15 Best Photo Editing Software (Ultimate Guide)

“Take a perfect picture, smiling to the lens, because the flash will make it look okay” and my photo editing software will transform it into the best version of a picture it could be.

I know your phone camera and Snapchat filters might be pretty great but, what differentiates those photos on your phone from those awesome, flawless photos you see on Elon Musk’s Instagram is ~ “Photo Editing”, not just amateur photo editing but, editing done by the best photo editing software.

Have no fear, for in this ultimate guide, we will be covering the 15 best photo editing software so far and taking into consideration the several factors that will help you determine which one is best for you; as a professional, student, or even a hobbyist.

So are you ready – let’s jump straight into the ones which are great for doing photo or image editing.


Best Photo Editing Software

1. Adobe Photoshop CC

Photoshop-cc


Editing with Adobe Photoshop is more or less unavoidable for anyone that is involved in digital creativity; either as a professional or just for fun.

According to Adobe fast facts, over 90% of the world’s creative professionals use Adobe Photoshop for creating awesome graphics.

Photoshop is a powerful tool that keeps improving every year. It comes with a variety of tools and options that give you more creative freedom and commercial flexibility.

Adobe Photoshop is used for a variety of purposes such as, during the creation of social media graphics, logo customization, making of promotional flyers, pamphlets and so much more!

It’s arguably the most powerful photo editing software in the world!

Some people might wonder, what is the difference between Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Photoshop CC?

Take note that Adobe Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) is simply the upgraded version of Adobe Photoshop. Although used interchangeably in text, the CC branding began with the Adobe Photoshop 2017 version and has since been in use till the Adobe Photoshop CC 2020 version.

Key Features of Adobe Photoshop CC Photo Editing Software:

Photoshop built-in features include Multi-layer editing, advanced color editing, multi-shape, and path selection to mention a few but, the CC 2020 version comes with new features that are even more impressive. They include:

  • Neutral filters
  • Sky Replacement
  • Enhanced Cloud documents
  • Improved preset panel
  • Customizable wrap
  • Create 3D artwork

Adobe Photoshop System Requirements:

Can you use Photoshop on your desktop? Find out the minimum and recommended system requirements for running Adobe Photoshop on your computer:

Minimum Photoshop System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel or AMD processor with 64-bit support, 2 GHz or faster processor
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (64-bit), October 2018 update, version 1809 or later
  • RAM: 8GB
  • HDD: 4GB of available hard-disk space plus additional space required for installment
  • Screen Resolution: 720p
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 12 support with 2GB of GPU memory
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Minimum Photoshop System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
  • Operating System: macOS Mojave; version 10.14 or later versions
  • RAM: 8GB
  • HDD: 4GB of available hard-disk space plus additional space required for installment
  • Monitor resolution: 1280 x 800 display
  • Graphics card: GPU with metal support and 2GB of GPU memory
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Photoshop System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel or AMD processor with 64-bit support, 2 GHz or faster processor with SSE 4.2 or later
  • Operating System: Windows 10 (64-bit), October 2018 update, version 1809 or later
  • RAM: 16GB or more
  • HDD: 10GB of storage space
  • Monitor resolution: 1920 x 1080 display
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 12 support with 4GB memory for 4k displays and greater
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Photoshop System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
  • Operating System: macOS Big Sur version 11 or macOS Catalina version 10.15
  • RAM: 16GB or more
  • HDD: 10GB of storage space with fast internal SSD and additional high-speed drive or SSD
  • Monitor resolution: 1920 x 1080 display
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 12 support with 4GB memory for 4k displays and greater
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.

Pros:

  • It’s the best software for photo retouching and manipulation
  • No crashes or application failures
  • Great support
  • Constantly updated and new features being added
  • Versatile uses and very customizable.

Cons:

  • User difficulty in learning how to use Photoshop to its full capacity
  • Costly subscription
  • Memory consuming.

Pricing:

The Adobe Photoshop application comes in different plans and the cost varies. You can choose a subscription-based on what plan you think is right for you.

  • Photography Plan: This plan pairs Adobe Photoshop with Adobe Lightroom for $9.99/month (with 20GB of online storage).
  • Adobe Photoshop Single App: Get the Photoshop app for $20.99/month (with 1TB of online storage).
  • Creative Cloud All Apps: This package comes with Photoshop as well as 20+ Creative cloud applications (includes illustrator, Acrobat, Premiere Pro). This plan costs $52.99/month.

I think the Photography plan for $9.99/month is the ultimate package but, of course, you are the most eligible person to decide what plan works best for you.


2. Skylum Luminar 4

Skylum Luminar 4

Skylum Luminar is a revolutionary product. It makes clever use of AI to produce perfect realistic pictures and is a brilliant choice if you’re looking for a clean interface and unique filters.

Even without its AI-backed up qualities, Skylum Luminar delivers the traditional editing options that you’d find with some other photo editing software such as local adjustments with brush and gradients, detail enhancer, and advanced contrast.

While it is also used by many professionals, Skylum Luminar is a tool that appeals mostly to Photography enthusiasts who probably do not have much of the technical know-how. ‘Leave it to the AI’ with just one click you have the power to turn an image from a regular looking photo into an AI-enhanced, jaw-dropping professional looking photograph.

An outstanding feature of Skylum Luminar which puts it up there with the greats like Adobe is the AI Sky replacement. It’s completely ingenious how easy it is to replace the sky in landscape shots so accurately and flawlessly. It’s pretty remarkable.

Key Features of Skylum Luminar Photo Editing Software:

Asides from the AI Sky replacement, Skylum Luminar has other formidable features. They include:

  • Unique filters
  • External editor
  • AI skin enhancer
  • A library module
  • Smart contrast.

