Whether you’re a weekend GoPro shooter or a full-time video professional, you need editing software that’s powerful and easy to use. Here’s how the best video editing software stacks up.
We’ve rounded up the best free photo editors so you can transform your pictures – correcting colors, erasing blemishes, and much more – so they’re ready to print or share online.
A raw image is like an unprocessed film seen by your DSLR sensor. Image editing requires correcting several things, including exposure, noise reduction, focus, and highlighting essential objects to make a stunning image.
And there’s tons of advice out there. Most talk about Adobe Photoshop, which seems to be the most commonly used tool.
As great as Adobe is, it’s not the only credible photo editing software out there. In fact, there are plenty of photo editing software available on the market to explore and choose from.
In this guide, we’ll cover the 19 best photo editing software capable of meeting the needs of all types of photographers.
This includes all tools ranked and compared to include:
- The best free photo editors.
- The best tools for Mac.
- The top photo editing picks for PC and Windows.
- The easiest photo software for beginners.
- The best portrait editing software.
What is the Best Photo Editing Software?
Here are my picks for the best photo editing software to try this year:
Here are my picks for the best photo editing software to try this year:
More is not, believe it or not, always better. Paint.NET’s simplicity is one of its main selling points; it’s a quick, easy to operate free photo editor that’s ideal for trivial tasks that don’t necessarily justify the sheer power of tools like GIMP.
Don’t let the name fool you, though. This isn’t just a cheap copy of Microsoft’s ultra-basic Paint – even if it was originally meant to replace it. It’s a proper photo editor, just one that lands on the basic side of the curve.
Paint.NET’s interface will remind you of its namesake, but over the years, they’ve added advanced editing tools like layers, an undo history, a ton of filters, myriad community-created plugins, and a brilliant 3D rotate/zoom function that’s handy for recomposing images.
Best Easy Photo Tool for Beginners.
Corel PaintShop Pro is a capable and one of the most inexpensive photo editing software tools out there. Some photographers call it an Adobe Photoshop alternative, but it lacks Photoshop’s most advanced flagship features, including Camera Shake Reduction, 3D modeling, Faces Liquefy, detailed typography, among others.
However, if you want software for basic yet effective image editing, then Corel PaintShop Pro is not a bad option. Just don’t expect it to be as shrewd as its other more advanced counterparts.
Some of its unique features which make it worth trying are as follows:
- Perfect for beginners
- 360-degree image editing capability
- User experience is crisp and smooth
- Designers can start working from pre-existing graphic design templates
- Extensive library of gradients, picture tubes, colors, pallets, among others
Its offers two paid versions – PaintShop Pro 2018 version is $63.99 and The PaintShop Pro 2018 Ultimate costs $79.99, for a one-time purchase. It also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
- PaintShop Pro is only available on Windows. No Mac version is coming in the near future
Get started with Corel PaintShop Pro 2020.
3. Skylum Luminar.
Best HDR and Filters for Photographers.
Skylum Luminar is an excellent alternative to Adobe Lightroom. As a result, it has been gaining massive popularity among photographers.
It comes with powerful image editing capabilities with more affordable pricing. Its latest version, Luminar 4, is faster and provides a perfect blend of both Lightroom and Photoshop. With one single software, you get the best of both worlds.
Some of its notable key features include:
- Adjustment layers and masks
- Offers 24/7 Technical and Sales Support
- Fast editing controls with a lesser lag time
- Clever shortcuts for automatic management of photographs
- Folders are always updated with the content available on the hard disk
- Viewing options include filmstrip view, gallery view, and single image view
- AI-powered sky enhancer, and accidental AI and sun rays
Unlike recurring payment for Adobe editing tools, Luminar comes with a more affordable one-time payment plan of $70. You also get a 60-day money-back guarantee.
- Healing and cloning tool is not always reliable
- Handling of workflow and organization could use improvement
Get started with today and order the brand new Skylum Luminar 4.
Best Online Photo Editing Tool.
Adobe needs no introduction in the world of photo editing. In fact, it continues to be a pioneer in releasing cutting-edge photo editing software updates over the years.
Adobe Lightroom is another powerful editing software by Adobe. Ideally, it is perfect for photographers who want a more straightforward yet capable tool to edit their images.
Unlike Photoshop’s complicated and intimidating user interface, both Lightroom Classic and CC offer a more intuitive and user-friendly interface for image editing.
Some of its incredible features include:
- Sliders are customizable
- Blurring and fixing tools
- It syncs with multiples devices
- Cam and lens-based corrections
- Gradient and brush adjustment tools
- Professional filters along with numerous presets
- Its face detection capability helps in organizing the photographs more efficiently
The cloud-based photo editing tool offers seamless editing capabilities across mobile, web, and desktop through a single subscription plan. The annual subscription of its Basic plan starts at around $119.88 and ranges up to $239.88 for up to 1 TB of Cloud storage.
