Best Photo Editing Software for Mac/PC: 15+ Photo Editors

Regardless your photographer skills, your photos always need a little retouching and enhancing. They may be subtle adjustments that improve exposure, colors, white balance, and lighting. Or they may be artistic transformations for fine art photography and collages. Whether you take pictures with your phone camera and share them right away or you use a professional camera and studio lighting and spend hours doing post-processing, this article is for you.

Finding the best photo editor that suits your workflow isn’t that easy. There are a lot of photo editors to choose from. They range from basic editors with several filters and tools to professional editors that require powerful resources and a large budget.

To help you take the best decision, we’ve tested many popular photo editing applications covering different levels of expertise and budgets. Choose wisely the best solution for you!


1. Luminar

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows & Mac
Notable Features – AI Filters: AI Sky Enhancer, Accent AI

Luminar is a popular color photo editor. It’s been competing with Lightroom and other top editors for some time and every version comes with new features and improvements. For example, one of the major improvements provided in the last version is an automatic lens distortion correction tool: the program detects what type of lens was used and removes the distortions associated with it.

The editing tools are smart and detailed. Luminar offers a lot of filters, easy to control and fine-tune through sliders. It provides all basic adjustments such as contrast, hue, saturation, highlights, and shadows. Furthermore, you can crop and rotate your images with a few clicks. Luminar is also an excellent tool for removing background noise without compromising the quality and clarity of an image, even at ISO levels of 6400.

Luminar is an outstanding photo editing software and one of our top picks. It has everything you need to make quick and detailed improvements to your photos.


2. Apple Photos

Format – Pre-installed program available with Mac devices
Available Platforms – Mac
Notable Feature – Automatic image enhancing

Apple Photos is a top photography editing software. It’s a long standing program that has been available for many years for Apple devices. Each new version of Apple Photos brings new features and improvements. The program has an easy to use interface that makes photo editing a breeze.

Among its photo editing features there are batch processing, automatic enhancement, and geometric transformations. Editing functions are split into several categories and it provides a quick-edit toolbar too. All tools are easy to use and give you precise control over your adjustments. Apple Photos offers all standard editing settings such as black point, shadows, highlights, and exposure. You can reduce noise and sharpen photos too.

There are a couple of other interesting features like the auto-enhancement tool and the curves tool. The auto-enhancement improves the basic parameters of your photo and creates a more balanced aspect. The curves tool on the other hand allows you to adjust color balance and create interesting effects. Combine these features and you can see why Apple Photos is one of the best photo editors for Mac.


3. Adobe Lightroom

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows & Mac
Notable Feature – Automatic lens detection and error correction

Lightroom has long been hailed as the king of photo editing. Adobe has created a magnificent product that is still one of the best on the market. It’s available as a one-off purchase and as part of the creative suite with subscription.

Lightroom has excellent photo management features. You can easily categorize and tag your photos, add ratings, and set labels based on colors and keywords. This is essential if you’re a professional photographer dealing with large amounts of pictures.

Furthermore, Lightroom provides top photo editing software qualities. You can adjust any aspect of a photo from contrast, clarity, exposure, highlights, and saturation to RAW settings using sliders.

Moreover, Lightroom can automatically detect the lens type used for a picture and fix distortions and chromatic aberrations. It allows you to save your settings like presets so that you can do batch processing in just a few clicks.


4. Aurora HDR

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows & Mac
Notable Feature – LUT Mapping

Aurora HDR is one of the best HDR photo editors, but it works great for usual photo editing tasks. This program is well-known for its exceptional quality and ability to deliver high-end HDR photos with minimal effort and maximum customization.

You can easily perform tone mapping on either bracketed images or single files. Moreover, it contains a myriad of HDR presets that emulate particular artist styles. For example, you can use the work of renowned photographers and artists such as Trey Ratcliff and Serge Ramelli.