Skylum Luminar System Requirements:

Can you use Skylum Luminar on your desktop? Find out the minimum and recommended system requirements for running Skylum Luminar 4 on your computer:

Minimum Skylum Luminar Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 generation or better
  • Operating System: Windows 7(64-bit), 8.1 (64-bit) or 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 8GB
  • HDD: 10GB of free space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: Open GL 3.3 or later
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Minimum Skylum Luminar Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 generation or better
  • Operating System: macOS 10.12 or higher
  • RAM: 8GB
  • HDD: 10GB of free space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: Integrated graphics card
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Skylum Luminar Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 7th generation or better
  • Operating System: Windows 7(64-bit), 8.1 (64-bit) or 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 16GB or more
  • HDD: 10GB free space with SSD as a primary drive
  • Monitor Resolution: Calibrated monitor with at least 1920 x 1200 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with 4GB+ of RAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Skylum Luminar Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 7th generation or better
  • Operating System: macOS 10.12 or higher
  • RAM: 16GB+
  • HDD: 10GB free space with SSD as a primary drive
  • Monitor Resolution: Calibrated monitor with at least 1920 x 1200 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with 4GB+ of RAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.

Pros:

  • Lots of filters
  • User-friendly interface
  • Plug-in versions available (also available on Adobe)
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use.

Cons:

  • Not very customizable interface
  • Relatively slow performance
  • Limited exporting options.

Pricing:

You can get Skylum Luminar for a one-time payment of $69. No subscription needed. There is also a 30-day money-back guarantee so feel free to try it out and if you conclude it’s not for you, a refund will be made.


3. Adobe Lightroom Classic/CC

adobe-lightroom-classic

We can’t talk about the best photo editing software without acknowledging Adobe Lightroom. Another spectacular product by Adobe, the Lightroom is a photo editing software that lays its focus on image organization and processing.

The Adobe Lightroom Classic is a desktop-only based application. Luckily, Adobe has two different versions of Lightroom; The Adobe Lightroom Classic and the Adobe Lightroom CC.

What is the difference between Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC?

The key difference is that the Lightroom CC is the Cloud-based version and is available across desktop, mobile, and web platforms while the Lightroom Classic is much more comprehensive in terms of tools and features.

Here’s a more detailed analysis of the difference between the two and how to know which one is best for you.

Both work seamlessly and are excellent photo editing software options with world-class processing features.

Key Features of Adobe Lightroom Photo Editing Software:

  • Powerful RAW file editor
  • Intuitive User Interface
  • Creative adjustment tools
  • Presets and professional filters
  •  Multiple device support and sync (for Adobe Lightroom CC).

Adobe Lightroom System Requirements:

Can you use Lightroom on your desktop? Find out the minimum and recommended system requirements for running Adobe Lightroom on your computer:

Minimum Lightroom System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel or AMD processor with 64-bit support
  • Operating System: Windows 10(64-bit) version 1903 or better
  • RAM: 8GB
  • HDD: 2GB free space plus additional space required for installment and sync
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 12 support and 2GB of RAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Minimum Lightroom System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
  • Operating System: macOS Mojave version 10.14 or better
  • RAM: 8GB
  • HDD: 2GB free space plus additional space required for installment and sync
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with metal support and 2GB of RAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Lightroom System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel or AMD processor with 64-bit support and 2GHz or faster processor
  • Operating System: Windows 10(64-bit) version 1903 or better
  • RAM: 16GB or more
  • HDD: 2GB free space plus additional space required for installment and sync
  • Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 12 support and 4GB of VRAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Lightroom System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support
  • Operating System: macOS Big Sur version 11 or macOS Catalina version 10.15
  • RAM: 16GB or more
  • HDD: 2GB free space plus additional space required for installment and sync
  • Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with metal support and 4GB of VRAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Great for RAW file editing
  • Customizable presets
  • Good integration with other applications.

Cons:

  • No plug-in support (in Lightroom CC)
  • Relatively expensive.

Pricing:

You can get the Adobe Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic in different plans and the cost varies.

  • Adobe Lightroom Classic (includes CC): Get for $9.99/month (with 1TB of online storage)
  • Photography plan: This plan pairs Adobe Lightroom with Adobe Photoshop for $9.99/month (with 20GB of online storage)
  • Creative Cloud All Apps: This package comes with Photoshop as well as 20+ Creative cloud applications (includes illustrator, Acrobat, Premiere Pro). This plan costs $52.99/month.

4. DxO Photolab 4

DxO Photolab 4-photo-editing-software

This application’s use of AI technology focuses on image noise reduction while retaining details and effortlessly converting RAW images into JPG.

With its DeepPRIME processing, Photolab takes RAW file processing to another level with extraordinary quality and sharpness.

Previously known as DxO Optics Pro, the DxO Photolab 4 comes in two versions; Essential and Elite. The Photolab Essential, as the name implies, is the cheaper version with limited tools in comparison to Elite.

Photolab might not be the go-to photo editing software for beginners or all professionals but, it’s certainly appealing to photography perfectionists and those who work with old RAW files and are looking to bring them to life.

Key Features of DxO Photolab 4 Photo Editing Software:

  • Noise Reduction with DxO DeepPRIME
  • Optical corrections
  • Updated watermarking tools
  • DxO photolab 4 photolibrary.

DxO Photolab System Requirements:

Find out the minimum and recommended system requirements for running DxO Photolab on your computer:

Minimum DxO Photolab System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 or AMD Athlon 64 x 2
  • Operating System: Windows 7 (64-bit), Windows 8.1 (64-bit), or Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 4GB
  • HDD: 4GB of free space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: Open Cl 1.2 with 1GB of VRAM that can handle OpenCL acceleration
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Minimum DxO Photolab System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 generation or better
  • Operating System: macOS 10.11(El Capitan) or 10.12 (macOS Sierra)
  • RAM: 4GB
  • HDD: 2GB of free space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: Integrated graphics card with VRAM of at least 512MB to handle GPU acceleration
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended DxO Photolab System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 or higher
  • Operating System: Windows 7 (64-bit), Windows 8.1 (64-bit), or Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 8GB or more
  • HDD: 4GB or more free space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: Open Cl 1.2 with 1GB of VRAM that can handle OpenCL acceleration
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended DxO Photolab System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5 generation or better
  • Operating System: macOS 10.11(El Capitan) or 10.12 (macOS Sierra) or 10.13 (macOS High Sierra)
  • RAM: At least 6GB recommended
  • HDD: 2GB of free space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: Integrated graphics card with VRAM of at least 1GB to handle GPU acceleration
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.

