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17 Best Photo Editing Software for Photographers

by Alexandra Bateman on Mar 9, 2020

Do you want professional photo editing software on Mac or Windows so that you can perfect your photos? Whether your a beginner or a pro, editing your photos before uploading them to your photography website is essential. In this guide, we will share the best photo editing software for photographers.

The best photo editing software can help to bring focus to an image, highlight your key subjects and transform an average picture into something truly incredible.

But the question for most photographers is how to choose the right editing software to supplement their skills.

There are countless different options out there to choose from, from better-known systems like Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom to simple but effective choices like Canva. There’s even some great free options, too.

So, in today’s post we’re going to answer the question “What is the best photo editing software for photographers?” by looking at:

  • Top-rated software on the market (free and paid)
  • Features of each software
  • How you can use the software

Let’s get started!

Why Should You Edit Your Photos?

Editing your photos not only brings out their beauty, but it also helps in reducing the file size. Smaller images files will help increase the speed of your WordPress site and improve your search engine rankings.

Having an intuitive and easy-to-use photo editing software can help you edit your photos quickly and take them to the next level.

So, let’s take a look at some of the best photo editing software available online.

1. Adobe Lightroom

Adobe Lightroom

Adobe is truly the gold-standard when it comes to image editing software. If Photoshop comes off as too complex and cumbersome, then you’re sure to love all the incredible effects you can accomplish with Adobe Lightroom. Lightroom allows you to edit your pics in a straightforward, intuitive interface with a host of fantastic features, including:

  • Face detection for photo organization
  • Camera and lens-based corrections
  • Brush and gradient adjustments
  • Fixing and blurring tools
  • Presets and professional filters
  • Customizable sliders
  • Multiple device support and sync

You can get Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop together here in Adobe’s Creative Cloud Plan.

If you choose to edit in Lightroom, you’ll be happy to know that Envira Gallery and our Adobe Lightroom to WordPress integration allow you to easily sync your Lightroom photo galleries with your website.

2. Skylum Luminar

Skylum Luminar envira gallery

For many reasons, Luminar has quickly grown to become one of the the most popular editing tools for professional photographers around the world. For one, you pay a one time flat fee for the program. Unlike Adobe and other software companies, Skylum doesn’t have monthly subscriptions.

Luminar is a one-stop shop for photo editing that can be used by itself or as a plugin in with Lightroom, Photoshop and even Apple Photos.

Also, Luminar has gained popularity for its AI slider, which does an automatic quick fix for everything from brightening, clarifying, toning and other basic adjustments. Overall, Luminar is a strong professional grade contender to Adobe’s products.

Skylum Luminar features include:

  • AI Editor/Slider
  • Exclusive filters like Sunrays filter (which lets you add realistic looking sun rays to your images), top and bottom lighting filter and Orton filter (made famous by the Lord of the Rings and blurs parts of the image while focusing in on others)
  • Adjustment Layers
  • Image Layers
  • Dedicated presets for DJI drone photos

Get $10 off Luminar now.

3. Adobe Photoshop

best photo editing software for photographers

It’s hard to write an article about the best photo editing software for photographers without giving Adobe Photoshop a well-deserved mention. For artists, illustrators, and designers around the world, Photoshop is their go-to editing tool.

Photoshop’s masking, retouching and layering tools are still some of the most compelling on the market, though it’s fair to say that this tool might not be best for the odd “basic” touchup, which would be best left for Lightroom. This program is designed for professionals that need all the bells and whistles.

Features include:

  • Sophisticated touch-up and retouching features
  • Extensive filters and brushes
  • Multi-layer editing
  • 3D design functionality
  • Pro editing tools
  • Best-known photography software

You can get Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop together here in Adobe’s Creative Cloud Plan.

Don’t know whether you need Photoshop or Lightroom? Check out our guide: Lightroom vs Photoshop: Which is the Best Solution

4. Capture One

best photo editing software for photographers

Capture One is a RAW image editor made by the camera company, Phase One. It is similar to the other software on this list, but with some solid distinctions.

