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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Photo Editing Software in 2023 (Free/Paid)

19 software options to choose from in 2023

Photo editing has become an essential part of the photography workflow. Whether you’re a professional photographer or an enthusiast, having the right software can make a significant difference in the final outcome of your images. In The Ultimate Guide to the Best Photo Editing Software, we will explore some of the best image retouching options available for PC and Mac users. From beginners to professionals, these programs offer a range of features and capabilities to customize and enhance your pictures to perfection.

First and foremost, it is important to consider whether you need professional photo editing software to edit your images. While it is great to have knowledge of various software options, there are also free alternatives that can enhance your images within seconds. If you primarily take pictures occasionally for platforms like Instagram or Facebook, and they are taken just for fun, it is best to utilize free image editors. You can make use of Instagram’s built-in filters or explore the filters included in your phone’s camera app, or even try out one of the many online image enhancing programs available.

The Definitive Image Editing Software When it comes to edit photo software, Adobe Photoshop stands out as the industry leader. The truth is that it’s been around for more than 30 years and people use the name of the program as a verb ex. “Can you photoshop that element?” or “I’ve been photoshoping for the past few hours”. With its extensive array of tools and features, it allows users to edit, manipulate, and transform images to perfection. As the go-to photo editor in computer systems, Photoshop provides unparalleled precision, making it the best software for photo editing. From basic adjustments to advanced retouching, Photoshop offers a comprehensive toolkit for professionals and enthusiasts alike.

If you are planning to buy Photoshop, expect to experience a high learning curve. You will spend quite a few hours before You become a PRO.

Pros:

  • Most powerful photo editor out there
  • Complete control over your images
  • Most known software with plenty of courses around
  • Feasibility of working with your images within Creative Suite
  • Professional results to the very last pixel
  • Supports a vast amount of extensions like: PSB, PSD, IFF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF to name a few.

Another software from Adobe. Optimize and Customize Your Pictures for those seeking comprehensive organization and editing capabilities, Adobe Lightroom is the ideal choice. As a top-notch edit software photo solution, Lightroom enables you to manage and customize your photo collections efficiently. With its non-destructive editing approach, you can experiment with various settings without altering the original image. Lightroom is a versatile and powerful photo editor for PC, offering unparalleled customization options.

Pros:

  • Advanced culling and RAW processing options
  • Way easier to use than Photoshop
  • Feasibility of working with your images within Creative Suite
  • Professional results
  • Works on Mac and PC

Advanced Editing Software for Photography Professionals Capture One Pro is a software that caters specifically to the needs of professional photographers. It provides advanced editing tools, precise color adjustments, and exceptional tethered shooting support. As one of the best tools for photo editing, Capture One Pro delivers outstanding image quality and an intuitive interface, making it the preferred choice for professionals who demand superior results.

Pros:

  • Customize your own Workspace
  • Shoot directly to your computer with tethered capture (you can control your camera from the software)
  • Get full control over colors
  • Adjust parts of a photo with Masks and Layers
  • Create Catalogs or Sessions to keep images organized
  • Shortcut Keys save a lot of time
  • Precreated Process Recipes to quickly export images
  • Fast editing with Styles and Presets (you can copy them to other images)
  • Designed for photo studios to save time and money
  • Works on Mac and PC

Unlock the Potential of Your Images DxO Photolab is renowned for its state-of-the-art image processing algorithms and powerful correction tools. It offers advanced features such as noise reduction, lens correction, and localized adjustments, enabling users to fine-tune their images effortlessly. DxO Photolab is the best software for editing pictures, ensuring impeccable image quality while providing an intuitive user experience.

Pros:

  • DeepPRIME denoising technology
  • Image management and editing features
  • Allows both global and local editing
  • Works on Mac and PC

The Affordable Photoshop Alternative Affinity Photo 2 is a powerful and cost-effective alternative to Photoshop. It provides a wide range of professional-grade tools and features for editing and retouching photos. Affinity Photo’s non-destructive editing and robust layer support make it a preferred choice for beginners and professionals alike. It is one of the best photo editing software for beginners looking to enhance their images and unleash their creativity.

Pros:

  • The best Photoshop alternative (some users say it’s better than Photoshop)
  • Non-destructive RAW development
  • One time payment
  • Works on Mac and PC

ON1

Photo editing software offers everything photographers need to organize, edit, style, and share photos.

Pros:

  • Import, organize, edit and print your photos
  • Accepts Raw files from around 930 cameras and other sources
  • Global and local editing including layers
  • HDR, focus stacking and panoramas
  • Works on Mac and PC

Easy to use image editor for MAC.

Pros:

  • Best suited for amateur or occasional image editors and designers.

Our photo editing software offers everything photographers need to organize, edit, style, and share photos.

Pros:

  • The AI templates and modes are perfect for social media content creators.
  • Basic layer features
  • Relight option to add some light to Your subject
  • Well performing portrait tools

Free Image Editors

A Free and Feature-Packed Photo Editing Solution When it comes to free photo editing software, GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a popular choice. It rivals paid programs with its versatility, extensive features, and customizable brushes. GIMP is a top option for those looking for good photo editing software without breaking the bank. With a supportive community and a vast library of plugins and scripts, GIMP offers limitless possibilities for editing and customization.

Pros:

  • It’s FREE
  • Once you learn how to use the software, You can achieve some professional effects
  • Perfect for beginners wanting to try more advanced image editing techniques. Professionals on a budget will get some spectacular effects too.
  • You can consider it as a free alternative to Photoshop, offering a wide range of options to edit and enhance images

Image and photo editing software for PCs that run Windows.

Pros:

  • It’s FREE
  • Fewer options than GIMP but it is easier to learn
  • Additional plugins make Paint.net a powerful tool

Lightroom alternative that can fix your images in no time.

Pros:

  • The free version can do a lot of stuff
  • Some say it is easier to learn and use than Lightroom
  • Works on Mac and PC

Online Image Editors

Free online photo editor

Pros:

  • Easily accessible Online
  • Many say it’s easier to use than Photopea
  •  It’s fun to use
  • AI tools help You create designs out of Your photos

Advanced online editing software. It is actually a copy of the well know Photoshop.

Pros:

  • Layout similar to the one in Photoshop (it is almost a copy of Adobe’s most known program)
  • Knowing Photoshop can get You going within minutes 
  • Easily accessible online

Selecting the right photo editing software is essential for achieving outstanding results in your photography endeavors. Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom remain the top contenders, offering a comprehensive suite of tools and capabilities. Capture One Pro, DxO Photolab, GIMP, and Affinity Photo 2 are also highly recommended options, each with its unique strengths. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned professional, these software choices provide the necessary tools to elevate your photos to new heights. Remember to explore and experiment with different programs to find the one that suits your needs and preferences best.

For those looking specifically for image processing and retouching software, it is essential to choose programs that are specifically tailored for these tasks and they can be found above.

Graphic design / Digital Painting

There are other programs (list below) that are often advertised as image processing software but are actually designed more for graphic design or painting purposes. While they may have some basic image editing capabilities, their primary focus lies elsewhere. These software options are typically geared towards creating digital artwork, illustrations, or complex graphic designs.

 

Superb digital painting tool.

The ultimate in realistic painting tools, textures, and color blending.

Free digital painting tool.

  • Works on Mac and PC

Create sophisticated illustrations, spectacular layout mockups, and expressive lettering on the go, whenever you want.

  • Works on Mac and PC

Design tool. From mockups to mood boards and everything else.

  • Works on Mac 
  • Works online on PC

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