Pros:

  • Clear User Interface
  • Relatively lightweight application
  • Excellent Raw Processing
  • Doesn’t require a database.

Cons:

  • Poor customer support
  • Lacks some basic workflow tools
  • The essential version does not come with DeepPRIME.

Pricing:

As mentioned earlier, the DxO Photolab 4 comes in two versions. Their prices are as follows:

  • DxO Photolab Essential Edition: One-time payment of $129.
  • DxO Photolab Elite Edition: One-time payment of $199.

Bear in mind that the most outstanding feature of DxO Photolab 4 is the DeepPRIME which is not available in the Essential Edition amongst some other features.

If you’d like to make DxO Photolab 4 your primary photo editor, it probably would be best to go with the Elite Edition.


5. GIMP

gimp-photo-editing-software

‘GIMP’ is short for the GNU image manipulation program. With a wide variety of image editing and manipulating possibilities; GIMP is a very comprehensive and lightweight alternative for you.

Just like Photoshop, Gimp is an excellent tool for editing photos as well as digital artworks. Did I mention that it’s also free? Yes, Gimp is a free, open-source editor that is often referred to as the best free photo editing software in the world.  

Gimp is used by a lot of people, beginners and professionals alike but, I’d say it’s a great tool to start with if you’re new to photo editing before making any financial investments in a costly photo editor.

Key Features of GIMP Photo Editing Software:

  • Graphic design elements
  • Customizable interface
  • Digital retouching
  • Hardware support
  • Photo enhancement.

GIMP System Requirements:

Find out the system requirements for running GIMP 4 on your computer:

Minimum GIMP System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core 64
  • Operating System: Windows 7(32-bit or 64-bit), 8.1 (32-bit or 64-bit) or 10 (32-bit or 64-bit)
  • RAM: 250MB
  • HDD: minimum Hard disk space required
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768
  • Graphics card: minimum VRAM required
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Minimum GIMP System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
  • Operating System: macOS 10.9 (macOS Mavericks)
  • RAM: 250MB
  • HDD: minimum Hard disk space required
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: Integrated graphics card
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended GIMP System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core 64 or better
  • Operating System: Windows 7(32-bit or 64-bit), 8.1 (32-bit or 64-bit) or 10 (32-bit or 64-bit)
  • RAM: 1GB
  • HDD: minimum Hard disk space required
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768
  • Graphics card: minimum VRAM required
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended GIMP System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
  • Operating System: macOS 10.9 (macOS Mavericks) or better
  • RAM: 1GB
  • HDD: minimum Hard disk space required
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: Integrated graphics card
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.

Pros:

  • Open Source
  • Free
  • Huge range of features
  • Lightweight software.

Cons:

  • Crowded interface
  • No batch processing
  • Less user-friendly and scarce tutorials available for learning how to use.

Pricing:

Gimp is a 100% free photo editing software.


6. Corel Paintshop Pro

Corel Paintshop Pro-photo-editing-software

Paintshop Pro is to Corel as Photoshop is to Adobe. Paintshop is a budget-friendly alternative for Windows as it is unfortunately not available on other platforms (macOS, Linux).

Paintshop Pro has Photoshop-like features and although it is still lacking a few features in comparison, Corel does a good job of getting closer and closer to Photoshop with each new update.

Paintshop Pro is a pretty straightforward editing software and has a great workspace designed for photographers as well as a good assortment of vector drawing tools which make it a great choice for graphic designers and digital artists.

With new features like AI Denoise, Artifact removal, and its enhanced photography workspace, Paintshop Pro keeps getting better and is a very decent choice most especially for photography hobbyists.

Key Features of Corel Paintshop Pro Photo Editing Software:

  • Photography workspace
  • AI-enhanced presets
  • RAW image processing
  • SmartClone technology
  • 360-Degree camera support.

Corel Paintshop Pro System Requirements:

Can you use Paintshop Pro on your desktop? Find out the minimum and recommended system requirements for running Paintshop Pro on your computer:

Minimum Windows System Requirements
  • Processor: Intel Celeron G Series or AMD Phenom II and above
  • Operating System: Windows 7 (64-bit), Windows 8.1 (64-bit), or Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 4GB
  • HDD: 3GB free space required
  • Monitor Resolution: 1366 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 10 support with the latest driver
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services (Internet Explorer version 10 or higher required for browsing).
Recommended Windows System Requirements
  • Processor: Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen series and above (supports AI features)
  • Operating System: Windows 7 (64-bit), Windows 8.1 (64-bit), or Windows 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 8GB (supports AI features)
  • HDD: 4GB of free space recommended
  • Monitor Resolution: 1920 x 1080 resolution @ 100DPI
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 12 support with VGA card, recommended for GPU acceleration
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services (Internet Explorer version 10 or higher required for browsing).

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Batch processing
  • Easy to use
  • Flexible interface.

Cons:

  • Only compatible with Windows
  • Poor technical support.

Pricing:

Corel Paintshop Pro goes for a one-time payment of $79.99. There is also an ultimate version referred to as the Corel Paintshop Pro Ultimate and goes for $100.

The difference between the Paintshop Pro and the Paintshop Pro Ultimate is the additional contents which include advanced specialized tools, plug-ins, and additional picture tubes.


7. Phase One Capture One Pro

Phase One Capture One Pro-photo-editing-software

This is an all-in-one image capture, organizing, and editing software that appeals to many professional photographers. Just like most photo editing software in its category, capture one works perfectly in converting RAW files into JPEGs with the sharpest details.

Capture one is made by Phase One which is a camera company and perhaps this influences the choice in making different versions of the software for different camera brands. That means if you use a Nikon camera, you’d want the Capture One for Nikon and likewise for Sony and whichever brand you use.

Something you would notice when using the Capture One software is its image organization method. This helps with efficient file management and makes locating your photos a much less tedious process.

The control Capture One gives you to capture images, tether, organize and every process that goes into photography is what makes it a worthy alternative for professionals as opposed to other more popular software editing software like Lightroom.