With Capture One, you get:

  • Interface customizability – You can change the program’s layout to your liking and even create and modify keyboard shortcuts.
  • Layers – Not all editing tools have layers, and some will start lagging with too many. Capture One doesn’t exhibit this sluggishness despite offering many adjustments you can make on each layer.
  • Advanced Color Editing – Much more flexibility with sliders adjusting the granularity of color changes (even for the same colors).
  • Annotations – Make notes for your self or to streamline collaborations.
  • Speed – When handling large volumes of pictures over 20 megapixel RAW files, Capture one has shown to operate at a much better performance than the professional heavyweight contenders in this space.
  • Option to pay a one time flat fee – While there is a monthly plan, which is double the cost of Adobe Creative Cloud’s Plan, you do have the option to flat out purchase Capture One for a one time cost.

Get Capture One now.

5. ON1 Photo RAW

best photo editing software for photographers

ON1 Photo RAW is a complete photo editing software that you can try for free.

Not only is Photo RAW easy to download and install, but it comes with literally hundreds of presets, stackable filters and other solutions that you can use to enhance your pictures in no time. Additionally, ON1 Effects can be used on any operating system.

You will get 170 effects with photo editing, brushes, and masking tools. There’s even an add-on available for Lightroom, Aperture, and Photoshop too!

Features include:

  • Stackable filters
  • Custom presets
  • Textures and borders
  • Live adjustments and previews
  • Available to download on any device
  • Selectively apply effects option

Try ON1 RAW today.

6. Corel PaintShop Pro

best photo editing software for photographers corel paintshop pro

Corel PaintShop Pro is easily one of the most straightforward photo editing software options online for people who want a simple but effective approach to upgrading their images. Though it might not be the most advanced tool in the market at first glance, it comes with everything you need to take your images to the next level without breaking the bank.

Like some other software, it requires a flat one time fee, which starts around $60.  For that price, you gain access to dozens of textures, backgrounds, and brushes to choose from. And, the app adds new features all the time.

Current features include:

  • AI enhanced presets
  • 360-degree photo editing
  • Fantastic user experience
  • Graphic design templates
  • Photo editing options like blur and fix
  • Learning tutorials

Get Corel PaintShop Pro now.

7. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is a newer contender in the photo editing arena and hasn’t been on most professionals’ radars until recently. It’s an all-in-one photography software solution that can do everything you need within a simplistic interface.

There are some strong noteworthy features worth mentioning over market competitors:

  • No Importing – Directly edit source files from your drives and bypass importing the files.
  • Facial Recognition – The name says it all. A solid method of organizing and indexing images.
  • One time purchase price and monthly options.

Get ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate now.

8. Gimp


GIMP is a free professional photo editing software that’s easy to download and install on your computer. It has multiple features which help you with retouching photos, photo composition and picture enhancement. It also includes a built-in file manager.

Even more, you can create image authority with GIMP. It works great on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. And you can edit photos of all formats.

Because it comes with a range of features that help with things like photo composition and image retouching, many photographers consider GIMP to be a great entry-level alternative to Photoshop and Lightroom.

Features include:

  • Photo enhancements like corrective mode and vignette
  • File management and optimization modes
  • Digital Retouching
  • Clone and touch-up tools
  • Support for multiple plugins

Get GIMP now.

9. Canva


Canva is a simple graphic design software with a huge following. It operates on a freemium model and comes with multiple photo editing tools and products.

Unlike some other editing software, you can download Canva on your mobile phone and edit your photos instantly. The Canva Marketplace has tons of templates, photos, cards and icons that make your life easy in creating visual content for your site or blog.

Canva allows you to adjust various elements of your images with a simple drag-and-drop editor, as well as add fonts and templates to your pictures if you want to use them on your website.

Features include:

  • Over 8,000 templates
  • Photo blur and vignette
  • Image cropping and straightening
  • Image transparency tool
  • Design grids and photo frames
  • Stickers and badges
  • Add texture
  • Speech bubble maker
  • Photo enhancer

Try Canva now.

10. PicMonkey


PicMonkey is a complete graphic design package that allows you to edit photos, make collages, touch up, crop and more. It will help you develop your design skills and bring out your creativity to easily edit your images.

