11 Best Photo Editing Software for Beginners and Professionals

Best photo editing software

There are lots of different photo editing software out there to choose from. Each of them possesses its own functionalities and specialties. So how will you decide which is the right one for you? Or what is the best photo editing tool for beginners?

Thanks to smartphones and photo filters! Everyone is a photographer nowadays. But only real editors or photographers know the value of editing such images to bring out the best from them.

Photo editing requires correcting any imperfections in the image such as exposure, white balance, color correction, noise reduction, and highlighting essential objects to make a beautiful image.

There are many software options out there. Most professionals talk about Photoshop, which is the most common and best-known photo editing software used so far.

As great as Adobe Photoshop is, it’s not the only reliable photo editing tool out there. There are plenty of other photo editing programs available in the market to explore and choose from.

What's on This Page

In this article, we’ll cover the 11 best photo editing software capable of meeting the needs and types of edits you want to achieve.

What Is the Best Photo Editing Software?

As you know, the best photo editing tool depends on the kinds of edits you want to attain.

For example, are you a graphic designer to turn photos into advertisements? Or maybe you only want to make simple photo adjustments. Whatever is the case, we can help you find your ideal photo editor.

Here are my best picks for the photo editing software to try this year:

1. Adobe Photoshop

Best Editing Software

Adobe Photoshop

Mentioning Adobe Photoshop in this article is worth it as it’s the best all round editing software. The name Adobe Photoshop is now pretty synonymous with photo editing as it’s one of the most popular photo editing tools present in the market. Photoshop is a layer-based editing program used by photographers, designers, illustrators, and artists.

Adobe Photoshop is precisely designed for hard-core professionals who need all the advanced features in one package. You name a feature, and the chances are Adobe Photoshop will have one.

You can also create Instagram stories using Photoshop templates. Creating templates for Instagram Stories can help you make money on Instagram. This is the best way to represent your brand, save time, and create captivating stories that your followers don’t want to skip.

Features

We have listed some key features to help you make a better decision:

Pricing

Includes a 1-week free trial and comes bundled with 100GB Creative Cloud storage.

The pricing plans are:

Photoshop Single App: $239.88/year

Photoshop + Lightroom: $119.88/year

2. Adobe Lightroom

Best Online Photo Editing Software

Adobe Lightroom photo editor

Adobe needs no overview of the world of photo editing. It continues to be a creator in releasing cutting-edge photo editing tools over the years.

Similarly, Adobe Lightroom is another powerful editing software by Adobe. It is ideal for photographers who want a more capable and straightforward tool to edit their images.

Photoshop offers an intimidating and complicated user interface, whereas both Lightroom CC and Classic offer a more user-friendly and intuitive interface for image editing.

Features

Some of its features include:

Pricing

Includes Adobe Portfolio, 1TB of cloud storage, Adobe Spark, and Adobe Fonts. 

The plans starts from:

Lightroom plan: $119.88/year

Creative cloud photography plan: $119.88/year (20GB)

Photography plan: $239.88/year (1TB)

3. Phase One Capture One

Best Powerful Tool for Advanced Users

photo editing software

Capture One is created by a camera company known as Phase One and is a great addition to the photo editing software list. If you are a photographer who is interested in enhancing RAW images, this is the best option.

Capture One works both as editing and tethered capture tool for studio photographers. It works in a single window and has a great customizable set of tool tabs.

One of the key features of Capture One is a layers-based local adjustment system that makes it much to edit and see the changes to your work. The upgrade also includes radial gradient and parametric linear masks, which you can edit later.

Features

Capture One offers a lot of features to make image editing interesting.

Pricing

Includes a 30-day trial (free), with no credit card needed.  

The plans start from:

For every camera: $20/mo (supports all major cameras)

For Fujifilm: $9.99/mo (exclusive to Fujifilm cameras)

For Sony: $9.99/mo (exclusive to Sony Cameras)

For Nikon: $9.99/mo (exclusive to Nikon Cameras)

4. Nik Collection (DXO Photo Lab)

World's Best Plugin Suite

photo editing tool

The DxO Photo Lab Nik Collection is the latest version of Nik Suite. It is thoroughly updated to include a new tool and a new workflow.

The Nik Collection also includes 3 superb and powerful tools:

Analog Efex Pro: Brilliant at darkroom/analog effects.

Color Efex Pro: Powerful suite of filters for individual use or combined use.

Silver Efex Pro: The best digital black and white plugin.

Viveza is quite good for burning and dodging color images. HDR Efex Pro is pretty much handy as an HDR merging or effects tool, and Dfine feel and Sharpener Pro is pretty outdated now still; they can be used for noise reduction and output sharpening, respectively.

The arrival of a new update is the Perspective Efex – which offers perspective corrections, powerful lens, advanced wide-angle distortion correction, and tilt-shift effects.

Features

Some of its amazing features are:

Pricing

Offers a 30-day free trial with all Nik Collection 8 plugins features unlocked, and after that, it costs $149.

5. Photo Mechanic

World's Fastest Photo Browser

Photo Mechanic

Photo Mechanic 6 is the fastest media browser that helps you organize, manage, view, and export digital photos.

