Do you need professional image processing software on Windows or macOS systems to perfect your photos? Both beginners and professionals need to edit and process photos before uploading them to photography websites, social media, online albums, and other platforms.
The best image editing software can help you focus on the image itself, highlight key subjects, and transform ordinary photos into genuinely incredible works of art. But for most photographers, the question is how to choose the right software to complement their skills.
The best image editing software recommendations
There are many different market options, from well-known brands (such as Adobe's Photoshop and Lightroom) to simple and useful tools (such as Canva), and even some excellent free products. This article will present some of the best image/photo editing software, selected mainly for
- Popularity in the market
- Main functions of each software
- How the software operates and its primary uses
Adobe has always been the gold standard in the industry when it comes to image editing software, and if you think Photoshop is too complicated and cumbersome, you'll love using Adobe Lightroom for all the stunning results. It allows you to edit your images in an intuitive, easy-to-use interface and offers many great features.
- Face detection for photo organization
- Camera and lens-based calibration
- Brush and gradient adjustment
- Repair and blurring tools
- Presets and professional filters
- Customizable slider
- Multi-device support and synchronization
You can get both Lightroom and Photoshop in the Creative Cloud program, and if you choose to use Lightroom, you should be happy to know that integrating Envira Gallery with WordPress will allow you to sync your Lightroom image library with your website.
For many reasons, Luminar has quickly become one of the most popular editing tools for professional photographers. First, you pay a one-time fixed fee for this software, and unlike Adobe and other software companies, Skylum does not have a monthly subscription.
Luminar is also a one-stop photo editing store that can be used either independently or even with a plugin for Apple Photos.
Additionally, Luminar's popular AI slider automates various fixes, including fill light, sharpening, color grading, and other basic adjustment options. Overall, Luminar is a strong competitor to the Adobe family of products, with key features includes.
- AI editor/slider
- Exclusive filters (such as Sunrays, which add realistic sunlight to an image), top/bottom lighting filters, Orton filters (known for The Lord of the Rings, which blur the rest of the image when focusing on a spot)
- Adjustment layer
- Image layer
- Presets for DJI drone photos
If you need Adobe Photoshop, you can read the detailed Adobe Photoshop review.
For artists, illustrators, designers, and hobbyists around the world, Photoshop is the most popular and preferred image editing tool.
While it's masking, retouching, and layering features are still among the most compelling on the market, this may not be the best choice for simple, basic photo retouching, a tool that Lightroom happens to retain. Simply put, Photoshop is designed for the professional who needs all the fancy effects that
- Sophisticated retouching and beautification features
- wide range of filters and brushes
- Multi-layer editing
- 3D Design
- Professional editing tools
- The most famous image processing software
- Customizable interface: you can change the program's layout to your liking and even create and modify keyboard shortcuts.
- Layers: not all editing software has layers, and while numerous adjustments can be made on each layer, Capture One does not exhibit any jams.
- Advanced color editing: sliders to adjust the granularity of color changes (even for the same color) for greater flexibility.
- Notes: taking notes or simplifying collaboration.
- Speed: Better performance than many professional-grade competitors when processing large RAW files of more than 20 megapixels.
There is an option to pay a one-time fixed fee, which is twice the Adobe Creative Cloud price, despite the monthly plan.
ON1 Photo RAW
ON1 Photo RAW is a complete photo editing software that can be tried for free. Not only is it easy to download and install, but it also comes with hundreds of presets, a rich set of filters, and other solutions that will help you enhance your pictures immediately.
Moreover, ON1 Effects can be used on any operating system.
- Rich Filters
- Custom Presets
- Textures and borders
- Real-time adjustment and preview
- Can be downloaded and installed on any device
- Selective application of effect options
Corel PaintShop Pro
Corel PaintShop Pro is one of the most suitable options for those who want an easy and effective way to upgrade their images.
At first glance, although it may not seem like the most advanced tool on the market, it comes with many features that can take images to the next level and at an affordable price.
As with other software, you can pay a fixed one-time fee to obtain a license and then access tools such as textures, backgrounds, brushes, ETC.
Moreover, new features are always being added to this application, which currently includes.
- AI Enhanced Presets
- 360° photo editing
- Excellent user experience
- Graphic design templates
- Photo editing options, such as blurring and restoration
- Introductory Learning Tutorial
ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate
ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is an up-and-coming competitor in the photo editing field that, until recently, still didn't attract the attention of most professionals. It is an all-in-one photography software solution that does everything you need in a straightforward interface, with some powerful features worth mentioning.