With a free trial, you can test out all of PicMonkey’s unique features before you make any purchases. Try using PicMonkey to edit your photos using specific templates or arrange your images into a college.

And, plans start at only $7.99/mo, which makes PicMonkey one of the cheapest photo editing options on the market.

Features include:

  • Basic Filters
  • Collage effects
  • Templates
  • Blank canvas design
  • Automatic sizing for social media

You can also print photos, cards, canvases and more from PicMonkey directly.

Get PicMonkey now.

11. Pixlr Editor


Although you can download a desktop or mobile app if you prefer, the Pixlr Editor is another great online photo editing software alternative. There’s even the option to upgrade to “Pixlr X” if you’re looking for a more advanced editing option.

Like Photoshop, Pixlr allows you to add images to blank canvases, create unique effects, and add filters on-the-go.

Features include:

  • Over 2 million free effects
  • Filters and overlays
  • Creative editing app
  • Mobile and desktop downloads or web interface
  • Various Pixlr versions to choose from

Get Pixlr now.

12. Snappa

Snappa is an online graphics and design software available online for photographers who want to transform their images into something more.

Maybe you’re looking to convert your pictures into social media banners, or photos for your blog. Snappa will help you to transform your images by adding new dimensions and effects with ease. And, you don’t even have to download anything to get started.

Features include:

  • Drag and drop photo editing
  • Image dimension templates
  • Available stock photos
  • Add graphics and texts in seconds
  • Share graphics on social media

Get Snappa now.

13. PortraitPro


PortraitPro is a professional image editor designed for photographers who specialize in portraits.

The application includes everything you might need to edit skin tone, remove blemishes or wrinkles from your subject’s face, add makeup and more. Also, it allows you to add effects to fix things like poor lighting or get rid of sagging cheeks.

Features include:

  • Advanced layering options
  • Skin smoothing
  • Wrinkle Remover
  • Makeup tools
  • Award-winning editing using sliders

Get PortraitPro now.

14. Fotor

best photo editing software for photographers fotor

Fotor is a famous cloud-based photo editing software boasting over 300M users. You can use its free desktop version with the all the features that are available on its online photo editing version.

Also, you can check the effects on your photos with scalable editing option. It has a simple to use interface which allows you to open RAW files and combine images in layers.

The cloud-based software allows you to save the incomplete designs for future editing. That way, you can start from where you left the work. All you need to do is upload your images onto the website and you can start editing, creating designs and more.

Features include:

  • Photo editing suite
  • HDR effects
  • Filters and image touch-ups
  • Portrait Retouching
  • Design templates
  • Hundreds of fonts, stickers, and shapes to choose from

Get Fotor now.

15. Inkscape


Inkscape is another 100% free piece of editing software perfect for budding photographers. You can download it on Windows or Mac, or you can access the source code if you want to put it into your own app.

Like Photoshop, Inkscape is designed to give you complete control over your images, whether you want to clone objects, manipulate the colors in your images or overlay text.

It has dozens of available features, including:

  • Color picker
  • Multiple text formats
  • Copy-paste object cloning
  • Calligraphy tools
  • Available extensions and add-ons

Get Inkscape now.

16. DxO Optics Pro 10

best photo editing software for photographers dxo photolab

DxO PhotoLab is a solid alternative photo editor. It converts your RAW images to JPG very smoothly. And it works great with both Mac and Windows operating systems.

This program offers a suite of processing and correction tools that meet the needs of real photographers.

Some features include:

  • U Point local adjustment technology
  • Manual and automatic mode
  • Customized profiles
  • A multitude of optical corrections

Also, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial before committing to a subscription.

Get DxO PhotoLab now.

17. Serif Affinity Photo

Serif Affinity Photo is becoming a strong contender against Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Although, it would be more fair to compare it only to Adobe Photoshop given their identical interfaces and similar capabilities. Affinity is a vector graphic design application, with a hybrid of vector and pixel art environments.

Certainly, Affinity’s biggest feature is its:

  • Price – Affinity is one of the cheapest professional photo editing solutions on the market at $49.99, a one time fee.

Get Serif Affinity Pro now.

Which Photo Editing Software is Right for You?

So, how do you know which photo editor is the best fit for your needs?