To add extra depth to your HDR images, Aurora provides extensive color grading options – you can really transform your images into exceptional end products. Last but not least, Aurora offers adjustment layers for both targeted and global edits, which give you even greater control over the final style of your photos.


5. GIMP

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows & Mac & Linux
Notable Feature – Clone and Airbrush tools for quick error correction

GIMP is an open-source photo editing software available for all operating systems. It’s currently considered the best free photo editor available. GIMP has a powerful engine that competes with expensive photo editors, drawing functionalities, and image manipulation tools. It’s regularly updated and you can find support on forums and discussion groups.

Among other features, GIMP allows you to make fine-tuned settings for geometric transformations, edit levels, curves, saturation and brightness, and control contrast, white balance, and color temperature.

One of the tools we like is the healing tool that allows you to remove unwanted items from your photos. GIMP also offers many creative filters and textures, and the possibility to work with layers and masks.

GIMP is a great option if you are on a budget.


6. Photolemur

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows & Mac
Notable Feature – One-click AI Editor

Photolemur is an excellent photo editing software for beginners and advanced photographers. It provides a multitude of automatic tools that make editing easy. If you are a professional photographer and have a large amount of photos to edit, you can use the automatic features to edit groups of photos quickly.

For example, Photolemur offers tools such as color recovery, sky enhancement, exposure compensation, natural light correction, noise reduction, and smart dehaze. You can improve your photos in seconds.

Photolemur allows you to see your adjustments’ effect by splitting the main panel into a Before/After display. Furthermore, it provides basic editing tools like cropping and geometric transformation, so you can improve framing and composition.

Finally, the program doesn’t require powerful processing resources and can cope with large files easily. Photolemur is certainly a good photo editing software with a great deal to offer.


7. Corel Paintshop Pro

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows & Mac
Notable Feature – Customizable interface

PaintShop Pro is Corel’s flagship product. It has been one of the best photography editing software and an important rival to Photoshop for a long time. It’s one of the most powerful photo editors on the market.

If you are a beginner, you can choose a simplified interface that is easier to use. On the other hand, if you are an advanced photographer, you can choose the advanced layout that gives access to the entire set of editing tools.

Once you get into the actual editing, you can see that PaintShop Pro has advanced capabilities. For example, there is a warp brush tool that allows you to correct lens distortion. Moreover, there are standard photo editing tools such as clone, red-eye and eraser that allow for simple and quick adjustments.

The workflow is fluid and efficient too. All tools can be found in the top menu or in the left-hand toolbar. The editor provides many preset color pallets, which are useful if you want to edit your photo in a certain tone or vibe. PaintShop Pro is an excellent choice for a photo editing software.


8. Capture One

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows
Notable Feature – Lens Profiles

Capture One is created by the Danish company Phase One. The company is specialized in DSLR cameras and has branched out with this fantastic product. As photo editing software, Capture One has many similarities with Lightroom. It offers full RAW editing and organizing features.

Capture One supports a wide range of file formats. Aside from RAW, it works with JPEG, TIFF, and PSD. Furthermore, you can make general and local adjustments, the editing tools are well ordered and divided in categories such as “levels”, “curves” and “contrast”,  local adjustments are automatically applied to new layers, and the entire editing process is fast and efficient.

Capture One is pleasant and user-friendly. It’s for sure a good competitor on photo editors market.


9. Affinity Photo

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows & Mac
Notable Feature – 360-degree image editing

Affinity is renowned for its usability and simplicity and it’s considered one of the easiest photo editing software. It has an intuitive interface with well-structured toolbars and features. The only downside we found is that it doesn’t have any file management capabilities.

With Affinity you can make seamless and smooth adjustments to your photos. If you want to improve image quality, you can use sliders to adjust clarity and contrast. You can edit RAW files, create HDR composites and panoramas, and do batch processing.

We also liked the 360-degree image editing tool. If you have a 360-degree image stitched together from various shots, you can edit the whole picture.