Plug-in your memory cards and start picking the images you want to edit. Move from image to image without delay. You can also add copyright, dynamic caption, and keyword information individually or in groups.

Once edited, upload images to image services or online galleries in a flash. Therefore, Photo Mechanic is known to be the ultimate file and metadata management software.

Features

Here are some of the important features that can help you get things done more accurately and quickly.

Pricing

Offers a 90-day free trial, and a new license costs $139.

6. Alien Skin Exposure X4

Best Professional Photo Editor for RAW Images

Photo editing application

Alien Skin Exposure X4 is touted as an ideal combination of Lightroom CC and Photoshop. It comes equipped with an amazing range of tools for professional photo editing.

It has a lot to select from its support to masks and layers to several one-click presets.

It comes equipped with many key features for photographers to achieve desired results.

X4 is compatible with formats such as JPEG, TIFF, and PSD. It also offers highlight recovery and improved shadow for better detailing.

Features

Pricing

You can buy Alien Skin Exposure X4 at $119 with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

7. PortraitPro

Best Portrait Editing Software

PortraitPro - Portrait Editing Software

PortraitPro is one of the best portrait photo editing applications on this list. It is created especially for professionals who specialize in portrait photography. This software is powered with all the features you would need to create beautiful portraits.

PortraitPro allows you to remove wrinkles, correct skin tone, add eye shadow, fix blemishes or sagging cheek, and more. It also allows you to fix and manage the poor lighting error.

Features

PortraitPro comes equipped with innovative features to ensure stunning portraits, such as:

Pricing

Offers a complete money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the services. You can buy this Portrait editing software at $44.95 (50% download discount applied).

8. Affinity Photo

Best Professional Creative Software

Affinity Photo

Affinity Photo is an image editing software that allows you to process raw files and then merges, edit, or manipulate them.

All the functions and features you’d expect in professional-level editing tools are present such as Adjustment Layers, Layers, Filters, Layer Masks, and more. There are even Live Filters included that allows you to apply Filters from the Layers panel.

Affinity Photo is a commercial software even at a low price and famous for its extraordinary usability, features, and performance.

From delicate retouching, quick corrections to immersing yourself in fine art with 100s of layers, Affinity Photo has all the features covered.

Features

Trusted by professionals, the other features include:

Pricing

Offers a free trial for MAC, Windows, and iPad. 

The pricing plans are:

For MAC: $49.99

For Windows: $49.99

For iPad: $19.99

9. Skylum Luminar

Best Filters and HDR for Photographers

Photo editing tool

Skylum Luminar is a superb alternative to Adobe Lightroom. As a result, it is gaining massive popularity among professional photographers. Luminar is a plugin and application for PC and MAC.

It comes with powerful image editing skills with more affordable pricing. The latest version, Luminar 4, is much faster and provides a perfect blend of Photoshop and Lightroom. Within one single software, you get the best of both the software.

Features

Some of the noteworthy key features of this photo editing software include:

Pricing

All the tools include 24/7 customer support and a 30-day money-back guarantee.

Buy Skylum Luminar with no subscription for $67 – Buy once, Use forever!

10. Exposure X5

Best Software for Creative Photography

Exposure X5

Exposure X5 is a relatively little-known program that deserves more recognition. It’s an efficient, subtle, and powerful all-in-one photo editing and browsing tool focusing on analog film effects.

Exposure X5 comes with a library of one-click preset effects. Its strengths are its neat and straightforward interface with beautiful presets, effects, straightforward, and useful tools.

It also offers ‘virtual copies’ and non-destructive adjustments to try out different looks for a single image without saving additional files.

It doesn’t offer layers of images, so you cannot combine photos in Exposure X5.

Features

Some of the amazing features include:

Pricing

Offers a 30-day free trial. The pricing plans include Exposure X5 non-destructive RAW photo editor, Fast technical support, no subscription required, Exposure X5 plugin for Photoshop and Lightroom, and 30-day money-back guarantee.

Buy Exposure X5 now at $119 and upgrade at $89.

11. Adobe Photoshop Elements

Best Simple Image Editing Tool for PC

Adobe Photoshop Elements

If you are a beginner or non-professional who wants to be a part of Adobe’s photo editing network, Elements is an excellent option.

It is specifically designed for beginners and comes with easy to use, powerful, and crisp UI photo editing abilities.

You can implement pro-level Photoshop effects with Elements without having any professional skills as it also helps you with performing basic photo editing tasks at a great pace.

Features

Some of its key features are:

Pricing

Start creating beautiful photo effects with Adobe Photoshop Elements. 

The pricing plans are:

Photoshop Elements 2020: $99.99/mo

Photoshop Elements 2020 & Premiere Elements 2020: $149.99/mo

Conclusion

Photo editing software

So, all these photo editing tools mentioned above are striking in their own way.

However, to decide which photo editing program is perfect for you depends on your photo editing skills, budget, preference, and required needs.

For example,  Capture One can be the most suitable option for advanced professionals looking for a powerful yet robust photo editing tool.

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