If your looking for a free simple editor then GIMP may fit the bill. However, for an easy to use industry standard, we recommend Adobe Lightroom, which comes with Adobe Photoshop in the CC Plan.

If you have a clear idea of how you’ll need to edit your photos and which tools you’ll use the most, consider that when choosing an editing software. While all of these editing software options can handle basic edits, more complex and specific techniques will be easier to achieve in some over others. What are your photo editing priorities, and how can the right editing software help you meet them?

Once you’ve got your pictures edited with one of our photo editing software picks from above, you’ll need to display them on your website with an amazing online gallery. And, you’ll want a gallery that can scale your images and won’t bog down your site.

Luckily, Envira Gallery allows you to use pre-built layouts, sell your pictures, speeds up your WordPress website and has tons of other features photo pros need.

Envira Gallery is the best WordPress gallery plugin on the market. It’s the highest ranked and recommended gallery plugin with over 2M downloads! With it, you can create beautiful gallery layouts that will convert visitors into customers.

Get Envira Gallery now.

We hope this guide has helped you to find the best photo editing software for photographers. Let us know your experience with these picks in the comments below!

And, be sure to check out our other top articles on photography and photo editing:

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  1. The list you have created is very friendly and helpful. It is not easy to find software and get details of them. I saw PhotoScape on your list this software is perfect for everyone mostly it is useful for the website owners or bloggers. Will you suggest some software with some new effects and VFX for personal use?

  2. I’m colorblind and am having a hard time finding software that is good at doing comprehensive auto edits. Anyplace you can suggest or point me to?


  3. I’ve been using PhotoViewerPro for a while, and it made my life much easier.
    It’s quite nice, lite and powerful photo editing software and I don’t have any objections 🙂 I prefer it over some other commercial software..
    It can edit JPG, JPEG, PNG and PDF! Also has great options about resizing multiple images..

  4. Hi,
    I am looking for a freeware photo editor for editing my website photos.
    Can you please suggest which would be the best one to go for?

    Thanks in advance

    1. If you only want to make small changes, Canva is a great choice because it’s so quick. If you want to do more in-depth photo manipulations, I’d suggest GIMP.

  5. Thanks for the guide sir. among this list sir, which of them is free for downloading and can work on windows 7?

  6. I have used pixlr, photo scape, picmonkey and many other in the list. To me picmonkey is very easy and smooth. I personally prefer picmonkey. But others are also good to use. I think this list includes a great option for those who needs editors to edit their photos. Thanks for sharing the list.

  7. Cool list of software! Thank you for sharing this, Waseem. Being acquainted with several ones from the above mentioned I may say that photographers basically use really powerful stuff for quite ordinary tasks. Operate with presets and layers, use various brushes and editing tools, as there are so many tech available.

  8. I”ve been looking for such a list, thank you. Great job! I like GIMP, it can be used by professionals, you just need to get used to how its functions work, coz it different from adobe illustrator. But still if i need a serious photo retouching for some reasons, i turn to professionals photoshop, because you never want your pictures to look retouched, don’t you? For example my friend’s wedding… Especially if photos a poorly lit, it is hard to make them look shiny.

  9. Throughout the internet, there are a multitude of programs that allow us to edit product photos for our online store and you have shared a wonderful list here.
    Thanks for sharing this.

  10. I am a beginner and tbh, i am talented at taking photos but have really no knowledge at editing them. I have used photoshop n lightroom but what i need is a program where i take the photo then put card in conputer and it downloads to a program and within secs, pictures are done. WITHOUT me having to spend all day doing it. The program autonatically does it for me. Anyone know such a program? Im starting a buisness where i will booked back to back and ned to give them there photos instantly by printing them right there. Thank you in advance!

    1. I have been using Faststone Image viewer which downloads images from SD card extremely quickly, the fastest of anything I’ve tried, and is very lightweight and quick, doesn’t hijack all your catalogue and is so easy to use for most editing needs. If I need layers and such I use an additional editor like Photoshop elements.

  11. Photography is an ongoing constant learning process and simple yet powerful editing software enhance your creativity beyond imagination. Thnx for sharing all these wonderful software and guide for everyone. GOD bless you and your team.