Key Features of Capture One Photo Editing Software:

  • Advanced Color editing
  • Organizing and selecting tools
  • Nikon ICC profiles
  • Improved workspace
  • Before/After feature.

Capture One Photo Editing Software System Requirements:

Can you use Capture One on your desktop? Find out the minimum and recommended system requirements for running Capture One on your computer:

Minimum Capture One System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel or AMD with two cores
  • Operating System: Windows 7(64-bit), 8.1 (64-bit) or 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 8GB
  • HDD: 10GB free hard disk space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768, 24-bit resolution @ 96DPI
  • Graphics card: Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 12 support and 2GB of RAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Minimum Capture One System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core i3 generation or better
  • Operating System: macOS 10.13(High Sierra), macOS 10.14(Mac Mojave) or macOS 10.15 (macOS Catalina); builds up to 10.15.7 are supported)
  • RAM: 8GB
  • HDD: 10GB of free space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768, 24-bit resolution @ 96DPI
  • Graphics card: Integrated graphics card
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Capture One System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel CPU with four cores or more
  • Operating System: Windows 7(64-bit), 8.1 (64-bit) or 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 16GB or more
  • HDD: 10GB free space with Solid State Disk (SSD) as a primary drive
  • Monitor Resolution: Calibrated monitor with at least 1920 x 1200, 24-bit resolution @ 96DPI
  • Graphics card: Dual Graphics card from NVIDIA or AMD with GPU of 4GB+ of RAM (must be matching ie 2 Graphics cards from NVIDIA or 2 from AMD)
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Capture One System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel CPU with four cores or more
  • Operating System: macOS 10.13(High Sierra), macOS 10.14(mac Mojave) or macOS 10.15 (macOS Catalina); builds up to 10.15.7 are supported)
  • RAM: 16GB or more
  • HDD: 10GB free space with Solid State Disk (SSD) as a primary drive
  • Monitor Resolution: Calibrated monitor with at least 1920 x 1200, 24-bit resolution @ 96DPI
  • Graphics card: Dual Graphics card from NVIDIA or AMD with GPU of 4GB+ of RAM (must be matching ie 2 Graphics cards from NVIDIA or 2 from AMD)
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.

Pros:

  • Great raw file rendering
  • Superior image files management
  • Top-notch basic color editor
  • Supports multiple image formats.

Cons:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Complex interface
  • Only available on desktop.

Pricing:

The Capture One software is available in different plans based on what camera you use.

  • Capture One Pro for all major cameras goes for $20/month.
  • Capture One for Sony goes for $9.99/month.
  • Capture One for Fujifilm goes for $9.99/month.
  • Capture One for Nikon goes for $9.99/month.

If you’re a student, going with the Capture One Pro for all major cameras is a great choice as you will receive a 65% discount. That’s a pretty sweet deal most especially for Sony or Fujifilm shooters.


8. ACDSee Ultimate

ACDSee Ultimate-photo-editing-software

This is an all-in-one photo editor that is simple and relatively new in comparison to others on this list. While it may not be the best when it comes to RAW file editing, it is definitely a tool to consider for photo organizing, editing, and manipulation.

A feature that gives ACDSee quite an edge is the mobile sync feature. This makes it possible to sync your photos from your mobile phone directly to ACDSee and creates a seamless workflow for you if you require often the movement of files from your mobile phone to your desktop.

ACDSee applies non-destructive tools and effects to developing your images and makes use of Facial detection and Facial recognition that adds to the organization of your images by identifying human faces in your photos and grouping them together.

A new additional feature to this is the option to import face data from other editing software like Lightroom and ACDSee’s Facial recognition will find the matching faces in your database. This way, you can use a tool like Lightroom for your heavyweight editing and import to ACDSee for organization.

Key Features of ACDSee Ultimate Photo Editing Software:

  • Facial detection and Facial recognition
  • Parametric color
  • HDR merging
  • Focus stacking
  • Cloud access.

ACDSee Ultimate Photo Editing Software System Requirements:

What is the system requirement for ACDSee Ultimate? Find out below:

Minimum ACDSee Ultimate System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel or AMD processor with 64-bit support
  • Operating System: Windows 7(64-bit), 8(64-bit), 8.1 (64-bit) or 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 2GB
  • HDD: 2GB of free space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 10 compatibility with at least 512MB VRAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Minimum ACDSee Ultimate System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core processor
  • Operating System: macOS 10., 10.8, 10.9, 10.10, 10.11
  • RAM: 1GB
  • HDD: GB free space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 10 compatibility with at least 512MB VRAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended ACDSee Ultimate System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core i3 or better
  • Operating System: Windows 7(64-bit), 8.1 (64-bit) or 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 6GB or more
  • HDD: 2GB free space with SSD as a primary drive
  • Monitor Resolution: Calibrated monitor with at least 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 12 compatibility with at least 512MB VRAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended ACDSee Ultimate System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core i3 or better
  • Operating System: macOS 10.9 or higher
  • RAM: 2GB+
  • HDD: 2GB free space with SSD as a primary drive
  • Monitor Resolution: Calibrated monitor with at least 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 12 compatibility with at least 512MB VRAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.

Pros:

  • Cloud storage integration
  • Online support
  • Customizable interface
  • Fast database statistics
  • Lightweight application.

Cons:

  • Overwhelming interface
  • Cloud services require extra cost
  • Quality of end product isn’t always spot on.

Pricing:

ACDSee Ultimate’s subscription starts at $8.90/month (or $89 per annum). You can also purchase the lifetime license for a price of $89.95; this includes 1year of free updates and technical support.


9. ON1 Photo RAW

ON1 Photo RAW-photo-editing-software

ON1 Photo RAW is a ‘hassle-free’, professional photo editor. It boasts a robust amount of high-quality filters and when it comes to performance, one of its strengths is speed.

ON1 Photo RAW is developed and designed by photographers and that enables it to be a software that provides what you need as a photographer.

It’s easy to use and its’ interface is simplistic and built to ensure your workflow is efficient.

ON1 Photo RAW provides support for over 800+ cameras and is available as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom, Corel Paintshop Pro, Affinity photos, and Apple photos.