Because it lacks image management, Affinity isn’t appropriate for professional photographers. Still, it remains a powerful and easy to use editor that delivers beautiful pictures.


10. ON1 Photo Raw

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows & Mac
Notable Feature – Automatic HDR creation tool

ON1 is another popular photo editing software. ON1 2018 is an awarded program and ON1 2019 is annouced to be even better. ON1 has a wide range of features for photo editing and it’s often compared with Lightroom and PaintShop Pro. The only drawback we found is the need for powerful processing resources.

ON1 gives you complete control over the editing process. You can use sliders to change basic parameters such as clarity, hue, saturation, and color temperature. You can use basic photo filters like vignette and noise reduction and creative preset filters that are high quality and can emulate a wide range of photo styles.

The editing process is smooth and fast, and it works in a non-destructible environment – any changes can be undone. The combination of editing controls, presets, and image enhancing features makes ON1 top rated photo editing software.


11. DxO Photo Lab

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows & Mac
Notable Feature – Local adjustments

DXO Photo Lab is the successor of DXO Optics Pro. Launched in 2017, DXO Photo Lab is mostly a RAW photo editor and it’s one of the best photo editing software for editing RAW images. The RAW processing engine is extremely powerful and allows you to edit your photos fast and efficient. We’ve much appreciated the noise reduction and tonal range of the RAW editor – you can clean up your photos and improve their quality.

Aside from simple editing functionalities, DXO PhotoLab provides local adjustment features. If you want to make adjustmenst to certain areas of a photo, such as a person or an object, you can use the local adjustment tool. You don’t have to create new layers or save the image – everything is non-destructible.

Finally, DXO can detect the camera lens used for a picture. It offers full compatibility with a variety of different lenses – you can easily make auto adjustments and overcome issues like chromatic aberration, lens flare, and lens distortions. DXO PhotoLab is definitely an improvement on the previous versions and is excellent photo editing software for beginners.


12. Pixelmator Pro

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Mac
Notable Feature – Advanced quick selection tool

Pixelmator is a brilliant program for Mac and a great competitor to Apple Photos. Some say it’s actually the best photography editing software for Mac. The latest version has received very good reviews – basic performance and functionality has improved ten-fold. It provides a good workflow and fast access to basic photo editing tools.

Pixelmator provides basic adjustments such as contrast, clarity, saturation, and brightness. You can easily transform photos from camera version to vivid artworks.

Furthermore, Pixelmator offers some awesome automatic features such as automatic horizon detection, quick selection, and context sensitive object removal. You can remove unwanted objects from your photos and level out any irregular horizons. As you would expect from one of the best basic photo editing software, you can also save your settings like presets as use them anytime. We were impressed by the usability of Pixelmator and the changes it made from the last version, while still remaining an easy to use photo editing software.


13. Raw Therapee

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows
Notable Feature – Automatic noise reduction tool

This is one of the best software for editing photos and it’s also free – what could be better? Raw Therapee has reached version 5.0 and has many new features. It provides many basic editing tools, which makes it perfect for fast and simple image processing, but also advanced features. For example, you can remove chromatic aberration, adjust luminance, and reduce noise using just simple sliders. Moreover, you can use the curve pipette feature for more control over colors and the color picker and navigator can now show RGB, HSV, and L*a*b values, which gives you more flexibility for color selection.

The developers at Raw Therapee have worked hard in the last two years to improve processing speeds and fix a lot of problems. Today, you can count Raw Therapee among the top photography editing software.


14. Zoner Photo Studio

Format – Monthly subscribtion plan
Available Platforms – Windows
Notable Feature – Six groups of automatic photo enhancements

Zoner Inc. has been working hard on Zoner Photo Studio for the last few years. The latest version aims to be an easy to use photo editing software and a great improvement over previous versions. The menu structure has been improved and everything is easily accessible now. Moreover, the adjustment sliders and toolbars have had a very welcomed redesign.

