Best Photo Editing Software
Both professional and novice photographers would seek the best photo editing software to deliver some final touches before pronouncing themselves satisfied. With the increasing demand for great visuals on both online and offline media, it is important to choose a photo editing software that suits your requirements and budget. Here are our best picks.
1. Adobe Photoshop CC
If you don’t mind spending a substantial amount, Adobe Photoshop is arguably the best photo editing software around. You’ll need to subscribe to Adobe Cloud and sign on to the Adobe Photoshop plan. This sets you back a fee on a monthly basis.
Adobe Photoshop boasts the ultimate layering and masking tools that remain unrivaled by its competitors. You’ll find that it has a slick interface that makes retouching your photos a simple chore. The latest version of Photoshop allows you to customize the interface to suit your taste.
You’ll be impressed by the Photoshop’s support for the range of raw camera files and the wide options of corrections and effects. It’s recent update also features photography-friendly tools such as the Content-Aware Crop and Face-Aware Liquify. If you own a Microsoft Surface Pro, you’ll find the touch input supported by Photoshop provides convenience to editing the photos.
If you’re unwilling to splurge on Adobe Photoshop, you’ll want to consider GIMP. It is arguably the best photo editing software that is free for personal and commercial use. It basically has all the tools that would impress professional photographers.GIMP is supported on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
GIMP features a rich set of layering, masking and color adjustment tools. Expert users will also find tools that allow in-depth editing of the photos. It is constantly enhanced by a community of contributors. The latest version of GIMP features support of HEIF image format, a much-awaited feature for GIMP users.
Being an open-sourced project, GIMP is highly customizable in terms of its interface. It also has a range of plugins to enhance its functionalities. If you’re getting stuck with GIMP, you can be assured that help is always available in the form of tutorials and an active community.
3. Adobe Lightroom CC
Adobe Lightroom CC may lack the in-depth photo manipulation like its counterpart Photoshop, but it made up for it as a powerful tool that allows busy photographers to organize, store and edit images on the go. You’ll get access to a massive 1TB cloud storage when you subscribe to Adobe Lightroom CC.
You can import images easily in Adobe Lightroom CC and it supports popular images formats and raw files from a variety of popular cameras. The editing tools are presented in a neat interface. They allow you to make changes to the light and color, or apply filters on the photos.
A Lightroom CC subscription allows you to access both the desktop and web version. This allows you the flexibility to edit and share your works anywhere as long as you’re connected to the internet. It’s definitely a great tool for editing images to be printed on a bookmark or postcards.
4. Serif Affinity Photo
Affinity Photo is one of the best photo editing software that easily gives Adobe Photoshop a run for its money. Having shed its low-budget reputation, professional photographers will find its rich collections of editing features worth paying for. Its single payment license is comparatively cheaper than Adobe’s long-term subscription.
You can expect a powerful layer management tools that support unlimited layers and live filter layers that you’ll find handy when working on a complex photo composition. It also has HDR merging capability that draws detailed out of your images. You’ll also have access to editing tools that allows photo enhancements and corrections.
Like any top-rated photo editing tools, Affinity Photo supports a wide range of popular image formats, including raw files from hundreds of different camera types. If you’re looking to enhance your images with stunning real-time effects, Affinity Photo has a generous set of filters that are good for the job.
5. PhaseOne Capture One
When RAW file image editing is concerned, Capture One is undisputedly a class on its own. You’ll find that the image editor is impressively fast and a great feature for impatience photographers. The fact that it supports raw images format from more than 400 cameras is equally amazing.
Capture One has an intuitive color balance tool that you can use to adjust the hue and luminosity with high precision. You can tweak the color tones of the image until you’re satisfied. The editor also has an advanced skin tone editing capability that lets you retouch complex skin colors.
Capture One is definitely not a cheap photo editing software but it is definitely one of the most impressive amongst its competitor. With great layered editing and impressive speed, it is definitely a great choice for photography professionals.
6. Skylum Luminar 2018
Skylum Luminari is one of the best photo editing software that allows you to quickly apply enhancements to individual photos. It is distinguished from its peers as it has a rather unique method of editing. Instead of having an array of adjustment tools, Luminar uses filters to achieve the same purpose.
You can expect Luminar’s interface to remain uncluttered with this innovative editing arrangement. Besides this, you’ll also find layers and masks in the editor that allows you to combine different images with ease. You can leverage on its 45 filters to fine tune your photos.
It’s the latest version has a drastically improved processing speed and a neater user interface. Luminar comes with 67 presets that allows you to compare and edit photos quickly. Luminar is available with a one-time payment and works on both Windows and MacOS. You can use Luminar as a standalone application or as a plugin to Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.
7. Alien Skin Exposure X3
When you’re hoping to land some touches to turn your images into vintage masterpieces, Exposure X3 is your best bet in doing so. This photo editing software stands out by its hundreds of presets that can be applied to your images instantly, or customized according to your personal style.
While it shines for adding effects to images, Exposure X3 is equipped with editing tools that are more than good enough for photographers. Besides the basic drawing tools and brushes, you’ll be able to apply color filters, tone curve, overlays and the infamous grain effects of Alien Skin.
Alien Skin Exposure also lacks the cataloging systems that comes with its competitors. Instead, it uses the local file organization in your computer and saves all the editing in a separate folder created in the folder of the image you’re working on. It avoids file linking errors that are commonly associated with its competitors.
8. Pixlr Editor
Despite being a web-based image editor, Pixlr Editor has all it takes to be one of the best photo editing software in your browser. It is free and provides you with a simple platform to quickly make changes to your images. Users who are familiar with Photoshop will find the interface layout strikingly familiar.
Pixlr Editor allows you to import images from local drives or a URL. As with any decent photo editors, you’ll get access to the filters to enhance the images. You can also work with the advanced masks and layering tools that are available in the editor.
You’ll need to download Flash to run Pixlr Editor on the browser. Considering that you don’t have to fork anything to start editing your images, it is definitely a convenient piece of editing tool to have without having to install anything.
9. Cyberlink PhotoDirector
The Cyberlink PhotoDirector lets you do more than just organizing photos. It has a complete set of image editing tools that will impress both novice and professional photographers, particularly when making changes to human features in the photos. For instance, you could easily remove wrinkles and blemishes on the skin.
Besides this, the PhotoDirector has a Face Swap feature that lets you exchange the faces on different photos seamlessly to deliver the perfect image. It also sports an advanced content-aware removal tool that automatically removes unwanted objects in the background with a simple maneuver.
You can combine multiple images easily with its layering tool and produce creative effects with different blending modes. You’ll also find that the panorama and HDR imaging equally impressive. The PhotoDirector supports popular RAW file formats from leading camera manufacturers in the market.
10. Pixelmator Pro
Pixelmator Pro deserved a worthy mention in our list of the best photo editing software. It is an alternative for Adobe Photoshop developed for Mac users. It has a clean and uncluttered interface that is in harmony with Apple’s sleek design. With the latest version of Pixelmator Pro, you can access to the tools from the touch bar on your Mac.
Machine learning is the hype of today’s photo editing software. Pixelmator Pro proves itself worthy with its intelligent content-aware feature. It allows you to easily remove unwanted objects in the background or automatically adjust colors on the images with this breakthrough technology.
There are more than 100 brushes and 2 dozens of blending modes that help you to deliver the creative touches on the images. It also has an arsenal of retouching tools that help you to reshape images with ease. Of course, you’ll find that Pixelmator Pro does not neglect basic editing tools that are mandatory for the best photo editing software programs.
What’s your favorite photo editing software? Share what you like or dislike about it in the comment below.