It might not be a strong competition to industry-standard products like Photoshop but, it definitely is one of the best Photoshop plug-ins for editing portraits. If you can’t beat em’, join em’.

Key Features of ON1 Photo RAW Photo Editing Software:

  • Spot healing brush
  • ON1 Portrait AI
  • Smart organize
  • RAW file processing
  • Batch processing for HDR and Pano.

ON1 Photo RAW Photo Editing Software System Requirements

Can you use ON1 Photo RAW on your desktop? Find out the minimum and recommended system requirements for running ON1 Photo RAW on your computer:

Minimum ON1 Photo RAW System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo, Xeon or better
  • Operating System: Windows 7(64-bit), 8.1 (64-bit) or 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 4GB
  • HDD: 1.5GB of free space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 720 resolution (100% scale factor)
  • Graphics card: Open GL 3.3 or later
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Minimum ON1 Photo RAW System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo, Xeon or better
  • Operating System: macOS 10.12, macOS 10.13, 10.14
  • RAM: 4GB
  • HDD: 1.5GB of free space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 720 resolution (100% scale factor)
  • Graphics card: Open GL 3.3 or later
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended ON1 Photo RAW System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5, Xeon or better
  • Operating System: Windows 7(64-bit), 8.1 (64-bit) or 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 8GB or more
  • HDD: 2GB free disk space
  • Monitor Resolution: Calibrated monitor with at least 1280 x 800 resolution (100% scale factor)
  • Graphics card: Open GL 3.3 compatible with 512MB VRAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended ON1 Photo RAW System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core i5, Xeon or better
  • Operating System: mac0S 10.13, macOS 10.14, macOS 10.15
  • RAM: 8GB or more
  • HDD: 2GB free disk space
  • Monitor Resolution: Calibrated monitor with at least 1280 x 800 resolution (100% scale factor)
  • Graphics card: Open GL 3.3 compatible with 512MB VRAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Mobile App Requirement
  • Android Users: Android 7(Nougat) or higher version (64-bit only)
  • Apple Product Users: iPhone or iPad with iOS 12.3 or higher.

Pros:

  • High-quality filters
  • Speedy performance
  • Intuitive interface
  • Available to download on any device
  • Plugin for major photo editors.

Cons:

  • High spec computers required
  • No face recognition
  • Relatively weak RAW photo rendering.

Pricing:

Like many photo editing software, ON1 Photo RAW offers different plans. In this case, there are 3:

  • ON1 Photo RAW software:  Get this for a one-time payment of $99.99. It can be used by as many as 5 users.
  • Monthly subscription: This goes for $15.99/month and comes with ON1 360; a cloud-based companion of the ON1 Photo RAW. With this subscription, you’re also eligible for all the latest software updates and 1TB of cloud storage.
  • Annual subscription: This goes for $89.99/annum. This also comes with ON1 360 and 1TB of cloud storage.

10. Fotor

Fotor-photo-editing-software

Fotor is an easily accessible, user-friendly, and free photo editing software. It’s mostly ideal for hobbyists, designers, social media advertisers, and the likes so it’s not particularly the go-to choice for a professional photographer or photography student.

Powerful, feature-packed, and very simplistic, Fotor is a great choice for you if you’re looking for an easy to use, basic editor. It’s also an online photo editor and has great graphic design tools.

Fotor is a cross-platform editor; available on every major mobile and desktop platform and they pay major attention to user interaction.

If you’re looking for a friendly community of growing photographers and designers, Fotor could be the ideal photo editing software for you.

Key Features of Fotor Photo Editing Software:

  • RAW file processing.
  • Basic and advanced HDR tech.
  • Wide range of filters.
  • Variety of collage templates.
  • Background remover.

Fotor Photo Editing Software System Requirements:

Can you use Fotor on your desktop? Find out the minimum and recommended system requirements for running Fotor on your computer:

Minimum Fotor System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Pentium IV or above.
  • Operating System: Windows 7(32 or 64-bit), 8.1 (32 or 64-bit) or 10 (32 or 64-bit) or XP.
  • RAM: 512MB.
  • HDD: 100 MB of free space required for installation.
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution.
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 10 support.
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Minimum Fotor System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Pentium IV, 64-bit processor.
  • Operating System: macOS 10.7 or above.
  • RAM: 512MB.
  • HDD: 100MB of free space required for installation.
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution.
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 10 support.
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Minimum Fotor System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Pentium IV, with 1GHz CPU or faster
  • Operating System: Windows 7(32 or 64-bit), 8.1 (32 or 64-bit) or 10 (32 or 64-bit) or XP
  • RAM: 2GB
  • HDD: 3GB of free space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 10 support
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Minimum Fotor System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Pentium IV, with 1GHz CPU or faster
  • Operating System: mac 10.10(Yosemite) or higher
  • RAM: 2GB
  • HDD: 3GB of free space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 10 support
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Free
  • Fast performance
  • Perfect for beginners.

Cons:

  • Lack of many advanced tools thus, might not be the best choice for a photographer that is into professional and advanced photo editing.
  • Lots of ads.

Pricing:

Fotor is completely free although there is a paid version called Fotor Pro which goes for $8.99/month. If you’re wondering, Is Fotor Pro worth it?

Well, the only difference between the regular, free Fotor and the Fotor Pro is that the Pro doesn’t come with all the ads and it also has more advanced and professional editing features.


11. Cyberlink PhotoDirector

Photodirector-photo-editing-software

This is a workflow and editing software that gives you exclusive AI tools, access to a massive collection of plug-ins and is a great option for beginner as well as professional photographers.

Its’ raw file processing abilities are quite impressive and it offers a clearly laid out interface. Though it has fewer editing tools, its’ guided edits make it easy to apply changes to your image in only a few minutes.

Key Features of Cyberlink PhotoDirector Photo Editing Software:

  • De-blur tools.
  • Photoshop-like layer options.
  • Improved LUT support.
  • Tethered shooting support.
  • Noise reduction features.