Zoner Photo Studio provides support for JPEG and RAW files. It identifies the type of camera and lens used for a picture and makes automatic corrections like fixing alignment and balance. You can save your settings as presets and use them anytime – this really speeds up the process as you can create presets for specific types of photos like portraits and landscapes.

Zoner Photo Studio is certainly heading in the right direction and for this reason it’s an excellent choice for photo editor software.


15. Cyber Link

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows & Mac
Notable Feature – Copy styles from one picture to another with AI Style Transfer

Cyber Link PhotoDirector 10 is a photo editor that uses AI technology to improve the editing process. Like ON1, it requires a powerful computer to run at its full potential. One of the improvements in the last version is the capacity to edit layers – you can add layers on top of your photo to make selective edits and this gives you more precision.

Moreover, PhotoDirector provides basic photo editing features, automatic tools for skin smoothing and body shaping, and the AI Style Transfer. The AI Style Transfer uses Artificial Intelligence technology to learn photo styles and copy them to your own photos. Automatic features make PhotoDirector easy to use and efficient.


16. BeFunky

Format – Web based photo editor
Available Platforms – Windows & Mac with a browser
Notable Feature – Automatic image enhancement tool

BeFunky is a fantastic photo editor that works in a browser. It has a smooth interface and works with popular browsers such as Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. It’s certainly a good option for a free photo editing software.

The edit toolbar contains most of the features you need. You can use sliders to adjust exposure, vibrancy, sharpness, clarity, and other basic parameters. Furthermore, BeFunky provides the Auto Enhance feature and options to add vignettes and glow.

We’ve also appreciated the touch up panel that gives you tools for portraits retouching like blemish fixing and skin perfecting. Overall, BeFunky is easy to use and creates beautiful images. Whilst this may not be suitable for professional photographers, it is certainly a great photo editor for beginners.


17. Photoscape X

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows
Notable Feature – Presets and textures

Photoscape X is simple but effective photo editor software. It’s undeniably basic in its look and design, but it provides powerful features. The editor gives you precise control to adjust contrast and color curves and it provides many presets for quick editing.

Photoscape X supports RAW files and converts them to other formats. It also provides batch processing for applying the same adjustments to multiple photos in a single step. Photoscape X offers automatic image editing tools for red-eye reduction and removing imperfections.


18. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows
Notable Feature – Photo management

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is one of the best digital assets managers and a powerful photo editor. It provides RAW support, adjustment layers, face recognition, and selective edits.

The latest version brings many new features and improvements. ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate isn’t just a photo organizer anymore. It allows you to import presets or create your own and share them with others. It also allows you to copy adjustments from one image to another, import LUTs, use images as luminance masks, and import/export actions.

ACDSee provides powerful image enhancement features such as luminosity selections, the possibility to selectively apply adjustments (vibrance, saturation, hue, brightness, color temperature, tone, and contrast) using brushes and gradients, adjust contrast in specific tones, and dedicated black and white editing.

ACDSee Photo Studio Ultimate is for sure a product to consider when you choose your photo editing software.


19. Alien Skin Exposure X4

Format – Downloadable Software
Available Platforms – Windows & Mac
Notable Feature – Customizable presets

Exposure X4 is an awarded RAW photo editor produced by Alien Skin that works as a standalone application and as Photoshop plugin. It’s been improving for over a decade and today it provides exquisite photo management, neat workflow, and amazing non-destructive photo editing features.

Exposure X4 is known for its high quality RAW processing. Its best features are highlight and shadow recovery, noise reduction, sharpening, color toning, and hue, saturation, and contrast adjustments on specific colors. It also provides a lot of presets and creative effects that you can customize. Exposure 4 works with layers and allows you to combine filters and effects and blend them together for unique results. Also, you can edit just specific areas of an image.

Exposure X4 remains an excellent image organizer. It features fast access, the same folder structure your computer has, categorizing, tagging, and rating. You can group photos based on a selected criteria and use smart searching tools. It’s a great editor for professional photographers.