- Limited editing options
- Absence of layers or blend modes
- Fewer graphics designing elements
Get started with Adobe Lightroom.
“The word’s most advanced HDR photo editor for Mac and Windows.”
Skylum Aurora HDR facilitates the efficient merging of imagery to create final shots that look both natural and stunning at the same time. It operates as a standalone app and can be plugged-in right into other tools like Adobe Photoshop.
You can also integrate it as an Apple Photo extension. Aside from the traditional methods to create HDR images, Aurora enables photographers to create HDR images from a single file through its AI-based neural network.
Aurora HDR is a boon for HDR photography as it offers several leading-edge features to create cutting edge images. Here are some of its key features:
- It comes loaded with 20+ tools that help you create stunning HDR images
- It smartly cleans noise and enhances depth & details
- Its HDR clarity feature optimizes clarity and enhances localized contrast for better results
- You can leverage its 80 unique presets to create RAW images into creative masterpieces in a few seconds
- You can also use manual mode to take all the control in your hands.
It costs around $99 and comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee.
Get started with Skylum Aurora HDR.
Best Tool for Business Templates and Designs.
Canva is one of the most popular tools to help you design stunning photo templates. Its simplistic user interface has enabled millions to edit graphics without any substantial technical knowledge.
Its user-friendly drag and drop editor can be used to add several layers to your photos. Plus, it allows you to easily add fonts and other graphics to your photos for publishing on social media or your website.
Canva is a go-to tool for professionals who want to create photo designs for websites, social media, flyers, brochures, and marketing collateral.
Here are some of its key features:
- You can download its mobile app to edit photos and create designs on the go
- It offers more than 8,000 templates, photos, icons, and cards for easy creation of visual content
- Straightening and image cropping
- Offers speech bubble maker
- It is online and can be used on any decent computer
- Get access to its massive library of images and designs
- Stores your photos and designs in the cloud
Canva operates on a freemium model. The Pro version comes at a subscription price of $12.95 per month. Canva also offers a quote-based version for teams with more than 20 members.
Get started with Canva
Best for Online Ads and Social Posts.
PicMonkey is recommended for starters who want to brush up their design and photo editing skills. It offers a complete range of photo editing tools including touch up, crop, collages, and many more.
You can leverage its free trial version to test its photo editing capabilities before going for the paid version. One of the best parts about PicMoney is its user interface, which is straightforward and easy to use. It is also a perfect alternative to professionals who are overwhelmed by complex features of other heavyweight photo editing software.
- A good selection of templates
- Advanced touch-up tools for stunning images
- Addition of features and tools through constant updates
- You can edit images easily through its feature-rich smartphone app for iPhone and Android
- Sophisticated graphic design tools to create images for online publishing
- You don’t have to be an editing wizard to use this photo editing software
PicMonkey offers a 7-day free trial, which allows you to test out the product before upgrading to a paid version. The Basic plan is $7.99 per month; the Pro plan is $12.99, and the Team plan is $33.99.
Get started with your free trial of PicMonkey.
8. Capture One.
Most Powerful Tool for Advanced Users.
Created by a camera company called Phase One, Capture One is a great addition to this list. At first glance, this RAW image editor looks like any other image editing software, but it actually offers a lot of unique features. If you are a photographer who is mostly interested in enhancing RAW images, then this is a better option than Adobe Lightroom.
Capture One offers a lot of robust features to make image editing a total breeze.
Here are some of its key features:
- Its masking capabilities eliminate the requirement of using Photoshop
- Performance is faster and slick even with massive images
- Advanced Color Editing feature offers greater flexibility to adjust colors and white balance
- You can customize the interface as per your preference
- Allows you to make several adjustments on each layer without getting sluggish
Its monthly subscription plans start from $20 per month. You can also purchase it outright by paying $299, which includes 500+ camera support. Other premium plans can go as high as $417.
- You can’t export an image without a watermark. You will have to process it to remove the watermark.
- Dehaze tool is absent
- No cloud storage option
Best Library of Image Templates.
DesignWizard is a tool that has thousands of pre-made image design templates suitable for everything from social media posts and YouTube Channel Art to birthday cards and gift certificates.
- A library of over one million images, thousands of high-quality videos, graphics, and illustrations
- Every image and video is licensed for commercial use
- You can share content instantly on social media
- Marketing templates, including Facebook Ads templates, LinkedIn Ads, sale posters, loyalty cards, and more
- A simple photo editor where you can resize images, add text, logos, and more
DesignWizard’s pricing includes a free plan and two paid plans at $9.99 and $49.99/month.