Cyberlink PhotoDirector Photo Editing Software System Requirements:

Can you use Cyberlink PhotoDirector on your desktop? Find out the minimum and recommended system requirements for running Cyberlink PhotoDirector on your computer:

Minimum PhotoDirector System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core i-series or AMD Phenom II
  • Operating System: Windows 7(32 or 64-bit), 8.1 (32 or 64-bit) or 10 (32 or 64-bit)
  • RAM: 2GB
  • HDD: 1GB of free space required for application installation and documentation
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: 128MB VRAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Minimum PhotoDirector System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core i-series or AMD Phenom II
  • Operating System: macOS 10.9 and higher
  • RAM: 2GB
  • HDD: 1GB of free space required for application installation and documentation
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: 128MB VRAM
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended PhotoDirector System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 or AMD Phenom II X4 and above
  • Operating System: Windows 7(64-bit), 8.1 (64-bit) or 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 6GB+
  • HDD: 1GB of free space required for application installation and documentation
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: 1GB VRAM  and openCL compatible
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended PhotoDirector System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 or AMD Phenom II X4 and above
  • Operating System: mac 10.10 and above
  • RAM: 6GB+
  • HDD: 1GB of free space required for application installation and documentation
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: 1GB VRAM  and openCL compatible
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Advanced HDR effects
  • Effective noise reduction
  • Improved color replacement.

Cons:

  • No face detection and recognition
  • Insufficient lens-profile corrections.

Pricing:

Get Cyberlink for a one-time payment of $99.99. You can also get it as part of a Cyberlink package called Director Suite.

This gives for $29.99 per month and comes with all of Cyberlink’s media software which includes Cyberlink PowerDirector, all plug-ins, and 100GB of cloud storage.


12. PicMonkey

picmonkey-photo-editing-software

PicMonkey is a well-known photo editor that many consider a Photoshop alternative. PicMonkey is not only a photo editor but also an excellent design application.

It is powerful yet easy to use and is optimized for the best user experience. PicMonkey also has an open API to enable developers to integrate its tools into the website and is recognized as one of the most affordable online services for startups according to Times magazine.

Key Features of PicMonkey Photo Editing Software:

  • Layers feature
  • Primo touch-up tools
  • Wide range of filters and effects
  • Mobile app
  • Collaboration.

PicMonkey Photo Editing Software System Requirements:

Can you use PicMonkey on your desktop? Find out the minimum and recommended system requirements for running PicMonkey on your computer:

Minimum PicMonkey System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core i-series or AMD Phenom II.
  • Operating System: Windows 7 or later.
  • RAM: 2GB.
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution.
  • Graphics card: negligible.
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Minimum PicMonkey System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core i-series or AMD Phenom II
  • Operating System: macOS 10.9 and higher.
  • RAM: 2GB
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: Negligible.
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended PicMonkey System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 or AMD Phenom II X4 and above
  • Operating System: Windows 7(64-bit), 8.1 (64-bit) or 10 (64-bit)
  • RAM: 6GB+
  • HDD: 1GB of free space required for application installation and documentation
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: 1GB VRAM  and openCL compatible
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended PicMonkey System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 or AMD Phenom II X4 and above
  • Operating System: mac 10.10 and above
  • RAM: 6GB+
  • HDD: 1GB of free space required for application installation and documentation
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: 1GB VRAM and openCL compatible
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Free extensions
  • Perfect for beginners.

Cons:

  • Exports require payment
  • Sometimes buggy.

Pricing:

PicMonkey is available in three different plans:

  • Basic plan: Goes for $7.99/month
  • Pro plan: Goes for $12.99/month
  • Team plan: Goes for $33.99/month.

13. Canva

canva-photo-editing-software

Canva is a super user-friendly photo editor that offers a variety of templates, filters, and basic editing tools to transform your photos with ease.

Easy to navigate and with great collaboration options, Canva is suitable for teams and individuals who may not be professional photographers but find themselves having to edit photos, graphics, and so on, for work purposes.

Key Features of Canva Photo Editing Software:

  • Photo enhancement
  • Filters
  • Snapchat geofilter templates
  • Fonts library
  • Stock vectors and photographs.

Canva Photo Editing Software System Requirements:

Can you use Canva on your desktop? Find out the minimum and recommended system requirements for running Canva on your computer:

Minimum Canva System Requirements
  • Processor: 2GHz processor or faster
  • Operating System: Windows 7(32 or 64-bit) or newer and macOS 10.10 or newer
  • RAM: 1GB RAM or more
  • HDD: 8GB or more
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 10 support
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.

Pros:

  • Intuitive interface
  • Variety of templates and fonts
  • User-friendly.

Cons:

  • Limited library and features.

Pricing:

Canva comes in three different plans.

  • Free plan: Get Canva for free!
  • Pro plan: Get Canva for $12.95 per month. Can be used by up to 5 people and comes with 100GB of cloud storage.
  • Enterprise plan: Get Canva for $30 per month. Can be used by only one person and comes with unlimited cloud storage.

14. Exposure

Exposure-photo-editing-software

Exposure just like many photo editors is used for photo enhancement, RAW file processing, and creating beautiful images efficiently.

Exposure is popular for being a great plug-in for Photoshop. To use it as a plug-in you’d need a Photoshop CC 2015 version or higher. It is also used as a Lightroom plug-in for Adobe Lightroom CC 2015 or higher.

Either way, Exposure is a creative photo editor capable of various photo editing techniques and can be acquired with a one-time payment.

Key Features of Exposure Photo Editing Software:

  • 3D Color masking
  • Complete edit history
  • Look Up Table (LUT) support
  • Infrared tools
  • Nondestructive layers.