  12. Great selection. As for me, I mostly use PhotoWorks image editor. It’s not complicated. Especially i enjoy retouching raw photos – high quality for little time and effort.

  13. I always look to gather new knowledge. It’s the direction I like to go when reading webpages. I search it out. I’m especially interested in topics related to blogging and posts and general internet process so I am really pleased I found your page. It really was engaging to read. Thank you for that.

  14. I have used PicMonkey for years but now that they upgraded or made changes. I find it very in user friendly. I’m wanting to try something else. Your list was very helpful. Thanks

  15. Great list. I agree on most of the software. But there are few more platforms, where we can outsource the services for Professional Photo Editing. –
    These days organizations or small businesses do not do inhouse photo editing. We need to outsource the things

  16. Thank you. I wanted to settle for Inkscape until you recommended GIMP to people like me. Guess I’m one step ahead of getting mazing pictures for my blog,
    I’d probably try both to see which works best for me.

  17. Although it would be more fair to compare it against other photo editors,due to its identical interfaces and capabilities.

  18. What about “MIKU photo retouching by pros” on the app store? It’s like the Uber of photo retouching, you can just send any photo you want to a professional photo editor!

  19. Nice ‘overall’.
    But I’m in the market and need some more information which isn’t, in most cases, readily available.
    I’d like to know RAW support for the new generation of Nikon Mirrorless. On1 has it but I don’t see it listed for Affinity. I don’t think Luminar has it, either.
    Also? LENS BASED corrections are needed. My camera applies these to JPG images but not RAW.

    You need to emphasize how Lightroom and PhotoShop work together. Adobe packages them together for a single fee, along with a small amount of cloud storage.

  20. I recently began using Corel Paintshop Pro 2019. I had been using the various Photoshop Elements programs for many years. Paintshop Pro has a lot of tools that are lacking in the various Elements programs.

  21. Hi, I need the software which can help me to edit jewellery with different background,please let me know which software is good

  22. I have been using Adobe Lightroom for the last five years and find it quite easy to use even for the beginners and has all the expert level adjustments at the finger tips. By the time I don’t need to remove any object or any major enhancement in the image , I don’t switch to Photoshop.
    The only thing I would advise the Adobe people to work on is adding the content aware feature in Lightroom , I think after that most of the photographers would not need the Adobe Photoshop at all!

  23. I really enjoyed reading your blog, you have worked very well on this website but also I like it and I have received a lot of suggestions in your web site and I have learned all about it and I have been benefited from writing such blogs. Stay.

  24. Thank you Alexandra for sharing this awesome photo editing software. Among this 17, in our we use Adobe’s Photoshop and Lightroom. I believe this two tool is more than enough for all photo editing needs.

  25. Hi..
    Just don’t be like me and try a few at the same time, it will drive you mad!!
    Any suggestions as to who does the best Clone tool? They all seem to work slightly different. I use it a lot.

  26. Great list of photo editors. I think the most issues people have when choosing a high-end photo editor, is getting a “complete package” as you do with Lightroom+ Photoshop in Adobe’s Photography Cloud subscription. Lightroom could be way better, and most photographers who want something else than Lightroom, get stuck because they will miss Photoshop. The best current alternative I believe to be Affinity Photo. Affinity Photo is quite cheap and is very close to matching up with Photoshop.

  27. Skylum Luminar????
    I may agree with your other names you have placed on the list, but Skylum Luminar is a beta software that should have never reached the market.
    Based on a year experience with both SL 3 and 4, I can tell you the following.
    while it has some interesting features, SL is a full of bugs software.
    extremely slow in changing RAW images, 10 to 30 seconds from one frame to the other.
    extremely slow in exporting that can take several hours for 100 images.
    preview bar is not reflecting changes done to images and synchronization of several pics, is inconsistent.
    check SL support page to understand how bad the situation is.

  28. I personally use “Adobe Photoshop & Lightroom” for my work. But i will check the other photo editing softwares Insha Allah.
    thanks for sharing with us.

  29. Great list, thanks! I like Adobe products but I can’t see how did Luminar make it to this list. They aren’t that great, to be honest, if compared Adobe programs.

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