Their free Basic Plan allows you to view their entire library, but you have to pay $1 for each image design download. You can also add text and resize images and download your designs in JPEG, PNG, and PDF.
Their $9.99/month Pro Plan gives you up to 60 image downloads per month, plus the ability to upload your own custom images and custom fonts.
Finally, their most popular Business Plan at $49.99/month gives you access to unlimited image downloads and opens up all of their video features. You can download unlimited standard videos, upload your own videos to edit, and add text, images, and logos to your video assets.
Ultimately, your choice depends on how many images you need each month and whether or not you want to get involved in video marketing.
Overall, DesignWizard is a great tool if you’re looking for thousands of templated designs to use for personal or business use.
Best Photo Editor for Creative Features.
ACDSee Photo Studio has been in the photo editing software market for a long time. This multipurpose photo editing tool offers impressive features, which make it a reliable alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Moreover, it comes in handy to beginners as well, thanks to its user-friendly interface.
The newly released version, ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate, offers the latest capabilities and advanced tools for better photo editing experience.
Let us take a look at some of the key features which make this photo editing program worth considering:
- Facial recognition capability that helps in better management of photographs
- You can use the Black and White tool in “develop and edit” modes
- Leverage powerful LUTs presets for different color looks
- No need to import the files. Edit source files directly
- Distorts objects in the image through Liquify tool without compromising its quality
You can purchase its lifetime license at $224.98. ACDSee is also offering one year of free updates and technical support along with the plan.
- Skin Tune in develop mode faces lags
- This tool is not the perfect option for high-end professionals
- The user interface looks a bit dated and needs improvement for better performance
11. On1 Photo RAW.
Best Software That Includes Skills Courses.
Photo RAW is quite a popular option among photographers because it offers cutting edge photo editing capabilities for free. The software comes with a free trial version for 30 days, which can be upgraded later on.
Photo RAW is an efficient tool for photographers who want to create stunning images without spending too much time on the editing table. It can be either used as a photograph organizer or as an editing tool.
Some of its key features are unique from other popular photo editing programs present in the market.
Here they are:
- Its dual-mode is a boon for photographers as it allows them to browse or edit pictures from the same tool
- You can view each and every editing step in its Edit History feature
- It is integrated with Apple Photos to support full RAW data for stunning results
- You can execute live adjustments and previews
- Available for download on any device
On1 Photo RAW is priced at $79.99 for its new customers and $63.99 for the customers who have used any On1 product before. You can also try out its 30-day free trial version; no credit card details required.
- Online sharing capability is absent in Windows
- No Face and the geotagging feature
- Some features react slowly
12. Adobe Photoshop.
Best Overall Photo Editor for Mac and PC.
Adobe Photoshop deserves a special mention in any article about the best editing software. After all, the name “Adobe Photoshop” is pretty synonymous with photo editing by now.
It is one of the most popular photo editing software tools present in the market. Photoshop is the primary tool for its legions of fans across the world, including designers, artists, and illustrators.
Unlike Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop is meticulously designed for hardcore professionals who need all the advanced features in one package. You name an editing feature, and the chances are Photoshop will have it. No kidding!
It is practically impossible to include all the features that Photoshop offers. Here are some key features that would help you to make a better decision:
- Its masking and selection tools are the best in the business
- Incredible cloning and retouching capabilities
- Photoshop is incredibly fast even with larger size images
- It comes with depth map support for HEIF files and 360 editing tools
- Photoshop supports all of the main file formats like JPG, PNG, GIF, as well as raw files
- It uses adjustment layers for non-destructive editing to enhance the appearance of your image
Initially, you get a 1-week free trial. Adobe Photoshop comes bundled with Creative Cloud storage of 100 GB. Its annual plan costs around $20 per month. The Creative Cloud Photography plan includes Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom for photo management.
Sign up for Adobe Creative Cloud and get started with Trial Free Adobe Photoshop.
What to look for in a free photo editor
When you’re choosing a free photo editor, the first thing to consider is your level of confidence and experience. If you simply want to make a few adjustments (removing blemishes and improving colors, for example) then a simple online tool might be perfect, doing the job well without overwhelming you with options.
If, on the other hand, you’re interested in more advanced editing then you’ll want to focus on desktop software that offers tools such as layers and masks, giving you full control over the process.
Desktop software is also a good choice if you have several photos to edit, and some free photo editors can even edit photos in batches, which can save you an enormous amount of time.
It’s also worth considering what you’ll be using the exported photos for. Online photo editors can often only export images in JPG format, and only at relatively low resolutions.
That might be fine for images you want to display online (and many such photo editors include tools for sending images directly to Facebook or Twitter) but if you want to print your work then you’ll be better off with a tool like GIMP or Paint.NET that will let you export in just about any format, in high resolutions.