Exposure Photo Editing Software System Requirements:

Can you use Exposure on your desktop? Find out the minimum and recommended system requirements for running Exposure on your computer:

Minimum Exposure System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 processor or compatible
  • Operating System: Windows 7(32 or 64-bit), 8.1 (32 or 64-bit) or 10 (32 or 64-bit)
  • RAM: 8GB
  • HDD: 1GB
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution.
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 10 support.
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Minimum Exposure System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 processor or compatible.
  • Operating System: macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or newer.
  • RAM: 8GB.
  • HDD: 1GB.
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution.
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 10 support.
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Exposure System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 processor or compatible.
  • Operating System: Windows 7(32 or 64-bit), 8.1 (32 or 64-bit) or 10 (32 or 64-bit).
  • RAM: 16GB.
  • HDD: 1GB.
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution.
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 10 support.
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Exposure System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 processor or compatible
  • Operating System: macOS Yosemite or higher
  • RAM: 16GB
  • HDD: 1GB
  • Monitor Resolution: 1280 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: GPU with DirectX 10 support
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Friendly interface
  • Fast image import and export
  • Fast technical support.

Cons:

  • No face detection
  • No auto-correction tools.

Pricing:

You can either buy Exposure as a stand-alone application or in the Exposure bundle. The cost are as follows:

  • Exposure X6: Buy for $109.00
  • Exposure bundle: Buy for $124.00.

15. Pixlr Editor

PIXLR-photo-editing-software

Pixlr is a popular online photo editor that is a great choice for you for basic image editing and the creation of social media images.

It’s free, lightweight, and is available online, as a web-based application, and also as an application on mobile phones.

This app is a perfect starter app and has a simply laid out interface that makes it easy for small business owners, freelance artists, and anyone really to edit your photos.

Although it lacks some advanced features, Pixlr’s cost-effectiveness and friendly interface make it a favorite among many.

Key Features of Pixlr Editor Photo Editing Software:

  • Image retouching
  • Vector graphics
  • Pre-built templates
  • Digital linking.

Pixlr Editor Photo Editing Software System Requirements:

Can you use Pixlr Editor on your desktop? Find out the minimum and recommended system requirements for running Pixlr Editor on your computer:

Minimum Pixlr Editor System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: 1GHz processor or better.
  • Operating System: Windows 7(32 or 64-bit), 8.1 (32 or 64-bit) or 10 (32 or 64-bit) or XP
  • RAM: 512MB for 32-bit PCs, 1GB for 64-bit PCs.
  • HDD: 450MB free disk space.
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: Open GL 2.0 with 128VRAM compatibility.
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Minimum Pixlr Editor System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: 1GHz processor or better.
  • Operating System: macOS 7 and above.
  • RAM: 512MB for 32-bit PCs, 1GB for 64-bit PCs.
  • HDD: 450MB free disk space.
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution.
  • Graphics card: Open GL 2.0 with 128VRAM compatibility.
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Pixlr Editor System Requirements (Windows)
  • Processor: 1GHz processor or better
  • Operating System: Windows 7(32 or 64-bit), 8.1 (32 or 64-bit) or 10 (32 or 64-bit) or XP
  • RAM: 1GB for 32-bit PCs, 2GB for 64-bit PCs
  • HDD: 1GB free disk space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: Open GL 2.0 with 128VRAM compatibility
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.
Recommended Pixlr Editor System Requirements (macOS)
  • Processor: 1GHz processor or better
  • Operating System: macOS 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher
  • RAM: 1GB for 32-bit PCs, 2GB for 64-bit PCs
  • HDD: 1GB free disk space
  • Monitor Resolution: 1024 x 768 resolution
  • Graphics card: Open GL 2.0 with 128VRAM compatibility
  • Internet: Broadband Internet required for registration, software activation, and access to online services.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Versatile and fast weight
  • Fast performance
  • Perfect for beginners.

Cons:

  • Lack of many advanced tools thus, might not be the best choice for a photographer that is into professional and advanced photo editing.
  • No drawing tool.

Pricing:

You can use the Pixlr Editor for free and even without creating an account.


What is Photo Editing and Why it is needed?

what-is-photo-editing -softwaretools

A simple and straightforward definition of photo editing would be that it’s the act of altering an image. Photo editing is a series of processes involved in the fine-tuning and yes, oftentimes manipulation of an image.

We are all familiar, to an extent how photo editing works as there are in-built photo editing tools in many mobile phone and desktop applications. Using this idea, however, does not do justice in conveying how complex and broad photo editing is.

Why is photo editing so important? You might ask. Well, even though you might not be the one actively involved in the editing of your photos, as a professional, your work is barely complete without some type of editing.

Photo editing is necessary for creation and development of a photographic project.

Below, I’ve highlighted a couple of reasons why image editing is important to you:

  • Old Photo Restoration: Digital cameras weren’t always as accurate as they are now and certainly you were aware that a few decades ago there weren’t even any phone cameras. Why get rid of old photos when with the help of sharp photo editing software, you could convert them to sharp JPEGS and have them looking good as new. This is one often-overlooked reason why photo editing is absolutely needed; to preserve our memories in better colors.
  • For your business: Flyers, graphic designs, digital art, and virtually any product that is used for advertising all over social media. Even the photos in this article are edited! Photo editing can drive the growth of your business as it’s a tool that you can use to make your images look more appealing and eye-catching. I know I click on a lot of stuff online solely because the images look so good. Hint hint.
  • Retouching images: This reason is a common one you’d hear amongst actual photographers but, it happens to everyone every now and then. Ever taken a photo that is otherwise perfect with the exception of a minor flaw like acne or wrinkles, looking too pale, etc. Of course, you are perfect as you are but, there are some professions that actually require image flawlessness like modeling. As a professional photographer, mostly one who deals mainly with portrait photography, you probably know how essential photo retouching is.
  • Image Manipulation: Think about some of the eye-catching, super realistic, unreal art that you have seen while surfing the internet and think about how those images were achievable. Two words; Image manipulation. This is one reason why Photoshop is so popular amongst photographers and graphics designers as well.

Every single day we are patronized by high quality, digitally enhanced images; on social media, in magazines, on television, everywhere.

In the present world we live in, photography has advanced and keeps advancing to a whole new level and photo editing is one of those things that have evolved alongside it.


What are the Types of Photo Editing?

types of photo-editing-softwaretools

Photo editing can be simple and straightforward to execute. There are various techniques that require fewer tools and can be done very quickly. As simple as it could be, advanced photo editing still poses to be a rather complicated task.

If you’re overwhelmed by the possibilities of photo editing and manipulation; here are a couple of techniques and styles that bring end products that look like different types of Photo editing.

