped a lot of entrepreneurs create a brand. Aside from photography, Amy has passion for travelling.

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