- Edit source files directly from the drive without importing
- Facial recognition, a reliable method for organizing and indexing images
- Two types of purchase: one-time purchase and monthly subscription
GIMP is a free professional photo editing software that works well on Windows, macOS, and Linux systems to help you retouch photos, beautify compositions, image enhancements, and includes a built-in file manager.
Because Gimp supports all formats and has a range of features that help with photo compositing and image retouching, many photographers consider it an entry-level alternative to Photoshop and Lightroom.
- Photo enhancements such as correction modes and vignetting
- File management and optimization mode
- Digital Processing
- Cloning and retouching tools
- Support for multiple plugins
Canva is a simple graphic design software distributed on a freemium model with a wide range of photo editing tools and products.
Unlike some other editing software that you can download on your phone for iOSAndroid and edit photos instantly, Canva Marketplace has a large number of templates, images, cards, and icons that make it easy to create visual content for your website or blog. You can use the simple drag-and-drop editor to adjust individual elements of an image and add fonts and templates to your pictures (if you want to use them on your website.
- Over 8000 templates
- Photo blur and vignetting
- Image cropping and straightening
- Image transparency tools
- Design grid and photo frame
- Stickers and badges
- Add Texture
PicMonkey is a complete graphic design software package that allows you to edit images, make collages, retouch/crop photos, and more, helping you develop your design skills, get creative, and create artwork with ease.
With a free trial, you can test all the features of PicMonkey before you buy, and the subscription plan is very affordable, which makes it one of the cheapest photo editing options on the market.
- Basic filter
- Collage effect
- Large number of templates
- Blank canvas design
- Automatic resizing for social media
You can download desktop or mobile applications as needed, but Pixlr is another excellent online image editing software, and you can even choose to upgrade to Pixlr X if you need more advanced editing options.
Like Photoshop, Pixlr allows you to add images to a blank canvas, create unique effects, and add filters on the fly.
- Over 2 million free effects
- Filters and overlay layers
- Creative editing applications
- Mobile iOSAndroid, the desktop, web version
- Various Pixlr versions
Snappa is an online graphics and design software for photographers who want to transform their photos into various finished products.
Maybe you're looking for a way to convert your photos into social media banners or blog testimonials. Snappa helps you do that by adding new sizes and effects, and you don't even have to download any content to get started quickly.
- Drag-and-drop photo editing
- Image size template
- Provide gallery photos
- Add graphics and text in seconds
- Share images on social media
PortraitPro is a professional-grade image editor designed for photographers specializing in portrait photography.
PortraitPro allows you to edit skin tones, remove spots or wrinkles from your face, add makeup effects, and more, plus you can add effects to fix problems like low light or sagging cheeks.
- Advanced Layering Options
- Smooth skin
- Wrinkle Removal
- Makeup tools
- Award-winning slider tools
Fotor is a famous cloud-based photo editing software with more than 300 million users. You can use the free desktop version for WindowsmacOS with all the features available in the online version and check the effects on your photos with the zoomable option. The operator interface is straightforward to use, and the software can open RAW files and merge images in individual layers.
Cloud-based software can help you save unfinished designs for continued editing in the future. This way, you can start where you left off, upload the images to your website, and start getting creative.
- Photo Editing Suite
- HDR effect
- Filters and image retouching
- Portrait Retouching
- Design Templates
- Hundreds of fonts, stickers, and shapes to choose from
Inkscape is another completely free editing software, perfect for beginners. You can download the compiled desktop version or, if you wish to customize and compile it yourself, you can access the source code.
Like Photoshop, Inkscape is designed to give you complete control over your images.
Whether you want to clone objects, manipulate the colors in an image, or overlay text, it's got it all.
- Color Selector
- Multiple text formats
- Copy and paste object cloning
- Calligraphy Tools
- Available extensions and plugins
DxO PhotoLab is a reliable photo editing alternative that converts RAW images to JPG smoothly and works well on both Windows and macOS systems. The program offers a full set of processing and correction tools that are sufficient for professional photographers' needs.
- U Point local adjustment technique
- Manual and automatic modes
- Customized Archives
- Multiple optical corrections
- 30-day free trial
Affinity is primarily a vector graphic design program with a mix of vector and pixel art environments, and of course, its best feature is its price - one of the cheapest professional photo editing solutions on the market.
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