  • HDR: High dynamic range is an editing technique that is commonly used in landscape photography and architectural photography. HDR eliminates shadows and produces a brighter end product with more contrast. Although HDR isn’t always ideal for some photos like portrait photography, you should try it out with Landscapes, photos taken in low light, or if the scene appears too bright like a photo taken in bright sunshine.
  • Vintage Editing Style: For achieving this look, you will need to adjust the tone curve, apply some basic editing features like increasing warmth, increasing shadows, and also adding the white border of a Polaroid photo. This style is perfect for portraits, architectural photography, and even events photography like weddings.
  • Monochrome Edit: A monochromatic edit contains different tones of one specific color of a photo. It could be black and white with several shades of neutral gray in between or even represented in colors like red, purple, or blue. You should consider using filters like graduated neutral density (GND) or solid neutral density (ND) and features like split toning and HSL to achieve a perfect monochrome photo.
  • Infrared Photo Effect: Although there are ways to capture Infrared photos in the cameras, the look is also achievable with the help of photo editing software like Photoshop. With the use of hue and saturation features and adjusting the contrast of your image, you can edit your regular photos to look like an infrared image.
  • High-Contrast Edit: This brings a certain realness and edge to your images. Getting this look isn’t just about increasing the contrast, applying curves and selective color adjustment should also be taken into consideration.

What is a Photo Editing Software?

what-is-a-photo-editor


Now that you know what photo editing Is and just how much of a significant role it plays in modern-day photography and digital art development, it’s time to know what tool is used to achieve these photo edits.

As you’ve rightly guessed, photo editing software is the tool used to manipulate or alter images. Typical photo editing software applies these changes to already taken photos although, photo editors like capture one are ideal for capture too. This software many times can be used on mobile phones, tablets, and desktops.

Photo editing software performs a plethora of operations through basic techniques like Saturation, Cropping, and Exposure, to advanced techniques like background removal, layering, and 3D design.

Popular photo editing software includes Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, and Paintshop Pro while popular free photo editing software includes GIMP, Fotor, and Canva.


Should You Go For Free or Paid Photo Editors? Which Way to Go?

Choosing your preferred Photo editing software is a very delicate procedure. There are a lot of things to take into consideration and one of them is the pricing. It’s not necessarily about the price tag but the fact that it is an investment.

There are free photo editing software that are equally powerful and good options. If you are a photography hobbyist, enthusiast, or non-committed designer, you should definitely invest your time first in a free photo editing software.

Photo editors like Gimp might be overwhelming to navigate at first but, worth it in the end. Fotor as well as Pixlr Editor are also great choices.

The thing is, most of the industry-standard photo editors are paid and in some situations, unavoidable. As a student, going with a paid top-notch software like Photoshop or Paintshop Pro might be a good idea since they have student discounts.

For professional photographers and designers, these paid photo editors are definitely worth the investment and provide every single tool you’d need to personalize your work and give you the confidence that your end products are at the best quality that they can be.

To summarize, go with Free photo editing software if:

  • You’re a photography hobbyist or beginner
  • You only need a tool for basic editing.

Go with a paid photo editing software if:

  • You are a photography student
  • You are a professional photographer
  • You deal with advanced editing and graphics design.

All About Online Photo Editing Software

Purchasing or subscribing to photo editing software can be a good idea depending on your needs. However, for the uncommitted photographer who is only looking to edit photos by yourself on occasion, an online photo editing software might be best for you.

An ideal online photo editor should have all the basic editing features you would expect like filters, watermarking tools, photo retouching features, etc.

It’s a great alternative for hobbyists, bloggers even designers that are looking to create quick amazing artworks and photos.

There is a variety of them so, what is the best online photo editor?

Currently, there are a few online photo editors that stand out and are all viable for the top. Here’s a concise list that highlights some of the best:

  • GIMP
  • Pixlr
  • PicMonkey
  • Fotor
  • Befunky
  • Design Wizard.

Online editing is usually a fast alternative to installing an application and it can be really helpful and hassle-free.


Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ on Photo Editing

Question:  I’m new to photography and editing, what software is best for me?

Answer: An ideal photo editing software for a beginner should be something easy to navigate and with tutorials and guides available to make it all less overwhelming for you. On that note, I think going with Adobe Lightroom is a great choice for you. It comes with a free version for 30-days so if within then you decide it’s not for you, you might try software that is free and perfect for all your basic editing; like Fotor.

Question: What photo editing software do most photographers use?

Answer: Adobe Photoshop is the most used photo editing software by professionals. Other most commonly used photo editing software is Adobe Lightroom and Skylum Luminar with GIMP and Canva being the most commonly used free photo editing software.

Question: Can I use Photoshop on my phone?

Answer: Yes, the Adobe Photoshop app is available on iOS, Android, and Windows phones as well as tablets. From Adobe Photoshop Fix, Adobe Photoshop Mix to Adobe Photoshop Express, there are various versions of Photoshop available for you on your phone and they are all free!

Question: Can I use Lightroom without internet?

Answer: Yes, Lightroom will work offline. Just make sure the file you want to edit is saved offline on your computer and of course, Cloud-based features will be unavailable while offline.

Question: What is the best free photo editing software?

Answer: In terms of comprehension and availability of advanced tools, GIMP is the best free photo editing software however, if you’re looking for something with a  more user-friendly interface for lightweight editing then you might want to consider other photo editing software like Fotor or Pixlr Editor.


Summary

I’d like to begin the end of this ultimate guide by debunking a statement I made in the Introduction; Elon Musk doesn’t have awesome, highly enhanced photos on Instagram. He’s not even on Instagram! But if he were, his social media manager would definitely make use of one of the photo editing software listed in this article.

Photo editing is an essential and vital part of photography today and it is also integrated into other parts of our daily lives like creating advertisements, posting on social media, and even just renewing old photos.

This article highlights 15 out of many incredible photo editing software and one of them is guaranteed to meet your editing needs.

Feel free to bookmark this post and revisit whenever you’re challenged with choosing the best photo editing software for you or your next project.

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